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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Space – a place to go

This week’s My Town Friday Shoot-out is Space – give your subject a place to go, or show where they’ve been.  This topic is more about photography, about learning to use our cameras to take better photographs than it is about our towns but I know it is going to be one of the good topics and look forward to everyone’s posts. 

In my habit of showing photos of whatever town I am in on any given Friday I will be showing my interpretation of SPACE in Rio.  Thank goodness we came into Rio today.  I needed a couple of days in Rio to shop and pack before I leave for Houston on Sunday so I have a distinct advantage, I hunted down a few photos from my archives of ‘Around Rio’.  Except for the photos off our balcony at the house in Friburgo, which you all have seen a gazillion times, I would be hard pressed to find shots of open spaces in the city of Nova Friburgo. In a narrow valley with narrow curving streets lined with buildings and crowded with cars and people create the opposite feeling; the feeling of being hemmed in, claustrophobic,  it would definitely be hard to find an open space to show you.  

Before I show you my photos for this week I want to tell you that I will be doing the Friday Shoot-out from Houston, Texas all of the month of June and some of July.  I will also be in Adrian, Michigan for one of the shoot-outs in July but that week we will be celebrating my Mother’s 90th birthday and most of my brothers and sisters will be there, can’t guarantee I will give you any photos for the Friday we are there, but you will get to see some family shots after I return to Rio…. we will just have to wait and see how the subjects chosen for July works into my travel plans. 

Okay some space to move in Rio.

     1st day at the beach rio (21) crop      beach and bady board (9) crop

These first two are older photos -  2005 – the visit Carl and Marissa to the beach in Ipanema for the first time (ages 14 and 9).  And Marissa beside herself with joy.

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My favorite time at the beach – Winter, July of any year finds Brazilians shivering, wearing boots and jackets, and staying away from the beach – leaving it empty for US!

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See you next week from Houston.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Handmade -

I am not in Rio today but was earlier in the week so I am sure that I have the right to post one photo of something handmade in Rio. 


The artist sleeps in a tent or wrapped in a blanket for several days, repairing his creation as needed and collecting a Real or two from anyone wanting to take a picture.  Never walk the beach without a few coins in your pocket – just in case. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


G & Camillo (14)smallOn the last day of this month Camillo and I will have been together for 20 years; not married 20 years but 20 years as friends, companions, roommates and finally as marriage partners.  To me it seems somewhat of a miracle. We both started out looking at the relationship as a non-relationship. We talked and planned in six month periods of time, never really thinking we would last past that next six months; that’s 40 - six month periods of  relationship survival.

When we met he lived in Brasil and I, happily, inIn Costume, Houston Tx Houston. His life and family were based in Rio de Janeiro and my family, job and plans were in Houston. His age exceeded mine by 24 years. My life experiences was more than 24 years behind his. His background was / is rooted in the male dominated, Latin male period of pre-world war II, and mine the woman’s liberation period of the 60s. He was at the end of his career, working contract for Halliburton and I still wanted to start university work having finished raising my family, and being tired of working clerical jobs. Besides me liking his tales of travel around the world, the laughter we often shared while out with friends, and the snappy way he dressed, we didn’t seem to have too much in common.   After only two months of dinners out, walks along the river, and meeting for dancing, at the first of June, 1992 he moved his base of operations to Houston and we began our first 6 month period of fun as a couple. 

