I can't believe I haven't written about food. I've been eating extremely well, thank you very much. Tonight I decided to try the pizza place I can see from the hotel window. I've had pizza a couple of times but none like this one. This is the piece I couldn't possibly finish and so brought back to put in my mini-fridge.
I wish I had a picture of the whole pie, complete with the smell and taste, and maybe the sight of the clay pizza oven. It was delicious--and salty, with anchovies, olives, capers, tomatoes and mozzarella. The waiter served me the first piece, and when I began to serve myself the second, he rushed over and took the utensils from me. First he took the olive pits and a bit of crust I'd left on the plate, then he served my piece. I got the message: that was his job and he was not going to stand back and let me make a hash of it.
What else have I been eating? In the schools there has been a great buffet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also lots of meat. Always rice and beans. I've eaten at some of the buffet restaurants where you pay by the kilogram. Very nice, very basic, and pretty cheap. I've had temaki a couple of times as well.
Best of all have been the fruits and fruit juices. Bananas taste much better here than at home. Had I ever tasted fresh papaya before this? At breakfast in the hotel there is always a big tray of papaya, pineapple, melon. At the British School last week one day I had a giant portion of mango. I've had acai pulp and acerola juice, as well as fresh lemonade, orange juice, passion fruit juice and a refreshing pineapple juice with mint. I had a few bites of Pati's pineapple mint ice cream last week. Yum. In Rio, we had coconut juice straight from the coconut, then scraped out the inside with a bit of the rind. Refreshing.
I've eaten a couple of unusual (for me) combinations: a banana and cheese toasted sandwich with cinnamon, and a Romeu e Julieta, which is a mango paste with melted cheese on top. Both were tasty.
I've been asking Brazilians who have been abroad how they manage without all the fresh fruits and juices. It must be a real hardship.