I didn't hit a cow today.

Trip Start Oct 20, 2009
Trip End Jun 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
Palace Hotel

Flag of Brazil  , Rio Grande do Sul,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Des has been taking turns with the bikes, taking one of them out for a ride each day (when it's not bucketing down), and has become quite familiar with the area. It’s been too hot for him to wear his riding jacket, and he’s found it refreshing to ride in a T shirt like the locals. He was riding through the 'jungle’ on a dirt track yesterday, when he had to make a sudden stop. Stretched across the road was a grand cow, tethered to the other side of the road. Des tried blowing his horn to get her to move, but to no avail. He shouted at her, but she just swished her tail at his language. So with only a small slither of roadway between the stubborn cow and the ditch at the side of the road, he managed to squeeze past her without sliding into the ditch. When Des came back to the hotel he announced that "Today was a good day, I didn’t hit a cow."

The next day he came hurrying back from the bikes swinging a bright blue T shirt over his head. He’d found my favourite T shirt in one of his panniers. Bless him.

Des finds it’s very enjoyable riding around the countryside here in Brazil, you see some pleasant sights, brightly coloured chickens running across the road, large fields of tobacco and corn in various stages of maturity. Some of the yellowed tobacco leaves have been harvested and stand upside down in conical shapes in the fields. Local people sit on their porches drinking mate (chimarrao). The big BMW always turns heads, and people smile and wave.  Des wishes he had a dollar for everyone who has sat on the bike and had their picture taken.

We were invited out for another meal with Flor and her family and her employer Luis. The dinner was held in a huge ex cow shed, modified to allow for functions. It was fascinating, more like a museum that a function venue, but all set up for entertainment. The idea is to hire the venue and cook there yourselves. Luis did a great job of cooking, naturally Des helped stir the pot from time to time.

A young guy named Alessandro came along for an hour to speak English with the Aussies. It was a pity he had to leave early, as it is such a help to have a translator. For the rest of the evening we had to use my dictionary. Flor’s niece Maria (Mary) was having fun with it looking up all the swear words.

 As the evening progressed, so did the procession of bugs and insects. But, all credit to Mary, she’d brought along a tennis racquet which was charged in the power point and ‘served’ as a bug zapper. She would have done Lleyton Hewett proud and the crackle and sparks of bugs being zapped by the racquet was impressive. Des had a good look at it and wanted to import some into Australia.  

Just like last time, Flor’s Mum Maria was having a ball. It’s lovely of Flor to take her elderly mother to these functions. Flor is an only child and I haven’t seen a father in the picture. Flor and her Mum are very close. Flor is a fairly ‘out there’ girl and knows how to have a good time. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree either.

Meals start pretty late here and it’s not unusual to begin preparing food after 9pm.  We’re usually famished by that time.  Off course this means a late finish and late to bed, not that it matters, as we have no agenda for the next day.

Frederico Westphalen has been installing its Christmas decorations for the last 2 weeks and is still busy with it. We have huge angels down the main street, which we have been watching be installed. They came in 4 parts on 4 different days and stand about 6 meters tall, and they are on every light pole down the centre of the  street. Our room at the Palace Hotel, is on the third floor overlooking the centre of town and the main street. There’s a lovely nativity scene that the kids can walk through in the park. Baby Jesus is not in the manger yet, however, because he has not been born yet! We often go for a stroll in the evening with the Frederico Westphalen community to enjoy the ambiance of the warm nights. There is a special atmosphere about this place which is relaxed and peaceful. The city is graffiti free and we haven’t experienced any anti social behavior.

Pedro Locatelli has taken some beautiful pictures of Frederico Westphalen with the Christmas arrangements in place, which I will include on this travel pod.
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Sarah James on

Uh Oh Jenny - the lucky horse shoes are hanging up the wrong way! All the 'luck' falls out of them!
Glad to see you're having fun - i love reading your pod!! xox

Julie Zacharjak on

The mail from your grandchildren is gorgeous! That must be the best present you will get this Xmas. Happy New Year to you both!

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