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Carley - Sao Paulo Day 2

Today was our first full day in Sao Paulo. After getting a great night's sleep, we started off with a fantastic breakfast that consisted with an assortment of fruit, eggs, bacon, waffles, and juices. The yogurt was in a liquid form that you drink which was weird but it was still very good. 

We began with an hour drive of the city on the way to the zoo. We drove through some areas with shops and lots of people (everything was closed because it was Sunday and everyone closes up shop on Sunday) but we had seen some of the shops on the walk yesterday so we knew what they looked like. A lot of the houses that we drove by were gated and very close together. Most of them had little shops with garage doors on their properties which was very different from anything I've seen before. One of the things that stuck me was the streets and how confusing they were. The streets are so crazy steep and drivers were very erratic but we got there in one piece! The Zoologico de Sao Paulo was one of the coolest places that I've ever been in my life. The place was so lush and green and had a huge lake with little islands and monkeys on them! Adrian and Patty took us around the zoo and showed us the highlights of Brazil's animals. They included various types of alligators, macaws, wild cats, as well as many others. My favorite was seeing an ocelot that reminded me of the tv show Archer. The other thing that struck me as odd was how there were domestic cats walking around the exhibits (one of which was in the seal pen) but we found out that they were feral cats that lived there to take care of pests. 

We then went to the China Town area and that was nuts! There were so many people and there was something interesting to look at in every direction. The market was full of people getting lunch and shopping around the various tents. For lunch most of us got meat sticks (strip steak) called pichana while a few others tried some of the . Ordering was slightly overwhelming but once we got rescued by Patty we got our food quickly. The language barrier is extremely difficult but we try to work around it using simple phrases that we do know and a lot of pointing at stuff that we want. Amanda and I broke off and looked at some of the tents that were there. Venders had everything imaginable: jewelry, leather goods, clothing, and home decor. One of the things that I bought was a necklace that Patty showed us. It was my name written on a single grain of rice and set in a tiny vial filled with water. It was so cute! I'm hoping that I see some more leather goods later in the trip to see if I can find a pair of boots. The shopping continued on Avenue Paulista where there were more venders and antique sellers. There was music and the boys were dancing the zumba! Once it started to rain we got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel. Dr. Skaar took a few of us to the super market so we could get snacks and a few bottles of water. I got a lemon lime tart that tasted really good. Once back to the hotel again a few of us that decided that night life wasn't for us decided to go swimming and chatted around in the lounge.

And that was the day! I really look forward to tomorrow!  

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May 31 Nelore Seedstock Operation

The last full day in Brazil was planned out to travel a couple hours to see a purebred Nelore seedstock operation in the morning and travel back five hours to Goiania for a Brazilian style barbeque.  The day was derailed from the beginning as we had bus problems and were on the side of the road in the middle of Brazil for over two hours. By this time in our trip we were in central Brazil so it was fairly warm outside in the sun.  We were eventually saved by a mechanic from town manned with a pair of jumper cables. 

            We finally got to Tulipa Farms, which is known, for their progress within the Nelore breed.  They fed us a very good lunch with traditional Brazilian food.  We then had a session on how replacements were selected to progress the Nelore breed.  The trait that they select for the most is early maturity.  In other words the goal is to have the heifers bred before 1 year of age.  At Tulipa they are improving this at a very fast speed by replacing a high number of cows each year. Because of this the average age of the herd is only five years old. 

            We then took a trip to the pastures to see what he was keeping back to breed and also some young pairs.  The Nelore at this ranch were very different from what we had seen earlier in the trip.  They were more moderate and easier fleshing than anything we saw the whole trip.  The unpolitically correct way to describe what they were trying to do would be trying to take Bos Indicus cattle and make them like Bos Taurus cattle while keeping the hardiness. Overall, this stop was my favorite because of the passion and dedication to make genetic improvements in the Nelore breed.  That was something that a lot of us could relate to even though it was for a completely different animal than we have in the US.

            Due to our bus problems we were unable to make our white tablecloth Brazilian barbeque, so we settled for a roadside gas station barbeque.  Brazilian style barbeque describes the way the meet is brought out.  Which would be, meat on skewers and as much as you could eat.  We ate everything from the Nelore hump, sirloin, cheese, to chicken hearts.  Overall it was very good especially for an unplanned stop. 

            The trip as a whole was something that I am very glad that I participated in.  It opened my eyes to a new place in the world and made me reflect on how blessed I am to be living in America where there is endless opportunity.

-Andrew Benning

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First Day in Brazil

To Friends/ Family Members and the friends/family members of traveling companions,

Our first hours in Sao Paulo were eye opening to say the least.  As our bus bounced around on an interstate, that was 4 lanes wide, it was past by just inches on either side by motorcycles whizzing past.  As for turning signals and traffic lanes in Brazil they seem to be about as real as Bigfoot and the Lochness monster (i.e. very few believe and abide by them). Surprisingly though it was not what really caught my eye as we traveled through the city, It was the skyline of a city that was 3 times the size of New York and home to over 19 million people. Of the 19 million people there are countless artists making their mark on the city... literally. There isn't a single building without some kind of graffiti on it, except for government buildings.

