Barbecue Brazil style

Today was the first day of the research symposium that I am attending at the University of São Paulo this week. Unfortunately for the organisers a transport strike across the city was called for today, and there was also a demonstration and picket lines to protest against pensions changes at the University. This meant that many of those who registered for the event did not make it, and several those who braved the traffic and found a way into the University without coming face-to-face with picketers arrived late.

Nevertheless, the event went ahead and I spent most of the day in the conference room listening to presentations and joining in the discussions when I could. About half the presentations were in English, and I could follow some of the rest in Portuguese (with my fluency in French, and reading skills in Spanish and Italian) provided that the slides included text.

After work Renato took me out for a traditional Brazilian barbecue. This was (yet another) feast. There was an extensive buffet where you could help yourself to a first course, then men in traditional (Portuguese) dress brought hanks of meat to the table and carved them in front of you. I also tried a traditional lemon cocktail, which was both bitter and sweet at the same time. My blip is of meat in the process of being cooked at the barbecue.

I really wish that I had a bigger appetite because the food here is so interesting. I have tried many new things, sometimes mistaking them for something that is familiar to me. For example, yesterday I thought that I had chosen roast parsnips at lunchtime, but in fact I had put some cassava (mandioca in Portuguese) on my plate. I have also tried guava cheese (goiabada), and developed a liking for a soft drink called guaraná, made from a fruit of the same name.

All this eating and very little exercise (just 5,368 steps today) is probably not very good for me!

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