It's one thing to get great treatment from your hosts - in this case it was UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association - but it's another thing when you're off entirely on your own.
And so I was, breaking off from the group in Riberao Preto after the sugarcane ethanol plant and sugarcane field tour to look for an Internet cafe to file my online stories.
The group was at a famous open-air restaurant and cafe called Pinguim (Penguin - pictured) where we would lounge around for hours until the shuttle bus took us to the airport.
But getting some directions to the nearest Internet cafe, I took off and also got a chance to explore the town. Following directions is not my forte - just ask my wife. When I arrived at where I thought I should be, I walked into a modern looking store with a some computers and friendly staff.
No one spoke English - and why should they? It's a local town with few if any tourists.
But with my broken Spanish and not a lick of the local Portuguese language , I managed to convey my desire to get onto the Internet.
The friendly staff accomodated, but once I sat down at the computer terminal, the realization sunk in that this was not an Internet cafe, but something like a mobile phone store.
So the staff gave me a computer terminal to use in the middle of their showroom floor - a computer supposed to be used for staff and customers.
Not looking the gift horse in the mouth, I busily typed away, filing my stories and catching up with the wife. Before I knew it, after having been there for almost two hours, I was handed a phone - a call for me? Here, in the store? Really?
"Hello? It's Joe from ICIS," I said. On the other end: "Hello Joe. I'm so sorry, but we need to close the store now."
Apparently the staff had called someone who could speak English and tell me the store was closing. I would have thought anyone else should have employed the universal language of kicking someone out - no English required!
I was so grateful and amazed at their hospitality and tolerance of a silly tourist with a notepad thinking this was the place to use the computer.
Ever helpful to the end, as the store closed, one of the staff pointed me to the real Internet cafe - across the street.
Photo credit: Sites-do-Brasil.com