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Sunday, November 29, 2009

out of town Thanksgiving feast


A few weeks ago I was browsing through a few of my favorite Expats’ (in Brasil) blogs and found as usual  Gringo Gene was full of good information.  He mentioned the American Society in Rio.  I thought “my goodness here 7 years and I didn’t know there was an American group”  I used his link to find their website, saw a Thanksgiving dinner was planned at the Marriott in Copacabana, sent Camillo to pay for a membership for us and for two Thanksgiving dinners and WE WENT.  (Camillo hates turkey but was a good sport about it!) 

On Thursday, we got gussied up, took a taxi to Copacabana (a 15 minute drive, a 45 minute walk, this night a 45 minute taxi ride) had cocktails with about 75 strangers overlooking the Copacabana coastline, sat at a table with six others strangers to the group and made 3 trips to the buffet in an effort to enjoy a little of everything. 
My first trip around I didn’t know the system and stayed on the near side of the buffet tables, missing the fresh roasted turkey – that was really good – once I found it.  I gave the chef a thumbs-up and received a big smile in return.


For most of the past 7 years, I made a trip back to Houston in November to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my daughter and her two, and invite a few friends to make cooking worth the effort.  This year I didn’t make it and for a substitute this meal did the trick,  but I really like giblet dressing cooked in the bird, fresh made jellied cranberries, real white potatoes whipped till creamy, baked squash and sweet potatoes, and both pumpkin and pecan pies – in other words MY traditional meal.

In the end we both enjoyed ourselves, Camillo was able to brush up on his charm school tactics with the two Brasilian women on his left – he kept them laughing all evening, if I am understanding the Portuguese in full by making fun of his very American wife - and I talked with the young newlyweds (two couples) on my right. We both agreed though that we need to participate all year round in order to fully enjoy all the people who were there. I put in for volunteer work and wait to see what is brought my way.










Saturday, November 28, 2009

My town Friday Shoot-Out – Smiles

Camillo and I arrived back in Friburgo on Friday at 1:30 – just in time for more rain/lightning.  As I parked the car and brought in the last of the groceries – BAMB! lightening and thunder – Spritz and I both ran for the house….. this morning no internet -  will send this your way as soon as possible.


The photographer caught in the lights….. Whet from the rain not drink.  (American)
a ray of sunlight on a rainy day – local Brazilian
A smile to remember a friend lost – Northern Brasil
Gentle Mona Lisa Smile – not just the smile but gentle from head to foot – Local
A friend of Camillo’s for 45+ years – Salvador Bahia
Brasillerias all.
Southern Brasil – grew up several miles from each other – met in Paris – Destiny smiles
A smile from Chile, 
                    From France.  
A smile is a smile from any country.          

Friday, November 27, 2009

FSO Hopeful

MY internet is soooo slowwwwwwww! we return to Friburgo this morning then I will download photos........... come back please!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nearly 24 hours! Blackout Ipanema

009 (2)

      We are used to blackouts in Nova Friburgo, every time the wind blows, it rains hard, or a branch falls, we have blackouts.  To survive them we have candles handy, a flash light always charged and for the really long blackouts, a lantern that keeps the shadows at bay. 

But in Rio we have no standing plan….

We arrived in Rio yesterday at a little after one in the afternoon, and at 4 or so the electricity went out.  It flickered on, then off and on and off, then nothing.  At 7:30 in the evening it was dark in the apartment, even darker in the hallways, and the stairs where no natural light reaches – really, really dark.  We had one candle, and one lighter, and two cell phones that eased the darkness in the bathroom, but no plan.  012 (2)
We walked down the dark stairs using our cell phones as flashlights.  Down on the main street all the stores were closed down, street lights and stop lights were out,  one poor policeman was out in the intersection holding his hand up politely, no flashlight or reflective clothing, just optimistic anticipation that the speeding busses would come to a stop for him.   No option there to entertain us so we walked up four blocks towards Copacabana and found a place with lights and cold beer….. 
No lights (or phone, computer, internet) until around 3 today.  No stores were open, no restaurants open to feed me lunch, worker sitting on the steps of businesses, wondering the sidewalks, waiting…. 
Nearly 24 hours without electricity, we need to get a plan.  But for now I have to go empty the refrig – toss out everything that spoils in 34 degree temps ….

