I left Lansing at 4pm on Tuesday and arrived Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil at 4:30 pm on Wednesday. It took me four flights, 24 hrs to get to this newly-established city, the interior of Brazil. Used to be part of another state, Tocantins was formed in 1988. A year later, the capital of this state, Palmas was being built. Palmas has 2219 sq km, but only 265 thousand residents, the population density of which is 106 /sq km, 7% of Waterloo’s population density. The city was designed after Brasilia, with great infrastructure, but quite sprawled. You don’t see high buildings often..Hopefully in a few years, they will make use of the space..
The hotel we stayed at called Girassol Plaza, a wonderful place. Girassol means sunflowers in portugues, and one colleague tried to use it as my nickname, because he cannot pronounce Yue properly and I smile like a Girassol (according to him). Of course I politely suggested him to call me by my last name Dou that should be easier. The hotel itself is simply wonderful. Staff are nice, rooms are clean, guests are all well dressed (except me..), the pool is beautiful and quiet, always has some events going on at night.
The best, among all, is they have an excellent restaurant. Breakfast is buffet and is included (basically breakfast included is a default in Brazil. Some tried not to with a lower price, but people won’t accept the new norm), at least ten kinds of fruit, different bread, cheese, cakes, yogurt, cereal, and espresso. After 10am, then they will change the settings to lunch, and then tea, and dinner..Food is excellent there, I had the best fish ever, very juicy and tasty meat. In the restaurant, they put a special flower on the table, it is pink and has thick leaves and petals, I thought it was fake at the beginning, and even try to pinch it. The next day, flowers opened bigger, into a bigger blossoms, that’s how i finally was convinced it’s probably not plastic…
One thing I found interesting is that Brazilian chill red wine too. My colleague explained as “it’s too hot here, we have to drink it cold”. I had to warm my glass up by holding it with both hands..But it’s still good wine. No complains.
I spend three nights and two days in Palmas, in the hotel, did nothing except eat and chat…one hour at breakfast, 3 hrs at lunch, and 3 hours at dinner…I was hoping that my colleagues will get in touch with some soybean producers and we could have an interview..But until Saturday when we left Palmas for Mateiros, no luck..
And to Mateiros, that’s where the adventure starts..