Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences on the Brazil Travel Course. Our second entry for Thursday, 1/19 comes from Kimberly Taing.
The day started off with a visit to UNICA, a representative for sugarcane mills. Before the presentation by Luana, I was not too informed about ethanol and sugarcane energy production. The most amazing fact was that of the 800 hectares of fertile land, only 2.5% is used towards sugarcane production. They can expand to about 67 hectares to use towards sugarcane production, but they do not have the capacity to do so. The reason why this is so fascinating is because there is so much potential, yet Brazil still has to import during harvest shortages. They had a shortage this past year, and they had to import from the United States. Another interesting fact is that currently about 9 out of 10 new cars sold at flex fuel cars. These cars are able to consume both gasoline and ethanol. The gas stations in Brazil serve both types of fuels, and based on the price of each, the flex fuel cars can choose what they want to pump.
Lunch was delicious. We had rodizio style pizza, which is all you can at thin crust pizza with toppings that are unique to the Brazilian tastes. My favorite was the Cuban, which was topped with ham with very little sauce. They didn’t seem to use the traditional marinara on all pizzas. And the cheese they use is phenomenal – very different from what we are used to in the States.
After lunch we visited Natura, a cosmetic company located in Campaje, Sao Paolo. What stands out the most here is the employee benefits and perks. The tour we had made working there seem fun and made it seem as if the company really takes care of the employees. They have popcorn time, stretch time, massages for each other, day care for the little ones, and a recreation center with a spa and pool. I was very amazed at how large the daycare center was. They had many sections for different age levels and the ratio of adults to kids was at more than 1:1. The tour emphasized how efficient the company was in terms of being green. They produce the containers for the cosmetics with sugarcane energy.
Before dinner, a few of us took a little walk around the hotel. It’s amazing how different of a perspective you get walking compared to being on a bus to see the city. We saw people just sitting around drinking beers and hanging out at local restaurants. It was a relaxing environment. For dinner, a few of us went to a traditional upscale Brazilian restaurant that serves all sorts of dishes including, meats, fish, veggies, and seafood. At first, I was disappointed that it was a not a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I like to go to. But the food really lived up to its cost! I ordered the Fijhaldo (not sure of the spelling on this), which is a chunk of beef with a side of a mixture of rice, beans, and cheese. The combination was amazing! It cost about 60 reals, and it was worth every real! The beef was very tender and the side was just delicious!