“Are you Portuguese ?”

Was the question uttered by the friendly  young woman sitting next to me. It was a great struggle not to let slip a smirk of  satisfaction. She had  heard me making small talk with the air hostess, however,  I did manage to give Keith a triumphant but gentle poke in the ribs.
She told us her name is Nivia and that she had been summoned back to Porto Alegre by her mum who felt long overdue for a visit. We chatted for a while and she asked to swop emails so we could keep in touch.                                                                                            It is noticeable how many people live in a place different from their place of their birth, a fact which always jars me.
Driving through Porto Alegre the state capital of Rua Branco do Sul was again a surprise in that it is quite European in architecture and there is a tendency for  people  to be fair and blue eyed.
Our hotel was located in a resdential area of this flourishing and prosperous city and as we sipped caipirinhas under the hotel palms we were surpirsed by the number of designer dogs been taken out for evening walks by chicly dressed ladies and gents. It could have been sitting in a suburb anywhere in the world.

We saw the old city by night nd were wowed by the square were sits the impressive Government house, Municipal House, the law Courts and the fairly  recently newly built Cathedral,   and not  to be outdone in the show of power  and influence the cathedral  managed to be the tallest building in the square.

Our day ended with a Gaucho show and a churrasco meal.  The couchos(cowboys) entertained us with traditional dances, hair raising displays of boules and  churrasco which is  a traditional meal of  salad with  slices of barbecued meats carved from from huge skewers at the table. Some uts too recognisable !

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