Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Reminder of How Gaucho It Really Is in Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is a big, modern, first world city. Driving around town, you see imported BMW's and Jaguars, McDonald's and Pizza Hut Restaurants, high-rise apartment buildings, and gleaming office complexes. We have modern telecommunication and transportation systems, more trees per person than any other city in Brazil, a first-class (if small) airport, sewage treatment, drinkable water, classical music schools and world-class sports teams.

But every once in a while, you run across something that reminds you how very, well...Gaucho Porto Alegre really is. This modern city is rooted in the past. They take tremendous pride in their romanticized version of their independent cowboy roots. This proud, independent, free-range cowboboy spirit runs deep in their souls. For example, two weeks ago I was coming out of a slum with my survey team and got stuck in a traffic jam for 10 minutes - a traffic jam of horses, that is. A steady stream of many hundreds of horses and riders was coming down the street in all of their gaucho finery. One of the Gaucho Tradition Centers was out for a ride, and everything stopped. If they had been wearing armour instead of cowboy clothes, it could have been the scene from the "Lord of the Rings-Return of the King" movie where the riders of Rohan cover the entire screen for minutes with innumerable horses.As it is, I've never seen an old Western film that had as many horses as clogged up the street in front of my minivan - it was incredible.

I read the other day that several thousand riders went on their yearly ride down the coastal beaches. If we're going to stick around, I might need to figure out how to get a horse into my fifth story apartment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How's everybody?
After I read what you wrote about Porto Alegre, I can't wait to know this city, because seems cool!!!
We are praying for you and we believe that God has a wonderful purpose to do in this city.
A maranhense hug.
We love u.