Belgian Team GSE Brazil May 2010

Carnet de voyage à Belo Horizonte

Inhotim entrance lake

Rotary District 1620 - Belgium visits Rotary District 4760 - Brazil.

Durée : 32 jours ( du 08/05/2010 au 08/06/2010)
Zone : Belo Horizonte (+ de carnets de voyage) (Carnet non sélectionné)[?]
Partager / Envoyer : Sur Facebook Sur Google+ Sur Twitter Par E-mail
Carnet de voyage créé par gillesmillecam
Le 26 avril 2010

Vu 1765 fois
1 2 >

GSE Team members

Members of the Belgian Team :

Philippe Caron -

Britt Roels -

Ilse De Bruyckere -

Livia Iannetti -

Gilles Millecam -

Information about our journey :

GSE Team Brazil 2010 #1
GSE Team Brazil 2010
GSE Team members 3
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

First day in Brazil

First Day in Brazil (Gilles is writing)

Morning :

After taking breakfast with the parents of my hostfamily around 8 am, the van (car) picked me up for the first day in Brazil.

Livia was already in the van and was waiting for me with our van-driver called Paolo.

We began our trip to pick up Britt, Ilse and Philippe.

Everything was alright for everybody. Everybody slept well after our tiring trip by plane (25 hours trip from Bruxelles to Belo Horizonte via Lisbon in Portugual).

During the morning, we visited a handicraft Fair on a big avenue of the old city of Belo Horizonte (Afonso Pena Avenue).

Ilse and me also went to the park just next the Avenue. The park was very pleasant : tennis court, waterplans, concert of Traviata of Verdi outdoor, attractions for children as in a theme park and some donkeys for children as ponies in our countries.

Afternoon :

In the beginning of the afternoon, i went to one sister's of my father with the whole family (the 2 parents + the 4 boys). This house is in the suburbs not far from the football (soccer) stadium. They celebrated Mother's Day and we had lunch over there with more than 20 people. I drank my first brazilian Cachaça and my first brazilian beer (Skol). We have eaten 'Coq au vin' with delicious rice and some potatoes-crisps.

After that, we left this house and this celebration to go to the football match at the stadium. Football is a real religion in Brazil and the way they play has really no comparison with football in Europe. It was a match between the team of Minas Geiras against a team from the region of Rio de Janeiro. We won 2-1 and it was very pleasant for all of us.

After that, we came back at home and I spent the evening with my host-family.

Tomorrow, I'm going to visit 2 banks in Belo Horizonte.

Gilles's hostfamily from BH
At the handycraft market on Sunday morning
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Second Day in Belo Horizonte


(Gilles is writing)

On the schedule, it was normally vacational day today but this morning, Bruno, the engineer, picked me up and we went to the Bank Bonsucecco. We had a meeting with guys who are working in credit for paychecks and some other kinds of credits but also credits through cars dealers as we do in my company in Belgium with Van Breda Car Finance. So it was interesting to discover how they manage their credits, the risks and guarantees. They were also interested in the way we do credit in a company in Belgium. I met 4 different people in this bank. All from the financial branch (the other branch is the commercial one with the cars dealers). They begin to work also in the world of the home equities. During the meeting, Bruno, the engineer was the translator (Portuguese 2 English) but we were also joined by Jose who is accountant for people who do not agree with the pension salary they get.

After this interesting meeting, we came for lunch with the brother of Bruno (engineer too) and with Livia. Livia gave me my brasilian simcard so now I'm available by phone in brazil.

The lunch was very good. Meat, rice, potatoes and.... (help me Livia).

During the afternoon, I went with Bruno and with a company leader to an office of HSBC in BH and moreover in the HSBC premier corner. After a quick visit of the office and taking a coffee, I had a meeting with the director of the office but also with Quintiliano who is Assistant in the premier center of the HSBC Premier in BH. The conversation was really interesting for both sides i I think because there are so many differences between Brazil and Belgium (or Europe) in what concerns savings and investments. Laws make the difference but also the story of the economy and the political goals of the countries. I was amazed to see how investors must do in Brazil if they want to invest their money on stock markets all over the world. It's possible but so complicated at this time... you easily understand the political and economic goals with the rules of making banking today in Brazil.

