Greetings from São Paulo. Sixteen great Agriculture students from ISU boarded planes and traveled to São Paulo via Atlanta on May 20. Arriving at 8:30 am, the trip began right away under the outstanding leadership of Patricia Ishii. Patty is a veterinarian in São Paulo and we had the great pleasure of meeting her while she studied at ISU. Patty arranged for us to study to the historical origins of São Paulo by visiting everything from the first cathedral built in what is now the city center, to the very modern financial district which happened to be closed off to traffic on this Sunday for an annual music festival. Patty enabled us to get acquainted to currency, language and travel in the city as well. This has served as a very good way to learn about Brazil, customs and culture. Our first visit took us to the University of São Paulo where we were hosted by Dr. Patricia Schwartz who is a professor in the veterinary college at the Univ. of São Paulo. She helped us understand the college education system, classes offered at USP, and the distinctions between the 7 campuses that are a part of that USP system in the state of São Paulo. The focus of education in animal agriculture at USP is in veterinary medicine, whereas most of the production animal science is taught at the Pirrasinunga Campus. We will visit this campus in a few days. USP has a very impressive museum (display) of many animal skeletons and preserved animal (and human) cadavers for comparative anatomy study. Dr. Schwarz also gave an overview of the opportunities for our students to study in Brasil as part of a more formal study abroad program.
We ate lunch at a very larger "farmer's market' in the center of the city, learned and sampled fruits and meats of Brazil. Popular is a pan fried pastry folded over a dried and salted fish (called patlolua SP).
Our second visit was to the São Paulo Joquie (sp?) club. The lessons learned her for me were surprising. Brazil is experiencing a devastating recession and the effects of this were immediately evident upon arrival. A facility designed to house 2000 Thoroughbred and Arabian racehorses has now only about 400 head on site. Just this week, the ownership decided to suspend the races in total because the recession has forced a decline in attendance and in the number of owners to participate. So the stables seems a bit like an historic ghost town of once was Brazil's most famous, largest and oldest race track.
A dinner together (and an Outback Restaurant actually) provided a good opportunity to finally sit down for a meal and to meet our hosts from the São Paulo Joquie Club - A husband and wife team of veterinarians who together perform over 30 examinations, surgeries a day both at the track and in their own private practice. They provided us lessons in reading and evaluating X-rays, radiographs, and ultrasounds of various ailments of racing horses that they deal with on a regular basis.