Saturday, November 17, 2007

Updating on the Last Week and a Half

I am getting in trouble for not posting anything for the last week and a half . . . oops! Eric says with my busy schedule (insert sarcastic tone here) it's no wonder I haven't gotten around to updating our blog (insert punch to his shoulder here.) ;)

We have been enjoying Brasil as usual and even handling a bit of business over the last several days. The week of November 5, we got to hang out at night with some other Americans for the first time since we moved here. Two CNH guys (Larry and Hank) were in town, so we went out to supper with them each night. Eric's boss here in Brasil, Humberto, had a bunch of us over to his house for supper on that Thursday night and we had a real good time.

Last Saturday night, we were invited to a party at a friend's (Marco, a coworker of Eric's here) mother-in-law's home. Did you follow all that?? Marco warned us that no one else there would speak ANY English. We thought it might be good practice for us - force us to speak some Portuguese and not be surrounded by people eager to practice their English. It was quite the experience as roughly 20 people cycled through the house that night. We felt like the main attraction- hey, look, real live Americans! I found I could sit next to the 5 year old little girl and have something resembling a conversation, sort of. We had a blast, but we left the party early at 1:00 am because we could barely stay awake any longer. Marco said the last people left after 3:00 that morning.

This last week was a short one for Eric. Thursday was Republic Day here in Brasil and they also took Friday off to bridge it into a 4 day weekend. We looked into taking a trip to the beach, but our first choice in locations (Ilha Grande) was all booked up. We decided to stay back here in BH instead and take care of some apartment things instead.

But before we did too much work, we took a trip on Thursday to some waterfalls about an hour and a half from here. We went with 3 other couples (two of the guys work with Eric) and the 3 kids of one of the couples. It was a beautiful day, the scenery was gorgeous, and we got to do some swimming/sunbathing. I have several pictures that we took Thursday, but I will save those for the end of my post here.

The trip was made especially fun by having the 17 year old boy and 10 year old girl ride with the Americans. Fernando (the boy) has been studying English and is very fluent. He wanted to practice his English, so he rode with us on the way to the waterfalls. His little sister is super cute and she is just learning English. Her brothers say she loves to talk, so when we drove to lunch and then sight seeing, she jumped in the car with us too so she could try out her English. They are great kids and they made the drive a lot of fun.

Next week, we are supposed to do a walk through of the apartment and sign the papers so we can take possession. It is hard to say whether all of that will go as planned or not, but Eric and I decided to take advantage of him having a weekday off and did some shopping for the apartment. As I have mentioned before, apartments here come without any appliances at all. (Some even are lacking light fixtures, showerheads, door handles . . .) We spent all day Friday shopping for furniture and pricing appliances. Then, we went back today and made ourselves the proud owners of a new stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and television. I was pretty excited about it all, since I am getting the stainless stove and fridge that I have been dying for! Eric is feeling a little left out since he didn't get the LCD TV he wanted . . . but I am pretty sure I would have needed a defibrillator for my hubby had we put anything more expensive on the bill. In all seriousness though, we felt good about our purchases. They had a bunch of floor models marked way down and we ended up getting new in the box stuff delivered for an even slightly lower price. Our Brazilian-style negotiating skills are improving. :)

So for some pictures now from Thursday:

This is the group we were with (minus yours truly - the photographer). This is a statue of Juquinha, a man who was very famous in the area near the waterfalls-although I am still unsure of what he did or why he was so well known.

This is the waterfall we hiked to. It was really pretty and the most famous waterfall in the area. Notice the people walking across the top of it. We also had to make the somewhat treacherous journey across the top of the falls walking on algae covered rocks and wading through rushing water so we could get down to the swimming area. It was one of those things I am pretty certain my mother would have forbid my brothers and me from doing as kids (or even now for that matter!)This is a shot downstream of the waterfall. It was really quiet, peaceful, and absolutely beautiful. The landscape is very different than the waterfalls I am used to visiting in the mountains of North Georgia and Tennessee. Although maybe it was just the lack of Deliverance music in the background . . . who's to say?? ;) (Don't you northern folks just hate it when I beat you to the punch and make the Southerner joke before you get the chance?!? hehe)
This is just a landscape shot from a lookout along the way. Beautiful scenery!

This is a cattle pasture. I love that they have palm trees in their pastures! You will notice one area that has been plowed up as part of pasture renovation. The farmer planted some grass seed and, of course, some young palm trees.

And these last two . . . well, I thought maybe you would like some clarification on an earlier comment about Eric and I standing out as very American in our swimsuits. These are typical (and maybe even on the modest end of things.) We are still trying to get brave enough to conform . . .

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