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little Places 2

Ages ago I wrote about a little place where we liked to eat lunch in Lumiar. Last weekend we drove over for our semiannual lunch beside the river, and Barra Vento was closed. Wire fences up, weeds growing, doors barred, CLOSED. The lasts time we drove over, the restaurant was packed with people, eating, picnicking, swimming, fishing, how did they close down?   I am digressing but before moving on, I will say that this happens way too often here – I imagine everywhere - the dream gets stomped by reality or some such poetic mumble jumble. On to this week’s story.
DSC_8903So last week, after finding our favorite place closed, we drove to the square and Camillo got out of the car and ask around. Word of mouth works best - make a right on the next street, bare to the right at the split and back from the corner on a one way street is a little place called Quintal (backyard). We were hungry. We’d driven for 35 minutes to have lunch. We love to try new places. We found a place to park and went in. [Owned and operated by Aline – Quintal is located on Rua Júlio Ambrósio Pamerim #80, central Lumiar – phone 22–9872-7909 email: lilacupello@hotmail.com
Inside was cool, clean and inviting. An old house converted, there were old wood plank floors, nice sized wooden tables in almost private spaces for dinning, and outdoor seating in back that said “kick backrelax! you’ll like it” and best of all - big smiles of welcome. We sat outdoors because our intention had been to eat out by the river and from our table we got a glimpse of the kitchen work area. The owner, with good humor, agreed to take a moment and pose for me. 
Lets not forget the menu. Two pages only. Not pages and pages of food prepared last month and frozen to use on a busy day. No, 4 main course items – two meat courses and two fish.
The couvert (served before the main course but not an appetizer per se) was fresh made eggplant, pate (spread) of blue cheese, chutney DSC_8901and freshly toasted torados, (toasted left-over bread) You have to be very familiar with food here to know how special this was, to know that you can buy these bits of bread – dry and tasteless - in the grocery stores and often get them in restaurants as well. To have really fresh toast for these fresh spreads was really good. If I hadn’t been driving (dry law) I would have just enjoyed the couvert with wine and been very happy.
We all chose trout with different toppings, fresh green salad with a homemade honey mustard dressing (UMMMMM!) and other sides to numerous to mention. Okay this is the Truth – we drove back over today to have the trout AGAIN! This is probably the best recommendation we can make for a place to have the same meal two weeks running. This week there was music. The restaurant was totally filled (last week rainy – this week a 3 day weekend with sunshine) Service was a little slow today because of the crowd, but tolerably so and the trout was once again absolutely super.
see recipe I found on line for a blue cheese pate.... I didn't ask for the recipe - but it was very good. http://www.musthavemenus.com/guide/recipes/appetizers/blue-cheese-pate.html


(Jan 2012 – no longer open – a great loss)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My town Friday Shoot out – Town’s Premier Attraction

Living in Brasil, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the city…. makes it hard to choose a premier attraction. In Rio, the Christ (the Header) and the Sugar Loaf are probably two of the most photographed places in South America, in the western hemisphere… well you get the point. Over the past few years I have written about plenty of places to see if you visit Brasil and last night I went through all my blogs about Brasil to make sure I had not written about my topic for today. Premier Attraction – Nova Friburgo

