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Sunday, January 27, 2008

visiting HOME

I will take a minute to say I am sorry that Rosemary gave up writing on the blog - her humorous entries offset my serious nicely and I will miss it if she doesn't come on and make comments from time to time. Back in the USA!

I've been here for three days and think that today is the worst of the Jet Lag. The first days are always so great to be back that I don't feel any fatigue - but today is bad. Droopy eyes, dragging butt, and lagging spirits.

These are the things I miss when in Brasil.
Marissa - Granddaughter - age 12:
Carl- Grandson - age 17 (18 in April):
Louise a long time friend here celebrating her birthday with ME and her daughter-in-law Lilibeth.
And (but not as much) shopping.
The thing now being featured in BEST BUY is flat panel HDTVs - it was just announced that TV transmission will from now on be in HD format only - my understanding is nil / nada / zip - but it seems if you have an older TV you have to buy a new one or purchase some special 'black box' to convert the transmission or not watch TV the great American Pass-Time. This should help China's and Japan's economy right?  Prices seemed to be good though - 21" flat panel only! US$229.00 to a 42" Sony US$1300.00 - JEEZ! The NEW National personal debt will now be US$GAZILLION after everyone runs out and charges a new flat panel HDTV. Maybe this was Bush's great economic salvation plan.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Landcapes: Kristiansand, Norway

DSC01420 DSC01374 DSC01392 DSC01421DSC01387
DSC01412Park Baneheia above the city of Kristiansand, Norway. A forest reclaimed by the city. Once destroyed by the locals as a 'area of disease', the city dredged the lakes from swamp and planted 40,000 trees. Now a place of beauty, laced with miles hiking and biking trails.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lights Out

All I can say is it is rainy season again. EVERYDAY it rains, sometimes the whole day is cloudy and dreary but generally we have bright sun, beautiful skies and birds singing in the early morning. At about 10 am, the darker clouds start building and by around two in the afternoon, we start hearing thunder at a distance, moving closer and by evening it has either rained and cleared, or is into serious storms. I suspect this has a lot to do with the heat in Rio and the Macacu valley (reserve) pumping inland and up into the cooler air in the mountains but regardless of Mother Nature's reasons, for us it means NO LIGHTS, telephones or Internet. EVERYDAY! we have an outage of electricity at some point. The last 4 days it has happened right at dusk, duration of an hour to 5 hours. For all of you that live in a city, this means dinner by candlelight, solitaire with cards (for you fellow addict - no spider solitaire), no 'law and order' and COLD showers. Compensation, we get to wake to a view of the valley that takes your breath away. The world washed clean of smoke and haze, and the forest a healthy bright green.
All that TV and Computer is bad for your eyes anyway. Yep! bed by nine and awake as the sun rises - that's the way to live(?).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Carnaval 2008 begins

Meet Tatiana my Portuguese teacher and Paulista, her namorado. They invited me to visit the VILAGE samba school in Nova Friburgo on Friday night.
This was an effort to help me 'integrate' more fully into the Brazilian culture. Saturday morning I woke up barely able to move. (and I only drank 1 1/2 beers- can you imagine how the rest of them felt.)
I was scheduled for a spinning class at the gym at 10:30 but I had danced until 1:30 in the morning (more like just moved because I can't do that circle movement of the feet thing, that would make my big b.... jiggle and sway from side to side.) I woke up not knowing if I could sweat for the Goddess of fitness on the bike for hour. (I did it with grace if not full energy - my Baptist upbringing demanded that I meet my obligations if I was going to party so hardy.)
This feeling brought to mind, and helped me understand (no-No not fully understand, but at least empathized with) the work slow downs that happen in Brazil from now until end of Carnaval.
One thing I have to say is that Brazilians know how to have a great time, let their hair down, go for the pleasure of the moment - leave all their problems at the door.
Can you think of any other cliches that apply?
I was invited only to the Friburgo Samba school's warming-up party but from now until the Carnaval parade on FAT Tuesday, these Friburgenses, this Brazilian sampling of young and old, rich and poor, will show up at this big warehouse after eleven pm nearly every night, to practice their dancing, sing their new Samba's words until it is etched into their brains, and generally work themselves into a beer induced frenzy in preparation for LENT.
Whether they believe in the denial of Lent or not, I am positive they believe in the release of the BIG PARTY called carnaval and who needs to work during the next two plus weeks anyway.