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Monday, May 5, 2013 | Touring throughout Brazil

With Waldemar Schmitke safely on board along with colleague Florian Roscheck, Team 3 is now all present and correct. Our arrival in Porto Alegre is accompanied by heavy rain, but it soon clears, out comes the Brazilian sun, and soon we are basking in a temperature of 28C, as we would expect! We spend some time in Porto Alegre shopping for fruit-sized vitamins to take with us on the journey. As we wander around the city we come across a lot of German sounding logos such as “Eisenbahn” (“Railway”). It proves to be a brand of beer, testifying to the well-known German brewing tradition in Brazilian beer.

The Editourmobil is parked in a secure, supervised car park and is now being prepared for the journey. Everything seems to be OK from a technical point of view apart from a few minor glitches. The fridge and cupboards are crammed with food and drink, so we are now ready for the off.Our first appointment takes us through some beautiful mountain scenery to Campo Branco in the Serra Gaucha to MINERAÇAO CAMPO BRANCO. For the last part of the journey we find ourselves on a bumpy dirt road leading to the bottling plant and the mineral water spring. Here we are greeted by Erminio Viran, General Director of the family business, and himself a member of the founding family. The company uses its own spring to fill 0.5 up to 20 litre PET bottles and also PP/PET water dispensers. The bottling operation is clearly laid out and in the event of machine breakdown the labels are applied by hand.

After finishing our meeting, we take the same pleasant route back and continue our journey to the coast. May 1 is also a bank holiday in Brazil so we take the opportunity of enjoying some free time at the seaside. Suitably refreshed and invigorated, we head off to our next appointment in the state of Parana. We are hardly on the motorway when we get an unpleasant surprise. We hear an ominous rattling sound coming from the roof of the Editourmobil and upon investigating discover a loose cable. It didn’t take more than a moment for us to realise what had happened. The cable should have connected to a solar panel which was fitted to the roof of the vehicle. This provides additional power to the batteries when the vehicle is stationary. The solar panel is missing, obviously stolen sometime in the past couple of days. So for the rest of the tour, we are not going to be able to take advantage of the plentiful supply of Brazilian sunshine. It leaves us with an uneasy feeling. There’s nothing for it, however, but to press on regardless, and so we continue on our way. Our objective is HUGO CINI S.A. Sao Jose dos Pinhais, a family business going back 109 years and one of the pioneers in PET packaging in Brazil. The soft drinks which they produce have been developed to meet the particular tastes of the region of Parana. According to Director Nilo Cini Jr. “we are thus continuing our tradition of not targeting the standard beverage market”. After a tour of the plant we take our leave and set out in search of a safe place to park the Editourmobil for the night. The mercury is now hitting 30C, although rain is forecast. An ideal moment for a dip in the sea, as there’s no knowing how long the good weather will last.

The weekend is put to good use, namely covering the 700 or so kilometres to our next appointment. We know from bitter experience to allow plenty of time for these long hauls. There’s no problem on the Brazilian motorways but in and around the cities there is a significant volume of traffic and frankly the infrastructure plays havoc with timings. However, once there, we are dismayed to note that we are entirely in the wrong location. Somehow or other Manaira has got confused with Maringa, which is where we currently are. Manaira is where we are supposed to be, and unfortunately for us, it’s 2,500 kilometres away! O, sh…..!

By Waldemar Schmitke