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Reisverslag Next stop: Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais
19 maart 2014
Next stop: Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais
As promised, an update of my trip with pictures as well! ;)
After Sao Paulo, I took a domestic flight to Belo Horizonte. On the way to the airport I met a very kind Brazilian stewardess who helped me out with a lot of general inquires about Brazil. It was then that I realised that almost anyone can pass for a Brazilian.
Historically, Brazil has experienced the presence of different nationalities and cultures. From Portugese to Spanish, from Indian to Afro-oriented (because of the importation of slaves in the history) and so on. And to make things more "complicated", Brazil has had a large influx of immigrants from all over the world the last century: China, Japan, Italy, France, Arabs, East-Europe, other southern American countires and so on. For example, the parents of the stewardess I met were Polish! And when I arrived in Belo Horizonte at the hostel, the woman who welcomed me had Japanese parents! The point I want to make here is that Brazil beats any other country who claims they are the most multicultural :)
I arrived in Belo Horizonte airport and I rented a car. Some of you may think, the guy has gone crazy!! But there is so much to see in the state Minas Gerais (which means 'general mines' because it's known for its gold mines) and I only have 3 weeks to see Brazil. Driving here is indeed absolutely insane. Everyone overtakes you even if you're driving the normal speed limit. Busses and truckers think they're driving Ferrari's swaying from left to right as if they own the road making any drive you undertake a thorough exercise of your automatic reflex system. I have almost been squashed between a truck\bus and the side of the road or another car once or twice. (Mimi and moniek, no need to tell our parents this, they'll just worry for nothing. I'm still alive :D)
No one looks in their rear mirror and all you have to do is look forward and press gas making the chance for you to miss an exit quite high. On my way to the hostel, I missed a couple of exits. When I turned back after missing one, I realised I crossed yet another shanty area in Brazil. All those sitting on the sidewalks of the road in the area I crossed, jumped up and some tried running after the car but I had my foot clamped down on the gas pedal. Anyhow, I arrived safely at the hostel, La Em Casa, which is about a 20 minute walk from downtown Belo Horizonte. Once again, the people at the hostel were very welcoming, warm and friendly which was nice after a tough drive at night. Minas Gerais is not only known for the mines, history and colonial towns but also for the mountainous landscape which adds another complicating dimension to driving the car in Brazil.
The next day, I took the car up north (70 km) to visit Gruta Rei do Mato. It's a natural cave which has a lot of beautiful rock formations because of the climate in the area and the waters in the caves. Some rock formations look like popcorn or the face of a lion (see the pictures). One even had the face of Jesus Christ but I couldnt get a good picture of this on my camera, unfortunately.
After the Gruta, I drove to Belo Horizonte downtown, parked the car at mercado municpal (muncipal market) and had me some GREAT semi-brazilian food. Every big city here has a mercado municipal which is just the brazilian market you can experience at best (I also visited one in Sao Paulo). Sometimes there are kiosks and restaurants in these markets (the markets are just big buildings, a bit like beverwijkse bazar) and so I went to a brazilian restaurant called Casa Cheia in the mercado muncipal. The national dish in Minas Gerais is called 'feijoada' which is a bean-and-meat stew served with rice and orange slices but Casa Cheia only serves this on Saturday (to uphold Brazilian tradition). Instead I had some rice with fries and meat balls with melted cheese in it served with a garlic marianted sauce. Not completely Brazilian but still absolutely lovely!
I then walked around dowtown Belo Horizonte and enjoyed the scenary. I visited two squares and then the Muncipal Park. In the park, random people would just approach me and ask me in Portugese where I'm from. Actually I think throughout Brazil people do this i.e. people from Brazil are very open, simple and curious. In the meantime, I've learnt to say "eu nao falo portugese" (I don't speak portugese) which has helped me a lot, lol.
In the evening I returned to the hostel and met one of the owners of the hostel. A very sweet and smart young lady called Merélia who speaks 4 languages and really does her best to make everyone happy at the hostel! She owns it together with a French guy called Christopher. The parents of Christopher were visiting and so I got to practice my long lost french was I was very happy about. I thought my french sucks because I don't practice it but I got compliments from them that it was (still) good :D
At night, I went out with Marélia and a friend of theirs call Cyrille, a french DJ. He was over in Brazil as holiday\work and had just arrived from Sao Paulo. Very funny guy. We went to a local brazilian spot and had some drinks and dinner but also some conversations about the weirdest things. Sophisticated discussions was also part of the evening. I guess you don't experience this stuff regularly at home in Holland. And at the end of the evening they were impressed by my driving skills, already a pro, having practiced "hellingproef" so many times by now! :)
That was Belo Horizonte! Next destination is Caraca, an extremely beautiful place in the middel of nowhere so keep watching this blog!
Foto's bij verslag (52)
24 maart 2014 22:58 | Door: George
Amigoooo waar zijn de fotos !!
25 maart 2014 07:19 | Door: anton
Woww daar rijden klinkt nog erger dan in Egypte :o
25 maart 2014 23:03 | Door: Christina
Superleuk Mina!! Zo te horen heb je het erg naar je zin daar! Vet stoer dat je zoveel doet en gewoon durft te rijden daar! Keep us updated :)