Travel Journal

The last few weeks

(Tuesday 15 March 2011) by Brennan-adventures
Well it’s me again, Thought I’d better get things down on virtual paper before I forgot about them …. Getting to that “will I, won’t I remember” age!!!:-(:-^

I popped into another Paderia for coffee and cheese-bread around 2pm, the vegetarian lunch of fruit and tomato does not fill me for long!! I stop for a coffee there at least one per week so the shop girls know me. I did my usual “hello how are you thing”, I then spotted one of the hairdressing girls having a snack with her mum…… Again the “hello nice to meet you thing” went on...
Once I got to the till there was a new person there taking the money, she had been listening to all this palaver and poor Portuguese so asked where I was from. When I said England she perked up and then said in Portuguese’s… “ Oh you must speak French”????!!!! :-? OMG I thought and said “ No I can read a little and understand a little but speak badly. Well off she went rattling on in the most perfect French I have heard outside France. Now I had 2 choices, Smile, interrupt and pay; or smile grunt occasionally and play along I understood her…. Which did I choose???

YEP the grunting one, and firing questions in Portuguese, My god could she could talk, I was racking my brain for a couple of words and could only think of the phrase that means “Will you sleep with me tonight”….Not very helpful in this situation, and goodness knows why I remember that phrase anyway!!!!
Eventually a queue formed behind me, and I was able to pay and then sit for a few minutes rest and recuperation!!! I spent the time trying to remember how to say goodbye in French, thankfully it came to me and although I am blowing my own trumpet, I think it was a very convincing goodbye. Whew… got out of that one ok!!!
Mike now suggests I could go there and practise my French as well as Portuguese…. I think I would get so confused I would go mad!!!

Our Beach trip on Sunday was again funny, we now have gone there for a few weeks now and every week have seen the same people, well now they are saying hello and smiling at us, even some brave enough to shake our hands ….We are not sure what our other amigos would think as these people are really poor, I have a feeling the other amigos would be a little snobby and not to have anything to do with them; that’s their loss…. we enjoy watching the people dance and have fun, and watching the dynamics of the crowd.

The English lesson went well, He had been to an interview and said he was much more confident, and kept reminding himself to speak slowly. He is really quick at remembering, sees or hears it once and it’s there. I wish I was like that!! :-\
We were pronouncing some words that end in ED; in Portuguese they pronounce every letter so find it difficult to miss some letters out speaking in English, it was fun. I am also trying to get him breaking his habit of calling me Mrs. Laura. That’s because ladies here are referred to as either Senhora Laura or if older than me Donna Laura… I explained it was different in UK and USA he was likely to get punched saying ….Yes Mrs or yes lady all the time.

Tuesday at Rotary was strange, when is it never strange I hear you all mutter!! Well this week not only did we have a Franciscan monk dressed in white but there was also a young man there from Canada. The Monk was there collecting toys for a children’s ward in the hospital, seemingly the Franciscan brothers run the hospital here, no idea why they have not handed the responsibility over to the town??? Anyway this guy could talk, honestly it’s getting to the stage I dread a Brazilian getting hold of a microphone!!! >:-(

Well the next thing, we were handed 4 tickets for Happy Hour at the Rotary Club, we were to sell 2 and keep 2. Our problem was who on earth were we going to sell to….everyone we know is at the Rotary!!!! Gilberto did not get the concept of asking complete strangers for donations for the disaster in Rio was totally different to asking another couple to this evening do. We do not know people well enough to ask them, and also it means sitting and having a conversation with them all night!!!! Yipes with all the noise and music the poor people would have been bored out of their minds with just us at the table!! :-|8-O

I had started getting a little stressed about the whole thing until one evening I decided enough was enough I did not come to Brasil to be stressed!! The next Rotary evening when asked if I had sold the tickets I explained….. no I did not know anyone and I did not move here to be stressed. Well next day I was told someone had managed to sell my 2 tickets for me…. Thanks God!!!! The money collected is being used for some more toys for the hospital.
The only thing to do now was decide what to wear and prepare some Tuna Pate for my contribution to the meal. They had tried it at the Rotary evening the week before and loved it, so I felt ready to give it to Ilha!!

The weather suddenly changed and we had rain solidly for 2 weeks, such a problem getting clothes dry, I had to revert to the tumble drier, which seemed so silly when I saw it here!!!
The rain was really heavy and has created large holes in the roads, so goodness knows when they will be filled.
We were now counting down to Carnival. Happy hour was being held on the first night of carnival with the following 4 days of revelry to follow. Like New years on speed !!! 8-O;-)

The evening before Happy hour, volunteers were asked to go to the hall and help set up, Mike even volunteered to help !!!! Tables, chairs had to be set up and glasses and cutlery washed. There were about 120 people expected to turn up at the event.
The next afternoon (the day of the event) I was needed to help put out the food, fold napkins etc, then there was the hours getting ready, all too soon 8pm arrived and off we trotted to Happy hour.

