Paul Shoul sets the mood with his beginning paragraphs explaining his trip to Minas Gerais Brazil in his article, Minas Gerais: A Toast to the Heart of Brazil. Explaining the music, the humming conversations, the location, the people, the poetry. He depicts the beautiful scenery of homes and landscapes around one of the most beautiful and fun locatins in Brazil. Shoul’s article depicting his travelling experience is beautiful and thorough with a mix of everything and an amazing assortment of pictures…it has been by far the hardest blog i’ve had to write because there are so many interesting aspects to his voyage.
He has one of those deep accented voices that makes the most mundane of things seem a prophesy about tortured love. Even if I cannot understand a word of Portuguese I am ready to believe whatever he says. His poetry floats out the window onto the balcony and over the golden town flickering at dusk.
Expanding from a business and convention center, tourism is growing as more people are starting to discover this part of the country and its rich culture and history. It boasts a great gastronomy, the largest outdoor market in Latin America, art museums, historic cathedrals beautiful parks and by the way is also known as the “the bar capital of Brazil.”
The nightlife spreads out onto the sidewalks with countless small tables filled with students drinking from ice buckets filled with quart bottles of skol or other beer. Brazilians like their beer really cold. They are very strict about it. What a great scene.
The main attraction are the countless waiters swarming the room with skewers laden with meat; the action is fast. A bartender mixes drinks for you at your seat from a rolling bar on wheels. There are over 26 cuts of meat that are brought to your table continuously until you give in. It’s hard to pace yourself, but the best cuts are brought to you last, so try to hold out. It was over-the-top amazing.
You need to have your other senses engaged: sweat mingling with the wind and sun on your skin after climbing to the top of the Ouro Preto hills, the thoughtful silence of the miracle room at Congohas, the brilliant colors of Tiradentes or the sudden cold, dense quiet that overtakes you as you descend 1000 feet into a gold mine.
But the best part is the trip over 1,000 feet down into the earth on rail tracks in a small wooden trolley that resembles an antique roller coaster with open seats held by a single cable attached to a huge gas powered motor that appeared to be from the 1800’s. It reminded me of a scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies, and there was plenty of gold at the bottom. They would never allow this in the states and it was a blast.