Did you know there is a new strain of the “swine” flu? It is called the Sao Paulo H1N1 – because it was first identified there. When we “flu” in last Tuesday we were greeted by people in white smocks and surgery masks handing out flyers about the flu. If you (or anyone around you) have been coughing, sneezing, running a fever or just not feeling well you should report immediately to the nearest clinic. There were posters and signs to that effect all along the way from plane to terminal. luckily no one around me turned me in for having sneezed more than once on the plane (every time the flight attendant with horrible taste in perfume walked by). i also did not feel that well – after having spent a full day at the Chicago airport, ate airport food and then flew 9 1/2 hours in economy and actually having eaten the “meal” they served.
Also in the Sao Paulo airport I finally found out what drive in restaurants do with their drive through speaker and mic systems when they get too bad for even them to use – they obviously sell them to the Sao Paulo airport to use as the PA system announcing flights.
Brazil, at least the parts I was in, are not geared to American tourists. There were no stores hawking the sorts of things we tend to buy as gifts to take home. I could only find a handful of “Brazil” t-shirts, two “Brazil” refrigerator magnets and some mini “Brazil” soccer-balls. They also need to make sure the rent a car agencies not only offer but strongly encourage use of GPS units. Also all those people that spend their days whitewashing the curbs – let them have real paint and have them paint signs with street and highway names.
Now, as to the idea that drilling for oil is good not bad, the only drill rigs we saw were in the bay at Rio and they were under construction or being refitted. That alone accounts for a large number of good paying jobs. Once they are put to use (obviously far enough off the coast that you can’t see them) they account for more jobs, not just on the rigs but supporting them. Petrobras is very busy recruiting and training the people that they need. And of course, the effect of all those jobs is even more jobs in businesses supporting all those people – stores, services, home building – it ripples wide through the economy.
There is zero impact on the beautiful coastline of Brazil from the drilling off shore. I read today that just one area off their coast is thought to hold some 45 billion barrels of oil. That one area can supply all of Brazil’s oil for over 10 years – that is what I call energy independence! They don’t need to turn all their food into “alcool” or put a windmill on jesus’s head over Rio.
Not only are there more areas with the potential for that sort of oil discovery off the coast of Brazil, there are the same potential sources off our coast – in areas that Obama, Gore and Florida Senator Nelson – won’t let us drill. There is more in Alaska, where they also won’t let us drill and in Colorado and Utah and Wyoming.
My boss – who was born in Germany – pointed out how short sighted the Brazilians are in not working harder to have more people speaking English. Think about it, how many places can you really expect to do business in the world only speaking Porteugeuse? Brazil and Portugal pretty much are it. And it is hard to attract businesses or tourists without lots of people speaking a more widely used language.
That said – Brazil is a very interesting place to visit and the people – all that I met – are friendly and try very hard to help the crazy “Americans” (I tried very hard not to call us or others from the USA “Americans” pointing out that Brazilians are also Americans). They generally tried very hard to understand us and make us understand them.
Oh and if you think that everything there will be inexpensive – nope – most everything we bought cost about the same as it would here. But, the Coca Cola there is EXCELLENT!!! They still make it with cane sugar – not high fructose corn syrup! Oh and as far as I can tell – there is no penalty for drinking the water – it tasted great, in fact better than the tap water here in Parker Colorado! I cannot travel to Dallas and drink the water but Brazil – no problem!