Greetings from Lages, once again. I am not having much luck with the rain it would seem. It was pouring this morning, and as I have about a 55 mile ride up into more mountains ahead of me, I decided to wait here. It is supposed to be cloudy but not raining tomorrow.
Last night I found an excellent restuarant where, for one price, you got all the ¨picanha¨ (tri-tip) you wanted, all the sausages, plus rice, fries, salad, and other things. I may go back there tonight. Returning to my hotel, I popped into another book store, and, for the outrageous price of R$40 (US$ 24), bought a book called ¨Elite da Trope 2¨ (¨Elite Squad 2¨), a follow up to the original Elite Squad about the Military Police in Rio de Janeiro. The book is presented as fiction, but most of it is probably true, which, considering the levels of violence and corruption discussed, is a shame. Then, having nothing to do today, I went to an internet joint and uploaded all the pictures in my camera, and then added a bunch of them to my brand new blog (http://adventuresontwowheels2010.blogspot.com/) I went to the movie theater and saw ¨Tropa de Elite 2¨, which is the film version of the book. I am happy to say that this movie is even more violent than the book, and even more people die in gruesome ways than in the original 2007 Tropa de Elite movie. To get into the movie cost 5 Reais, and popcorn and a Coke 8 more, so it was in no ways expensive.
Suitably desensitized to mindless violence, I came out of the theater and went for a walk around town looking for decent restuarants; I found a few and will return to one of them later this evening. Other than, today was absolutely boring.
Tomorrow, assuming it does not rain, I continue riding on to the city of Sao Joaquim, which will, supposedly, involve me climbing up above 5,000 feet. Apparently the information I was given about the highest place in this state being 4,000 feet was incorrect... In my hotel, I found a magazine from August talking about the twenty (20!) inches of snow that fell in Sao Joaquim on August 4 and 5. Stereotypical Brazil this area is not.
In another magazine, Veja, which is kind of a cross between Time and The Economist, I found some interesting statistics. In 1997, Brazil apparently had a dollar denominated foreign debt of US$200 Billion, and foreign reserves of US$ 51 Billion. Today its foreign debt is exactly Zero, and as previously mentioned, there are $300 Billion in reserves. Such debt as the Brazilian government has today is ALL denominated in Reais. What a turn around from the 80´s and 90´s...
Hopefully, I will have more interesting facts to relate tomorrow.