The weather was very bad today in Belo Horizonte. Lots of wind, rains, and around 16 degrees. But sun is in our hearts. Moreover, I spent all my time in offices and during the lunch in a big commercial mall (very nice).

I also spent time on streets of the city during our trips by car from one point to another one so I could see how life is going during a working-day in BH.

I'm now at home and will have dinner with my host family.

Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

First impressions


After a long long trip, we arrived around 11pm in Belo Horizonte. An entire Rotary group was waiting and cheering for us when we left the airport. Everyone was so nice,open and warm. They knew our names and faces and we were all a little overwhelmed and of course very tired. But the warmth of the Brazilians put smiles on our faces.
After the welcome and receiving some gifts, we all left with our families. I am staying with my guest mother Rosa, guest father Paulo and their daughter Livia. Livia and I are both interested in similar issues, so we hit it off immediately, talking the entire 40 minutes drive home.
The family lives in a very nice apartment, reminds me a bit of New York apartments.
After a very short night of sleep, I had breakfast with the family and tried to speak Portuguese for the first time...It's a fun challenge. We talked about Brazilian politics and Belgium politics and the problems of our government.
The driver of the van which is going to take us through the entire state of Minas Gerais picked me up around 8.30 am. Gilles and Livia were already in the van and we started exchanging our exciting experiences. We picked up Ilse and Philippe and met with a Rotarian woman named Margareth. She took us to a fair where artisanas are sold. There were a lot of people and Livia and I started shopping for earrings and gifts. Around noon the others left for their families and I stayed a little bit longer with Margareth. She took me to her house where I met her japanese mother who came to Brazil more than 50 years ago. Margareth still speaks japanese with her mom. I also met her daughter whose father is from Lebanon. Mixed people everywhere, I love it.
After I had lunch with my family and since it was mother's day, Rosa's parents and Paulo's sister were visiting. And so I tried more Portuguese...
Around 4pm: We went with the GSE group to my first soccer game ever. We cheered for the Belo team Atlantico together with Livia's host family and we won. A very nice experience.
At night: tired and jet lagged, watched some Brazilian shows on TV with my family.
Today: a very busy full program: our vocational days. Margareth took me to two universities where I met people specialized in refugees and migration and I even paid a short visit to a favela where there is a social project run by one of the universities. I learned a lot: my head is full of new information, given to me mostly in Portuguese, but everything is great.
Tudo bem, as they say it here.


Livia and Margareth at the market
Brazilian souvenirs at the fair
'Bonecas', Brazilian dolls
Lunch for mother's day with the family
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Ouro Preto Day

(Gilles is writing) This Tuesday 11 May was very cultural for us. It was also a very foggy, cloudy and 'rainy' day but it was nice to have this tropical impressions in the green hills (1200 metres altitude).

We took the road for the city of Vila Rica do Ouro Preto (from Portuguese, Rich Village of Black Gold).

It's a city in the state we visit (Minas Gerais), a former colonial mining town located in the Serra do Espinhaço mountains and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its outstanding Baroque architecture. Founded at the end of the 17th century, was the focal point of the gold rush and Brazil's golden age in the 18th century under Portuguese rule.

In the morning, we stopped first in a shop on the road which was selling semi-precious gemstones. We arrived in Ouro Preto around 11 am and we began with a church-site where we have a very good point of viewing for the whole city and on the several churches of the city. A particular thing is that all churches are watching themselves (I mean in the way they are displayed).

We visited a second church and have lunch with typical traditional brazilian food.

During the afternoon, we went inside churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho.

