Monday, June 22, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015: Foz do Iguacu, Brazil to Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The alarm was set for 5:30!  Too early!!  But we need to get to the airport!  At least the breakfast area was open early at our hotel.  Some of the other mornings on this trip when we needed to leave early for the airport, there was no time for breakfast as the breakfast area did not open until 7:00.  This hotel was more accommodating to those flying out on early flights as the breakfast area opened at 4:00 am.    

Sitting here at the airport we just looked at our email.  We just rec’d a note from Pedro, the exchange student we are going to see in Belo Horizonte, telling us his Mother will be picking us up. He just broke the news to us that his company sent him (a civil engineer) to Saudi Arabia, and he will not be home in Belo.  We will not be seeing him after all!!!! His parents and his wife will be hosting us and showing us his home town of Belo Horizonte and the surrounding area. He did not want us to cancel this part of the trip as he wants us to see his home area and experience a little of Brazil.  I am sure his parents will be wonderful hosts however we are disappointed that we will not be personally seeing him. 

View from the Airplane

When arriving at the Belo Horizonte airport we immediately saw a guy holding a sign with our names on it.  Of course he could pick us out of the crowd!! It was Pedro’s father (Vittorio) as his Mother (Wania) stayed with the car.  His father speaks excellent English.  His Mother tries hard to speak English, but hers is much more limited.  We drove almost an hour to their home in Belo Horizonte, a city of 3 million people.  They live on the 13th floor of a high rise of apartments.  They have the whole 13th floor of the building as their home – a spacious lovely home. They have large windows facing every direction - their view is great – mountains on one side and city on the other 3 sides.  We will be staying with them until next Wed the 24th of June when we fly home. 

We were not in the car very long until they told us that when Pedro realized he would not be in Belo,  they wanted to host us, as they wanted to personally thank us for hosting Pedro in the spring of 1995.  They were so grateful to us for taking Pedro into our home when he was having a difficult time in another home in Mt Pleasant. Cal had Pedro as a student and we did not hesitate for a moment to host him when Carmen Heaton asked Cal whether we would take him for a few days until they found another home.  Pedro was a delight to host and he stayed with us for the rest of the year.  Their goal is to show us the best time in their city even if Pedro is not here.

On the way home they asked if we wanted to stay at the house to rest from our flight or if we would like to go with them to her brother’s home – the Saturday evening tradition.  We told them we would be happy to go if they wanted us to - Of course we went.  It was not only family but friends of the family were there.  Two persons had been exchange student to America in the past – one to California (30 years ago - a doctor) and one to Minnesota (15 years ago – a lawyer), and both spoke excellent English. They do not have a lot of opportunity to speak English so they were thrilled to be able to chat with us.  Another family member was a Doctor and her English was aols very good.  Those who could not speak more than “How are you?” in English, showed their warmth and hospitality in other ways.

Views of Belo Horizonte from the Capparelli Apartment

Evening Dinner

Rice and Beans with Pork - Very Tasty

The Litwillers and Capparellis
After plenty of drinks, we ate a Brazilian staple - black beans with pork over rice. It was delicious – better than I have ever had before.  They also served a traditional desert – absolutely delicious.

By the time we returned to their home, we were ready for bed.  We had been up since 5:30 but thankfully we did take naps during our flights. 

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