Happy New Year, everyone!
I wanted to be sure to write a little about our few days at the Brazilian family's beach house.
It was just fabulous.
So Jamie, Alexandre, and I borrowed the sister-in-law's car (she's been progressively nicer), but were limited to her CD options, which included Fergie, Axé, and her mixed CDs with names like "Top Hits e Sucessos Verão 2005". Needless to say, we listened to a lot of news radio. (Ok, not gonna lie-- a lot of Fergie, too.)
Since we got into town on Christmas day, the beach city was still pretty open and easy to get around. But as the days crept closer to New Year's, the place just got packed. I went to the beach every morning before lunch (ALONE, because my fellow travelers were big on sleeping in), and each morning it was harder and harder to find a nice spot for me and my towel and my book. It was important to go before lunch because it rained almost every afternoon.
But luckily, the beach house also has a very unnecessary pool (we are so spoiled!). So when the beach was too crowded and I got too annoyed with all the patricinhas, I could just go back and hang out with the pool and the homebodies. So this was me, for most of the week:
Sun, book, sunblock (futile), flip flops, smile!
Hope you all enjoy the little skirt that I added on in Paint. Hiding the cellulite AND protecting myself from creep-os!
Also, can you see the entrance to the little mata (rainforest-y area that is apparently "restinga" in English, but that I'm just gonna keep calling mata) behind the house? More daunting than it seems! The first time I braved it, I was immediately greeted with a little squirrel darting in front of me!
Yes, squirrels in Brazil! The Portuguese word is apparently Caxinguelê!
The second time I braved the mata, I made Alexandre go with me, but then I was bitten by some bug (we're guessing spider) and my leg got swollen and so itchy. So no more mata exploring. But to answer Tracy's question, I AM slowly developing a tolerance for mosquito bites! Not sure if that's physically normal or just psychological, but they get less swollen and itch for less time and heal much faster.
ANYWAY ANYWAY. The result of my avoidance of the mata was that all of my bird pictures were from far away. But here ya go:
house wren momma
house wren baby (baaaaabbbiiieeee)
(This little guy woke me up at 6am. Yes... I got out of bed to see what it was and take its picture. WORTH IT! But Alexandre was not amused.)
(It was about 20 feet away, but I got a video of it calling, which confirmed which one it was.)
I even got Jamie and Alexandre in on the bird watching. It's contagious, especially when you're not doing anything except lounging around in the backyard reading good books. Jamie was very helpful in taking pictures and recording videos during my naps!
Continuing on with the beach adventure! We didn't have the neighbor's wireless internet to steal this year, so our only way to get online was to go to a little mall in town that had free wi-fi (hence my last beach post). So that meant we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves at night.
We watched documentaries on Cultura, which is a Brazilian channel akin to PBS in the United States. We got 3 good ones, 3 nights in a row! One was about Aldous Huxley's life (complete with interviews with his totally screwed-up-after-years-of-LSD nonsensical second wife), one was about the Brazilian family that sailed around the world (compared it a lot to my friend Rachel's current and similar adventure!), and one about the folk singers who recorded the songs for the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack.
We also barbecued a lot! Alexandre made the best bbq ribs I've ever had:
(I made the beans)
And we also got drunk on beer and cheap wine (I heart you, Dom Bosco) and went down to the beach at 2am:
In case you can't tell, that's Alexandre wrapped up in the blanket next to me. Photos by Jamie, who was smart enough not to be in the drunk pictures.
On our last full day, I really wanted to try to actually get a tan. So I spent like 5 hours in direct sunlight in a bathing suit (between the pool and the actual beach). I was just way too eager. I thought I was being so good, and reapplying sunblock constantly, but my skin is no match for the equatorial UV rays. I fried up like a shrimp, as the metaphor goes in Portuguese. It was unfortunate. Still is, in fact. The sunburn combined with the spider bite has left me in a lot of pain.
We left the beach house on the 30th to spend actual New Year's Eve with the Brazilian family. I know that's like, sacrilegious in the state of São Paulo ("You left the free beach house BEFORE the New Year?!"), but it was getting super crowded and Alexandre wanted more family time. Awww.
So that's all! Vacations are the best! And we've got a great year ahead of us. More on that soon. :) Happy 2011!