We also visited an interesting museum about the story of the town but also about Minas Gerais. It was interesting to learn how Ouro Preto was the birthplace of the Inconfidência Mineira, a failed attempt to gain independence from Portugal. The leading figure,Tiradentes, was hanged as a threat to any future revolutionaries. Ouro Preto was capital of Minas Gerais from 1822 until 1897, when the needs of government outgrew this town in the valley. The state government was moved to the new, planned city of Belo Horizonte where we are spending time for this time.

I would like to thank very well our guide for the day : Luciana de Assis Lage.

Journée à Ouro Preto
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Busy and sunny day in Belo Horizonte

(Gilles is writing)

We started our busy day in BH with meeting a nice young girl from US who is in Brazil for 10 months with the Rotary youth exchange programme : Anna.

After taking everybody with the van, we went to the central market of BH. We visited the market during 2 hours. The central market is food and non-food. It was the opportunity for some of us to drink water from fresh coconuts or buy Cachaça or some other local products from Brazil.

We had lunch in a restaurant where we att typical Minas Geiras food and specially desserts.

In the afternoon, we first went to a museum next to the central train station of BH : Arts and Workmanship Museum.

In the end of the afternoon, after a quick step in Margareth's house (our lovely guide for the day), we went to the neighborhood of Pampulha : a nice place where I went with my host-family last Sunday afternoon before the soccer match. A lake, a church in a very spacious place. Traffic was terrible so we cross into the university campus to get there...

After some traffic jams or difficulties, we finally got back to our host-families for the evening.

Tomorrow is already our last day in BH...

A special and big thank (muito muito muito obrigado) to our very devoted guide Margareth !!!

Team in the Arts and Works Musem of BH
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Green day and formal Rotary evening

(Gilles writing in the van from Belo Horizonte to Cordiburgo)

This Thursday, we went to Inhotim. Inhotim is a very special place. It is a big park (botanical garden) with different gardens, waterplans, trees, vegetation but also with spaces of Modern Art inside several buildings. It's a kind of outdoor museum.

Art is visual through paintings, objects, cars, swimmingpools, little lakes (sometimes like Salvator Dali's works) but also audio surrounding-sound systems with a dozen of speakers (choral or concert voices).

We had a great time all morning long with very sunny weather. Blue skies and around 20 degrees. Very pleasant morning at this nice place (cost of the site was 90 millions USD, built by a rich businessman).

We left Inhotim to have lunch at the farm 'Vale Verde'. Overthere, there is a restaurant but also some gardens and waterplans. We admired some tropical birds (toucan, ....)

We came back home around 5 pm. Our last moments home in Belo Horizonte....

In the evening, we went to the Rotary club of Pampulha for the traditionnal weekly meeting. We presented ourselves and we also did a presentation about Belgium. It was a first experience to speak (to read for most of us) in Portuguese in front of an audience. We ate good Brazilian food and we also listened to speeches from Rotary Youth Exchange students who went abroad recently. We also met and spoke with Brazilian people who came to Belgium these last years.

It was a very interesting evening because we got in touch with a lot of people and it was also nice to share time with host-families of the GSE group's other members.

Livia and her outgoing host-family went dancing a samba club.

Inhotim entrance
Inhotim entrance lake
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Leaving Belo Horizonte for Curvelo with step in Cordisburgo

(Gilles is writing)

This 14th May, we left the city of Belo Horizonte. We said "Adeus" to our host-families and took the road for next city with our new hostilities and new adventures.

Before our arrival in Curvelo, we made a step in the city of Cordisburgo where we visited the house of a popular Brazilian writer : João Guimarães Rosa.

This visit reminds me the visit of E. Hemingway's house in Key West (Florida, USA). Understanding his work and his description style is an easy way to understand from where Brazil comes and the reality of nowadays.

After this visit, we went to have lunch in a lovely place where we visited a cave during the afternoon. This visit was interesting but so hot and wet inside this natural cave.

