Yes, I have; and if you had it, you’d be as worried as I am.

Japanese Knotweed

That’s it. Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), I’ve got it and if I hadn’t read about on The Guardian, I’d have never known it.

It’s an invasive species brought from Asia as an ornamental.

Then they found that once you got it… you’ve got it.

Apparently, this plant is so dangerous, that if there is any sign on your property, mortgage holders aren’t interested. In fact, if there is any sign in your neighborhood, they will not be interested.

It grows from it’s root system, and it’s root system is the problem, it can damage foundations and once established the root system is so wide spreading that it’s difficult to get rid of.

Yesterday was another BBQ.

This time Reimundo’s (the owner of the botequim) birthday. I got rather involved, hence the lack of a Sunday Travel post.

It all started like this…

Walk into the botequim at 11:30 “Good morning Reimundo, happy birthday!” He is twenty years my junior.

The greeting was returned as he served me a bottle of beer, got a chilled glass from the freezer and put the bottle in a camisinha; all without asking, this was normal. I absently-minded said nothing.

I poured my beer. Then I thought…

Conversation continued.

“Today is Sunday?” I asked.


“We are in Brazil?”

“Still,” Reimundo confirmed. He is a man of few words.

“I didn’t come here to drink beer,” I said, “I came to wish you happy birthday and then go and buy a loaf of bread.”

Reimundo laughed.

“Be careful about getting older,” I said, good advice for a birthday.

It was then that Reimundo informed me that the BBQ guy hadn’t arrived and he wanted to get the BBQ going.

No, problem, I volunteered to get things moving until Val arrived.

There were a lot of locals around, who watched me with interest. I lit the BBQ using my time honoured method of ripped cardboard. Ronaldo told me to use alcohol, never, this was cheaper. I soon had the BBQ glowing, much to Ronaldo’s surprise.

Still no Val.

Got meat and sausages on and in the space of 20 minutes had the first tray of BBQed meat circulating the locals. Many expressed surprise at how fast I had got things moving.

“I’m old, not slow!” I said turning a large slab of pork leg on the grill.

My kitchen pocket knife

So that’s where I stayed until Val arrived well more than an hour later. I handed him my kitchen pocket knife and steel, told him it was sharp and got another beer to relax.

And that’s what I did. Relax and savour the meat tray as it was passed around.

In fact I was still relaxing at 8:30pm after having shared 3 bottles of wine with the ‘ladies table.’

In most countries, the ladies gather together in the kitchen at parties. In Brazil they tend to gravitate toward one table.

Finally, I stopped relaxing and went home. Read my e-mails through drooping eyelids and decided sleep was the next move.