Mary was only able to come for a week, but we definitely made the most of it.
We went straight from the airport to the in-law's beach house.
Barbecue, beach, and books in hammocks!
(yeah, I kinda burned that garlic bread a bit. The perils of barbecuing without Alexandre!)
Mary had her first taste of fresh coconut
...and her first caipirinha:
We used one of the cloudier days to explore the more untamed parts of the fancy beach town. It sure was some gorgeous greenery.
anyone know what this plant is called? I've seen it in a few different places, but I don't know the name. It's so cool. Its "leaves" (?) fill with water and other plant debris when it rains.
What about this one?
We got this picture of the creepy Snow White figurine phenomenon, just for my buddy at Born Again Brazilian:
On our hike, we also literally stumbled upon a squirrel cuckoo, as in, practically stepped on its tail and didn't notice it until it flew up into the tree next to us! (I explain that to make sure you know that I know how to use the word "literally" correctly.) The whole thing was so fast that we couldn't get a decent picture, but luckily I recognized it from my bird book (its giant tail and beady red eyes make it unique). Here's a picture from UNESP's website:
They're actually good-sized birds, and they're so elegant. Fun fact: their name in Portuguese is alma-de-gato, which means "cat soul". Anyone know why? I don't, and I'm curious!
Speaking of birds, we were pretty lucky with our sightings during Mary's trip, what with spring and all. We didn't see as many different birds as Jamie and I saw during her trip during the summer, but Mary did get to experience...
a whole bunch of Brazilian tanagers, often collecting nesting materials with their frumpy mates
A lot of rufous-bellied thrushes doing the same thing (I took those pics! Click to make them larger)
southern lawpings (quero-queros) and their babies (see the little baby?! eeeeee)
a blue heron (I was excited by how close we got, obviously)
and some black skimmers (a.k.a. talha-mar), which I've seen around our beach town since we moved here but which I never knew the name of until now -- this picture is from Wikipedia
we I definitely got some bird time in during the trip. :)
After the beach house, we went back to my apartment. Not much to do around here, and it was raining, so that limited our beach options. Mary got to meet Gatinha and try real açaí for the first time (much better as a fruit than a supplement):
Then we took a boat ride around the bay. Because of the rain, it was only us and a bunch of kids on a field trip. They were very interested in / confused by Mary's height and inability to understand Portuguese. But they took to her once she won the captain's raffle and passed on her potato chip prize to the kids next to her.
Even with the rain, the boat ride was really pretty. I learned that there are some pristine isolated beaches just a boat ride away from my apartment! Now I just need to find someone with a boat to take us to them...
|my smile looks innocent enough, but I'm secretly plotting a way to get on that beach behind me|
To entertain the kids, the captain played some Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. He also tried to get a laugh out of them with "My Heart Will Go On," but it kind of went over their heads. We adults on board enjoyed it, though.
During Mary's trip, we took her to an obligatory all-you-can-eat sushi dinner:
shaky pic courtesy of the waitress, who was too busy obsessing about the fact that Mary spoke another language, telling Alexandre "Make her say something in English!" and then gawking in amazement at their mutual unintelligibility to get a good picture.
Oh, and Mary got a stealth picture of that "Gonna!" store:
And we went to the big farmer's market by my apartment. Mary got to try all kinds of Brazilian fruits, like caju, pinha, jabuticaba, and, of course, perfect, fresh mangoes.
After a couple of nights in our apartment, Mary and I went off to Sao Paulo for her last day before going home. Again, more rain, but luckily Mary is enjoyable and optimistic company.
We went to a "Museum of Brazilian Art" (the FAAP Museu). Don't go there. It's 2 rooms of BS. There is so much better Brazilian art out there -- don't let this place give you a bad impression.
We walked up and down Avenida Paulista. We checked out the botanical garden. We had lunch at a simple yet tasty per-kilo place. We got some fancy coffee.
I was sad when she left!!!!