Monday, September 22, 2008

Quiet, then loud


One day couple weeks ago I was in a shoe store trying on some sandals mid-afternoon. It was sunny when I entered the shop, and I noticed as I glanced out the window about 15 minutes later that it had become dusky dark not long after lunch. Uh-oh. Wearing my strappy new mules out of the shop wasn’t one of my better-thought-out decisions, but neither was leaving the umbrella at home. And anyway, attempting to stay dry in the sudden monsoon would have been futile with Wellies and a parachute.

No matter. The rainy weeks lent themselves perfectly to my blues. I would apologize for my long absence, but I’m trying not to apologize so much.
They say Porto Alegre sometimes has four seasons in a day. I’d amend that to three, but otherwise the ubiquitous "they" are spot on. So I’m glad my club has an indoor and an outdoor pool. Oh, did I just jump over something? (ha!) Yes, I joined my first country-club-ish place, Grêmio Nautico Gaúcho. I went there last week to inquire about swimming a couple times a week as a non-member, and walked out with a carteira social (membership card). I'm such a sucker! They have weights and aerobics and handball and a dining facility, blah blah blah, all of which I’ll probably never use. But they offer a convincing two pools: a 25m indoor pool and an Olympic size outdoor pool (currently under a giant bubble until summer), which I have already frequented three times this week.
I am relieved knowing that when the summertime mass exodus happens—when Porto Alegrenses head for their beach houses in January and February—and my class schedule gets cut in two, I will have a place to retreat, swim, relax, read, maybe even get a little color. Oh, there’s even a Recanto do Chimarrão (tea corner) where the club provides tea and hot water to fill my cuia. Love that.

Semana Farroupilha is an annual celebration of gaúcho traditions which culminated yesterday, Dia da Farroupilha, with a big parade. The day marks the anniversary of a civil war predominantly fought in Rio Grande do Sul from 1835 to 1845—though it seems to me that the day has come to be more significant as a time to honor one’s southern heritage through the rituals of song and dance, churrasco and chimarrão. I wasn’t able to watch the horses on parade Saturday morning because I had some classes. I did attend two barbeques in the afternoon and evening. Mmmm, meat.
A Saturday Summary Equation:

Gauchinhas felizes… yours truly, Fifi, and Victoria
(Hot tip: If you click on any picture, and this is a good one for it, you can see a larger version.)

Aventuras na Cozinha: Recently in Kitchen Adventures, I dropped a glass bottle of grape juice this week. Great. Ants for life. In other food items, would someone kindly show this photo to my favorite boss, Denny? I purchased this overpriced snack item (low demand I guess, har har har) just to take this photo for him. We shared an affinity for baby carrots and I was simply bowled-over to find carrot balls.

Carrot balls! Ideais para pratos sofisticados” – yes, ideal for sophisticated dishes.
Stay tuned, I have another entry about today. Vamo vamo Inteeer!
The Loquinha-est Gauchinha