Finally, we get to sleep in for the first time since arriving in Brazil. We have lunch a little after noon with Luiz Gabriel and Supervisor Cesar from Diadema, exchanging a few more gifts and some CDs with photos and videos. Trades are made fr some of the clothes we brought, and then we return to the room for a couple hours, during which we packed, and during an exchange of jokes between Shawn and I he thought I was joking about him needing a slip of paper we were given upon arrival, to turn in at departure. He tore the paper and then spent the next 5 hours worried that he would be stuck in Brazil. His plan was to rat me out as a pig flu patient if he didn’t get through…..
We were then picked up for our last bit of sightseeing before heading off to the airport. Over night, my head cold kicked into high gear, and I was feeling pretty miserable, but heading into downtown Sao Paulo took my mind off of it. We started the afternoon with a visit to some of the military surplus stores. We were also taken to a place that sews patches, and found out that Luiz Gabriel made a patch for the class and gave Shawn and I a few of them each. Very nice. The rest were to be distributed to the attendees.
We then went to the Mercado Municipal, which is a big central food market which carries virtually every food Brazilian you can imagine. Varieties of fresh fish, meats, mountains of fruits, nuts, candies are everywhere to be found, as well as restaurants upstairs where you can order up some of the foods for lunch. We stopped and got some dried fruits, and sampled a bunch of the candies and fruits, amd we could have stayed a while longer but time was drawing late, and we walked around the streets for an hour or so around the market looking at the goods the street sellers were peddling. The guys at the seminar joked about the goods in the streets being “made in China” and they weren’t kidding.
We decided to start off toward the airport, and the traffic was hell. Shawn fell asleep in the back and the exhaust fumes that came off the trucks into the car were choking me, being that I had such a bad cold. Whoever designed the exhaust pipes to blow directly into the cars adjacent to the trucks needs to be shot. Finally we made it to the airport, and we went to the United counter to check in. The ticket agent made Shawn think he was in serious trouble for ripping up the immigration form, which I thought was hilarious, but he was relieved to know that the woman was just kidding, and he wouldn’t be detained after all.
We upgraded from Economy to Economy plus, got good seats, and settled in for a long 9 hour flight home to our families. We arrived on time. I was so Nyquilled-up I barely remember getting the car from the long term lot. Shawn drove to Baltimore (I recall none of that part of the trip except for a brief moment looking at the washington monument wondering how that got moved to I-495), and then I took the car to the house. I slept the majority of the day between coughing fits.
As I sit here writing this, and reflecting on the 5 days we spent there I have to say the people were very warm and open, and extremely hospitable. The culture is a lot like America, with a mix of cultures melting into one Brazilian culture. Everything about the culture is eclectic from the food to the music, and they are very proud of what they have, and they are a very hard working people. They love to speak about their country. To think they were governed by a Military dictatorship only 20 years ago, they have come a long way from that. We listened to countless conversations about friends they knew who went into the Amazon basin, and some who even lost their lives (evidently a trip to that region is not to be taken lightly). They told us about the industries, what they produce, where they work, and how they see their country progressing. They are not afraid to ask for help, to learn new things, to improve what they do. That was evident from the reaction to the seminar, with people taking notes, and asking a lot of questions.
Shawn and I will miss our friends, and hope to see them again soon, as we were invited to return in the early fall for another adventure this time in Rio. We hope we can get it arranged, so we can both come back and see a new place and also see some of our old friends from this seminar.
Thank you to Luiz Gabriel of LGK9 for taking the time to contact me and set up the seminar which gave Shawn and I a great experience we will remember for a long time. Thanks also to Shawn Edwards for being a great partner in teaching the seminar. We had a lot of laughs over the 5 days that is for sure.