What a difference a border makes. I left Argentina at the Foz and entered Brasil. Immediately the country changed.
The land became more open. Gently rolling hills stretched to the horizon. A lush greenness covered the land. Farming on a massive scale was happening here. Corn, sugar cane, mixed farming, cereal crops, tea. It seemed that just about anything would grow in the rich, red earth. Grain elevators were stacked ten and twelve deep, fifty feet in diameter. Massive tractors ruled the land. The scale was at least equal to what is evident in the mid-west and west of North America, if not greater.
Of course, not everyone is happy in Brasil...or perhaps something is lost in the translation of this Billboard.
The road carved its way through the valleys and over the hills. It was a motorcycle rider's delight. It went on forever. It lasted all day and into the next and the next...would it never end?
Thousands of good paved roads went seemingly everwhere, like spaghetti on a plate. Massive bridges spanned the rivers. Large scale interchanges were stacked where the roads approached cities. The cities, even out here were on a grand scale. Hundreds of high rise buildings, offices and apartments. Nothing was small about Brasil, least of all the size of the country. Larger than continental USA it would take some time to traverse this land and get a feel for what Brasil was all about. That was my mission, not to be confused with the Jesuit Missiones, which we are not going to talk about any more.
Being in Brasil is like travelling in a foreign country. Gone is the familiar language I had grown to understand and use. It had been replaced with Portugese. Initially, I had thought that Spanish and Portugese shared a lot of common words. Now, I think they are all different. Even the numbers which appear the same in the book are spoken diffeently. It is hard to make sense of the numbers as uttered...sometimes I can...sometimes I can´t. They speak fast and with a different inflection than I was accustomed to in Spanish. Everything is a blur.
"How much is a room for one person?"
"OK, let´s move on. Can I see the room?"
"Why didn't you say so before. I´ll try another hotel."
And so it goes. One word at a time.
I was 4 kilometers from the coast as the cuckaburro flies (wrong country but it´ll do). Perched on the Brasilian altiplano at 2235 ft ASL I looked down upon Caraguatatuba and my first view of the Brasilian coastline. Just one of many resort cities and towns that provide the type of relaxation and entertainment Brasil is famous for. I nudged my front wheel over the edge. 24 kilometers later I was at the coast.
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