Friday – February 9
Non-farm Commercial Stop #12
Today, we checked out of the hotel and flew to Rio de Janeiro. But before we can leave Campo Grande, we had to make a final visit to the local university. This was unexpected and we had to get the stop in quickly in order to get to the airport. The deputy secretary of agriculture that had been our local guide for the past few day had made the plans and he wasn’t about to let us off the hook. We were taken to the president’s office where he gave a brief overview of the university. They have various curriculums including an agricultural school. This is a Catholic University and somewhat reminded me of Notre Dame without the gold dome and the football team.
After leaving the campus, we drove 3 or 4 miles to their research farm of 200 hectares. One of the agriculture classes was in session and we visited with the students and professor briefly. The people at the farm wanted to show us everything and we could have been there all morning. We had to cut them short and make the run to the airport.
Plane ride #7
We flew out of Campo Grande at about 10:50 a.m. for out flight to Sao Paulo. After and intermediate stop in Lond Rina we arrived in Sao Paulo a little after noon.
Plane ride #8
We changed planes in Sao Paulo and left at 2:05 p.m. (Sao Paulo and Rio are 1 hour faster than Campo Grande and Cuiaba) for a 40 or 50 minute flight to Rio de Janeiro. We landed at 4:30 p.m. local time.
Well, the soybean part of the trip is over.
Again, a local guide met us at the airport. After a short bus ride, we checked into the hotel across from the Copacabana Beach. The area reminds me of Miami or Fort Lauderdale with the hotels and beaches. There are lots of swimmers on the big sandy beach, but to the disappointment of some of the guys, no topless bikinis. We had been warned to be careful of pickpockets and kids grabbing cameras or pocketbooks. But Rio is just like any big U.S. city. Get in the wrong areas and you can expect to be a victim.
That night, after another big barbecue (I think this must have been the 10th or so), we went to a big musical stage show. The performers had large feathered costumes and there was much music. The show depicted the history of Brazil. We got back to the hotel about midnight.
Saturday – February 10
We spent the day on the bus with the local guide touring the city. We went up the mountain on the cog rail to the statue of Christ. We saw lots of the city and various architectures of commercial buildings and homes. After a light lunch we went up to Sugar Loaf Mountain. The mountain was so named because of the sugar cane plantations. The sugar was put in a bag that looked similar to the mountain. We had a spectacular view of the city from the top of the mountain.
At 6 p.m. the group met together for the last time at a restaurant next to the hotel. We were seated in an open front part of the restaurant that faced the beach and street. During our meal, a spectacular thunderstorm hit the area. The heavy lighting and blowing rain came in on some of the tables and some of the group had to move to drier tables.
Plane ride #9
We boarded the bus about 8:30 for a 40 minute ride to the international airport. Once we got through the counter check in and the showing of our passports 3 or 4 times to different people, we boarded American Flight 904 for out trip to Miami. We took off at 11:30 p.m. local time. This was 8:30 p.m. Miami time and 7:30 Chicago time. The flight was 8 hours and we touched the runway in Miami at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Sunday – February 11th
Plane ride #10 and #11 (to and from Miami)
We cleared through customs very easily and quickly. Connecting flights were the next step in getting back to the good old U.S.A. For those of us, and I think that was everyone, the connection to and from Miami completed the 11th different plane we had been on in about 16 days.
This online exclusive is brought to you by Soybean Digest
For 2002 Travel Plans to South America see: www.kitt-travel.com