Hasta Luego Espanol, Oi Potugese

Trip Start Aug 20, 2005
Trip End May 26, 2006

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Monday, December 5, 2005

Hasta Luego Espanol, Oi Potugese that is right they only speak Portugese in Brazil, very few speak Spanish and even less speak English. So its back to oinking for my dinner again :-) All though I have learned the word for toilet, trust me its not something you want to mime when in a hurry :-)

In Sao Paulo there is 26 million people, roughly. Its a big city, quite compact when you think of American cities that are really sprawled with far less people in them. They have numerous roads which I have only navigated by taxi drivers, who drive as recklessly as the Portugese.Needless to say they have thousands of bus routes. A bus ticket is R$2 (0.80e), minimum pay is R$500(200.00e) a month. On the bus,a quarter way inside there is a turnstile, where you pay a conductor the fare or swipe your smartcard to go through the turnstile to sit down and or exit the bus. They also have a good metro system its frequent,clean and eight cars long. They still use magnetic tickets buts its all entry validation, with small 3 legged turnstile barriers.Joe B, they also sell 10 journey tickets here as well.Anyway enough of the transport report, I doubt it if I could put in an expense claim at this point :-)

One of the interesting things in Sao Paulo is `Instituto Butanta´ which is a combination Musuem and labs. What they do here, is make anti-venom for snakes, toads and scorpions. Yes folks I have just leant Brazil has dangerous creatures in abundance!I really should do more research on the countries I visit.There are plenty of things that can kill you here, unlike Ireland where you might just get a nasty lick from a cow :-) The institute is a fascinating place where they keep snakes, to milk of course :-) on a snake farm. When the institute first started they have a very catchy offer, you send us a snake and we will identify the little fella and send you back some anti-venom.Indeed how they make the anti-venom is quite remarkable. They first milk the snake, God I thought milking cows was a pain :-) they do this by getting the snake to bite into a rubber top, where the venom pours out of it´s fangs into a tube. They then take a small dose of this venom and put into a horse,cow or sheep.This (hopefully) does not kill the animal but makes him a little sick, so that he then produces anti-bodies to fight the venom. Then they take blood from the animal, talk about a bad job :-) and then extract the anti-bodies to make the anti-venom.Another little tit-bit I learnt was the difference between poisonous and venomous was, venomous is an animal with a poison and efficient delivery system say sharp pointy fangs in the front of its mouth or spitting..... while poisonous is an animal just with a poison but an inefficient delivery system, the old fangs at the back of the mouth for instance. Its doses of poison still can kill you but the poison purpose is more an aid to digestion, like a good brandy :-)rather than to catch prey. Anyway they have a large collection of snakes from tiny, little green snakes, cute but deadly poisonous to pythons and anacondas who can grow up to 32 feet long but hey its ok he does not have any poison :-) but is strong enough to crush a calf.

Just in case some of ye have been worried that I have been staying in flea pit hovels all the time, I have stayed in a lovely hotel here in Sao Paulo called `Hotel Unique` a gift from Alma. Its a lovely place and was 10 times more expensive than my last place in Montevideo (which was a nice hotel with cable tv, hot water electricity etc). So if you´re curious on what this place is like click on the link below

So that is all for now folks I am off to western Brazil to The Pantanal region a mere 14 hour bus journey :-)
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