A couple things I wanted to mention that I saw in Porto Alegre and on my way to Gramado:
1. In the Porto Alegre bus station, there was a real-live gaucho! He was black, mid- to late-sixties, had a long cowboy moustache, and was wearing beige gaucho pants tucked into high, beige boots. He had on a thick, black belt, a white shirt buttoned all the way up, and was wearing a wide, cowboy style hat. His traveling companion was a younger man, probably his son, who was wearing a tee-shirt, jeans, running shoes, and had pierced ears. Ah, generational differences. Anyway I loved seeing a real gaucho waiting for the bus. Guess his horse was in the shop, HAW HAW.
2. On the way from Porto Alegre to Gramado, I noticed that along with flowering trees, pines, etc., there were lots of palm trees growing on the hills. Are palm trees indigenous to southern Brazil, or is this a Stanford palm tree type thing, where someone paid dearly to have them planted? I can't imagine that in rural areas in this country, anyone would pay to have non-native trees planted, but who knows. That was interesting. Wish I knew more about plants. Sort of.