Travel Journal

Campinas, journey to Ilha and our last week !!

(Saturday 29 August 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hello to all of you, hope everything is well and you are all enjoying summer. Here we are approaching spring. I thought there were a lot of dead trees alongside the highways…. Duuhh… I didn’t suspect dormant trees waiting for spring !!! :-,:-,
Well I am supposed to be in the tropics am I not?? In Sao Paulo state anyway we have seasons and dormant trees. The trees in flower at the moment are purple, yellow or a rust colour.

We have another cold front at the moment… getting us ready for returning to the U.K. We cannot believe we will be landing there in less than a week.. Where has the time gone?? Well let’s get you up to date with the things happening here.

Our flight from Salvador was on time and the company were very courteous and helpful, especially when I left my handbag in the overhead compartment and walked off without it!! We were soon reunited.. whew!! *_*

The weather was cloudy and chilly when we landed at Campinas, as it was 9am we went to the shopping centre to put off time until we could get the hotel room. The shopping centre was fantastic, huge and very swish; I had a great time checking out everything. We had some lunch then went to the hotel. Later Mike had to go to the Uni to give a talk, then come back to collect me and go for dinner with some others. The restaurant looked like it had been transported from France; the food was also French style. I was assured there was no Garlic, so chose trout. It was very nice… I spent most of the evening talking to a couple of adolescents, who were sitting next to me… It was so difficult keeping a conversation going with the youngster’s even music couldn’t be a conversation as they listen to different artists here. Gosh I felt old!! :-O Next day I went back to the shopping centre while Mike worked, even managed to spend some money !1;-)
Then about 4pm we travelled to Sao Carlos, a smaller city with no obvious shopping centre. There were a few high-rise buildings but it was a sprawl of a city. The hotel we were staying in was very strange.

The lobby and check-in area was slick and modern, with a nice restaurant. Upstairs in the rooms… Well the best that could be said is the room was clean and large. It looked like it was fitted out in the 60’s; the bed did not fit in the headboard space, so made the room look most odd.
We were there for 2 nights. Mike was giving a talk at a small conference…. “I will be back for 1pm then we can have a look around” says Mike. Well at 5-30pm and me having hung around all day in this lovely room, I was really was grumpy drawers !! Literally he was in the room for 1 hour when the phone rung.. Two students downstairs to see him…. Grrr >:-)>:-)
At 7-30pm he appears to tell me we are going out for dinner…. I am told I shouldn’t complain about being taken out for dinner… So with my cheeks stapled into a smile off we went !! This time we were taken to a Pizza restaurant with Zilda. This was a much lower key affair than the French one. The pizza was cooked for a little longer than the ones in Ilha… but still loads of cheese, most of mine was scraped onto my plate. It was a nice evening and a lot of laughs. Now I know you all think it is great to visit all these places with Mike, now you can see it’s a lot of waiting around alone and meals with strangers, some of whom turn out to be very nice… Does it still sound like fun??? :-?:-(

The next morning we were back on the road to Ilha Solteira, for our final week. We had arranged to pop in to see Fabricio and his parents again. When we arrived his dad was away in Brasilia, a journey of 10 hours on the bus, he was setting up new contracts with the government for the flights to Amazon. The buses run overnight so people can get to the cities for business. Flavio was sleeping on the bus, having his meeting then travelling back on the bus for an overnight journey home. This is normal for Brazilians, for me it sounds like hell.

The dining room table was set because the temperature was too cold to sit outside… so they do use the dining room!! We were having Acai, this is fruit from a certain type of palm tree. The fruit is black when ripe and looks like small berries covering long tassels hanging from the palm trees. The berries are liquidised and sieved to give a thick dark red/brown liquid. This can be used either for savoury or sweet dishes.
Look on Wikipedia…..We in the U.K. are just starting to use this, but I think in dried or pill form as it contains some antioxidants and some say helps as a diet aid, according to Fabricio also it’s an aphrodisiac when used in the original liquid form !!!
Well the table had crunchy muesli and Sago flour… yes looked like little sago balls but were crunchy, I think the sago had been cooked then dried… very nice. This is only available in Amazon area, Flavio brings this back from his visits there.

