Day 37: Up the Brazilian River (Not the Amazon)

Trip Start Jan 19, 2014
Trip End Mar 28, 2014

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Where I stayed

Flag of Brazil  , São Paulo,
Monday, February 24, 2014

I made my first visit to the Sao Paulo Duke Energy office today. However, I once again had to check out of the hotel, and prepare for our afternoon departure to the plants.  The plan is to drive 3 hours to the first location and follow the river west where the 8 hydro plants are located.  Once we reach the end on Friday, we will fly back to Sao Paulo.  

This morning, Osvaldo met me at the hotel, and we took a short walk through the underground commercial area to the Duke building.  We made a quick stop at one of many cafe's, and ordered an espresso with Pćo de Queijo (cheese bread).  Duke has the 30th floor of the office building which gives great views of the surrounding city.  Like most of the international offices, the floor was very modern, and gave off a good working atmosphere.  

In Brazil, I have met many of the IT managers before, and consider them friends. I first saw the newly promoted IT manager, Victor Bruno, who I will be traveling with.  Then I saw my good friend Airton. We spent good times together in Guatemala 2 years ago, and when he visited Charlotte last March.  

Before I knew it, it was already lunch time.  Airton, Osvaldo, and I went downstairs to the commercial area under my hotel, and ate at an Italian restaurant. Similar to Buenos Aires, the Italian cuisine and ethnicity is even more prominent in Sao Paulo.  Many of the Brazilians have already told me that the Pizza here is the best in the world, even better than New York.  For this meal, the restaurant did not serve pizza, so I ordered another Brazilian staple, Parmanesa. It is a steak that is has a fried layer of cheese, and a red sauce baked on top. On the side it was served with mashed potatoes.  So far the food in Brazil is living up to it's hype.  This meal was amazing. For desert Osvaldo "made me" order a special dish called papaya de creama.  It is the fruit papaya blended with vanilla ice cream.  It was a very light desert to help digest the huge lunch.  

After this we returned to the office, and grabbed our bags.  The driver that is taking us to the plants was waiting for us in the lobby.  The drive takes about 3.5 hours, and by leaving before 3pm, we miss the legendary Sao Paulo traffic jams.  We breezed out of the massive city, and before I knew it, we were traveling roads that could be mistaken for a drive through the North Carolina countryside. 

I was traveling with Victor Bruno, and a newer IT employee named Johnny.  We stopped half way at a "rest stop" for coffee and a snack.  Rest stops here remind me of the ones in Canada.  They  bundle all the things you could possibly need in one convenient stop.  Shopping, food court, gas station, etc.  

The drive was very easy, no traffic and nice paved open roads.  However, I did want to smack the driver in the head.  He acted like his right foot had to perform a dance between the gas and the break.  He would violently gas the van, and then suddenly let off in a continuous manner.  These roads, under these conditions were the sole reason why cruise control was invented.  After a bit of a headache, and motion sickness due to the stupid driving, I made a comment to Victor that he was driving like the Nascar racer I had in Peru.  I guess I should be thankful that these roads didn't have 4 inches between the tires and a 1,000 foot cliff.  

We arrived at the humble Park Ville hotel in the small city of Ourinhos.  Ourinhos main business is agriculture, sugar cane, soy, and corn.   The hotel is another small, almost military style rooms that may be 1st class in this city, but would be considered a cheap motel in the US.  

We quickly checked in, and went to dinner.  We went to one of the only places that is open on Monday's in Ourinhos. Typically outside of the city, Monday's are restaurants off days. But this place was similar to a sports bar.  We ordered small plates of meat and pasta and all shared.   

Tomorrow we will visit the main plant that Duke operates and begin the the 3 day tour up the river.
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Terri on

How was that papaya de creama? I sounds yummy!!

Big Jim on

Are you sure the Amazon isn't the same thing?

Terri on


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