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Monday, June 28, 2010

a moment of beauty – The secret world

DSC00435    We woke again this morning to fog and drizzle but by the time we’d had breakfast and were ready for our ‘coffee and chat’ the sun was coming out – the fog rising.    We sat down in my ‘space’ with the double doors open and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.
     Watching the fog rise above the tree tops, dissipating in thin wisps into the clear blue sky.  I felt a moment of confusion.  My eye caught site of a wisp at the top of the pine tree that wasn’t moving….?  Caught at the top of the tree, drenched in mist and shining with the sun behind was a perfect, pinwheel shaped spider web. 
I moved for my camera and stepped outside, trying to get a photo through the glare of the sun.   Then saw another and another.   Casas das Aranhas (house of the spiders).  What a great way to start this day.  A whole world we normally don’t see – just one moment in time and we can get a glimpse of what is there at all times in the secret world around us. 
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Town FSO – Water / rivers / Lakes & Streams

The last time the FSO did water I was in Houston, so is nice for me to get an opportunity to show you water here in Nova Friburgo or in Rio.  Now which shall it be.  In Rio, we have the ocean, and canals, and the lagoa – and rain and clouds and humid air.  I feel like I have shown you all of this in many different ways and in many if not all of the moods.
DSC_1301      So today let’s look around Nova Friburgo, which also has rain and clouds, fog and humid air - and small mountain streams, and when it is rainy season the very rocks that surround us cry – it is like the rocks fill to the brim with water then the water makes its way out – making the stone glisten with moisture.
      And because we have high elevations and rain, we also have a water fall.   Out on the highway north of town, almost to the park of the sitting dog, we have a waterfall that spills down the hillside and into a small river below.  Just past the waterfall is a small utility hut.  I understand there is electricity generated there.  There is also a trail that you can walk that goes down to the base of the waterfall and then follows the river for quite a while.
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cachoeiros de Nova Friburgo (13) cachoeiros de Nova Friburgo (28) cachoeiros de Nova Friburgo (22) DSC04354 A few years back we went by specially to see the waterfall because we had had so much rain that there were landslides everywhere – There was no water – somehow the water was blocked to keep the little stream from becoming a major hazard to those that live along the waterway.DSC04358

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Rio Weekend ~

SAM_0859      Yesterday, amidst all of the World Cup Mania here in Rio, Camillo and I escaped into a different world; well away from the blaring horns, screaming fans, and fire crackers popping out on the street.  We didn’t have to leave the city to find this different world.  We found this glimpse into Rio’s past practically right in our own neighborhood. 
      In the heart of the barrio Jardim Botanico, at the base of the Corcovado Mountain, home of the Christ, less than a kilometer from the noisy entrance to the Tunel Rebouças is an oasis called Parque Lage. 
Once a part of a sugar plantation with sugar mill, then the “home of industrialist Enrique Lage and his wife singer Gabriela Bezanzoni,” and now the home houses a school of visual arts.  The parque is fully supported by the proceeds from the school.
     For me this park had two separate and distinct parts, both great ways for a family to spend a Sunday afternoon.  There is the art school, the Lage home, which is open to the public.  The house (school) can be explored inside and out, you can stop in the café for a coffee or a sandwich, or just lounge around in the classic surroundings; reading a book or your Sunday paper, joining a Buddhist prayer group or just sit in the cool shade and hold hands with your favorite man (woman).
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 The other part (the best part for me) is the trails through the natural growth, sub-tropical forest.  I love the botanical gardens with its landscaped trails, but this is wilder, more natural in its feel and look. The park also feels safe and contained; a place where city children can learn to love the forest, to respect it, to run and to laugh.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

My town Friday Shoot-out / Rocks large and small

One thing that this area of Brasil has is ROCKS – large and small rocks.  While waiting in a traffic jam today I glanced out the car window, looking at the garden center’s selection of decorative ‘stuff’ and there, right in front of me were bags of little rocks.  I thought, only for a second, I should park the car and take pictures.  There were clear plastic sacks of odd sized white stones (rocks), bags of brown stones, and piles of river bottom stone there for the choosing.  I didn’t stop.  Even though they define as synonyms – we say stepping stone not stepping rock, and garden stone not garden rocks…. paving stones not paving rocks…. so stick and stones may break my bones but changing the words will never hurt me…  (As you can see rocks and stones are interchangeable in my vocabulary.)  The Christ the train and the view (53)
Because I am going to be in Rio for the weekend – starting Friday morning - I really want to show you photos of the rock outcrops famous to the Rio skyline.  Geologically these outcrops are “monolithic morros of granite and quartz that rise straight from the water's edge around Rio de Janeiro”  You can see these in any movie about Brasil, you never see movies with Sao Paulo or Brasilia in them – always Rio.  Spectacular for taking photos – as I and every movie producer knows.
Taken from atop the platform of the most famous O Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) – from high above the city  you can see that Copacabana sits on the ocean and is encased in ROCK.   The Christ is visible from almost every barrio in Rio, except the Barra, including the lagoa and Ipanema (my stomping ground).  To see him from a new location / a different angle - his presence a constant joy to look at and to photograph. DSC00839DSC00850
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On the south end of Ipanema / Leblon is the rock formation call the two brothers (Dois Irmãos ).  It is also recognizable in commercials and movies.  I have seem them surrounded by fog while the rest of the city is bright sunshine (the Christ and the sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar))also have moments surrounded by clouds).  One very good reason to spend at least a week here when visiting Brasil – increasing your odds of seeing for yourself all the fantastic views of the city.  
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From the lagoa, on the left is the Dois Irmãos and in the center Pedra Gavea (Pedra = stone).  I think this gives you an idea of what ROCKs you might find in Brasil.  Great topic ChefE.

