Rio Grande de Sol
-- Story by Chris --
Sunday, Nov 4th: Entered the southern-most state
of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, and rode 100km to the town of Rosario do Sul, arriving
minutes before sunset. We went to the Municipal campground, whose facilities were boarded
up, but whose grounds were over-run with festivities of the holiday weekend. We decided it
would be too much of a hassle, followed by very little sleep, and instead opted for a $13
hotel in town.
Monday, Nov 5th: Day 900 and Happy B-day to me! Went into the hotel
restaurant and was greeted by a wonderful European style buffet breakfast (fresh fruit,
meat slices, cheese slices, fresh juices, fresh bread, and some sweet cakes), and it was
included in our nights tariff! Followed Rte 290 for 400km across southern Brazil, at
a steady speed of 80-90km (50-56m)/hr, as the temperature steadily rose faster than the
miles under our tires.. It was a very boring road, reminding us of some of the less
favorable days in Western Australia. We arrived at the home of Richard and Tania, whom we
had met through the Internet via our Australian friend Ron Grant.
An email received on Oct 20th of this year:
Hello Erin and Chris. I'm Heloisa, from Porto Alegre (in
Rio Grande do Sul/Brazil, not far from Buenos Aires). My friend Richard Hewitt (a Canadian
who spends 6 months with us and 6 months back home) told me about your wonderful RTW
Let me tell you a bit about us - My brother-in-law, Otelo, has a
Suzuki dealership and my sister Beatriz runs the Moto Café at Duaction (that's the name
of the shop). I write a short informal newsletter once a week about the café and meetings
and things that might interest our friends (e.g. I wrote about you last week).
Moto Café is very informal and friendly place. We have a
"traditional" dinner every Wednesday - most of the times, prepared by Luciano, a
cook biker - or a biker cook, not sure! But, sometimes, it happens that a guest or a
friend wants to cook, and this is even more interesting! I've cooked a couple of times
myself, alone or with English friends (Graham and Jane, who were here last year).
Thursdays are also special, with a DJ (also a "friend of the house") and wraps
(sandwiches) for eating. Very often friends have their birthday parties there and also
often the groups organize especial celebrations that turn out like biiiiig parties, with
music until 4 or 5am! Basically, the most important thing about Moto Café is the
atmosphere. If you decide to come to Porto Alegre and stay with us, I'm sure you'll find
as if you've known the place and the people already!
I'd really like to hear from you, if you have the time. Also, if
you decide to come to Rio Grande do Sul (beautiful scenery!), I'd be more than happy to
help you - before coming and while here. But I'm sure once you're here, there'll be just
too many people willing to help! I have a couple of suggestions and if you like mountains
and wine, Rio Grande do Sul is the place in Brazil!
Tuesday, Nov 6th: Spent the morning with Richard walking around Canoas, a
suburb of PA, eating a HUGE buffet lunch for $3/pp. In the afternoon I went to Duaction
Motorcycles and worked with Marcelo, Acir, and Cesar to repair the miss-threaded oil drain
plug on Renate, my red F650 we had the same problem with Erins bike back in
Europe. According to Acir (head mechanic), the original plug is not very long, and
susceptible to stripping. I asked questions in Spanish, they replied in Portuguese, and we
had a pretty fun afternoon. The guys were a huge help, took the task very seriously, and
even stayed until 7:30pm to finish the job.
Wednesday, Nov 7th: Arrived at Moto Café at dusk, and quickly greeted by
the friendly gang already assembled. As it only stopped pouring down rain 30 minutes
before, only a few folks came with bikes, and about half of the normal 100
"regulars" were in attendance. This did not deter a journalist writing for www.inema.com.br from taking some photos and asking
questions (translated through Tania). We were immediately presented with Moto Café
bandanas, and asked to sign "the wall". As the night progressed, so did the
consumption of cervesas, which later turned to Caipirinhas: a Brazilian specialty drink
made with crushed lime, lots of sugar, crushed ice, and a healthy dose of vodka. A couple
of the members spoke English, but for the most part, we spoke in Spanish and they spoke in
Portuguese. Its amazing how much our Español has improved here in Brazil!
Later in the evening, Claudio showed me the proper way to make a Caipinira, and several
more glasses were consumed as we worked to perfect the system. Even Sonya, the barmaid
agreed ours was a better drink, and she allowed us behind the bar for a couple of hours.
Needless to say, I left the bike at the shop and got a ride home with Heloisa. I
dont drink much anymore, as cost and convenience have had their effect, and my body
was quick to remind me how much I over did it the night before. At the Thursday sandwich
night at Moto Café, I was presented with a bottle of Cachaça
by Beatriz and Sonya, another local drink, in order to build up my tolerance again J
Otelo y Beatriz, owners of Duaction and Moto Café
the guest wall
Heloisa, Richard, and Tania
.....and at the end of the night
Da Boyz of Duaction: Acir, Marcelo, and Cesar