5 - Getting To Know  Brazil 

16/10/98 Sćo Joćo del Rei - After fishing for work in Soa Joao del Rei I went to investigate Belle Horizonte (pronounced Bel riz-onch). I didn't like it much, it was a big smokey skyscrapered city crowded into a bowl like valley. 

Ouro Preto- I took the bus to investigate the historic old gold mining town of Ouro Preto. It was quite pretty a sprawling town of old colonial buildings on top of a 100 small hills. I was learning that it would be difficult to find work ,because all the schools close for 3 months at Christmas.I investigated the nearby town of Mariana ,which was similar, but smaller and less pretty. 

23/10 Vitoria another sprawling city by the sea, but it was immediately apparent it would be uncomfortably humid. I checked out the nearby German mountain village of Domingoes Martin's , but there wasn't anything to see. On the way back there was a fantastic view from the Vista Linda cafe.  
Vista Linda pic 

27/10 Rio De Janeiro - I decided to move south so I took the night bus to Rio. What do you do in Rio when it's cloudy ? Copocobana was a boring skyscrapered beach, there was no point in climbing up Sugar Loaf Mountain or visiting the Big Jesus Statue (Corcovado). However the Youth Hostel I found in Botafogo was one of hte best city hostels I have stayed in  and I picked up some tips from the interesting people staying there. 

28/10 Petropolis -   I went up into the hills an hour away hoping to find  a quaint historic mountain town. I was disappointed it was a sprawling city of 300,000 people and it rained all the time.  

29/10/98 Teresopolis - The next day I moved here , which was a better prospect being only 100,000 people , but it continued to rain. 
I had a lucky break I met a kind English school owner Nelson. Who said he might be able to fix me up with some free accomodation and a few hours work. 
Nelson was  really kind to me and I was surprised by his friend Claudineer who arrived at my hotel to take me to a Halloween party and then a nearby nightclub where we tried to chat up the girls. One it was too noisey for me to think never mind speak and they all ran away ....literally as soon as we spoke. I had to spend Sunday sleeping as we didn't get back till 6.30 am. 
After a lot of thought I decided the town was not a good prospect and that I should move south. It still hadn't stopped rining in fact it was so cold I had needed a coat and the town looked pretty boring.  Actually when I discussed this with local people they all agreed! Yes it is boring. Nelson recommended I check out the city of Ribereio Preto (pronounced Heb-eron Preto) , but he managed to persuade me to stay a couple of days to make some tapes for him. It felt so good to actually do some work after such a long time without work. Many thanks to him and Simone for their kindness. 

4/11/98 - I took the nightbus through Rio to Campinas, but had a minor trauma at 6 am I asked someone where we were I couldn't understand what he said , but it wasn't anything like Campinas. Anyway I found myself in a city 70Km further down the road. As I sat waiting for another bus I realised I had left my notebook on the bus. The man at the office said the bus had gone back to Campinas and I would have to wait until it got there then he would phone and check. After sitting tense for an hour he said no they hadn't found it. I decided to go back to Campinas to check myself. I was pleasantly surprised when after 30 minutes waiting I got it back.  

5/11/98 Ribereio Preto - It's known as the California of Brazil and I have to say to me it is really similar. I arrived  and walked around trying to figure out what to do. There was no tourist office and it wasn't in my guidebook. I was lucky to bump into Carlos whose family own the Grande Hotel.  It was good to hear from my friend Thane who is doing a long distance walk in Spain ..el camino de santiago  

I went around the towns Engish Schools fishing for work. I was lucky enought to find some immediate guest lessons at the CCAA which I very much enjoyed. All the students said that I must must visit The Pinguim Bar, Brazils most famous chopp (draught beer) bar directly below the hotel. I wasn't too impressed though Brasilian beer is like it's North American counterparts ..watery and chemicalful. 
On Sunday I went to Museu de Cafe to see the morning tea dance. Funny to see so many 30 to 90 year old things in a museum Brazil is a new country. I saw a cute woman there , but as I bided my time trying to think of a way to talk to her she got in a car with her friends and they drove off; ce la vie. 

I went to check out the prospects in the nearby towns of Sentanzhino and Batatais, but they both fairly quiet. 

Wednesday Rubens one of the students who is editor of a famous local magazine invited me over for lunch and then in the evening we went to a local fish restaurant and ate an enormous Amazon fish. 

I went by the magazine office and met the charming Lenita the owner of CCAA who insisted I help with her photoshoot. The lady photographer tried to flatter me saying I have a photogenic face..Yeah and pigs fly ! 

5/11/98 Arraquara - Friday I had  to find some kind of work before I go bancrupt. I went to the nearby towns of  Arraquara and Sao Carlos and fished aound the schools there. 
I found a $3 a kilo buffet can you believe it ? 

Then I had a lucky break I met met Mike who has a school where they are used to dealing with foreigners, have a summer course and a room for me to stay and he doesn't mind if I pick up hours from other schools. 

More in The next postcard ..click here  

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