The public cemetery is free, but don't plan on visiting your loved one's graveside after three years. The graves are rotated every three years. I am not sure what happens to the remains, but you can often see casket parts strewn about and the cemetery is not cared for at all.
McDonald's Ice Cream was about the same price as here in the US.
It is a common thing to see Cokes, Guarana, juices, other soft drinks served with meals.
The Air Conditioner Man - Ha! Mel loved this!
Most of the side streets are dirt. The main street is paved, but full of potholes.
A common breakfast is bread or sweet bread.
All homes have gates and walls. If you want to knock on someone's door, you stand outside and clap.
Many many people travel by bus. You can see people at the bus stops all hours of the day.
IT is very HOT in Cuiaba. Most home don't have AC. This was just one day while we were there. It was up to over 100 in the house a couple of times.
Prices are Sky High!
We brought Judah a baseball and bat. Many people in Brazil do not know what a baseball it. :)
This is another common drink - coconut milk.
Can you see the trucks bumper to bumper? This is a main route from Cuiba to Sao Paulo and it takes four days for a truck driver. Many of them travel four days straight and this is a common sight. You better watch out and let them have their way.
You've seen the AC man and now here is the internet service man!
This is a typical water tank seen at each house.
Table and Counter tops in restaurants as well as homes are often made of granite while most of the furniture is made of cheap materials.
The word for honey is Mel. :) We were able to snap this picture as we were driving by of the house of honey.
These are squatters. They make whatever they can into a home on a piece of land so they can claim it.
This is the gas tank for Esther's stove which is set up under her kitchen sink. When it runs out, you take it to exchange for another.
It was hard to capture of good picture of what driving is like, but it is not unusual to see motorcyles zooming between cars, trucks, and buses. Accidents are seen on a regular basis.
Most of the tall building that you see in Cuiaba are not offices; they are apartments.
Here is another picture that is hard to capture. While driving, there are not a lot of red lights, but instead you will see a sign for speed bumps, but beware for if you miss the sign or don't know where the speed bump is, you may be in for some car repairs.
Most people eat their main meal at noon time. It usually include rice and beans.
Everyone owns a watch dog.
Read about Our Life in Brazil by following the links below:
Interesting Things About Brazil
The final day has come. It is Sunday and we have most of the day before we need to head for the airport. I don't want to act to sad because I want to cherish every moment I have with my children and grand children. There were a few people we still needed to visit and say goodbye to so after church instead of taking time to prepare dinner, we walked to a nearby restaurant. We wanted to say goodbye to the Scrocks so walked around the corner to their house first and then on to the restaurant. After dinner we drove down the road a couple blocks to Jeremy's friend's house. They invited us in for a little while and we enjoyed visiting while the Mrs. fixed dinner for her family. The day went quickly and it was soon time to drive to the airport. We were grateful for Omar Schrock's kindness in transporting our luggage both when we arrived and when we were ready to leave. This gave us room in Jeremy's car to all ride together. We arrived at the airport a couple of hours early and enjoyed our last little while with Jeremy, Esther, and the kids. Hard, hard, so hard to leave. I can still see their little faces staring at our plane as we sat in plane getting ready for take off. I am already looking forward to their furlough at the end of next year. Most of all I am looking forward to Heaven for our families are the only "thing" we can take with us. We look forward to each one of our grand children accepting Jesus as their Savior. Many of them already have done so and we are so grateful! What a great reunion we will have one day in eternity!
We had a good day on Friday too. Took off for downtown to do some more souvenir shopping. When we got there Bethany was crying because she forgot her shoes. Jeremy carried her to the shoe store and bought her some more flip flops. So a sad day for her turned into a happy day because she got new shoes.
