Monday, June 18, 2007

Ouro Preto

Two evenings ago we were sitting in the non-descript town of Passados thoroughly enjoying our first cairinha~s (not sure about the spelling) but it is a local drink made of fermented sugar cane. Two will get you tipsy. Clara had three! She slept well that night.

But, I digress. Clara commented on how we hadn~t seen any adventure motorcyclists in Brazil yet. I joked, "yes we have, we~ve seen tons of them from Boston." The truth is that despite going to the two biggest tourist attractions in brazil according to lonely planet (dont believe everything you read!) we hadnt seen any motorcyclist tourists, and very few non-southamerican tourists.

Sure enough, the next day as we rode towards Ouro Preto, the City of Black Gold, a gorgeous colonial city incredibly preserved with stone streets and numerous churches, etc. we were tracked down and passed by our new friend Bruno Santiago, a Brazilian who lived on the Cambridge/Somerville line for the last 7 years and just rode his bmw gs 1200 down from Boston. He bought it from the same guy we bought ours from. Tiny World!

We just spent the last 24 hours with him as he explained dishes in portugeese to us. We bonded with two other motorcyclists who warned us of the great dangers of the northeast, but then again Paul found great problems with using a digital camera! He actually had his bike stolen at gunpoint, and when he protested the 3 guys shot him in the foot! We explored an old mine shaft, saw a great museum in the restored tax mans building which is one of the most important historical buildings in Brazil, and traded much bike and brazil information with hopes to catch up later.

Probably be in Rio in two days, where shootings are rampant and apparently topless bathing is outlawed! Clara is disappointed!

Brazil has surprised us in many ways. Not surprising is how nice and friendly everyone is. The country of 180 million is clearly happy within its borders, not comparing themselves to others, or too worried about the rest of the world. There is fun, beauty, paradise and fascinating people and places to be found in this huge country. We have not seen the great poverty we expected, although we certainly do see shanty towns next to the highways. But, the land is clean even in the poorer areas, and the roads are good. We have passed over a 1000 miles of very fertile farmland which is orderly with crops in various stages of their respective cycles.

You could really fall in love with this place and spend muchu tiempo here, enjoying every day. The dollar is only half as strong as 5 years ago thanks to the strength of the local economy, and of course the weak George Bush Dollar. Our bikes are worth about 50,000 dollars because of the strong import taxes so we draw quite a crowd everywhere we go. And for Raoul, we have met two guys with great trikes, we will try and post pictures later.



Anonymous said...

Clara, I love all the pictures...and all the details are better described than my dissertation! I do not writte all the time...but I am followign your trip...can wait to talk to you and see you in Boston. Besitos y carinos, Aileen

Bruno said...

hey guys this is Bruno, I just found your blog on the internet. I enjoyed very much our time together as well, and if you ever comeback to brazil, let me know. see ya