WELL, I should have checked the dress code, I assumed and we all know what that means!!! Here was mike and I all dolled up with our glad rags and what greets us???? Ladies in shorts and guys in tee shirts, oops a little overdressed then!!! :-,:o)

The night was ok, although impossible to have any conversation without bellowing and not hearing what the response was. The caipirinha’s were flowing well, remember it’s made from a triple measure of pure alcohol with the juice of 1 lime or equivalent amount of other flavouring poured over some ice… Rocket fuel!!!!!
I had a kiwi flavoured one that I watered down 5x until I could manage to drink it!!! As the evening progressed there were more and more people dancing!! This was /is carnival etiquette…. Drinking and dancing all night until 4am, then sleeping until lunchtime and starting again. In Rio and other cities they also dance wildly, I really cannot see how they manage this for 4 nights and are still living!!! We bowed out around 11pm, as we had our furniture arriving at 10am the next day then we had a lunch date around 1pm….Yipee!!!!

Next morning I was up early, not so bright eyed or bushy tailed as I should have been, and leaving Mike in bed, I stumbled downstairs and made coffee. I thought I should move the car over a little in the garage so the men had enough room to bring the furniture in easily…… Well we hoped there were going to be men, our amigos had been filling our heads with horror stories about moves they had in the past where the furniture was left on the pavement and then they had to organise friends to move thing inside !!
When I opening the garage door at 8-45am here was a lorry with ½ a container sitting outside, I then spied a mini van beside it… whew more removal men, no need to panic.. Yipee!!!!:-)
After moving the car and waking Mike, I went to see what the men were doing. They had driven up from Sao Paulo late into the night and then slept in a garage forecourt, so some of the guys were away having breakfast. They had not expected to start unloading until 10am. I then walked the foreman through the arrangement we had made for the furniture storage. By this time Mike appeared and the man handed him the inventory. It was marked Bingo check???!!!! :-?
The peice of paper had lots of numbered boxes and our name and address printed on it. Mike was to tick a corresponding box matching the numbers of the marked packages as they were unloaded. We were due 160 packages, we got… 160 packages. Mike however misheard a few numbers so we had three number 66’s and two number 19’s...... Still it all added up to 160. The only breakage we found was a lamp.
One bedroom is now full to bursting point including the en-suite!! The landing at the top of the stairs is now the depository for the sofa and seats. We decided not to unwrap the items as we have another move in 7 months. The weather had been so kind to us, you would not believe it stayed dry until they closed the doors on the empty lorry, then the heavens opened and it stayed like that for the rest of the day and night.
The one thing we are soooo happy to have is the memory foam topper for the bed; it’s like sleeping on a cloud again…. Mmmmmhhh!!!!

The guys were finished in 3 hours and back on their way to Sao Paulo again. We however were now on our way to lunch. It was our favourite.. Feijoada…..!!! 8-O:-^
The couple we were visiting had been so good and cooked me a special one without garlic, also the rice without garlic. To be honest it tasted good although the colour is not so appealing. The beans did ferment a little so I was not such a nice person to know later!!!! I was even sent home with some for later…. :o)
That night it was suggested we all meet up at the beach for Carnival, meeting time 11pm…… Good back to bed for a nap!!!!
Later that night, the rain still heaving down we left for the beach. Shorts and tee shirts this time, not making the same mistake twice!!!

Well what a strange crowd, I would describe them as well oiled but happy. There was a prize for the best block. [This is when a large group have all bought tickets to be in the same place, and given tee shirts to wear, this shows they have paid to be in that block. Here in Ilha the carnival was free so it was just huge groups of friends either dressed in matching tee shirts (bought especially for the occasion) or in fancy dress].
Well cross dressing was high on the agenda; some groups of friends had the boys dressed as girls and the girls, complete with fake beards and moustaches dresses as blokes. They were having fun. We however were not, the rain poured down through the large holes that had been decoratively punched out of the covering above our heads. The ground was wet and a little muddy just like the soggy summer festivals in U.K. … ugh!!!! The band was a rock band, so not Mike’s music. We looked around for the amigos, we couldn’t find them. We left 1 hour later, I must admit it did put me off paying mega bucks to visit another city for carnival.
Next day it was still raining heavily, we got a call to go for another lunch, there we found out no one had bothered going to the beach because of the rain. They suggested a visit to the beach that night, I told Mike no way was I going I’d rather go to bed and watch a movie!!!
I had received the clothes with our furniture, so most of them had been taken into the tailors for alteration. Not that I’d lost any more weight I hasten to add, just the waist bands on trousers needed taken in, tee shirts are not worn baggy here, so they needed remodelled. Some of the pedal pusher trousers I wanted made into shorts, so before I knew it 10-12 items were taken there. I heard they also make new clothes there from photos, so I am going to try that out too in a few weeks time.