Souvenir shopping was finally done and it was now lunch time. We fought our way back through traffic and went on to the playground again so the kids could play and get worn out before nap time. We ate lunch there again. The kids played on the playground. Mel bought me a bird (not real) at the gift shop and then we decided to let the kids play on the soccer field before heading home - oh me - this part did not turn out too well. Judah, first of all, stepped on something and was screaming with his foot and then Allie started screaming that she had stepped on something. They suffered through it while Bethany played and then we headed home. Poor Allied hurt all evening. Jeremy worked on her feet using tape to pull out whatever got in there- a caterpillar perhaps. Grandpa and Grandma also took their turns working on her feet. We finally got them cleaned enough so that she could walk to the car and we headed out for the fish restaurant.
This was by far the cleanest restaurant I had seen . Their restaurants are clean as far as I can see and the fish was great! I sure have enjoyed all the food this week and Praise the Lord, He has kept us well with little or no stomach problems. Mel has had a few headaches but seemed to be able to head them off with medicine. My back got a little better each day so we were thankful for that. The timing seemed good for everything and I was able to get around well. That made it good for the airports too. Mel had put a board under my mattress and that seemed to help. Mel and I walked across the bridge near the fish restaurant and took a couple of pics. Jeremy got a little nervous when he saw a couple of thugs come across and disappear into the woods.
From here we went to the Feta - fair/carnival - the kids enjoyed one of the jumping/slide machines, I enjoyed some soft serve ice cream, and Mel enjoyed cane sugar juice. It was quite interesting and the kids had a great time. This is something that goes on every weekend. It is very crowded and we had to make sure that we held onto the kids all the time and never let them out of our sight.
Then it was once again home and beddy by time. After the kids were in bed we sat on the porch to visit with Jeremy and Esther, but I kept falling asleep. When we finally went to be there was loud music outside our window so then I could not sleep. It did not last too long so I was thankful. Music/noise like that is a norm where Jeremy lives. The Lord was so good to us and the noise was very minimal while we were there.
Saturday was our day to stay around home and enjoy each other's company before it was time to say good bye. The kids swam and played and we also took a walk through Jeremy's neighborhood. In my mind it was a hard day because I knew that tomorrow we were leaving. (sniff, sniff)
Just a little clip below of what is typical to hear in the streets.
We were privileged to have lunch with the Duarte Family. Lawanda fixed us a Brazilian Thanksgiving dinner. It was very good and included rice, beans, chicken and some other dishes. She also had some special desserts. I tried them all, but I am not crazy about the desserts they have here. We visited for a couple of hours and Lawanda and I exchanged gifts. She gave me a lovely doily that had been hand made.
Later that day we walked to the candy store and I picked out some different candies to take back to the states.
In the video below, Judah is playing soccer with Joshua, the Duartes' grandson on the Duartes' Porch
This was our big day to go to Chapada. It was a fun day. I was a little apprehensive at first when Jeremy was describing the ride up the mountain, but it was not like I imagined and we did just fine. There happens to be a very dangerous curve in the road that several drivers have gone off. It is called the gate to hell. As we talked among ourselves, we said we could call it the gate to heaven for when you know the Lord, it matters not where your life on this earth ends for it only ushers you into the presence of the Lord.
There was some construction and things closed, maybe due to the world cup coming. Jeremy was about out of gas because he forgot to get it in the city. I sure was not up to running out of gas in the wilderness of Brazil. But we made it to Chapada, got our gas, and did our souvenir shopping first which turned out to be better for the kids. We journeyed on to the "top of the world" It was very pretty and unusual, but still not like my beloved smoky mountains. We ate a Brazilian lunch at a restaurant at the top, took pictures, played on the playground and just enjoyed this oasis with straw huts and trees and flowers and scenery and coconut drinks. After leaving there we went to the Bridal Falls. It was about a half mile hike, mostly down which meant up coming back. It was really a pretty view once we got there too and we got some good pictures. We went to another little "village" near here and we got some coconut water. It was really good and Grandpa and I enjoyed sharing straws and sharing it with the kids also.
On our way back we found a little falls with a swimming hole so Jeremy's "brazilian" kids went swimming. They really enjoyed that. At one point grandpa started walking up the swampy river to take pictures. I was just sure an anaconda or the piranhas were going to get him. I sure was not up to traveling back to the states by myself.
