Actually, our flight landed in Ribeirão Preto where we met Maura, our host teacher and her friend Teco, another English teacher in the school. We stayed in Ribeirão Preto for a quick dinner before the hour and a half car ride through sugar cane fields to Ibitinga.
Ibitinga, we read, is the embroidery capital of Brazil. We weren’t sure what that meant exactly but we soon found out. It actually refers to bedding. Ibitinga is the bedding capital of Brazil. It manufactures thousands of styles of sheets, comforters, blankets, towels, and so on for people to buy, resale, export, etc. It is a giant Bed, Bath, and Beyond…On weekends tour buses converge on the city where people from all over the country come to buy in bulk and bring it home to sell.
The industry provides is a stable economy for the city. Between that and the sugar cane and orange juice (we later found out) industry, the city is actually pretty middle class. We saw signs of an up-and-coming city that is building new roads, improving existing infrastructure, beautification projects and new buildings. While the city is predominately lower middle/middle class, we did see the poorer aspects of the city as well as some of the wealthy. It was very interesting because the city is situated by itself and fairly far from any surrounding cities.
Maura drove us to the hotel and and told us we we would meet for breakfast the next morning. She wanted to get started bright and early the next day… It was time to see some schools and learn more about the education system.
Here are some pictures from my hotel window and taken around town-