Header Photo – cable car to the Sugar Loaf – 2nd level

CaoSentando (4)I am in Friburgo this week but pulled my photos from my ‘extensive’ archives anyway. I am sure that you all realize by now that I do not go out running around town for the FSO. I have taken so many photo of all the places I have visited to need this kind of exertion. Okay down to business.
Nova Friburgo is considered a vacation spot for many Brazilians. It is set in the middle of a nature reserve so depending on the time of year that you visit, you can hike, mountain climb (not Himalayas' height and challenge but climbing none the less), canoe, ride rapids, CaoSentando (13)look at high water falls or low cascades - ecotourism at its best - and enjoy the winter festival activities with its food and music fests. Not at the end of this list because it is the least interesting thing to do but because the sentences worked out that way is the Park of the sitting dog.
Parque Cão Sentado is a very pleasant place to hike, one of my local favorites. The complete trail takes only 40 minutes although the portion going uphill can be more than a moderate climb in other words 30 minutes up and 10 to come down. There are also some side trails that you can explore if you want to spend a couple of hours exploring the park. This is not recommended after or during a rain storm. The stones that make up the trails are moss covered CaoSentando (28)and during the stormy season can also be covered with mud, this makes coming down the trail quite slippery, even hazardous. For me during the winter, (May, June and July) is the best time to visit this park.
The park was first opened in 1962 and closed in 2002 because of lack of infrastructure and general disrepair. In 2004 it was
The sitting Dog (37)reopened as a private park. It now has a concession stand with
snacks, sodas and water available, picnic tables, a small lake with ducks and other birds and a very beautiful trail built up of rocks and trees from the area of
the park itself, leaving you with the feel of nature close at hand.
(I never know when to quit adding photos) – From the bottom to the top this is a fantastic place to visit - AND the PREMIER ATTACTION (can you hear the drum roll?)    Pedra do Cão Sentado
CaoSentando (22)

If you look closely you can see two men on his face – that is at 1111 meters high.

** there is no way to see this rock formation from the highway below, he blends into the surrounding rocks, you have to climb to the top to see him.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Town ‘Friday Shoot-out’ Places of Worship, formal and informal

Bento Goncalves (8)
111[4]I have been taking pictures of ‘churches’ in Nova Friburgo for the past month.
There are plenty. Methodist, Jesus Christ latter-day saints, and Baptist, but I can’t find where I have hidden them.
Once again I dug around in ‘my picture’ folders and found a sample of what you find here in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Friburgo does not have a cathedral like I have shown you in
Gramado in Southern Brasil or Tiradentes in the State of Minas Gerais.







But the area surrounding Friburgo has many small churches, unmarked with a denomination. They are likely to be Catholic, but unless you stop and go in looking for information there is nothing that tells you who worships here

São Pedro da Serra -

Along the road to Casimiro de Abreu -










Nova Friburgo   and   Conego area of Nova Friburgo

DSC_6032[3]     DSC08380

Duas Barras


These small neighborhood churches are well maintained, loved and cared for. They are simple but have a design that is pleasing to the eye. They are often the geographic center of these small areas and often the social center as well. The white paper on the doors are notices of activities - concerts, festivals and the like.

Just for your enjoyment more photos from different towns and areas in Brasil

still thinking

It has been raining for 5 days. We have had our Internet blown out again by a lighting strike. Our phones are still not working and may need to replace the actual phones. Tomorrow the washer will get a new panel (hopefully). Then maybe life will get back to normal until the next major storm comes through.
A few weeks ago (http://gingersflowers.blogspot.com/2009/10/today-i-have-appointment.html)
I talked about having a meeting with the Private language school, Britannia. I went to the meeting, really enjoyed talking to the coordinator for the course. She was young (and late by 30 minutes) and enthusiastic, easy to talk to. I was given a 'task' to do to tell them were I was in my knowledge of English. I just imagine that this is more for Brazilians wanting to take the course - to see where they are. BUT if you can imagine I learned English grammar what 50 - 55 years ago. I speak it well, and if you ignore punctuation errors, I write it well. To tell you what verb tense I am using and why I am using it, to tell you the difference between thin versus skinny or win versus beat, or to define modal verbs, I was somewhat lost. Really all of this is beside the point. The point being that I have decided that I do not want to pay a lot of money to earn so little. IF I start teaching right away, IF I teach routinely, if I find I LOVE teaching, if I don't take any trips to the USA or elsewhere for a year or so, If I deduct the cost of going and coming and supplying materials, IF - I can recoup my money in close to two years.............. This just doesn't work for me. Bottom line, I refused the Britannia course. Do you remember the course in linguistics I took a couple years back? One of the professors ask is I would (volunteer) to help a young Brazilian taking the course this year with her monograph. This I will like doing and don't mind doing it for free. Helping her organize her thinking, clarify statement, keep her on track - this I can do and I think do it well. For now it will do.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

