Brazil Seminar – Day 4

The official seminar was concluded yesterday, and today (tuesday) we were picked up in the morning at the hotel by the Guarda Civil for the district of Diadema. The Guarda Civil for Diadema was established in November of 1999 in order to reduce the violence in that district. The homicide rate was through the roof in the 1980s and 1990s, and in addition to establishing the Guarda Civil, the authorities limited bar hours to closing at 11pm instead of being open 24 hours, and installed cameras in high crime areas and streets.  By 2007 the violent crime rate was reduced by 75%.

We were introduced to many of the administrators on our tour, including the comandant of the Guarda. We got to see the K9 Unit Kennels, which were very well designed and spotless, and also were shown the Motorcycle Unit, and were taken to the transportation authority which houses the traffic cameras and crime surveillence cameras. Interestingly, many of the officers carry revolvers, and the supervisors carry .380 semi-automatics. Each police car is equipped with a 12 Guage shotgun as well. We put up some photos of the K9 cars, but the dogs rarely ride in the cages, preferring the back seat and open windows…..

We then were taken on a drive around the city. The district has about 375,000 people, and we got to see the markets, and the city center, and took some pictures of the local area before being taken back to the police station.

In the afternoon, we were interviewed by the local paper, the regional newspsper, and Brazilian TV. Questions were asked of us about the differences and similarities of US and Brazilian police departments, as well as our impressions of the police dogs in Brazil and how the seminar went off. They are even sending one of the supervisors to us in the morning with a CD of the photos and TV clip so we can have it before we return. Shawn did a demo with a couple of the K9s letting them bite him, and that seemed to be big excitement for all the reporters. I almost had the TV reported talked into taking a bite from one of the dogs, but she chickened out at the last second. They also did a drug detection demo with one of the labs handled by one of the K9 unit supervisors. Click here to go to the TV Interview:

After the press interviews, the 3 K9 officers who attended our seminar took us to a Churrascaria for a great lunch. Shawn amazed them with the sheer qualtity of food he was able to consume. After lunch we made out way back to Sao Paulo and said our goodbyes to the K9 guys, with agreements to trade some patches and t-shirts by post.

Dinner with our host Luiz Gabriel and translator Roberto Bautista followed at about 8pm, and we discussed another trip to Brazil in the near future to do 2 seminars, one in Diadema and another in Rio. Hopefully we wuill be able to return. Although we have had a great time here, we both miss our families back home, and it will be a welcome relief to be back home sleeping in our own beds and with our loved ones. Tomorrow is an easy day, we finally get to sleep in, and then we go to the famous Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo a la Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel. We are going to pick up some gifts for the home front and some rememberances of our travels, and get to sample some of the more unique foods available here in Sao Paulo. More on that tomorrow!

Some of my impressions of Brazil…..

Nothing is as it seems from the street. Almost everywhere, stores, small shops, specialty markets, look like a garage from the outside, and once the roll up door is open you see a plethora of entrepreneurial activity. Little Bars, hardware stores, pet shops, cantinas, etc are literally on every street.

Napkins made of a wax-paper substance in some of the resturants.

They need some toilet engineers to help them design a toilet that actually flushes the first time you press the handle.

The food is very good…..lots of meat and lots of great fruit is available. There are Churrisacria Restaurants literally on every corner, and unlike in America they are relatively cheaper by a long shot.

Americans take our technology, and its portability for granted….Shawn’s Ipod Touch was a big attraction. I forgot to pack my power cord for my Blackberry, and nobody seemed to think one would be available for purchase, or perhaps it would have been too much of a pain to find a store that sells it.

Traffic in Sao Paulo is a serious issue. Everything revolves around traffic and there are a million side streets. When we went to the Seminar it seemed we went a different way almost every time.

There are speed bumps on virtually every side street every .25 of a mile or so it seems to keep traffic slowed down.

The city of Sao Paulo is gigantic. The city has a population of around 11 million people, and the entire Sao Paulo Metropolitan area has something on the order of 21 million people.

The dog business is booming here. Pet shops, kennels, agility clubs, schutzhund clubs are popping up everywhere!

The people are warm and genuine, sometimes passionate, but empethetic and hospitable. We were treated with great care and in the small K9 circle we travelled in, we were treated kindly and with great resect.