I was laughing in wonder as I watched these guys treat a mother dog and her two puppies for fleas. It probably wasn’t something to laugh at but it just seemed so bizarre. They used a two liter coke bottle filled with the blackest used motor oil and poured it all over these poor dogs. From branco to preto with just a little oil.
They said it works very well to treat flees and the dogs seemed to enjoy the oil massage. The oil was rubbed into the fur and the dogs that were once white and brown were now completely black. What happens when they start to lick the oil off?
I indulged in a little personal care as well with my first professional straight razor shave and a haircut. After looking at some of the pictures of myself I figured some grooming was in order. I headed down to the praça, or park area, and walked into a barber shop filled with old men. It wasn’t easy trying to explain in broken Portuguese what I wanted but it worked out well.
The shave took almost 45 minutes and my face was prepped with cachaça before being lathered up. The alcohol was so strong my eyes were watering and I started to choke and gag at the nauseating booze smell. But when it was finished I had the best shave of my life and nice trim of my grown out buzz cut. I felt like a million Reais (which is about 600,000 US right now).
Rio Branco is a large enough city where I could find some very necessary parts for my bike once again. After all the wear and tear and 2000 miles across the continent I had to replace the bottom bracket (for you bike enthusiasts I had to buy a whole new Shimano Alivio crankset since they didn’t sell a new bearing set separately for the Ultegra components, bummer) and a bearing set for my headtube. Both were completely smooshed and crumbling apart when I removed them. At this point I have replaced nearly the entire drive train of the bike.
I visited the market area with enormous trees and bamboo shoots providing cover overhead. I like to see all the herbal remedies from Amazonian plants in hand labeled bottles. I saw one that contained a crushed green powder in a 500 mL plastic soda bottle with a handwritten “Viagra” label on it and nothing more. No thanks.
While enjoying a beer at a bar next to my hotel I watched a man grab a goiaba from the gutter, cut it open, and squeeze the juice into a plastic cup of cachaça. I imagined it tasted pretty good. Shortly there after his friend came in with a plastic bag full of uncooked hot dogs and sausages. He handed them out to any takers. Uncooked hot dogs aren’t a big deal but sausages? I was offered some but politely declined.
The other night I was speaking with some Brazilian men staying in the same hotel as me on business. They took me out for some Brazilian cuisine I had yet to indulge in. In a broth was boiled ox tail, shrimp, rice, and an Amazonian plant that made your mouth numb after eating it. The ox tail was very tasty and tender.
While we ate under a thatched street side hut it poured rain as it has everyday, sometimes all day long. The streets looked like rapids it was so heavy at one point. If you had an inflatable tube you could float down the gutter. This made me think of the road ahead in Peru.