Fabricio ( Mikes Brazilian student ) was due to return to England, he decided to have a BBQ at his parents’ house in San Jose de Rio Preto on the Saturday before he flew away on the Sunday…. True Brazilian style!!!!
We had tried to stay at a hotel for the weekend, but it was becoming so difficult to say no to the offer of a bed with them. Honestly once you stay with a Brazilian in their house you know the meaning of hosting and been treated to 10* treatment!!!
Fabricio had been staying with us for 3 weeks, only during the week. I had done the usual “here is the breakfast stuff help yourself, the drinks are in the fridge, make yourself at home” thing…. Well at his mums house there was 4 different types of rolls, 2 different types of bread, toasty things, porridge, granola, fruit salad, 2 types of fresh fruit juice, 3 types of boxed fruit juice, and even every type of milk.
There was Tea from England and coffee from Brasil. There was also cake, and ham and cheese for the bread. It looked like she was feeding 30 people for breakfast instead of 8!!
Fabricio’s Fiancée Poli was there and his younger brother; also his elder brother and wife arrived for the weekend. His Dad had to work up in the North of Brasil though so it was only his Mum (Francelli) holding the fort!!!.

One thing I LOVED about the house which again would be a great idea in every house, at the top of the stairs on the landing was a small kitchenette with a fridge full of drinks and some crisps, nuts and biscuits. For midnight munchies it was heaven!!!! It was put in when the kids were studying so they did not have to go up and down the stairs.

The day of the BBQ, Fabricio’s uncle and aunt appeared with his grandparents…. (Francelli’s parents and her brother. The uncle looked so young and we were told he was about the same age as Fabricio’s older brother 33 years old.
The BBQ was another epic food fest, there was loads of food. Fabricio was hard at work cooking the meat; it was a fun filled afternoon. Two other Brazilian students that had been in Southampton the same time as Fabricio but who now were both working in Brasil managed to come along as well so it was nice to catch up with them.

Later when people left and it was back to the immediate family it was decided to go to an ice-cream shop. During the afternoon there had been a conversation about fruits found in the north of Brasil. This ice-cream shop makes ice-lollies with the fruits found in the north of Brasil. Off we trotted at 8pm, all 6 of us to the ice-cream shop.
Well I was amazed at how many fruits there were that we had never seen far less heard about. Some of the flavours of the ice lollies were Avocado (remember they eat it sweet here), Sweet corn, Pumpkin, even cheese !!!
Then began the funniest night I’d ever had….. here Brazilians if sharing a dish will normally take huge precautions they are not contaminating the dish for others, so toothpicks are use to pickup and eat chips and other small foods, and small spoonfuls of foods are put on plates etc.
Well in the ice-cream shop this all was forgotten!!! Each of us chose a different flavour of lolly then the others all had a nibble from it, this meant 6 of us trying each lolly!!!! Then suddenly a lolly fest started, the girls in the shop were laughing at us as we ran for the next lolly to try. By the time we had finished it was 10-30 …….24 lollies had been consumed and we had not managed to try every flavour !!! It had been a really good night.

Next morning we were all up early to take Fabricio to the bus station, he and Poli were travelling to Sao Paulo for Fabricio to catch the plane to England that night. After putting them onto the bus we returned to the house and had breakfast (just as large as the day before) with Francelli and Francisco her youngest son. During the conversation we found out that Francelli’s mum who had been there the day before with Francelli's brother, was actually one of a family of 21 !!!! 8-O8-O8-O yes you read that number correctly 21 children in the house, all the same mother and father and only 2 sets of twins within the 21 children. The father had been an American pastor… Well he certainly practised what he preached !!!!
The mother of Francelli was born in the middle of the family and had 20 brothers, only 8 still survive.

It was funny to see the face of her youngest son, he had no idea about the 21 children, and kept saying golly it was noisy enough with us 3 boys I cannot imagine 21 kids all at one time…. Thinking sensibly about it they would only all be around at the same time for party’s as the older one would have probably got married and left home before the youngest was born.
Francelli did say it caused a problem with numbers at any weddings etc as each of the 21 had three kids so before you start inviting anyone else that was 51 !!! (63 - 12 dead). We also found out that Francelli’s grandmother had been a slave, and she could remember her face and ears having slits and cuts which denoted which plantation they were from. When slavery was abolished the workers stayed on at the plantation as they had nowhere else to go. I told her she should write it all down as the information will be lost when she goes.

Well that’s all I’ve got to tell you, it’s been a while since the last blog so I’m sorry this blog is so long.
Look at the photos, oh and the caterpillar you see is poisonous, thankfully Fabricio was there when we saw it. I would have tried to pick it up as it looked like a joke one, very like a plastic nail brush; it was a vivid green colour. I wouldn’t have died but the place the caterpillar had touched would have swollen to twice the size and been very painful for a couple of days…. Close one!!!!!
Love to you all and a quick warning you lot in U.K only 5 weeks now until we get back there!!!
Laur xxx

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