Part Four: São José do Rio Prêto, Brazil
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Day 12 , continued
pleasant four-hour flight from Bolivia to Brazil afforded
me time to regroup my senses and contemplate my fortune in being
able to travel and share my God-given talents with others. I read
up on Brazil in my Lonely Planet book, snoozed, and looked out of
the window. At one stage, I caught a wonderful glimpse of the mighty
serpentine Amazon river stretching below me. Impressive and unforgettable.
was intrigued with the Portugese language the flight attendants
and most of the passengers were speaking. It's mellifluous musicality
sounded to me like a cross between French, German and Hebrew. Towards
the end of the flight, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman
who explained, in broken-English, that it was rare to find a fluent
A flight attendant offered me a pleasant-tasting, fruity guaraná-based
soft drink, Brazil's most popular 'Guaraná Antarctica'
soda. Guaraná products (pronounced gwarana,
with a long last 'a') have some effects similar to those you can
expect after taking caffeine. Guaraná is a creeping shrub native
to the Amazon. In the lushness of the jungles where it originates,
it often grows to 12 metres high. The fruit is small, round, bright-red
in color, each with a strange eye-ball like protrudence, and grows
uses of this plant by the Amerindians predates
the discovery of Brazil. South American Indian tribes (especially
the Guaranis, from whence the plant's name is derived)
dry and roast the seeds and mix them into a paste with water. They
then use it much the same way as chocolate - to prepare various
foods, drinks, and medicines. Presently, guaraná is taken daily
as a health tonic by millions of Brazilians, who believe it helps
overcome heat fatigue, combats premature aging, detoxifies the blood,
and is useful for flatulence, obesity, dyspepsia, fatigue, and arteriosclerosis.