just a moment for fun -

passed to me from Sarah Lulu at http://serendipitylulu.blogspot.com/ normally don't do this but because I like this girl from down under will give you my answers. 1. Where is your cell phone? purse 2. Your hair? flat 3. Your mother? American 4. Your father? deceased 5. Your favorite food? Tex Mex 6. Your dream last night? confusing 7. Your favorite drink? dram buie 8. Your dream/goal? survival 9. What room are you in? myoffice 10. Your hobby? Photography. 11. Your fear? aloneness 12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? alive 13. Where were you last night? blogging 14. Something you aren’t? patient 15. Muffins? blueberry 16. Wish list item? writing 17. Where did you grow up? Arizona 18. Last thing you did? cooked 19. What are you wearing? shorts 20. Your TV? widescreen 21. Your pets? dog 22. Your friends? distant 23. Your life? lost 24. Your mood? Relaxed. 25. Missing someone? Yes. 26. Vehicle? Audi 27. Something you’re not wearing? bra 28. Your favorite store? Macy's 29. Your favorite color? turquoise 30. When was the last time you laughed? breakfast 31. Last time you cried? August 32. Your best friend? daughter 33. One place that I go over and over? past 34. One person who emails me regularly? daughter 35. Favorite place to eat? Itahy

Saturday, November 07, 2009

GYM Brasil – Gymnastics Festival, Nova Friburgo

I have been meaning to put up a post about a surprise, very pleasant surprise, that we attended two weekends ago.  Camillo and I were invited to join Tatiana (She was my Portuguese instructor now a friend here in Friburgo) to go and watch her partner, Paulista, in a display of gymnastics by a group in which he instructs and participates.
We have known this couple for maybe 5 years. I have known that he goes to do demonstrations with this group the full 5 years. I know that he has gone to Europe and to the USA and often participates in local competitions, but I never taken the time to really know about what he does.
We went in separate cars incase we got tired and wanted to leave early. We had NO CLUE! We stayed to the very last minute and can’t wait for the next invitation.
DSC_8225This demonstration opened like a mini Olympics. There were 25 groups - 700 people in all. They all marched out onto the gymnasium floor, each group in individually colored uniforms, each caring a flag that represented their group. The National anthem DSC_8229was played to a Brazilian flag rising from the floor to high above the heads of the participants as they assembled on the floor. As in all Brazilian meetings, they sang 3 or 4 versus of the anthem. Even I had a lump in the throat. All these young people, so proud to DSC_8343be there, so proud to represent Brasil and their towns. These groups represented the states of Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul, and one group had come all the way from Chile. Only INEC, Paulista’s group was from Friburgo. (Featured in the Green and yellow uniforms.)DSC_8333
The tournament included displays of acrobatic, aerobic, rhythmic, trampoline gymnastics and solo. There were also presentations of folklore dancing. I couldn’t find the age groups represented but I think there were some from around 3 years old to 70.
I kept saying, “I should be out there…..”
It was apparent that all these children and the adults had worked very hard. They took pride in doing the routines just right. They all received medals and some groups - including Nova Friburgo’s INEC - are classified and able to take part in the Gymnaestrada Mundial in Switzerland in 2011. As of yet, there are no plans for presenting at the Olympics in 2016.
Some of the other groups.
DSC_8350  DSC_8412  DSC_8467  
DSC_8599  DSC_8574[2]  DSC_8609[2]
I was sorry that some of the photo were not optimum, I was up in the bleachers, using telephoto and no flash, I took 200 thousand-gazillion photos but can’t show you all of them…. I kept thinking this is the best of our children – our future.
If you like there are videos of INEC ( Paulista's presentations) on YouTube. here are the links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZFC6DdqdhU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB8zMgGqylM&feature=related ( this one is not called ECOAR, but TEKOA) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZzpOO8BPyg




Paulista -