Another alternative title: “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink, even though she’s really sweaty and should definitely be tired and stop pulling on the rope dammit why are you looking at me like that???”
(yeah I’m not very good with horses…well, it was probably just that horse in particular!)
one more alternative: YOU GUYZ DIS FARM IS LEGIT
Before I get to the story, you’ll notice that I made a few little changes to the layout of this blog, I don’t know if it’s any good, let me know what you think. I can change it back, or do something completely different. Whatever. I just want it to look nice 🙂 That’s sugar cane in the background, by the way, one of my regions main crops 😀
NOW, TO THE STORY
Most of you, when you think of Brazilian carnaval, think of Rio de Janeiro, samba parades, and parties. While I could have done that, I instead opted to spend the 4 day carnival period with my host family on a farm in the middle of Mato Grosso do Sul
I'm in the bottom left hand corner of Sao Paulo (red); the farm is in the middle of Mato Grosso do Sul (purple)
It took us about 9 hours to get there. The landscape is pretty different in this region, so it was pretty interesting to look at the window and watch it all change; mainly there are lots of COWS!
The farm we were visiting actually belongs to a doctor from the town were I live. The friends we were visiting there were the farm’s manager and his son (and the son’s wife and daughter), who live and work on the farm. The farm is enormous, and they have horses, cows, sheep, and chickens, not to mention all the wild animals that pass through!
spot the toucan 😉
On our first day there, all of us young people (me, my host brothers, and the kids of some family friends who were visiting as well) went on a horse ride! I’ve never really ridden a horse before, only a little bit, so I’ll admit I was really bad at it.
Look at your man. Now back to me. I’m on a horse.
But I don’t use Old Spice because I’m a girl. And I’ve heard that it uses chemicals that give you cancer. Also, the shorts were a mistake, mainly because, despite the heat, shorts like this are just not practical to wear on while riding a horse…and I forgot to out sunscreen on my legs, so I got a sunburn on my thighs, even though the res tof me was fine, and now I have extremely weird tan lines on my legs.
We relaxed for a while after lunch, and then in the late afternoon we all piled into the back of a pickup truck and drove around the farm (which is huge, I’m not sure how big, but it is several acres big) to take a look around. It rained for a bit, which was nice and refreshing after the heat of the day.
One of the less desirable things about the country, of course, are the bugs, and the bugs here were huge and annoying. On our first night, when we were unpacking our car, there was an enormous hairy spider just sitting there by our car (my hairy and enormous, I mean like small tarantula size. Seriously.). I’m not super squeamish, but I’m pretty sure most people don’t like the sight of a huge spider by their car, and it didn’t help that I had been thinking about “The Hobbit” recently, and the first thing that popped into my head was this:
From "The Hobbit" cartoon that was made like a million years ago and is really ridiculous and kind of awful and I LOVE IT
Please don’t tell me I’m the only person who remembers this movie fondly. It is so wonderful and so 70s. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about, so moving on. You get the idea: I didn’t feel safe without a sword, that’s how many big bugs were around.
There’s not really anything interesting to day about Sunday, because all we did was have a barbecue (lamb…delicious!) and go to church (it was sort of required of us, because the doctor who owns the farm had just finished building a little chapel on the farm, and that day happened to be the inauguration mass/ commemoration of the doctor’s wedding anniversary, so we had to go to be polite). Being sore from the horse ride wasn’t too fun though.
On Monday, we woke up at 5:30 am to go to Paraguay! What’s the appeal of Paraguay, you might ask? Well, everything is cheaper in Paraguay! It turns out that because of taxes, et cetera, buying imported goods (mainly cheap Chinese stuff and tech stuff from the States) (not sure if that statement is redundant, or…) in Brazil is really expensive, while in Paraguay, you can get it much, much cheaper. Well, we drove about 3 hours to the border. It was pretty fascinating to me the way that we crossed the border…you couldn’t tell that we were crossing the border at all! The mall (“Shopping China,” in Brazil malls are called “shoppings”), which is less of a mall and more of a huge department store with a food court, is literally right on the border of Paraguay and Brazil, and the only thing to tell you that you are looking at a border is the fact that on one side of the highway there is a huge Brazilian flag, and on the other a huge Paraguayan flag! That’s it. There’s not checkpoint, no one asking if you are carrying any fresh fruits and vegetables, just…a highway. And in the store, everyone speaks Portuguese and you can pay either un US dollars, Paraguayan guaranis, or Brazilian Reais, so it really doesn’t feel like a different country.
not a pic I took, fyi, it's from the web. I didn't take my camera with me.
Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t buy a lot here, since it’s all American stuff that I don’t need because I can buy it when I go back to the States. What did I buy then? FOOD! Well, what happened was that in the food section, I came across a bunch of foods that I hadn’t eaten in months, that aren’t common in Brazil (M and M’s, English Breakfast and Earl Grey tea, Spanish turron, and blackberry jelly are some of the things I bought), so I bought them and I was happy 🙂
The next day, we packed up and drove home. It was a really fun experience, short but sweet. That was Tuesday, and I had the rest of the week off from school, which was nice.
Well, that just about does it for me. I do have other stuff to talk about, but this is long enough and you are probably bored by now! One thing though: A fellow exchange student from Salinas (my friend Abel, who is in Sweden) recently made an update on his exchange in video form instead of written, and he suggested that the rest of us try it too. Any thoughts? If you’re reading this and want me to give it a shot, comment and let me know! If you do want me to try, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to make videos all the time, probably just one or two because I think I really prefer writing. But I’m willing to give it a shot, just for fun! (And let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to talk about!)
Ok, I’ll shut up now. Thank you for reading,and don’t forget to leave comments for me, I love getting them 🙂
All photos can be seen by clicking here!!