Monday, October 22, 2007

Horses, Zebras, and Lizards, Oh My!

Well, no more fires to write about today. I can tell you about our weekend though and all the fun animals we saw (among other things!)
We ended up with another 3 day weekend, but it didn't start out too fun. Eric was a little bit sick all last week - a sore throat and a head cold, followed by a cough, followed by an array of other symptoms. He thought he was getting a lot better Thursday night, but he woke up not feeling well at all on Friday morning. He decided that he better stay home and rest. By this time, I had caught his cold and wasn't feeling great either, so we spent the day Friday in bed - the sick being nurse to the sick! Saturday we had both improved, but we got tired pretty quick when we drove out to the lake and went for a long walk. So, it was really Sunday before we were feeling like doing much.
Belo Horizonte has some absolutely gorgeous churches scattered around. Some are pretty historical and others are relatively new buildings. Many of them are Catholic, but there are also huge, beautiful Baptist and Methodist churches. Eric and I talked about it and being that all services are in Portuguese, we probably wouldn't get a whole lot of the message! So, we've decided to begin a tour-de-church and at least enjoy being in God's house and check out some awesome architecture. Every Sunday we are going to visit a different church, so we began our tour yesterday at Basilica de Lourdes. It is a catholic church and was built in the early 1900's in pure Gothic style. (I had some flashbacks to a college course I took called "History of the Built Environment" in which we studied historical buildings and gardens. I could have been sitting in one the basilicas my professor showed us in Europe built in the 1600's!) It was a very impressive place!

After church, we decided to get out of the city and go for a drive. We got on the highway to Rio de Janeiro. Our first stop was just outside of Belo Horizonte at Rancho de Boi. It is a restaurant that we were taken to during our first trip down here. It has great food, beautiful views of the mountains, and is landscaped really nice. We had lunch and then jumped back on BR-40 and drove 1.5 hours towards Rio before turning around and coming back. Yes, we went for a destination-less Sunday drive - we are exciting like that! ;) We got a feel for the condition of the highway (um, a little less than perfect), a peek at how people drive outside of the city (we were almost run off the side of the mountain by a lettuce-carrying truck and saw a small motorcycle carrying 2 people almost wipe out when they hit a pot hole while avoiding a car that cut them off - Eric puts emphasis on the ALMOST, but we were both glad to get back to the hotel and out of the death trap, I mean car), and we got to see some pretty interesting countryside!
We ended our weekend last night by walking (we had had enough driving for one day!) down to the mall and watching a movie-in English with Portuguese subtitles. We made popcorn and diet coke our supper, had some hand dipped ice cream on our way back home, and decided to call it a night.

I will now leave you with a few pictures from our weekend!
At Rancho de Boi, (you can see the chef cooking our meat on the grill!)
This little fella, if you call 3 feet long 'little', wandered by us just about 10 feet down the mountain from our table! The fauna is a little more interesting when you get out of the city!
We got to sit right at the edge of the mountain - a prime location (especially if you want to see giant lizards!)

We came across this guy on Saturday when we went for a walk around Pampuhla Lake. I considered going for a ride, but I was wearing a skirt and I didn't know if Zebras could be ridden side saddle!
This is a pretty common sight whether you are on a city street or on the interstate. This was on a little backroad near Pampuhla Lake. It always makes me giggle - especially the day Eric and I were walking home from supper and almost got run over by two young boys hauling butt down the street in a horse buggy! Here we were surrounded by high rises and new Fiat cars and out of nowhere comes a horse and buggy!

This is Basilica de Lourdes, the church we visited Sunday. It was awesome! I think it was all original . . except for this . . .

A neon light around Mary's head??? I totally didn't see that one coming!!! I have to admit that I giggled a little. I don't recall any discussion in my class about neon lights in the basilicas! But who am I to judge . . . maybe Michelangelo would have incorporated some neon lights into the Sistine Chapel had they been available!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Okay, there is some concern out there that my zebra is a painted burro. I, too, thought the same thing when I saw him and I checked a little closer. He really is growing white and black hair though!

I did a little research on wikipedia and I feel compelled to share the results:

"A zeedonk (also spelled zedonk) (also known as zebrass, zebronkey, zonkey, zebadonk, zenkey, zebrinny, or deebra) is a cross between a zebra and a donkey. The generic name for crosses between zebras and horses or asses is zebroid or zebra mule."

"Attempts have been made to train zebras for riding since they have better resistance than horses to African diseases. However most of these attempts failed, due to the zebra's more unpredictable nature and tendency to panic under stress. For this reason, zebra-mules or zebroids (crosses between any species of zebra and a horse, pony, donkey or ass) are preferred over pure-bred zebras."

Okay, everyone can calm down now. No, it's not a zebra exactly. But don't go accusing the Brasilians of painting their asses!!!