Trip Start Jan 15, 2006
52Trip End Sep 05, 2006
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We spent an evening with one of Kia's high school classmates, Preston, on his newly purchased farm about 40km north of Punta del Este. Preston was escaping from nothing more dramatic than the routine of city life. In just three months, he has amassed a collection of pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys, dogs and a single cat.
Like a happy child with a new toy, Preston seems quite amused with the fertility of the various members of his menagerie. It seems that each animal is pregnant, nursing a new litter or just a few months from beginning to breed
Seriously, Preston has developed a very nice little operation, but he asked us to mention that visitors are most welcome. If you are in the area, he is a great host and would appreciate the company.
Yesterday, we crossed the border into Brazil and stepped into a different world. The first problem we encountered is that Portuguese sounds nothing like Spanish. We can generally parse out the meaning of written words, but when we are listening, it might as well be Mandarin. Not that many Brazilians speak English. (I am not sure if they study Spanish or just are just reveling in their secret little language that nobody else can speak.) We are back to a combination of charades and pointing to what we want while emitting a grunt. As those of you with a two-year old are aware, the latter method is a surprisingly effective way to get what you need.
The traffic is a little heavier, the towns a bit more urban, the outfits a bit skimpier, the skin tones more varied and the vibe is a lot more developing nation
This afternoon we are holed up in the mountain (maybe 3000 feet, but, hey, Brazil is not known for mountains) town of Gramado. The place was settled by Swiss and southern Germans who have decided to create a faux Tyrolean town complete with 25 different places to get fondue.
Tomorrow we head for the beach. Watch this space for pictures of Kia in her new Brazilian thong bikini.