I travel quite a bit around the US and, lately, even around the world, in my role as a principal analyst and CEO for DCIG. However, my experiences on my current trip to Recife, Brazil, are a little outside of the norm as I am staying in Recife, Brazil, in an AirBnB that primarily targets Portuguese-speaking Brazilians. This has forced me to know at least some Portuguese to operate (i.e., buy and order food and hail Ubers.) Further, my experiences with stray horses and the Omaha Hamburgueria may not align with what one might expect if staying at a resort specifically targeted at English-speaking tourists.
Stray Cats, Dogs, … and Horses
Having previously stayed at AirBnBs, motels, and hotels on US coasts, I expect to find stray cats and dogs along the beach. No place better illustrates this than the annual Acronis CyberFit conference held annually at the Fountainebleau Hotel located in Miami Beach. Next to the boardwalk on the beach just outside that hotel, there resides an entire colony of stray cats protected by law.
As such, I expect to encounter stray cats and dogs while walking along the beach and perhaps even some other nocturnal critters. However, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to encounter stray horses along the beach front much less wandering the residential streets at night.
My first hint (which I did not perceive as a hint) that something was amiss was the presence of horse dung on a sidewalk. I encountered them while walking along the streets this past weekend but did not really think much of it at the time. I had already noticed individuals riding on horseback on the beach. I assumed these individuals had simply taken their horses for a ride through the streets after running along the beach. Hence, I figured that was the source of the horse manure on the street sidewalks.
Yet one night as my family walked home after eating out (more about that coming up next,) we encountered four horses on the street in front of our AirBnB. At first, I looked around. I thought surely their owner must live in the neighborhood and the horses had simply gotten out. That was not the case.
Then I wondered, “Had these wild horses ever been previously domesticated?” Having grown up on a farm and been around horses a bit, I cautiously approached one of them over my wife’s vocal objections. She jokingly warned me that if I ended up with hoof-in-mouth disease, I was on own.
Thankfully, the horse remained docile as I approached and petted it. As I scratched its ears and face, it appeared poorly cared for and malnourished. While some grass grew on the street, it and the other three horses were mostly rooting through the garbage on the street looking for food.
Being in no position to care for it, I gave the horse a final pat and went in for the night. The next morning when my wife and I went out for our morning walk on the beach, we saw two of them again grazing on the beach.
We still do not know where the horses came from or who abandoned them. As previously mentioned, we had seen people riding them on the beach. We saw that horses were routinely used to pull carts through the streets. I can only conclude that these stray horses had outlived their usefulness and their previous owners simply turned them loose in the streets and left them to fend for themselves.
The Omaha Hamburgueria
In going through the Sao Paulo and Recife airports, all the signs provided instructions in both English and Portuguese. No such dual language options exist where we currently stay in Recife. Street signs display “Rua Santa Lucia” and “Rua Padre Nestor de Alencar,” assuming you can find any street signs at all.
So as my family and I walked along Rua Padre Nestor de Alencar exploring the beach on our first night, we saw “Omaha” on a restaurant sign. We were like, “What? How weird is that? Omaha must mean something in Portuguese.” Yet in asking my soon-to-be daughter-in-law what Omaha meant in Portuguese, she said Omaha did not mean anything in Portuguese to the best of her knowledge. Now my curiosity was piqued.
So one night after we got home from shopping at a mall in Recife, everyone was hungry. So, we thought, let’s check out this Omaha Hamburgueria place since it was only a few blocks from our AirBnB.
We quickly found the place only because we knew exactly where it was. (The place is so small it does not appear on either Apple or Google maps.) In fact, if we had failed to see and recognize the “Omaha” on the restaurant sign, we likely would not have noticed it all. Further, the restaurant had most of its seating outside on the sidewalk with two tables and eight chairs inside.
Since it was a warm evening (though what evening in Recife isn’t?), we sat outside. Once seated, we reviewed the menu. The choices? An Omaha Burger. An Oraculo Burger. A Nebraska Burger. There was even a Buffett Burger. Ok, now we had no choice but to ask what was going on.
We told the waiter we were from Omaha, NE, and he got very excited. He then brought the owner out to meet us and he gave us the quick rundown. It turns out he had read a book about Warren Buffett (or written by Warren Buffet, not sure which,) and got the idea to open a restaurant with an Omaha theme. (For those not familiar with Warren Buffett, he is one of the world’s richest men, and is known as the Oracle of Omaha since he lives in Omaha, NE.)
Located in Nebraska and famous for its beef (Omaha Beef) and Warren Buffett, the owner opened a hamburger stand. He then named most of the menu items after Omaha, Nebraska, and, of course, Warren Buffett. The great part was that the place makes a great burger and fries and we have already eaten there three times. I know, it is pathetic that we travel over five thousand miles from Omaha, NE, to Recife, Brazil, to eat hamburgers and fries at a place call the Omaha Hamburgueria.
Wrapping It Up
Now on my last week of my stay in Recife, I hope to post one more blog entry either late this week or early next after I return home. This past weekend we spent a day at a resort called Bora Bora and hope to visit a local museum in the next few days. I will try to share some more observations and thoughts about those experiences or whatever else tickles my fancy in my next and final blog entry about my trip to Recife.