Thoughts from the Veranda

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As the sun comes up – with a new day starting – with my first cup of coffee sitting on the sunny veranda I think;

I don’t know if it is a personality trait of mine or a human trait for all mankind but change is always a problem.  We beg and plead, moan and groan; life is passing us by, life is so ho-hum boring, we need some excitement – we need help! we need CHANGE. 

Then change happens.  Whether it is a new job, a new boss, a new computer system or heaven forbid a new phone system, a new and excited co-worker who has new ideas for change…  a new husband, a new house, a new school – a new and different anything, anything simple or as different as a new time schedule for the bus, we moan and groan, beg and plead – please why can’t life stay the same – why is my day all messed up, WHY?, why?, why?   I used to be able to…. In the USA they…. These word are our buffer against change and they hamper our adjustment to change.

All of sudden I have a time consuming job, I have something to think about and analyze, I have help and a team to work with.  I have CHANGE.  My head hurts with the change.  I was angry that life was passing me by and now that I have almost adjusted to that change, a new one comes along to challenge me And I am Angry….. Am I just an angry person?  Can I not be content with the change that I ask for?  Does the change need to be on my time frame, exactly in the form that I requested in order to be good change?

I know – I know My thoughts from the veranda always end up being questions – does contentment come with the answers – the change - or with the ability to ask the questions? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FSO – on Tuesday – Public art.

I know – I know I am running a LITTLE behind – if you want to know why read my post from yesterday.
Every city has its art.  I have gobs of photos from every place we have visited but decided to do only one statue that is a block away from our apartment in Ipanema….. Don’t know the significance or the artist – just enjoy this little guy every time I walk by … he stands about 3 foot tall and is at one of the main corners, can’t miss him and he never fails to leave a smile on my face.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip to Norway

SAM_0633  I hope I can write this for you in a coherent way – I think my brain is still airborne.  The trip to Oslo, Norway was sudden and hard on me.  Did you know that this time of year the sun rises at about 4 am and sets after 11 at night….never really getting dark during the ‘night’.  When do you sleep?
When we planned to take our trip into Argentina last month, I didn’t know I would be doing a 5 day turn around for another trip and during those 5 days I would have house guests.  We usually plan better than that. 
The basis of this trip was some words I spoke over 6 months ago – coming back to haunt me.   Over a dinner with out-of-town guest, something Camillo and I do with regularity, I was talking with the young man next to me at the table – he was explaining about a problem he had with documentation – database control for a special project - I opened my mouth and said “Oh what fun, I done similar before, straightening out a big problem is SUCH fun, blah, blah blah” or something to  that - second glass of red wine - effect.  Well end result, I got ‘invited’ to come to Norway and straighten out the database…. and yes it will be fun.  I say will be because this project from now until completion of project will take about 6  months.  Okay enough sad story.  Let me tell you a little about Oslo. SAM_0636
To travel from Rio de Janeiro to Oslo Norway, I took an Air France flight (11 hours plus a loss of 5 hours), connecting in Paris, that took off 1 hours late and arrived in Paris 1 hour late.  My tickets allowed for a connection time of 2 hours – seems a lot doesn’t it?  Until you arrive 1 hour late, they check your passport at the airplane door – making a big mess of everyone trying to get off the flight, then your connecting flight is at 10:35 not 10:50 (don’t know whose error that was) and you arrive in terminal C2 and leave out of terminal D2 and end up having to go through passport control again….. and was told it was a ten minute walk…. carrying the computer bag and camera bag… and well I missed my connection! and spent another 5 hours at the CDG.  We are best friends now that I have missed two flights in just 6 months for a total of 18 hours sitting and waiting.  
From the Oslo Airport there is a train that leaves from beneath the airport and stops 3 minutes from where I was staying. To get on the train you swipe your credit card and click the stop where you will get off, and in about 30 seconds you have paid your ticket, the gate opens and you can go down to the platform.  I love new technology.  The train is fast and comfortable and stopped for just enough time at each station to let people on and off (with their bags) without having to push and shove. 
Going back to the airport wasn’t as nice.  Saturday morning, 4am Norwegian time (11pm Friday night in Brasil), I left the private home where I stayed, caught a train packed with travelers,SAM_0638 got to the ‘little’ Oslo airport to be greeted by a madhouse of confused travelers – including myself – you have to stand in a long line to do an electronic check in, typing in all the numbers from your reservation prior to breakfast and coffee, scan you passport, move to  another line to check your bags, stand in ANOTHER line for security (who were on strike so was moving at half time….)  made my flight though with 3 minutes to spare, got to Paris on time and made my flight with 30 minutes to spare – took an Excedrin PM after lunch which was served at 1 pm Norwegian time (8 AM Brasil time) and slept fitfully most the way home. (10+ hours plus gaining back the 5 I’d lost)  and you realize this timing means I was up all night Brasil time just catching my flights then sleeping all day while getting home – so I arrived in Brasil at 5 pm and darkness, all turned around to daylight – nightlight just like I passed the week.  DSC_4337
In Oslo center after dinner – around 10:30 at night!