It was beginning to get dark when we headed home and once again we made it safely through the crazy Brazilian traffic. We sort of snacked for supper with left overs and also Jeremy picked up a couple of corn cakes - can't remember what they are called. They were pretty good - tasted like corn bread cake and I thought it would be good with chocolate frosting.
I did not go to church today due to being laid up with my back out I guess. Anyway, it was difficult to walk and really difficult to sit on the hard benches and since I could not understand anyway, I just stayed home. I did go in the evening, but went out with Bethany and sat on the very back pew so I could get up if it was needed.
Jeremy led the singing that night since their song leader was out of town. That was exciting seeing him lead the people and sing in Portuguese. That morning the children had somewhat of a party because they had earned it for saying verses, etc.
Sunday School Party - Click any picture to see a larger view
Below the church choir sings Do You Know My Jesus? Jeremy is the choir director and he says the people learn their parts so quickly, yet they cannot read music. Esther is playing the piano. You can see Jeremy, Omar and Tracy Schrock, and Lawanda Duarte singing. Lawanda's husband, Antonio is the pastor. Three of their children, Jenifer, Janalee, and Jed attend Ambassador Baptist College in North Carolina.
Well, I ended up a little crippled, that is my back went out I guess and now I was in pain and limping around quite a bit. I made sure to wear my insoles all day for a couple of days because I know this helps. We also put a board under the mattress and this helped within a few days.
We stayed at the house most of the day, but I was glad since it was hard for me to get around. We were hoping to visit the camp where Jeremy and Esther often go for retreats, etc., but the timing just did not work out for the owners.
It was very hot again - 99 degrees inside and Esther was cooking. Whew! I admire her- she is a hard worker and never complains. She is a servant and the Lord has done many wonderful miracles on her behalf regarding her health. She made us rice, beans, chicken and a side dish with tomatoes and onions which I keep meaning to get the recipe for. It is almost like a fresh salsa and very good.
Tonight we ate at a roadside Burger place. You ordered your food and sat outside. There was a trampoline there and the kids enjoyed jumping while we waited for our food.
We had a fun day. We left for the zoo at the university. There were cars and people everywhere and parking seemed to be all one way and it was hard to get around. When we tried to get out, the road was blocked so had to turn around and go back the wrong way. Whew! Made it again in this crazy city.
The zoo was a free zoo at the university. Certainly not like our zoos, but we still enjoyed it. There were not too many people and it was HOT at first. I took an umbrella for shade and boy was I glad I did for two reasons: First of all it was hot and it really did help shade me and then half way through the zoo, the storm clouds came up and the wind started to blow and then the rain came! The umbrella saved me and Esther from getting soaked. We shared as much as possible. A nice lady let us get in her little refreshment stand hut. But the rain did not stop so we decided to make a run for it. It had let up a little so that was good. Jeremy and Mel took the kids and Esther and I took the umbrella and she walked slow with me while I hobbled back since my leg was still giving me fits, but it does get a little better each day. We got back without too much trouble and headed out for a place to eat.
Below Jeremy and Bethany run to get out of the rain. On the left is a little green building where we were invited to get shelter.
The mall was not far so that is where we decided to eat. They even had a subway in the food court. I really did not want subway, but settled for it anyway. It was not the greatest, but if met the need for now. Funny, all the tables are granite, but the rest of the furniture is cheapy, Of course the granite is not polished like in the US either. We also got ice cream at McDonalds. Mel went and ordered two chocolate cones while I videoed him. Jeremy had coached him on how to ask for chocolate ice cream in Portuguese. But as I videoed I really could not hear anything and she seemed to understand him fine.
We were going to go souvenir shopping but it rained and we did not want to walk outside where the shops were so changed out minds. Omar had called and said there was a storm at home and all the power was out. Ugh. That meant no air even in the bedroom and hot hot hot. But I was pleasantly surprised as the rain did cool it off a bit so instead of in the 90's it was in the 80's. The power did come on after a couple of hours so that was not too bad.
