Sorry about that! I meant to do one last update from Brazil, but things got sort of hectic as the return date came closer and we never made it back to the internet cafe. Heidi and I thank the Lord that we made it home safely today after a wonderful two week trip.
So what happened in Brazil? I think you should now have a little flavor of what the local food is like. The last day in Brazil, we went out for BBQ with a local couple for the "best Rotisserie in Florianopolis". No arguements here! You name it. Filet Minion. Lamb. Steaks. Pork. And meats we’ve never heard of … all slow cooked over wood coals. They keep coming and coming around to the tables and slicing off the best cuts you can imagine. I’m more than sure it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. One other thing that Heidi said I should mention is that the meal and drinks are brought as they’re ready. This means that some at the table could be done, while others are just getting their food. It means that everything is hot, but is very different than here.
Activities. All is all, we spent most of our time relaxing on the beach or exploring. The only time we went into the city was for meeting. The more active days included volleyball, beach paddle ball, scuba diving (some pictures available), sand boarding and snorkeling. It might seem like we did a lot, but mostly we just swam, relaxed and visited.
Language. It’s truly amazing how much Portugese you pick up in so little time. Our honeymoon was spent in a Portugese country and we learned almost nothing because we kept to ourselves. However, by the end of this trip, we were ordering our food, bartering with the vendors, and picking out the threads of meeting in the local language. They have a CD of all the hymns in their hymn book which I was able to get in MP3 format as well as the hymn book to go along with it. If I set my mind to it, I think I could pick it up extremely quickly (but I’m leaning more towards learning Spanish at the moment). As it is, we picked up on probably over 100 key words and some butchered verb conjugation to go along with it. During the meeting breaks, we would sit around a table and communicate in mixtures of English, Portugese, Spanish and French. I would truly love to get a tape recording of some of these discussions.
Driving. Wow. Driving is not for the weak of heart in Florianopolis. As Heidi and I arrived and drove from the airport to our town in a taxi. It was with white knuckles that I noticed that our driver was doing 130 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, that would have been about a 40 here in America. The roads are narrow like England, and everyone passes everyone on any kind of road you can imagine. Blind curves. Double yellow lines. Oncoming traffic. No problem. Our taxi pulled out to pass someone with oncoming traffic only 100 – 150 metres away. Hey don’t worry. Everyone squeezes, closes their eyes, and hopefully the Lord brings you through safely. Throw into the mix that motorbikes have no sense of lanes and weeve in and out of traffic and down the center, and you have one crazy mess. The bike drivers are either incredibly skilled, incredibly stupid, or both … Speaking of which, one of the local brothers had a Yamaha Virago (my second bike) and he let me drive it after meeting one night. No worries anyone. I drove around the block and just followed the cars.
Weather and sunshine. With the exception of two days, the rest of time was beautiful and sunny with weather in the high 80’s to low 90’s during the day and dropping to mid 60’s in the evening. In my opinion, this is absolutely perfect weather for summer. The breeze off the ocean meant that you were never too hot, but still cool in the evening. I worried about us not having AC in our apartment at night, but there was never any need. I’m not a good guess of water temperature, but it was different depending on the location of the beach, and never too hot or cold. The main differences of the beach was simply on the size of the surf. One of the strange things about coming back to Boston (other than it was 6F when we got here and it was 80F when we left), is the daylight hours. I notice that the most. In Brazil, it was justing getting dark at 20:00 while it’s getting dark right now at 16:30. I suppose that’s the difference between winter and summer.
All in all, I think that Heidi and I agree that it was a fantastic vacation and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. I haven’t even really touched on the local people in Brazil, but they were all so warm, friendly and hospitable that you felt instantly at home and welcome. They truly knew what it was to spend and be spent for us and it made the trip that much more wonderful. As many of them are new Believers, there was also such a wonderful spirit and fellowship that is difficult to describe. Suffice to say, that I’m thankful the Lord allowed this trip.
Many smiles to all. Don’t forget to look at the pictures.