There were also Cheese balls and little tarts filled with chicken and others filled with palm heart.
So back to the Acai pronounced..... Ass ah ee.
The liquid had been sweetened a little and was poured into a small bowl, then the choice was either muesli and banana mixed into it, or a couple of spoonfuls of sago flour. I chose the sago flour. The taste of the Acai was strange and I am not sure if the colour was giving my brain subliminal messages. It tasted slightly sour then for me chocolate (the colour I think made me taste this) then back to sourish again.
The sago flour stayed crunchy- (like dry rice crispies). It was strange but not unpleasant, infact I had two bowlfuls… Later the sago started to swell in my tummy, so felt full for a long while. I could not contemplate eating this for breakfast … the colour was not so nice, but for lunch I could manage it. It is a dish from the Amazon area of Brasil, and used a lot in the north of Brasil.
The palm tree this berry grows on is also used for Palm heart. Used as a vegetable or for cooking, it is white and can be bought as pieces in Jars or as longer stalks… about 10cm also in jars. It is harvested from the growing tip of the palm, not sure if this then kills the palm tree???
Well it again was a lovely couple of hours, and all too soon we were off again on the road back to Ilha.

I am now on brain overload with all the things needing to be done… I have had to check with the dentist and hairdresser twice to confirm the times of appointments… feels like xmas time when I tend to lose the plot a little !! :-\
We have started our clearing out, with the paperwork and clothes now sorted; I just have to get started packing the cases… I am being an ostrich with my head buried, not wanting to start!!

Well now got 2 suitcases packed, and managed to get my beautifying done…. Mike got his feet done, and says they feel good!! All the dentist appointments are finished so just the last loose ends before we go!!
We have arranged to meet all the friends for a dinner at the Paderia tonight, the temp has started to rise again, so we will eat outside I think there should be around 25 of us, and we have not had to book tables!!!

I got my eyebrows re-tattooed a couple of days ago, so they are a little dark and feel like false ones… hopefully the colour will soon die down!! :o):o)

We are popping round to check our bit of dirt here for the last time, hopefully going to get photos of the little ground owls who live there… they seem to come out about an hour before dusk… so I have camera at the ready!!

Yesterday I got a surprise, one of the kitchen taps had hot water coming out of it…. So hot I couldn’t keep my hand under it???!!! When telling Mike of this strange thing.. “Oh I put 2 switches down in the electricity fuse box, maybe that’s why”….. It’s only taken 7 months to find this out!!
Well it will give the amigos a laugh when we tell them.
Well the meal at the Paderia went well, there was about 27 of us….9 large Pizza’s and beer. Cost ??? #120.00
It was a good evening and all too soon saying goodbye, Vicente suddenly announced, BBQ at my house tomorrow for another goodbye. Poor Marilene did not have a clue this was being sprung on her !!

The last day for us was spent closing the loops, cancelling internet stick, and handing the car back. I managed to pack up all the suitcases then out to Vicente’s. He had moved his large flat screen T.V. out into the garden and was playing music videos on it… only in Brasil!! :-)
Yet again a good evening, and sad to say goodbye. Next morning we had a rush, the car was supposed to be arriving to take us to the airport at 10am. It arrived at 9-30, a mini bus with two other passengers… Marilene had not arrived for the handover so when she did arrive it was so rushed to say thanks and goodbye. :-(

When we arrived at San Jose do Rio Preto; Mike charmed the check-in girl so much we did not have to pay excess baggage for 2 cases….. In reality the flight was 1 hour late and she was worried we had a connection we would miss, so let us off with the excess baggage. Still it was a nice surprise. :-*

When we landed at Sao Paulo it was warm and sunny, collecting all 4 cases we found a taxi to take us across the city to out Hotel near the International airport. The traffic was HELL, complete gridlock at times. A 15 mile journey took 2 hours, we did see some unusual sights through. One wall was painted with a historical painting of around the early 19th century. Showing all the different races of people who were around at that time. I would HATE to live in Sao Paulo having to deal with the horrendous traffic every day, and all the smog hanging over the city. :-(

We are having our last night in the Bristol Hotel chain, the lobby has a huge open space with all the levels and rooms looking down into this space…. We are on the 13th floor… which here is a very lucky number!! I felt quite giddy walking to the room when looking over the balcony to the lobby below!!!

We leave Brasil on Saturday around lunchtime and head off to the airport to start the journey back to the U.K.
The end has come, what a fantastic time we have had and been so lucky to do so many things. I hope you all enjoyed our tales.
I will update you all when we disappear off on any more trips, unfortunately that won't be for a while and certainly not for the length of time we managed here. :-(:-(
Love to you all
Laur and Mikee XX


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