Monday, February 4, 2019

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 5

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 5

In spite of the intense heat and a considerable amount of bumper-to-bumper traffic, Arlene was a real trooper and agreed to trek out to a heavy foliage area (okay, it was sort of jungle-like) to the Butantan Institute - Emphasis is to research infectious/poisonous diseases/problems.

The place was much like a movie set: Building architecture was similar to the turn of the century - 1900's. Of the entire complex, there were (only) three buildings that could be visited by non scientists: a microbiology complex where we could look through set-up microscopes which had slides of nasty microscopic animals that could cause all sorts of medical issues. (Jerry found the microbiology aspect most interesting - his first majors were microbiology/oceanography before he switched to Asian Studies).

  Opportunities To See Microscopic Animals - Some Dangerous

Newly Discovered Critter 

Microbiology Department -  DNA investigation occurs as well as research for antidotes dealing with (very) poisonous snakes, reptiles and animals. 

There Were Plenty of Exotic (Tropical) Snakes, Spiders, Etc. To View

During medieval times, fully clothed doctors would go into homes that had  sick occupants. Besides the hoods and face masks, rose-colored glass pieces were used to protect the eyes. 

Table below was used to tie down calves infected with cowpox. The infection was removed and used as vaccine for smallpox. 

The complex also had interesting historical instruments. 

 Siemens (1939) Electron Microscope

One Of The First Calculators: Crank Used To Move/Calculate Numbers 

This is the place to be for scientists doing research on poisonous animals. In fact, as we were leaving, a group of 40 research fellows and scientists were congregating for a symposium dealing with scorpions. Sounds like fun!

This may not be the number one place to tour when visiting Sao Paulo. However, it might be number one when it comes to "different" or "exotic."

 Mosaic walkways depicted reptiles and insects. 

All upscale apartments and condos have double security gates. This is our security gate.

We were trying to figure out what to do for an early dinner - we had to get up at 3:30 AM for an early morning flight to Buenos Aires. The local market seemed like the best choice - good prepared food, plenty appetizers to choose from, excellent local wine for $5 - yes, $5 accompanied by easy listening Brazilian music playing on Jerry's laptop - what could be better. 

Outside The Market

With a final evening in Brazil, we had time to reflect. From what we gleaned, the school system is poor, There appears to be an "isolationist policy" in that very few locals learn English nor any other language for that matter. They do not even learn Spanish given that all of the other Latin American countries peak Spanish. It's a shame - most Brazilians are at a disadvantage.

There was a big issue! Would we find an Uber at 4:45 AM? We needed a slightly larger car to handle our luggage - We were loaded and ready to go at 5:00 AM! Uber arrived at 5:05 AM!

Check-in was seamless. Our Goal flight Buenos Ares actually left  the gate five minutes early.

Plane served a meal. (This would not occur on a USA plane). Flight was good - especially the landing - smooth as silk.

We had difficulties using Uber when we landed. It turns out that there are "political issues" occurring between the taxi companies and Uber. We ended up using a taxi. Not a big deal!

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 The Buenos Ares accommodations (a boutique hotel) is situated quite close to an apartment where we previously stayed. This is a good, probably upscale neighborhood. We became "friends" with the person who checked us in - we ended up with a great, large corner room looking out at some beautiful (architecturally speaking) older buildings

After settling in, we walked around the neighborhood and found that there was a distinct European (specifically French) flair to the architecture. We truly felt that we were in Paris.

                                                Lots Of Statues!

There were many beautiful iron gates located throughout the neighborhood.

Our dinner was particularly Argentinean: Meat! We ate at a nearby steak house - quite good. 

The steak was too large for one person as was the side of grilled vegetables - We shared. 
Picture Shows 1/2 The Steak

Malbec wine was also quite good.

Following dinner, we met our Chicago friends (Artie and Lynn) who will be joining us on our next leg of the trip - a cruise around South America and ending up in Santiago, Chile.

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