Travel Journal

Still In Ilha

(Monday 13 December 2010) by Brennan-adventures
OMG, I knew I told you all I would not be blogging every week unless something interesting happened, well here is yet another blog !!! I am not sure how interesting you will find it though..:-O

Saturday morning we got up and set off for Jales to buy our water cooler, we decided to stop in Santa Fe de sul to have a look, it was a little bigger than Ilha, and had a few more shops; we then stopped for a drink and then left Santa Fe about 11ish.
Well on we pootled and arrived in Jales for 11-45am, to find them closing the shops!!! We totally forgot the shops closed on Sat afternoon…GGGR. >:-(>:-(

Well had lunch then an ice cream, back to the car and home!!! A nap was needed after all that fluffing around. Later we decided to go and watch the sun go down over the river, so away to our plot of land just to remind ourselves what way we would have to build to see the sunset, and then we popped down to the beach…. Remember ages ago I told you that when they built the dam they landscaped the shoreline around the dam and provided beach areas….. Pity about the quality of the sand though… builders gritty stuff would be my description of it!!! :o)
We sat on stools made of concrete, they were very difficult to move and as the land was on a slope it was very impossible to get comfy!! There were also large concrete tables. Mike ordered breaded tilapia (a white fish that when fresh is a little like thinly sliced cod). This however was a little old, and it must have been very fishy tasting for Mike to comment about it….. He did not enjoy it; thankfully I had decided not to risk the fish as the oil it was fried in was used for all sort of food.:-x
We then drove back through the town…. It looked so beautiful as the Christmas lights had all been switched on, They have made a fantastic effort and it looks Fab.0:-)
Sunday was a lunch BBQ at the rotary, temps of around 34c outside….. but in the open kitchen which is part of the hall [all the ovens (4 of them), gas hobs (8 of them) plus the huge restaurant size BBQ was fired up]….. I wish I could have sent you some of the heat it was awful.8-O:-\:-(
I had taken a large cake, ginger/mango and toffee.
The People were grazing from the BBQ over 2-3 hours. There was a very nice dish made… Now I do not generally like raw fish or sashimi but this was diced fresh Tilapia covered with lime juice, grated ginger, onion, chilli and left to marinade for 3 hours. It was lovely….
They liked the cake and it went down a storm… whew!!
After about 3 hours we had to leave, Mike was having trouble with his eyes; they were drying out !!

We got back to the house in a tropical rain storm. Later we could hear the thunder starting to grumble and just as it got dark the sky lit up with lightening….like someone opening blackout curtains on a sunny day. The thunder roared and the house shook, I could imagine it would have been the same noise if a bomb had gone off!!!
We then had 2 hours of this grumbly thunder and sky covering lightening, with occasional huge bangs of thunder.
I used to tell Em that thunder was a giant playing marbles on a wooden floor… well this giant had bloody big boulders!!! I spent ages trying in vain to capture the lightening; goodness knows what type of camera you need to capture it ??!!:-?

Monday to Wednesday Mike has taught classes, he was not told what he had to teach, so just as well he is a pro!! His classes were 8am-midday….yes you read correctly, so you can assume it was early to bed!!! The courses went well, the students were all masters’ students, Mike chatted in Portuguese and taught in English…. He assures me they were all ok and at the end of the three days said they enjoyed it….. Whew !!

