Passing the peace pipe

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

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio Grande do Sul,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It's been an eventful week for us since the drive back from Porto Alegre to Frederico Westphalen on the bus. (Dr Hermes said he does the drive in about 4 hours by car, that’s a lot more civilized than the 8 hours it took us).

We arrived back to a huge fireworks display in the main square of the city in front of the Cathedral. We were very tired after the bus journey which stopped in every town along the way, but we made the effort to watch the fireworks from the third floor of our hotel, which was probably the best vantage point.

Every evening there is something going on in the square, a stone’s throw from our hotel, so we religiously head down there to see what’s happening. There was a Gaucho style band with young people from the local drama school acting out a play to music. As the players were in their late teens and older, the dance and acting was very good, and whoever did the costumes did a wonderful job, it made the play. It was very dramatic, all about a shooting and some religious aspects. I loved it.

I have been riding pillion with Des the last couple of mornings and enjoying snapping off a few pictures as we’re riding along. The tall fields of corn have got their silk on them now and look very impressive.

We unexpectedly rode into a processing plant for Mate, the leafy herb used in chimarrao. I just wanted to take a photo of the gigantic chimarrao cup out the front, but the young receptionist asked us to come in and see the process of preparing the leaves. The shiny leaf has no fragrance until it’s been cut up, and then it’s a bit like a mixture of farm smells and freshly cut grass, sounds gross, but is soooooo good to drink. It tastes a bit like strong green tea and you don’t put sugar or milk into it. We’ve bought our own chimarrao cup and are chimarraoing with the best of them. When we go to someone’s place we are offered chimarrao, which is usually boiling hot, and it’s like passing a peace pipe, everybody has a sip and it’s continually topped up from a big thermos of boiled water. It’s very sociable. It did take us a while to get used to sipping on the communal straw though.

I’m just wondering where I’m going to store the cup on the bike and if I’ll get the herb across the border. They’re a bit funny about taking tea across borders.  

We received a text from Lynn on the sixth of December, saying she’d rolled her ankle stepping down some stairs. It has blown up and become quite blue so they decided to take a couple of extra days at their hotel, while her foot issue subsides. These things can happen so easily.
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