In that first year we traveled to Argentina, Italy, and I had my first trip to Brasil.  If first impressions were the only thing driving us, that first trip to Brasil could have been the end of it.  Besides the food, more of his friends and his family, I really didn’t like Brasil.  Told him so right away that I would never live there.  Period. No possibility.  Also in that first year I started a full time semester at Houston Community college to finish up an associates degree.  He made that possible. The next year I started my work at University of Houston, and time just kept passing – one six month period to the next.camillo (241)

From the very beginning Camillo’s stories fascinated and entertained me.  While in high school he was an officer in the Fascist’s youth group. He was on his way back from getting a haircut when Frascati (Italy) was bombed by the allies, wiping out his home town and killing more that 8 thousand of its people.  He joined the German army at 17 years old.  He will admit that joining up was more to irritate his father, and for the positive impact on girls the uniform would make; being too young to have any real ideological belief in the war.  After the war he spent his mandatory two years in the Italian army, then university in Rome – first studying physics then changing to Geology, and on to his first job as a geologist / surveyor with Aramco in Saudi Arabia during the time when they were first discovering their great oil reserves.  (I was just entering school and going on to be just a small town girl.)   His story then goes to Argentina and the beginning of  his family, then to Brasil and to Egypt, back to Brasil with Petrobras when the company was SAM_1172first forming, and as the years pass to California, to Houston and tying his story together was a trip into communist Russia and other great adventures.  I have to admit I was pretty impressed.

Our 6 month periods had gone on to 20 before I’d heard all his stories and he decided that what he really wanted was to return to Brasil, to live in his house on the hill, to drive his old cars, eat his favorite foods and I didn’t know it at the time, but to have a dog again.   Never say never, not possible, because you may have to eat your words. 

This year we will celebrate 20 years together, 10 years married, ten years living in Brasil.  He will celebrate 86 years of the good life in June, as is his habit of enjoying all that he does, everyday.  Three children, (now) three wives, seven grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, one adopted dog and many more stories continue in the making.  

He still works, doing consulting for two different companies.  He takes these newbies to meetings, and lunches and interprets for them when needed.   And now, next to find a small apartment in Italy so we can spend some time in his country.  Just something he has always thought about.  So at an age when most people are saying they are old and tired, he is making plans forward.  This is Camillo.

Enjoy with us some of our memories as we finish our 20 years of  fun and travel and of celebration. 

if you have any questions about the photos, just ask and I’ll reply.  to view the slide show go to the link below. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Fences of Nova Friburgo

Once before, in early January of 2010 FSO did fences and, if I remember right, there were some really great gates and fences that week. Even so many months and years later I can remember Scriptor Senex’s post from that week. Considering that some days I don’t remember the name of my first born this shows you how much fun that week’s topic was. And because of the great memories, I am looking forward to seeing all the new contributions to the topic this week.

DSC_1997 (2)I had to go back and read the older post again; to 023see what I had to say, to see if what I had to say is still true and to see what photos I used. I took advantage of this trip back to also read the comments, which for me is always nice. Once again I have several directions I could go.  Telling you more about our house and its fences or to show you photos of a rather nice old fence in Nova Friburgo.  I think it will be more fun to do the former now and to save the other SAM_0900for a later post. 

In March of 2010, Camillo and I adopted our first child and it became necessary to re-fence the whole property.  Taking out our cedar hedge that allowed other dogs to get onto our lot and, possibly, would allow our baby to get out, we replaced it with the great wall of china.   Eventually the WALL will be covered with ornamental ivy but for now it just looks big and gray, looming over the house and garden.  036

Post-Spritzer (PS) I don’t know how much Camillo has spent trying to keep our  garden safe.  As any good German Shepard would, Spritz loves digging holes.  He likes having only one ball at a time.  If we are foolish enough to give him two, he digs a hole, drops it in and the toy is never seen again.  He also likes to lift flower pots with his teeth and move them to other locations, tip them upside down, eat the plant – so fences DSCN0486went up around the garden outside of my office to protect my flowers. 

He has, since becoming a young adult, figured out how to open the gate and come inside (We’re in there why shouldn’t he be?) and waits patiently at the next gate for someone to leave it not quite latched, and with a bump of his nose and tug with his foot he is off and away.  Fences made of small bits of bamboo began to line the sidewalks, the ledges, the stairs into the lower garden, and then bits of wire went over those to make them higher…. you getting the picture? 

