Despite the illustrious start of my three months in Brazil with a mild case of food poisoning from my first class airplane dinner on Sunday night (watch out for the spare rib tips and salmon, my friends), my first full day here had many delightful highlights. Ironically, most of them are food related, so it’s a good thing that I can once again eat food fairly safely. I ate exactly nothing all day Monday. Ugh. Anyway…highlights!

  1. Fresh sugar cane from my sister in law’s mom Celia’s back yard. You put a chunk of the stuff in your mouth, chew it up until all the tasty sweet juice is gone, and then spit out the fibrous remains. It’s surprisingly good for you, considering it’s where much-maligned sugar comes from. And since Celia just chopped it down from her backyard – her BACK YARD, people, which also has a huge MANGO tree and a much smaller papaya tree – it’s absolutely100% delightfully fresh. Here she is preparing chunks for us to eat by peeling off the outside and cutting up the inside:
  2. If you ever want a lucrative money making venture, you can just bring a couple pounds of pistachios or cashews and make some serious bank. Just put it into little dollar bags and stand in a trench coat on the corner: “Psst hey there man, I got some fresh pistachios CHEAP. Only 5 bucks a bag…” Seriously. That tiny little can is more than 10 bucks (21 reais and change, stupid flash got in the way):

  3. Have you ever even seen an avocado this big?! I didn’t believe my sister in law when she said it was an avocado…I took it home to further investigate this preposterous claim:

But the best part of this first week is clear already: Stinking cute nephews! (yeah, that’s a Woody from Toy Story hat in his hand) 

Random Brazilian Portuguese fact: Mango in Brazilian Portuguese is manga. That made me giggle just a little bit. Puts a whole new spin on Japanese comics…