We left Cordisburgo at the end of the afternoon for Curvelo where we got a exceptional warm welcome from our host-families after the visit of a church of the city. This visit was important to understand the history of this city and moreover the history of Brazil. Curvelo is a town of 80 000 people and the city lives mainly with the farms in the surroundings. We could see workers coming back by bus for the weekend from the farms to Curvelo.

My mother 'Fatima' took me in her car and before going home, we went to her office. She's physiotherapist and I could saw her colleagues, her patients and her day to day work. I found this thing particularly great because I could more understand who she is. Just after this short visit, she brought me to a place in Curvelo where they were preparing a cow-fair for the next weekend. It's a bit similar to the cow-fair organised by the Rotary Club of Dottignies Val D'Espierre the first weekend of May :-) My father is Marco. He's a doctor but don't speak so much level of Portuguese is so poor that it's difficult to communicate...Hopefully for me my mother speaks good English... I met their son Gabriel who was coming back from football ;-)

We had great time during the evening. We were invited in a farm where they had organized a party were we ate typical Brazilian food but also a gift they made : a typical belgian Waterzooi. Beers (Skol, Brahma, Antarctica Original) and Cachaça were also programmed.

They asked us to give our first feeling after some days spent in Brazil and we danced on brazilian music and I have even sung with the singer who was there.

I could give another title for this report : The eating day. Brazilian people eat a lot. This is the feeling we have... On the day of Friday, I ate 6 times (2 breakfasts during the morning, one lunch, one meal at 06.00, the meal at 08.00 and the waterzooi around 10.00). It's really amazing and it will be very difficult not to take weight overhere...

Ilse has a nickname here in Curvelo : professor de dança.

After the "party" in the farm, I got back home where I met my 2 sisters who were back from Belo Horizonte where they study law overthere. Julia and Luiza. Luiza went in Belgium (Virton) last year so we speak together in french and she is very friendly (that's normal, she's my sister LOL ;-) ).

Le drapeau Belge sur le van
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Weekend in Diamantina

(Gilles is writing)

Our really first full weekend in Brazil. On Saturday morning, we went to the city of Diamantina. This is the city of gold and diamonds. There is an interesting story about this town to understand the mix of cultures in Brazil and moreover the diversity of the skin-colors in this country. In the past, in this city, for the first time an important white rich man who had power in the city decided to have a relationship with a black slave-woman.

We started the day with an exceptional visit of a site where people are searching for gold and diamonds. The visit was very interesting because the man showed all the process of finding gold and diamonds. The natural site where they work is really nice. Until now, this is perhaps the best visit I did here in Minas Geiras.

We had lunch in the center of the city of Diamantina. After lunch, we did a small walk in the center of the city and visited a church.

We took the van to reach such a nice place in the countryside in the middle of the hills. That's where we will sleep for the night.

After good time and rest-time at this place, we had dinner there and some of us came again in the city center for a walk by night.

Sunday morning was wonderful. We went to natural waterfalls in the middle of nowhere in the countryside and we swam there for more than a hour.

In this surrounding, we also discovered natural prehistoric paintings on hill's walls. We had lunch in a lovely place called Bibi-biri. This Sunday was very hot and sunny so, it was pleasant to eat under the shadow of the trees. Also a good moment to learn how to appreciate cachaça. The way to go back to Curvelo during the afternoon was pretty long so we arrived in Curvelo, it was already the night... I watched the second part-time of soccer with my host-family and also had great time with conversations with sister Luiza and mum. My mum is really interested with Belgium and wanted to understand much more our history and what we are living now with the BHV problem...So I explained her the roots of our country and why the situation is like that today.

Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires


Hi everyone,

Since Gilles is writing most of what we visit and see, I am limiting my contribution to some pictures. I hope you enjoy them.


Quote, Cordisburgo
Voir le récit avec photos et commentaires

Découvrez aussi tous les autres carnets de voyage à Belo Horizonte proposés par les Visoterriens.

1 2 >
Carte du voyage
Chercher dans Visoterra