On the 23rd of March I arrived in an airport about an hour outside of Sao Paolo. It took me awhile to figure out, with the help of a kind stranger, but I managed to put together a bus and taxi to get myself to Sao Paolo and the hotel. That week the Brasil Fulbright Foundation put together an informative and fun orientation for me and the 29 other Fulbright Research Fellows. I spent a lot of time in the hotel where the orientation was held, but we also had a city tour and I also managed to get out on the town for awhile to see the city. It's very different from anywhere I'd been in Brazil before. Very much more European than Brasilia or Western Bahia.
After Sao Paolo I flew to Brasilia. I had two primary objectives in Brasilia: find single malt scotch and go climbing. I did both. I really used my three days in Brasilia just to relax a little before coming down to do my research. Brasilia is an odd city, it's far from perfect, but I think it's interesting and for that reason I never miss a chance to spend a few days there. I also got to visit my favorite pizza place where you stand at a bar and eat slice after slice until you're done. You let them know how much you ate, pay, and you're on your way. Fantastic.
Next, I took a bus to Goiania. Goiania is the capital of Goias and a few hours North of Rio Verde where my research is. I had to stop by for an orientation for foreign students. The orientation itself wasn't so interesting because I'm not really a student and the information didn't pertain to me. But, like Brasilia, Goiania is a nice place to stop over. There's plenty to do and it's a fun place. I will be going back there I think when I need to consult with a professor there who has done research with the Mennonite colony here. It's also a nice place to escape to and write.
I had two fun travel experiences in Goiania. First, on the way there we had to stop at a trucker blockade. Truckers are protesting throughout the country (mostly in the South though). The government has been keeping gasoline prices artificially high and that's more than a little upsetting for the truckers. So, we were waiting for at least an hour when the bus driver turned to a group of military personnel in the back of the bus, and asked what they were going to do about this. They jumped out of the bus and disappeared. Fifteen minutes later we were moving.
The other thing, when I arrived in Goiania I purchased a ticket for Rio Verde. The worker looked at my passport, saw that I was American, and had a good laugh. He showed his friend the passport and told him I was going to Rio Verde. The other guy laughed harder. So, it's not exactly a tourist destination...