That evening we went to Jeremy's teachers house for supper. Omar and Tracy also went. To be honest, it was not that fun of an evening for us - rather boring. It was nice in that the food was great (more rice and beans, and lots and lots of grilled meat - very yummy- some kinds of steaks and sausage. I usually don't like sausage, but this was very good), and the people were hospitable and glad to have us. Mel and I just sort of sat while Jeremy conversed with his teacher's children. I guess he was asking lots of ministry questions, but it sure is not fun when you don't understand the language much so I was glad when we were able to leave. It was a chore getting there. Her husband had to meet us at one point to get us to her house and then her son led us out until we go on the right highway to home. I guess the kids had a good time because there was a place for them to play. Even though her house was "nicer" it was still nothing like the Americans. We are so spoiled! We ate outside behind their house. I guess it was like a patio. It was hot and humid in the house and had cooled off nicely from the rain. This was also more spacious.
Today was somewhat of an interesting day. We planned to go to out to lunch, but the restaurant that Jeremy wanted to take us to was closed. Some places were closed down because this was a holiday weekend; it was children's day. In fact the whole weekend was like a holiday. People were out shopping to buy gifts for their children. This was strange to Jeremy, but not too strange to me. When I was a little girl, we also celebrated children's day in the northern states. It was always on a Sunday, but I looked forward to it because we usually got a gift from our parents.
Before we got our lunch we stopped by the Atacadao, the Brazilian Grocery Store. Wow! It was huge. After picking out just a few items and then seeing the lines, we decided to leave them and come back another time. There is no telling how long we would have been in line. I don't think I will complain about Sam's lines any more. We could have pushed our way to the front of the line because in Brazil, if you are 60 or over, you have the right to do so.
Pictures of the Atacadao - click any picture to see a larger size.
We drove by a southern baptist church and Jeremy thought their sign outside read fish fry so we stopped there too hoping to get lunch. Well he had his words a little mixed up - they look somewhat the same, but this was not a fish fry, but a sort of indoor yard sale. :) So no lunch there. We finally opted for a fast food restaurant where we got our food to go. The order was for Mamitas (sp?) You can count on it - beans, rice meat, all mixed together. We took our food and looked for a place to picnic. We were happy to find a little road side park where we enjoyed our food and the kids were able to play for a few minutes.
Roadside park for lunch time - click any picture to see a larger view.
A couple weeks ago Jeremy had taken part in a funeral of his friend's father. He wanted us to see the public cemetery where he was buried so that is where we went from the park. Most people cannot afford cemetery plots like we have in America so the public cemetery is free, but certainly not glamorous. When death comes, the body is usually buried within 24 hours. This is due to the fact that there is no embalming and the heat causes the body to stink and swell quickly so it is important to get the body buried as soon as possible.
Because it is a free cemetery, the graves are rotated every three years. Caskets and bones are dug up and put who knows where? So don't plan on visiting your loved one's graveside after three years. The cemetery is full of weeds and trash. It is a very sad place, not at all glamorous as we make it look here in America. Death is sure, sin is cause, Christ is the cure. We may have our remains placed in the ground, but knowing Christ as Savior brings the assurance that we will have a new body awaiting us and to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.
After a full day, we went to church service on Saturday night. This is the usual routine for the church Jeremy attends. I had been having some back trouble so had a "squirmy" time sitting on the benches, but Jeremy interpreted for me and that was helpful.
Today was the hottest day so far. In fact the thermometer went up to 148 at one point where Mel had it in the sun. I really thought I was just about going to die. Praise The Lord for an air conditioned bedroom where I could hide out once in a while. That is one luxury that Jeremy and Esther have. It cools down to the low 80's and that feels good. But then I hated being inthere while everyone else together in the other room. After all I didn't come for myself - I came to visit my children and grand children.
Today we went to the park - can't remember what it is called. It was really pretty and the kids could run and play in the field and we enjoyed seeing turkeys, peacocks, monkeys, and turtles. There was also a playground for the kids. We were happy to have Omar and Tracy Schrock (co missionaries) join us with their children.
