From John and Lori’s in Penápolis …
It’s Thanksgiving day! Donna and I begin the day with a Turkey Trot. There isn’t a 5k here and if there was we wouldn’t be running. But we do get out for a walk through downtown, past John and Lori’s, to the walking path for a lap around the park. It isn’t a brisk walk on a chilly Thanksgiving morning. It’s in the 80’s with high humidity in Penápolis, while back home in Fairfax it’s in the 40’s.
We return to Maria Helena’s for breakfast, then John drives us out to the edge of town to see the family farm. At one point Donna and John’s father grew coffee beans here, but now the farm is home to a small herd of cattle. The property is filled with fruit trees including mangoes, cashews, papayas, and pomegranates. We go from tree to tree sampling the different types.
Next we head to John and Lori’s. They live in a high-rise building in the center of Penápolis. After lunching on chicken sandwiches we pitch in to help Lori cook the Thanksgiving meal. We may be in Brazil, but the menu is traditional American. Lori is from Pennsylvania so she is preparing her family favorites. There’s turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and sweet potatoes. And of course there is American football on TV all day long. But here the play-by-play is in Portuguese. For dessert Donna and I are making the apple pie. No Pillsbury pie pastry in the refrigerator aisle of your local grocery, so we’re working from scratch. What started a year ago with a Facebook post has now come full circle.
Today is our last full day in Penápolis. Tomorrow we drive to São Paulo. Thanks for reading!
From the poolside kiosk at Maria Helena’s …
Today we took it easy. Donna, John, and Juliana did a couple of shopping trips with John and Lori. I wanted to get a couple of things done, so for me it was a nice relaxing day next to the pool.
After breakfast I spend a few hours in the kiosk working on this year’s holiday card. I usually try to have the card close to complete by Thanksgiving, but between getting ready for this trip and actually taking this trip, I’m a little behind on putting the card together. So anything I can get done while I’m here helps. As a bonus I also added a translation button to the blog so people here can read the posts in Portuguese.
For lunch John grills steaks on the kiosk BBQ. We sample linguiça sausage, picanha steak, and chuck eye roll. The sausage and steaks are cut into half inch slices and served. The flavor with an aperole spritzer is incredible!
After lunch we spend a couple of hours in the pool waiting for the eventual rains. Then more more steaks on the grill for dinner. After all, this is Brazil! Thanks for reading. Thanksgiving in Brazil tomorrow!
From the kiosk at Maria Helena’s in Penápolis …
After a full day of activity yesterday, it’s a late start today. We begin with a trip to the new Garden Shopping mall in Penápolis. There’s a food court, cinema, and air conditioning and it’s a very popular addition located on the edge of town for shopping, lunch, or to cool off on a hot day.
A little bit about Penápolis. It’s a city of about 60,000 people located about 5 hour drive from both Säo Paolo and a 10 drive to Rio de Janeiro. The local economy is primarily based on agriculture, but this isn’t a sleepy farm town. Penápolis has a vibrant downtown area with restaurants, bars, shopping, and a new 1.5 kilometer walking path lined with a series of CrossFit gyms. Judging by the number of people on the walking path and in the gyms the people of Penápolis must be in good shape. Apparently they also need anti-inflammatories. There are a surprising number of “drogarias” or drugstores here. And while Thanksgiving isn’t really a thing in Brazil, most stores in Penápolis have signs in the windows advertising Black Friday sales!
After lunch we visit Creative, Lori’s art studio. Here Lori teaches weekend painting classes for kids. And she paints commissioned pieces as well. Located just up the street from Maria Helena’s the studio is spacious and, like the name, a creative haven!
Next we walk through downtown to see the shops and restaurants. Even in the middle of the afternoon the streets are full of people. While Lori and Donna shop John and I stop at Cafe Black coffee shop for some afternoon refreshment.
Tonight we’re having a pizza party in the cabana, known as a kiosk here, next to the pool. The kiosk has a pizza oven, so we’re in for a treat this evening with lots of friends and family!