Ice Cold Guarana - The Taste of Home

Trip Start Sep 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2007

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Sunday, September 2, 2007

The only thing Deb wanted was an ice cold can of Guarana Antartica. I agreed. So we sat in our first Brazilian restaurant, holding the ice cold can of pop (sorry beer drinkers everywhere), savoring our first taste of a soda made from Guarana berries that are grown and cultivated in the Amazon jungle. After the very long overnight flight (why are all the flights to Brazil overnight?) and very little sleep, the ice cold pop trickled down our throats, a present to ourselves after a little suffering during the flight. It was also the first sign that I was finally home. Home is much more than a geographical location, an address: it is the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a country or a place. My mom was a heavy coffee drinker. She would put the coffee pot on first thing in the morning and then go back to bed so we would all wake up to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning. Now whenever I smell a fresh brewed coffee in the morning, for just a minute or two I am home, and I imagine Mom in the kitchen, wearing her worn house coat and chenille slippers, getting scrambled eggs with ham and minced onions ready for breakfast while she sipped her first cup of coffee. Fresh brewed coffee early in the morning is always the smell of home.

That first taste of ice cold Guarana Antartica was the sign for both of us that we had finally arrived at our destination - the amazing throbbing country of Brazil.

We had plenty of time so we ate some of the delicious Brazilian food that we had so long awaited. One of the current rages in Brazil is a buffet style restaurant where you paid by the weight (kilos my fellow Americans.) They weigh your plate on a scale and that's it. It doesn't matter if it's all meats, lettuce or deserts, you pay by the kilo. An instant economic incentive to diet. We didn't. Brazilian food is some of the best in the world. They seem to have just the right touch in spices, flavorings and seasonings.

We slowly ate lunch and soaked it all up. Culture shock comes even when you anticipate it. Hearing once again the musical language of Portuguese, watching people and the way they acted: the talking with movements of the hands, the warm shaking of hands and pats on the backs when men met, the kisses on the cheek for women, all the people in uniforms sweeping, cleaning, serving the upper and middle class, the tight, tight pants and high-heeled shoes that every Brazilian woman, no matter what age, seemed to be wearing, we were a little dazed and stunned to be where we were.

But that first sip of ice cold Guarana Antartica told us - we were home.
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