Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Internacional x Cerro

I'm going to the stadium tonight to cheer Inter on as they confront Uruguay's Cerro in the Group Stage of the Copa Libertadores.

Inter has not been playing well lately.
Hey, Abbondanzieri, I'm not a fan.
That is all.

That's two stars for Inter! Two x Zerro! ha ha ha!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I have a good reason

...for neglecting the site. A couple, actually.

First, I joined the (Y)ACM, as it's called here, and have been working out 6 days a week. It's crazy, like, I totally dig the place. No chicks in high-heeled gym shoes. No makeup. No pretense. Just a bunch of normal people trying to become more fit. Ahhhh.

Well, mostly normal. There is, however, instructor Sylvana's Body Attack class - which is the farthest I've seen from a normal aerobics class. Ever. It's a high impact workout with a high octane crowd of devotees (male and female alike) that... well.. get very into it. They clap, chant, scream, and encourage one another: it's like Hans & Franz at a UCA Spirit Rally.

But, it's engaging, fun, and highly motivating. I love it and am trying to go when I can.

The other impediment on my posting is that I have pictures and videos to include which need editing and re-sizing. Sorting out an efficient method--err, learning to use my Mac properly--always seems too daunting when I pause to consider it and compare it to the alternatives (say, studying, trip planning, daydreaming, Facebook).

Ack, I will. Really.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Please, don't tell my Grandma!

As much as I hoped to never experience crime firsthand, I also moved here with the awareness that it was more likely that I would...eventually. Frankly, I am surprised that I've made it as long as I have: one year and 359 days, just five days shy of my 2nd anniversary here in Porto Alegre.

So I'm walking back from the park today along a common route. It's a few minutes past one in the afternoon. I'm listening to Face to Face and feeling unusually irritable for a gorgeous Sunday (which I attribute to the depressive after-effects of Saturday nights' indulgences).

I made eye contact with one of the two guys walking toward me on the sidewalk. The taller one. He had weird eyes. Not sure if they were pretty or ugly but they had my attention nevertheless, for a couple of seconds. Then, in a Blink moment, I knew they were going to rob me. I darted my eyes to the other one, who was my height, just as he raised his shirt to reveal a large knife tucked into his pants. He lifted it, to show me that it was big and he was serious. Got it.

A fraction of time later, both of them standing in what would officially be ruled by Johnny as "my dance space," the armed one instructed me not to scream. The taller one started looking in my fannypack. (Yes, I have one. Thiera had delighted in mailing it to me when I told her I needed it, specifically, to avoid this sort of event during my long walks. Apparently, it was unfashionable and useless. What's more, the ladrões didn't take it.) I helped him retrieve my iPod only too willingly: it was three years old and engraved with a loving sentiment about my ex-boyfriend. I've just been waiting for it to die to open the new one I got as a backup. Good riddance.

I muttered some sort of apology for having only R$7 and some change (less than US$5) in my pockets, and asked them, meekly, if I could keep my keys.

It was over in seconds and I walked a good 30 feet in the opposite direction, heart pounding in chest, before I turned around to see them crossing the street.

Gratitude. Nothing better than that to improve a sour mood.

Loquinha Gauchinha

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flat Jenny & the McSeekah's

I woke up today feeling a little flat.

Not surprisingly, I don't remember much of my St. Paddy's Day frolicking in Dublin. Thankfully, Roberto and Marianna documented my day for me...

"So, Roberto, this leprechaun walks into a pub..."

Mari & Roberto, thanks for the craic!

Que saudades!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How "tranquilo" is PdD?

The bus journey eventually (don't get me started on that debacle) ended at Punta del Diablo's busiest intersection: the convergence of three sand roads which we later dubbed, in fits of giggles, Plaza Central.

The first thing that struck me, as I wandered down the calm lane in the vague direction of the hostel, was the shabby chic eateries and watering holes that peppered the route. Take this spot, for example. An old boat with a makeshift roof, this restaurant (and others akin), serves tasty homemade meals to the Havaianas crowd.

There are no banks in the village.
[No one will tell you this in advance, because ...they are busy surfing? ...they use the barter system? ...the Tourist Information strategy session is mañana?]
I learned that one can change dollars or reais at the local food market. Or try one's luck finding the only--rather obscurely positioned and well-hidden--ATM. Hint: check on top of the highest sand dune, a few blocks from "Center," behind a restaurant and some shops. (See metal box in photo.) Who planned that one?

Apparently "No Parking," in this case, doesn't refer to dusty old motorbikes or horses...

...but the go-cart-esque dune buggy simply must decay elsewhere.

Signage guidelines follow in the "tranquilo" theme.

Someday I'll stay here:


*Better late than never, the wee video clip of IvanOne, with a head injury and a sunburn, taking a Dune Dive.


Good Times. Good times.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Punta del Diablo

La Casa de las Boyas hostel (sailing into my Top 5)

This might be my laziest post ever. Fitting, then, that the subject is my week in Punta del Diablo--which was the most delightfully lazy, relaxed, peaceful, restorative place I've ever been outside the family summer home in the Indiana Dunes.

Well, except for the silly times I spent with my new Dutch friend, Romilde, and The Ivans.

And that one utterly unforgettable night of Yahtzee, caipirinhas, and madrugada wave-boxing. Three a.m., in the ocean, and I never felt so free in my life.

Andre took a potato out of my mouth. On purpose. And he ate it.

Romilde and Hugo, in a pose that might just as well have been after we saw the bar tab.

...oh, and the countless stars...

Thank you, universe.