I left Phoenix behind me as I flew to the Dallas airport in a rush. We had just finished half a day of seeing patients and I knew that this flight to Dallas would be short but enough time for me to wind down from the busy day. Good bye Phoenix, hello Lone-star state.
We caught the red-eye flight out to Sao Paulo, Brazil. I had a nice little seat with in-flight entertainment and enough room to catch some shut-eye on the way over. We left the country of Stars and Stripes and ascended into the friendly foreign skies.
I arrived at 7:00 am and was met by Carlos and Miriam who are Ormco “dealers” in Sao Paulo. They aren’t sales reps like we have in the US; they were more like car salesmen. That’s how they do it in Brazil.
We were anticipating horrible traffic, as the morning traffic is usually congested and takes quite a long time to get from here to there throughout the city. We were relieved to find that this morning, it was like the freeways opened up just so I could see the scenery without frustration. It only took us 30 minutes to get to the hotel.
I checked in and decided I didn’t’ want to waste time sitting by myself in the hotel. I wasn’t going to be speaking until the next day, so I ventured out to the mall. It looked a lot like an American mall. It was a fun little adventure, but kind of scary going out by myself. I spent about 4 hours there roaming around, trying to speak to people, which was quite a chore. Not many people in Sao Paulo speak English even though it is a large city. Everyone was looking at me funny when I spoke English to them. There were interesting things to see and I sat for a bit to people watch.
I was really surprised by the Japanese and Italian influence there. A lot of Japanese and Italian families from Asia and Europe moved 3 generations ago to Brazil. So you have people that look Japanese that speak Portuguese. It was interesting to see a melting pot in a country I didn’t know was multi-racial. Everywhere I went the people were great. Very nice, and very friendly to me.
The food was fantastic! It was a lot of beef, rice and black beans. One cool dish I liked was called Slave Soup, which was black bean soup with pork or beef and other spices. I was told how this dish came about. It was a surprise to me that there used to be a lot of slavery in Brazil. Apparently, the slaves would use the leftover pork that their owners didn’t want to make this soup. The smell of it would waft through the fields up to the owners houses. The slave owners would smell the soup and they couldn’t resist, so they would go out into the fields to get some.
I went to a great restaurant called Fogo de Chão the first night. It’s a Churrascaria style steakhouse where they serve 15 different cuts of meat and continuous table side service. Basically all you can eat! It was excellent. I realized later that there is a Fogo de Chão in Scottsdale. So, I guess it’s authentic!