Our first stop was the sight of the first high rise building in Sao Paulo. The Predio Martinelli building was built 1924 and was originally 12 stories tall, but Mr. Martinelli want to go bigger and eventually expanded until the building was 24 stories tall.  At this point the Sao Paulo government would not allow him to go any higher. In a demonstration of the building's safety and a bit of an "I will do what I want" attitude Martinelli built a penthouse above the capped building and made sure that it reached the equivalent of a 30 story building.  

During a our tour of the building we were able to see quite the view of the city, and hear some of the history of the building after Martinelli had passed.  In the 1960s it became a home for the homeless, prostitutes, and drug users/dealers.  As the decade neared a close the mayor of Sao Paulo used military force to clear the building and once cleared the clean-up and remodel could begin.  The clean up required a lot of work to remove all the dirt, pieces of wall left over after the building had been looted, drug paraphanelia and not to mention the dead bodies. As it was removed from the building the "trash" that was pile towered over 9 stories tall in a 24 story building (something could have been lost in translation). 

The entire history of the building isn't quiet so grim.  Since seizing back control of the building Sao Paulo has turned the building into a tourist destination and refurnished all the marble, chandeliers, and everything else that was stolen by looters.  Now Heineken rents out the penthouse and throws a huge party every year.  After finishing our tour we got on the bus and headed to the next destination..... 

Our second stop was an open market in the heart of Sao Paulo, it was filled with salted fish, spices. meats, and kiosk after kiosk of food.  Starting from the top my first stop was the second shop inside the door where I got lunch, Lunch consisted of a Brazilian dish called, bacalhau. Bacalhau was described a salted fish stuffed inside a fried bread, and let's just say that it was not a disappointment.  The one that I had resembled a giant crab rangoon with it savory puffed bread shell, and then was filled with flaky fish.  Other foods I was able to sample today ranged from guava juice to espresso, but probably the most interesting items I was able to taste were the fresh fruits that Brazil had to offer.  Many of the names I either missed or I would be unable to spell them even if I did remember so instead I will describe their appearance and taste.

The first fruit resembled an artichoke is size and color but had tighter petals to almost the point it looked more similar to GIANT green blackberry.  Don't let the green color fool you this fruit tasted similar to honey.  Eating its slimy yet gritty texture the only thing going through my mind was, "I bet this is giving me cavities right now."  

Another fruit that wasn't terrible was a fruit that  was the hybrid between an apple and a mango both in appearance and taste. It had the texture and sweetness of an apple, but with the added twang of a mango.

The third fruit that was chopped up for us to try was actually the fruit of a brazil nut.  Everyone seems to think Brazil nuts are delicious so you would expect the fruit to be delicious as well correct? Well then you would be mistaken.  Just the initial feel of the sliced fruit reminded me of a dressed wild turkey, where it is firm over the muscles but still a large number of tiny bumps similar is size to buckshot BBs.  Now the flavor of this particular fruit was something else. As soon as it touched your tongue it dried out your mouth and the fruit suddenly feels fuzzy.  I would have to say this is a hangover fruit, not in that it cures a hangover, but instead gives all the sensations of a hangover for a relatively brief moment.

The last fruit was most likely the inspiration for or actually the first maraca.  It is about the same general size and shape of a lemon, maybe slightly larger, has a stiff outer edge, and a large stem that sticks out like a handle.  While the inside is very hard, the inside of the fruit has the relative consistency somewhere between a pomegranate and tapioca pudding. The frogegg-like fruit surrounds the seeds, of which, are meant to be consumed with the rest of the fruit.  But its not my favorite due to the huge texture change from slimy fruit to crunchy seeds or the fact that I still had the taste of the Brazil fruit in my mouth.

Outside the fruit many other foods were tried, probably the most surprising was Brazilian bologna.  Surprisingly enough Brazilians love bologna and I won't name any names of my fellow travelers, but a few traveled over 5,430 miles to eat a fried bologna sandwich. Bologna was just one of many different meats and cheeses just hanging out on unrefrigerated shelves, and no one seemed to care.  So far this was my favorite stop, but we needed to leave in to go to our next stop, this time we were able to enjoy a nice hike through the city.

Our hike took us to monument in front of the first church of Brazil and the starting point of Sao Paulo.  The point was chosen because it is the highest point in the area so everyone would be able to look up to the church also it was easier to defend from the native people. This meant it was quite the incline for our hike to get there. Once inside of the first church, which is now a museum, we were not allowed to take any pictures. The church museum was filled with interesting oil painting most of which was the painting called 40 martyrs. Collectively every member of the group counted the all the faces and the highest number found was 39 we never actually found all of them.  Additionally there was a beautiful garden outside filled with "exotic" plants included coffee trees. Dr. Skaar was quickly disappointed when he approached and read the sign that prohibited picking the bean/fruit.  

Once we concluded the tour of the first church we then took a short walk over to a large Cathedral with a 6 pointed star in front that served as ground zero*. The inside of the Cathedral was massive and made me feel small and insignificant from the shear size and volume of the hall.  There was also an organ that had pipes that wrapped all the way around the front altar.  Please see the ppt. below for full pictures.

*ground zero for elevation

 

Best regards from Brazil,

Colten Fales

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Brazilian Bliss

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! 

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