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Sunday, September 28, 2008

More about things to do in Rio

In what is likely to be our last outing as a group of friends living in Brasil, Camillo, Rio Rose and the Commandant, Sissi and Antonio (and I behind the camera) spent yesterday exploring Santa Teresa. It was a little dark, threatening rain and cool for Rio but - speaking for myself only - a totally enjoyable day. We visited the Museu da Chácara do Céu (r. Maurtinh Nobre, 93, tel. 2507-1932)  This Ultra modern home of industrialist Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya, completed in 1972, now houses his personal collection of art and books and has several rooms preserving the furniture and decorations of that era. It is more than worth the taxi ride and the R$2.00 cost of admittance. To the side of the museum - using the same parking lot - is the Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruínas - this remains of a house built in the forest has been preserved and enhanced with an interior metal staircase that circles to the top of the home and gives you a 360' view of Rio. Lapa

Centro Gloria

Santa Teresa
After the walk through of the museum and the 'ruins', we made a quick stop at our friends, Rosa and Paulo, to see how their new home is progressing. They are at about 5 years from having bought the land and three years into construction and the house is almost complete. I think it will be many more years before it is full of furniture, my impression is that each piece will have to be chosen with care in order to enhance the house's remarkable architectural design. For me the concept of a house, complimenting the surrounding city and forests, no real boundaries between inside or outside is the ultimate of living with nature. 
Santa Teresa is a small microcosm - a totally unique experience within the city of Rio. I think it would be great fun to go to Lapa and catch the trolley - hanging on all the way up to Santa Teresa, get off, have lunch at one of many small restaurants and then take the trolley back to Lapa.
The new house
DSC_9962    DSC_9970

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Around Rio - walking the beaches

From the edge of Copacabana (the Arpoador) to Alta Leblon the walk along the seawall takes about 45 minutes to an hour each way. The variation in the color of the sea and the sky makes the walk seem different each time I walk it. On either end is a pile of rocks with the sea often breaking up and over, sometimes appearing placid and restful, inviting sitting and reflecting. On Sundays the street next to the sea wall is closed to traffic and open to pedestrians - adding another layer of variety to what you can see.

hanging by the toenails....

In Rio and waiting for the days to pass so I can travel home to see my family, I walked to the end of Ipanema, the end between Ipanema and Copacabana called the Aporador. Climbing around on the rocks and enjoying the ocean sights and breezes, taking photos as I always do - I thought this cactus as an apt metaphor for LIFE , my life in particular. How do you like that? Its roots clinging precariously to the rocks, its flowers delicate and its fruit sweet (well I can take poetic license here), its protective thorns dangerous but not deadly, this desert plant growing in the land of palm trees - thriving because it is designed to survive despite its location, despite the weather, surviving because it draws nourishment from its surroundings. Possibly this is a lesson I could learn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Real winter in Nova Friburgo

In order to tell what month of the year it is for real, I count six months on my fingers - so September in the southern hemisphere is Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, March in the northern. Even after five years here my system needs this reality check to know what the weather should be doing.
For nearly a month we had hot dry weather, summertime temperatures, then three days ago it turned cold and whet again. Last night there was another thunderstorm and the temperature was a very cold 12c. I wore two sweaters trying to be warm.
Around 3 this afternoon the sun came out chasing away the low clouds, fog and drizzle and hopefully these past 3 days will be the last of this year's winter in the mountains of tropical Brasil.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Around Rio - walking the Lagoa

whether it is a sunny day or grey with threat of rain, the 7k walk around the lagoa including the catacombs is one of my favorite things to do in Rio.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Houston - Home is still there

As Ike moves north and by the end of today off the continental USA, only the clean up and reflection are left to do. All my family is safe and sound in Houston. This morning still without electricity, they lost tree branches and the brand new backyard fence but as far as the really valuable - we were lucky. From all I read in the Houston Chronicle online yesterday (all day yesterday - I did nothing else) the damage will cost a bundle but all the damage is superficial. (Eric Kayne: Chronicle - http://www.chron.com/) (Johnny Hanson: AP - The remnants of Murdock's Pier and Hooters are seen along Seawall Blvd. in Galveston, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 after Hurricane Ike hit the area. The Flagship Hotel is seen in the background.)
  Galveston lost some famous landmarks and there will be some time (months) before the downtown JP Morgan Chase building is back up and running with all its windows replaced but these are only buildings, and boats, and fences, and trees not hundreds of thousands of people. They got off light in the areas that count.

James Nielsen: Chronicle The Chase Tower is heavily damaged as hurricane Ike moves through the area.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Word From Home

This Saturday morning no word is coming from home. Houston metropolitan area has nearly 4 million people without electricity. no electricity, no computer, or telephone. My daughter, granddaughter and grandson are in Fort Bend county just west of the Houston city line. They have a cell phone so I will call later - they were without electricity at 5 pm yesterday - 12 hours BEFORE Ike was to be over their home. All we can do is wait....