Brazil welcomes gastronomic adventurers
Three days into the Festival Cultura e Gastronimia Tiradentes and I can tell you these Brazilians know how to live. The town of Tiradentes, at least 150 miles from either Rio or Sao Paolo hosts this huge in tiny Tiradentes, population 14k every August.
Now we think of this as late summer, for the Brazillians its late winter, but it is a tropical climate so it means that the festival is held at the perfect time of year. Warm, balmy days, crisp, chilly nights. Getting here from the airport in Belo Horizonte – the third largest city in Brazil and home to Google and other big IT companies, we saw amazing things.
Green mountains kept us climbing. Colors of silver gray green, like Greece, or Texas, or parts of California with unexpected flashes of color from flowering trees, fuschia, ocher, eggyolk yellow, purest white.
Then the trucks began to stack up and the cars seemed to be covered with dust and we entered the mining area which was incredible. They have been clawing the earth’s treasures out of the ground here for 300+ years.
Beginning with the Portugese who lined their own pockets and churches with gold they extracted from the Brazilian mountains, to the treasures of today which lean more towards iron ore. Soon the earth was brilliant red, there were huge gashes in the mountain sides, and more trucks than I ever saw hauling loads of this red iron rich earth up and out of the crevasses.
While some of it is destined for local foundries, they tell me more of it goes – as is – to huge ships where it is shipped to – guess where? oh come on, guess – China where it is made into iron and steel products which are then shipped all over the world.
If you ever want a front row seat to the world wide economy, get into the car at the airport in Belo Horizonte and drive to Tiradentes, high in the mountains. It was awesome in the way that awesome should be used, beyond belief. I’m gonna dig into the story and bring you more tomorrow.
But I have to stop now. We’ve found a truck stop beside the road, with a parking lot full of dusty trucks, a dining room full of picnic tables and benches and tired drivers all waiting for their lunch.
Its self serve, centered around a wood burning fire. There’s amazing barbecue, rice and beans, squash, beans and peas, fruits. Great food, all fresh, and about 5 bucks for a lunch that gets weighed.
Tomorrow, I’ll bring you more. But for now, I have to have a second helping of that orange colored vegetable they tell me is not squash. Stay tuned.
Got lotsa pictures, but I’ll have to wait until I get home to load them. But for now, I can say Viva Brasil.