Monday (Lunes) 5th April, 2010
Day 388

Tupancireta, Brasil
Tupancireta, Brasil
Miles: 39,980
S 28.91528°
W 53.63696°

Melo proved to be a bit of a navigational challenge for us, not only could we not find the campground last night but we had to ask directions again this morning even to find the way north out of town. But after a few missteps we were on our way to Aceagua the border town where we would enter Brazil.

Aceagua was a sleepy little town, and as far as we could tell we were the only travelers crossing north into Brazil, at least the only ones that needed to complete any border formalities. The formalities were slow - they don't see many Australians with US motorhomes - but straight forward.

After a couple of hours driving we called into the town of Sao Sepe to get some more Brazilian cash. On entering the town we stopped and asked a policeman for directions to the nearest bank. Here we got our first lesson/reminder about language. Even though we could not claim to speak Spanish after so long in Spanish speaking countries we have become familiar with the language and generally have enough words to get by. We had forgotten what it was like back at the start when Spanish was totally incomprehensible. Today we got a big reminder - Portuguese is totally incomprehensible.

Just for the record we did get some money from an ATM in Sao Sepe. The town was interesting; all the streets were cobbled, the town was clean, the people looked prosperous, though a wide mix of racial groups, and the shops had a wide selection of appliances and clothes.

Our days travel was through rolling hilled farming country. The farming is on a large scale, rightly termed industrial. There are a large number of long and short haul trucks on the roads carrying grain, general cargo, and transporting large pieces of farming equipment. The country side is green and looks very fertile.

Mate (pronounced mat-eh)

As we leave Uruguay I need to comment on a drink called Mate. This is a tea like beverage made in a special cup by pouring hot water over Mate leaves. We saw people drinking this in Argentina, and understand that southern Brazilians also drink it, but from what we have seen so far Uruguayans are the most obsessed with this drink. We have seen people everywhere with a thermos of hot water under their left arm, in their (usually) left hand is their Mate cup with its distinctive, and special, silver straw through which they sip the drink. When the cup gets low, they simply stop walking, top up the cup from their thermos and continue sipping. They carry their cups and thermos everywhere, on the beach, in the super market, at the gas pump, it far out strips the obsession Seattle has with coffee.


We spent the night at a no-name gas station and truck stop on highway BR-158/392 north of the turn off to Tupancireta. It was somewhat less busy than a number of the gas stations we had passed during the day. Eventually the activity ceased and it was a relatively quiet place.