Day 39: More Dam Dam's

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

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another dam day.  Sorry no more dam jokes. Hahaha.  Today we checked out of our hotel in Ourinhos, and headed one hour up the river to a plant called Salto Grande.  In Portuguese, that translates to "big jump".  This is the oldest dam on the river.

On May 31, 1958, the first generator on the Paranapanema River was constructed.  Salto Grande. With has an installed capacity of 74MW.  This is fairly small compared to the large Chavantes of 400 MW we visited the day before.

That being said, even though it is very old, it is one of the most beautiful.  The turbines are painted a bright red, and you can tell they take very good care of the plant.  Like most hyrdo dams, Salto Grande provided more amazing views of the surrounding landscape. We spent only a few hours there then left for the next stop.

For lunch we stopped at a Brazilian rodizzio. You know the type where they come with swords of meat and continue to serve you until you flip over your stop button?  Yeah, but this venue was not where I expected to have my first roddizo in Brazil.  It was at a truck stop.  Needless to say, it was not the best, but considering our location in the countryside, it was okay.  

We then continued our treck up the river to the next plant, named Canoas II.  As we arrived we traveled through a small poor village. Continuing the trend of seeing wild goats, I looked out the window and saw 3 massive goats chasing a women walking to work.  In between my wild laughter, I was able to get a few pictures.  The lady didn't even seem bothered, she just continued on her way listening to her iPod. 

Canoas II is another small 72 MW dam on the river.  Nothing was too special at this location, and it seemed like all the workers were still at lunch.  We only did what we had to do then left. We needed to get on the road before 3pm because it was a 3 hour drive to the hotel in the city of Presidente Prudente.

Presidente Prudente is a medium sized city, that seems fairly modern.  The city is named after president Prudente de Morais. Prudente is considered the sixth best city in the state of São Paulo to live in. Among 5,560 Brazilian cities, it occupies the 29th place for most promising cities to build a career. People from Presidente Prudente are very receptive and friendly.

The hotel, called JR Hotel, is one of the nicer small hotels I have stayed in. Once we checked in around 5pm, I was back on my mission. Rio de Janerio. I had planted my seeds with Johnny, and making the trip to Rio with us.  I told him, "It's now or never".  He was really worried about the spontaneous decision, saying that he has never done anything like this before.  After twisting his arm so far around it almost snapped, he finally agreed!  WE WERE GOING TO RIO FOR CARNIVAL 2014!!! This was the best case scenario for us, because we needed somebody from here to help with the language, the roads, etc.  Not only that, he is a really fun guy, and I eased his worries letting him know we will have the time of our lives.

We went to dinner that night with some other Duke Brazil employees that happen to be visiting the plants.  They just so happen to be from Rio, and gave us great tips and advice for our upcoming trip on Saturday.  We ordered some meat, and appetizers.  The food was good, but I could not enjoy it because of the lack of air conditioning and the sweltering heat. 

To my disappointment, it was another failed day of searching for the large rodent (Capybara).  We had only one day left to find this critter. I was exhausted from a late night before, and a long day of work and travel.  Tomorrow we will make our final visit to the largest plant on the river.   

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Terri on

I like your DAM jokes!! :)

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