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Tuesday, May 10th 2005

11:39 PM

My Last Few Days!

Maybe I'm down to my last week in Brazil, but after the last couple weekends, I'm seriously considering the possibility that I should just stay here!  Angela, Edmo, and I stayed at Pousada Bambu inside a National Park called Chapada dos Veadeiros this weekend.  NASA reports that this plateau is the most luminous point seen from earth's orbit.   Other people have reported sightings of aliens and various mystical properties of the area.  We arrived at the park headquarters at the EXACT MOMENT as the Rotary GSE team from Holland.  We had spent a lot of time with them a couple weeks ago when they were in Goiania, but neither we nor they had any idea that each other would be there.   It was a serendipitous introduction to our experiences inside the park. 

We found that Chapada dos Veadeiros has amazing hiking trails, rock formations, flowers, waterfalls, and canyons.  The lodging and the people we met were awesome!  We hiked Trilha dos Saltos for about 7 miles on Saturday to a 400 foot high waterfall, a 260 foot waterfall, and a set of massaging rapids.  The next day, we went to Salto do Raizama, Morada do Sol, and Vale da Lua.  I took almost 500 photographs, and I have posted only a few on two pages of my photo album.  I would highly recommend this area to anyone interested in ecotourism and natural beauty.

http://www.mdurward.com/chapada1.htm
http://www.mdurward.com/chapada2.htm

I have only three more days in Goiania.  I miss everyone at home (especially Maggie), but in many ways, I can't imagine leaving here.  Everyone is asking why I need to leave and when I'm coming back. 

I'm going shopping tomorrow morning, having lunch with Leo, spending the afternoon with my friends Sebastao and his family (they will be meeting me in Chicago in June), and making dinner for some of my extended family here tomorrow night.  Thursday will be my last salon day, more shopping, and my last Rotary meeting that night.  I'm taking a bus to Sao Paulo on Friday night and meeting Lenora at the rodoviaria on Saturday morning.  We'll take a taxi together to Dante's apartment, and the three of us will spend my last weekend together. 

I'll arrive in Chicago on Tuesday morning, and I'll turn on my Duluth cell phone as soon as I clear Customs.   I'm driving to Minneapolis that day in time for a class starting on Wednesday.  I'm taking five Prosource classes in the next few weeks because it's the cheapest and fastest way possible to get my Minnesota Appraiser license.  I'm thinking that's probably my best option at the moment for employment.  If anyone reading this has any good suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them.  I'm looking for interesting, challenging work in Duluth with plenty of flexibility.  And no, being a local assessor is not going to be one of the options! 

I'll be back in Duluth the night of Thursday, May 19.  The hot tub will be open and I'd love company.  I'm going to Salsa Night Friday night at the Blue Note Cafe in Canal Park. 

For those of you in Duluth, take a look at the new AFS web site that I have been working on from Brasil.  It's http://www.afsnorth.org.  If you have enjoyed following my experiences, you could also have children from all over the world by opening your heart and your home to one of our new students. 
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