The City Hotel here in Porto Alegre turns out to be a bit more expensive than I’m budgeted for, they offer me a much better deal after some haggling, but it’s still too high. I’m too tired to go anywhere else and I’ve got a lot of business to take care of:
2) Find USB camera cable
3) Charger for my SonyEricsson phone
The most challenging task is the charger. Of the big cellular companies here only one sells SonyEricsson phones. Yet none use the same charger. So the chance of finding a compatible model is not good. But I wander the dirty basement electronics markets, the street vendors, the photo stores and computer places. On my second day I find one.
As for the haircut. I found Jorge near my hotel and had him throw in a shave, too. He gave me the best single-edge shave I’ve ever had, used to ride motorcycles until an accident sidelined him and he has no desire to go back. Find yourself in Porto Alegre and need a shave and haircut, go visit Jorge. He works at a Cabeleireiro on Salão Degand, Trav Acelino de Carvalho, 27 smack in the center of town.
Armed with my replacement parts and a new look and disposition on life I began my journey into Brazil. First things first. I’d take in the best of the state of Rio Grande do Sul: the wine region of Bento Gonçalves and Garibaldi and then to Paraná to Foz de Igassu (the great waterfalls of Iguazu). In Garibaldi I stayed at a funky old monastary with a working catholic church in the lobby.
I left Porto Alegre and headed into the wine region where when accidentally going the wrong way on a one way street and getting pulled over by the cops a friendly Brasiliero riding a motorcycle for a delivery company took me off the beaten tracks through miles of dirt roads through the vineyards while he delivered packages to banks in remote towns not even on my map or guide.
Leaving the City Hotel. I had to pick up my bike from offsite garage and ride back with bellboy. When he hopped on Doc with all the luggage he didn’t shift his weight and we both went tumbling to the ground. He landed pretty hard on his hand and as a result couldn’t shake hands when leaving. My ankle took a little jab from the footpeg. Good god.
Moving into the agricultural center I couldn’t figure out what they grew in this area just north of Porto Alegre. Best representation of a fruit in a building I’ve ever seen. Better than those asparagus, corn and wheat turnabout statues I saw while cruising southern Ecuador.
I cruised a small town and just loved the texture and colors on this early 20th centruy building. Later I got caught gonig the wrong way down a one-way street. But my fortune was to meet a moto-boy delivery biker who I spent a couple hours following throughout the region.
Making a delivery to a bank in a town not on my map. Note the pavement stones. This was typical in the region. All dirt roads until you passed the fancy entrance and then there’d be no pavement. Simply bricks or paver stones.
High in the vineyards the vistas were stunning. Although June, this is their fall / winter. The color of the vines’ leaves made for a fall-like day.
Later that day I had planned to get closer to the Falls, but at the turning point I decided that I didn’t come all this way to ride within 100 miles of a Unesco World Heritage Site and not take visit. So I pushed my luck again and found myself riding in the dark to get to São Miguel das Missões, and the well preserved remains of a sixteenth century church designed by an Italian Jesuit friar and architect. It’s amazing how much the Jesuits did to working with the indiginous people in order to improve their living conditions. In São Miguel I stayed at the massive Wilson Park Hotel where once again I was the only guest in the hotel.