Evidently this park is owned by a wealthy resident - there was a nice home, a soccer field, pretty bushes and flowers, palm trees, a wildlife area, a gift shop, a playground, and a restaurant. It looked like an oasis in the middle of a poor and dirty area. In fact it was off the main road/truck route to Sao Paulo which is a four day drive for truck drivers. Driving on this road was scarier than driving on the roads in Cuiaba. The trucks were often bumper to bumper and it was told to me that they often drive four days straight using drugs to keep them awake. Sometimes they are merciless and you just need to get out of their way. And I thought trucks in America were bad!
We enjoyed watching the kids run and play and then we enjoyed eating at the restaurant. Once again the food was great. We brought Judah and baseball and bat. We got some strange looks from the people around us as a lot of them don't even know that there is such a thing as baseball.
In the evening, Jeremy's friend Adielson (sp?) came with his wife and daughter. He is a church member at Jeremy's church and He wanted to meet us and hear our salvation testimonies. We in turn were able to hear their testimonies. I loved this! Hearing how people got saved is one of my favorite things to do. I think hearing testimonies in heaven could last last forever and I would not get tired of it. I got a little bit of video of them because I wanted to hear Jeremy converse in Portuguese. Everytime he started to talk it seemed like he would speak English to interpret and then when he started Portuguese I would miss it. But I did get a little bit.
It is now Thursday, our second day in Brazil. It seems like we have a lot of time, but I am still amazed at how fast the time passed by. I was so tired when we got to Jeremy's house that my head was buzzing and I was quickly acquiring a headache. I rested for a little while and then got up to visit and sort through suit cases. We were able to finish that task and now it was time for church. I still was not feeling well so while they all went to church, I took a shower and went to bed. I slept all night. I did not hear everyone talking after church so was thankful for the good night's rest. Praise the Lord, by morning my head ache was pretty much gone and stayed gone all week.
They have been feeding us well. On Thursday, we stayed at the house and went on a walk through the neighborhood. I also went to the coke store with Jeremy too get bottled liter drinks. Interesting. They live in the ghetto and the main street is just around the corner with people, stores, cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bikes, everywhere! It was not fun crossing the street. Gotta watch everywhere for cars and other vehicles. Scary. Jeremy informed me that he has helped many a child cross the street in which case they may not have made it. It is evident to me that once again God is merciful and longsuffering, that He sends His angels to minister for Him, and that He is not willing that any should perish.
We had fun giving the kids some of the goodies that we had brought from America. Even Jeremy and Esther had fun getting some treats that are not available in Brazil. Esther enjoyed her Reese Cups and Jeremy his sundrop and moon pie.
That night we drove into Cuiaba to eat at a fancy restaurant, a Churrascaria, which is basically a Brazilian Steakhouse. They bring meat to your table on skewers, all kinds of meat, and they just keep coming until you tell them to stop. There is also a buffet with various Brazilian dishes to choose from. Of course, a staple is beans and rice which you see at most meals. The food was great, but it was not long before I was full and had to say no more.
I do not like driving around here. All the roads look the same, straight, turnabout, straight, turnabout, not many stop lights, just turn abouts where everyone merges and then chooses the next direction they want to go. So watch out because a two lane is often made into a four lane and everyone goes at one time. And watch out for motorcycles and buses because they come out of nowhere. Motorcyles are seen all around driving up the middle between you and other cars, between trucks and buses, and on all sides. It is really a hard scene to describe and I also was not very successful with capturing it on pictures. I preferred the back seat so that I didn't have to look to much. Once again, it was evident to me that the Lord was with us, always caring, always watching over us!
Esther cooks Brazilian sometimes, but also cooks American. Last night she made chicken, rice, and Olive Garden garlic bread. It was very good. Dad and Jeremy went out and bought a grill and charcoal so we had grilled chicken. Too bad we did not have marshamallows to roast :)
CLICK HERE to read about Day 1 and 2.
If you click on any of the pictures below, it will come up larger and have a caption with it.