Sunday, November 16, 2008

a glimpse of life in Butiá

Several weeks ago I was invited to Butiá. Where?

Butiá is a small town in the interior (that is, countryside), to attend Clair and Carlos’ son’s batismo (baptism) and the family churrasco that followed. The bus from Porto Alegre took a little over an hour. I love bus trips because I can zone out with my iPod and absorb scenery that is otherwise elusive to your carless reporter. I didn't worry much about finding my hotel without directions--there's only one.

I dropped my backpack in my room and gave myself the grand tour of the town (twice) in under an hour.

After a coffee and a quick read through the local newspaper, I headed back to the hotel cafe for dinner and the game. There, I met Julio.

From the distant border town of Uruguaiana, he moved to Butiá a handful of years ago to be near his children and grandchildren that live in Porto Alegre. City life isn't for him, he says, nor is living alone--so he has taken up residence in the hotel! Both a gentleman and a character (actually, he's just a few less shades of yellow than Homer Simpson, don't you think?), he was eagerly informative. He insisted I sample one of these rather greasy doughnuts and taught me my favorite new phrase: Ala pucha, Tchê! It's a safe alternative to some of the more colorful language I have learned to shout at the television during a game when my team is not living up to my expectations.

I tried to call it an early night because I had to get to the church the next morning by an hour I normally miss. Unfortunately, I think my humble accommodation was inexpensive because it is subsidized by a bedbug tax. It was not a pleasant sleeping experience, but hey, I needed no further motivation to get out of there in the morning.

The church kinda reminded me of the one in the November Rain music video.

The officiant was young and hip--a one-man-(of-God)-show--who played guitar and sang throughout the Sunday service. It was nice. Kinda... earthy.

Clair's parents, in town from Germany, are really friendly, interesting, and adventurous (they were headed to Manaus in the Amazon after their visit here). Clair, her Dad, and I decided to walk back to the party for a little fresh air. We stopped for a look around the local cemetery and this little sítio.

Then it was time for a home style barbecue.

The others in attendance included four generations of Carlos' family, most of whom still live within blocks of each other in town.

I was really honored to be invited to such an intimate family event. Naturally, I was treated with the utmost hospitalidade, and felt thankful to be in such great company.

Thanks again Clair & Carlos (and family)!