I have began to feel like I was being locked inside and Spritzer has free run of the land.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

For Mom, a trip through the orchid farm

SAM_0904Today is Mother’s day, in Brasil as well as the USA.  I will call Mom later today and wish her another good year.  This year in July we, my 7 brothers and sisters and some of their families, will meet in Adrian for Mom’s 90th birthday.  How wonderful is that?  We were all together the last time for her 75th – 15 years.  The changes will be a shock won’t they?  SAM_0801
I didn’t send flowers, which she would have liked, nor chocolates which she would have loved.  When I visit Adrian I like to take a box of Brazilian Goratos – she puts a few in her bowl by the chair, easy reach away, then rather craftily takes the rest of the box back to her room – and they disappear!  Yes this is hard on her digestion but the look of contentment on her face is irresistible.  Having failed two weeks ago to remember Mother’s day was coming and make early arrangements for her flowers or chocolates to be delivered I thought this morning that she might enjoy a walk through the Teresopolis Orchid farm by photo.
The Orchid Farm is not really a farm, but three large greenhouses and a sales/display office.  The grounds have a few interesting tropical plants and a path lined with trees with orchids up among the branches.  The greenhouses were closed to the public but the sales office had a nice selection of starter orchids and well developed ones.  By walking the trail around the grounds, through the displays and buying the orchid in the header and to the left, we spent a very pleasant hour on a Saturday morning.
Mom, I hope you enjoy the flowers I’ve sent.
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Happy Mother’s Day!  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Between the light and you, a silhouette.

Tonight I am running the heater down by my feet.  Don’t tell Camillo, now that I am retired for real, he is paying the electricity bill.  I has been unseasonably cold all week.  I normally don’t have to turn on my little heater until late June.  I just hate feeling cold.

The last time we had silhouettes as our My Town Friday topic was in October of 2009.   If you’ve time follow the link back and read what fun I had learning how to photo (or not) silhouettes.  The header photo was one of the photos from that shoot-out.  In that post I said I’d taken 40 photos while walking to the hippy square on a Sunday morning but I can’t find that folder anywhere.  While cleaning the mess with the blog’s photos last month I finally found just the photos from the October post in a downloaded folder from Picasa Web Albums.  When Photos are saved from the blog to web albums it is reduced in size so when the photos were reloaded they are not as clear as the original. 

I have been watching – through the viewfinder – my photos for the past two months.  On the lookout for silhouettes this time intentionally taken.  The first photo was taken on a late Sunday afternoon, just before sundown and out on the Barra.  We were meeting family at one of our favorite restaurants and as I got out of the taxi the pink bag caught my attention and then two people framed with ficus trees in silhouette.  I whipped out my little point and shoot and took the photo – I trimmed a little grass off the bottom and some space on the outer sides of the trees – As I was in 2009, I felt really happy with the results.

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Another sunset walk on the Lagoa – This photo is SO Rio de Janeiro.

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The second above is from the street in front of our apartment, although the sun had not set the sidewalk was in near darkness and the sky bright with sunset and the third was taken the first weekend in May when Camillo and I were Walking Rio Centro and is part of the front of the   Universidade Cândido Mendes.  The day had off again on again clouds and a high glare that worked well for both that photo and the one of General Osorio below.

SAM_0964 silhouette


       I put in this last one even though it didn’t come out a silhouette as I was imagining but because it is a CLOCK -  a few weeks ago I swore to you all that I’d not seen any clocks in Rio – the day we walked central I saw three of them.   Hope you enjoyed Rio in Silhouette.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Getting around in Rio

metro-map-rio I have been sitting here for an hour; the house is quiet; Camillo still in bed and the workers who are giving the outside of the house a facelift have not yet arrived.  I have known what I wanted to write about for at least 3 weeks.  I even was out over the weekend, snapping photos just in case I needed just one more to tell the story.  And still I sit and stare at the screen.  The problem is this; do I want to tell the complete story which could take 3 or four posts or do I want to slap some photos up on the blog and be done with it. 

