Sunday, June 21, 2009

Party’s Over

Over? No. Suspended. For the moment. This week, my socializing was scarcely 40% of the week before—when I had a Festa Juninha party, an impromptu bachelorette do, a wedding, a churrasco, two “Girl’s Night” outings, and a boa viagem pizza party for Ivan. This week, the celebrations of the previous week were catching up with me. In the coming days, I am striving for a little quiet.

The casamento of Shelley & Rafael on June 12 was a delight. The intimate ceremony was held in a room at the Sheraton, perhaps Porto Alegre’s most chic hotel. The room was a romantic indoor garden, with bamboo and palm trees (and other green things I can’t name) along the perimeter, glowing candlelight, and swaths of sheer, white curtains dividing the ceremony-space from the dinner-space. The dinner (main course: Roquefort encrusted chicken, yum!) was outstanding and, because the group was so small, everyone was served a warm meal, simultaneously—imagine! Plus, the fact that everyone was seated together at one big table made the occasion cozy and personal. The entire evening was simple, elegant, and genuine.

As predicted, we all had our dancin’ shoes on for the reception.

Good times.

So Ivan’s back in Spain for a couple months. This week I will also bid a (temporary) tchauzinho! to Fifi, Lisa, and Christiane as they leave on extended holidays, and a (more lasting) tchau! to Clair, Carlos, and little Rafael as they depart for Amsterdam. Bummer.

Speaking of travels, my site traffic has increased a lot lately (thank you!). In addition to the usual suspects (from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Finland, Spain, Sweden, France, Australia, Japan, etc.), I’ve noticed virtual visitors from a handful of new countries. Seeing this always brings a smile to my face—there’s something amazing in knowing that a stranger, whether 1,000 or 10,000 miles away, and I are having a moment together. Cool. Hi there Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan! Hello Warsaw, Poland and Semarang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia! Bem-vindo!

Coisinha charmosa #4

So, yesterday I took a long walk to Jardim Botânico. The gardens are beautiful, of course, even in winter, and I enjoyed watching the turtles and black swans sunning themselves. I lamented my forgetfulness, wishing I could photograph some of the peaceful scenes to share. But I regretted leaving the camera at home even more moments later…

Coisinha charmosa #5

…when, as I was making my way out of the gardens, I came across a strange scene in Environmental Area 15. “Scene” indeed! There were about 15 men standing around in a field where an equipment truck and a crane, suspending some sort of catapult mechanism, were parked. About 40 feet from the dodgy-looking catapult, a cameraman crouched behind a stack of foam mattresses. I stood in anticipation, imagining some “Jackass” type stunt that was certainly about to transpire, and almost as certainly (judging by the flimsy mattresses) about to go wrong. After watching the discussions and various scientific (or not) calculations for a while, I determined the men must have stage fright because a small crowd of spectators had gathered by this point. I left before they launched, presumably, the poor chump skyward. Still, the juxtaposition of this scene in my afternoon of tranquility made me laugh.

It’s closing time on the shortest day of the year. I have to call my favorite Meathead to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. (Again. What can I say? He's just one of my favorite people to say "hi" to!)