Well my week has been cooking and pottering, it has been very nice. I feel like I am now a member of the Woman’s Guild…:-,;-) I have been making sweet preserved ginger… 3 jars full. I also made apple and mango chutney, a little spicy but yum and yet another 3 jars worth.
I also made a Christmas cake of sorts…. Sound strange? well it is…. Firstly had to improvise with some ingredients then the only cake tin I could find was long, low and rectangular, hence the long low Christmas cake… does smell ok though.
The next job is to make marzipan then attempt fondant icing …. That’s for next week. I decided I would check the cake did not go mouldy before I attempted the marzipan ect. It was a difficult decision as to how to store the cake, normally it’s wrapped in greaseproof paper then tinfoil and kept in a dark cool place…. MMMMH where would I find a place like that here????
The fridge would be to cold then make the cake damp when I took it out, the freezer also would not let the cake mature, so I have stayed with the wrapping in the cupboard thing, hoping the ants do not find it!!! :-\
I have also been puzzling about the covering with marzipan and leaving to dry part without getting an attack from the beasties…. My thoughts were marzipan the cake, then standing the cake-stand on a jug in the middle of a container full of water, what do you think??? I did not sleep to well last night as I puzzled this out …sad eh!!!
We took a trip back to Jales on Thursday morning, we bought the water cooler, but not sure if we have purchased the correct type, the one we chose was cheaper but cools the water by using a chilled plate, the expensive ones use the same gubbings as a fridge. The cheaper one allows less cooled water before the temp rises while the dearer one is freezing all the time… Only time will tell…… The cost £50.00 as opposed to £100.00 !!
The other thing we did was check out the other local towns on route home, some look very nice although small. Two of them were near the river…. Sorry just been disturbed by a wee sparrow visiting the T.V. room, hopefully he has managed to get out of the house and does not die behind a cupboard somewhere… Phew!!!
Back to the river, this is so vast it looks like the sea, the first place had lots of eatery places but not a nice beachy area. The second had a nice beachy area but you would have had to take own food and drinks. There were about 20 BBQ areas so another option was to cook your own food… I could just imagine the huge coolers need to transport all this stuff!!! :-\
Friday night we met up with Maria Amelia and Gilberto for drinks at the bar, While we were there I questioned them about the secret Santa present Mike had to buy for the next evening as it was the Department Xmas bash.
Now I do not know about the rest of the world; but in U.K. the secret Santa pressie is usually some sort of joke thing…. Mike had gone down this route….. buying a large child’s fire-engine that you fill with water and can squirt it out through a hose !!! Well thanks God I asked..... the pressie here is NEVER a joke one but is always a proper pressie…. Can you imagine the guys face when he unwrapped the fire engine??? He definitely would have guessed who it was from!! :-^:-(
We bought some chocolates instead… The next problem is what to wear, I am running out of outfits that have not been seen, as I was expecting the shipping to arrive by the end of Jan… not a hope of that happening as it is still in U.K. The inventory list we wrote has not been approved yet… seemingly not enough detail. I am eeking out the outfits in case suddenly there is a posh do to go to, I tell you it’s not so easy being a woman here!!!:-|

I had to find a dry cleaners, Mike suit needs cleaned before the wedding, asking for somewhere that would dry clean clothes; well what excitement that was… I was told down the road on the right, so I drive down the road looking for a shop, I found a house with loads of laundry hanging around and a lady ironing in 35c heat inside a small room with no fan…. yipes I would have passed out!!!
I asked the lady did she do dry cleaning and was told yes… I however saw no evidence of a machine nor smelt the pungent odour of dry cleaning…. Well I left the suit, and pick it up on Tuesday; so fingers crossed it is ok, or we will not be going to the wedding!!:-\

I also had to get an emergency appointment to get a crown fixed back into my mouth, The tooth fell out while I ate a toffee at the rotary thing… stupid thing to eat at my age with all the dentist work I have had done!!! I managed to push it back in but it wobbled around too much to eat properly, I managed to see Dr Gotto and now I can eat normally..:-D

A funny thing happened yesterday, I was in the supermarket when an old man stopped me opposite the salt. He wanted to know what the difference was between two differing colours of salt, I nearly said I was foreign and could not help, when I realised he could probably not read and really it was not so difficult to explain.
The salt was rock salt crystals – one bag was white coloured and the other bag had brown coloured crystals. This salt is used to spread over the meat before BBQing it. The brown one contains flavourings …herbs/ garlic.
I was able to explain this, then he chose the white plain one, the next question was why two prices…. One was ½ k the other bag 1k…. I again managed to explain this and he seemed more than happy, not even commenting on the poor language I was using… I had a spring in my step for a while after that until I met up with a friend who rattled on so quickly I had not a clue what was said….a couple of mmhs and uhhahs and nodding my head seemed to do the trick and off she went… I have still no idea what she told me…. oh to live in a bubble!!!:-,:-\
Oh one thing before I go, we made the local news!!! A photo of us in the newspaper, with a screed telling the locals we are living in the town now and first came here 8 years ago, Mike is working in UNESP, and we have joined the Rotary. Well now there is no hiding for us !!!

Hoping the weather warms up a little for you all and the snow does not reach armpit levels !!
Love to you all
Laur xx

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