Hi everyone! The past nine days being in Brazil has been amazing. In all honesty, the word 'amazing' barely describes all the memories, laughs, new friends and new experiences. I still wake up every morning shocked and excited that I am in Brazil. So, let me update you on a few of the cool things we have explored and learned about! You can learn more in depth from others' blogs what we were up to this past week. However, I'll give you a quick over view then I'll talk about our great weekend at the resort!
We started out flying into the giant city of Sao Paulo (it's 3 times bigger then New York City!). It was a fun few days spent visiting the zoo and Sao Paulo University, checking out different markets, embracing the culture, struggling with the Portuguese/English language barrier, finding American comfort food (Pizza Hut and McDonald's), seeing Brazilian horse racing industry and how the its taking a hit from the declining economy, experiencing the Brazilian night life and learning Brazilian dances!
Then we left the skyscrapers in the dust and headed for the Brazilian countryside. It is truly beautiful and breath-taking. It was so educational and beneficial learning about the the horse industry as we traveled around. We learned about the Lusitano breed and what it takes to breed Olympic level dressage horses. I also learned that day not to step on an ant hills because then lots of angry red ants crawl up your boots and jeans and try to bite you. I also found the face shape of the Lusitano horse to be very interesting. It looks for like a sheep's face but that I mean it bows out between the eyes. This is because their jaw muscles are not as developed as other horses so their face muscles have to be strong to allow then to chew.
We also visited a large 200-250 head Quarter Horse operation. They raise them for racing and barrels. It was cool seeing American bred horses that they had shipped down to Brazil to improve this horses. I also found it interesting how they are crossing racing lines with barrel racing lines to get a product that has the speed and flexibility and agility that you want in a barrel horse.
We also invested a Crioulo horse farm where they breed and train them for endurance competitions. It was cool learning about this hardy, small breed and the southern Brazilian cowboy traditions that goes with it.
The Mangalarga Marchador horse farm was really great because we not only got to learn about the breed (and how extremely line/inbred bred it is) but also got to ride them! They have an amazing trot since they are a gaited horse. It was also pretty cool going into the rainforest (since they are required to put some land into rainforest protection) and seeing a 2000 year old tree. It really makes you understand how important trees are for the world and how they can live for so long through wars and famines.
Okay let's now fast forward to this weekend! We flew from Pirassununga to Goiania which is more central Brazil so we can learn about the cattle this coming week. The flight went great and we hopped on a bus excited for the hot springs resort that waited for us. However, it seemed like the ride took forever and we ended up on a random cul-de-sac of sugar cane plants. When we finally reached the resort hotel everyone seemed ready to relax. A few of us went off to check out the hot springs. We hopped on the bus that takes you to the springs however being in a new place and not knowing the language, we got a wee bit lost but then found it! By that time it was late so we headed back to our beds so that we could rest and have fun the next morning.
It felt so great to have free time and to be able to sleep in! We are college students after all. We enjoyed the buffet style breakfast and then headed out to check out the town and stores. We were on a mission to find a birthday cake for Dr.Skaar since his birthday was the next day. We had no luck finding the cake but I did find a few cute souvenirs! We then asked the front desk of our hotel to help us order a cake and they were kind enough to give us a cake for the celebration! Then, we had lunch and headed out to the water park! It was fun coasting down the lazy river and going down a few water slides (one being the half pipe which was almost a vertical drop down! We also chilled in the wave pool. Then, we met back at the hotel at 7 to meet Pedro and celebrate Dr.Skaar's birthday. Then, we went to the little festival that the town was putting kn and grab authentic Brazilian cuisine. I had a Pastel which is a fired bread that can have different meats and cheeses in the inside. It is a very popular food of Brazil. After that we went to the hot springs and relaxed the rest of the night.
Then today, most of us slept in late and we all ate lunch together. Then, we each did our own things. Some went to the water park, others to check out the town, others to blog and some just relaxed. I opted to go back to the water park where with stupidity or courage (I'm not sure which) myself and Holli went down the half pipe as it was thundering and lightening. Then, it decided to down pour rain and hail! It was pretty cool swimming in the warm hot spring water as it is hailing. You see lots of steam and the hail bouncing in the water right before it melts. Once the rain stopped, we traveled by bus back to the hotel where I am now currently writing this blog. Next we are meeting at 7 to go eat Pizza! Yum!
I can't wait to see what Brazil has in store for us as we will be learning about the cattle industry the next few days! If it half as amazing as this past week then I will be happy!