Not that I write this blog to win popularity contests but when I have what I feel is an interesting story and I write it in some detail, showing a small fraction of the photos that I have to illustrate; I get very little feedback.  And that is discouraging.  The ‘what is the point’ question comes up regularly lately.  So I will slap myself upside the head a couple of times and march forward, remembering that I write and take photos for my own enjoyment, and, of course, as an adult, a rather mature adult for that matter, I do not need the approval of my piers to be motivated.

Transportation in Rio / Nova Friburgo is a multifaceted issue.  We have the Brazilian's love of their cars.  We have what I think of as their competitive spirit.  We have what I feel is their feeling of success being based on having and driving their cars.  We have two cities that are at the base of a mountain range and one of them is locked in by the sea creating, in both cities, a narrow strip of land in which to live and to drive.  We have Rio metropolitan area boasting a population of (approximately) 13 million.  That means that (for the sake of argument) if one half of that population is on the move daily – needing to get to work, to school, to doctors, shopping and whatever,  approximately 6.5 people have to get someplace TODAY, they need to do it fast (faster than you if you remember number 2 above)  and they can only go through the narrow corridor between the Rocks and the Sea creating bottlenecks of mass proportions.

The old Rio Transit
This is only one of the facets by the way; we are not talking here about  air and noise pollution, or planet warming, or economics which includes the cost of parking once your at your destination: we are only talking about getting lots and lots of people from point A to point B - Z and, of course, back again.

On December 30 2009 I wrote about the opening of a metro station in Ipanema.  I used a similar map as the one above to illustrate the scan0001Rio Metro system.  If you glance at that map and then look at the one above, you can already see the great strides being made to enlarge the system.    Last month there was news of funding for many of the necessary projects had been approved and only last week information was given about the expansion of the Metro into Ipanema and Leblon.  (see map to the left)   There has been a lot of arguments against putting the metro through our area.  I find it …. astounding… frustrating… mind boggling that anyone living in this area would feel that we shouldn’t have Metro stops. 

From early Monday morning until late on Friday evening there is grinding noise and confusion from all the cars and busses that must drive down our streets to get to the next barrio.  They are saying that the new Metro line to Gavea and on to the Barra will carry 300,000 people PER DAY.  How can we not build this next leg of the subway.  

I know that the primary objection is not the environmental impact of the system underground – 30 meters underground – but the subway stations themselves creating the objections. The stations in older parts of town, in Flamengo and Centro, for example, are dirty, have beggars and illegal kiosks that sell all sorts of junk (some not junk but mostly just junk), there is dirt and garbage on the streets and odors that we won't talk about and I understand no one in our area wants this mess. The stations underground are spotless, the bathrooms I don’t know cause I’ve not used them, they are well guarded and at least the General Osorio station is quite modern – so I say let's not let the blight above ground to take over our stations.

Last weekend Camillo and I used the Metro system to get down to (one of) the historic area in Centro (central or downtown). The trains ran every 5 minutes even though it was a Saturday. The trip down took about 15 minutes once we had gotten to the station. (add 15 minutes for the 8 blocks from our apartment to General Osorio station)  Camillo rides for free as do all seniors and students with the proper ID card.  My ticket one way was R$3.20 – coming back it was the same price but I also rode the ‘Surperfice’ metro bus the goes by our apartment.  A taxi would be over R$30.00 each direction and even if there were no closed streets or traffic jambs the trip would be close to 45 minutes each way.  So for us the metro is great and the expanded one will increase our ability to get were we want to go with the littlest cost and time.

a few shots to show you underground.

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See the Pink sign – this car is exclusively for Woman – Monday through Friday – 6 am – 9 am and again in the evening.  Not sure I see the reason but then I don’t ride the subway to work everyday dressed in my finery.

And the last 3 photos the Carioca Station in Centro

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