Thursday, January 20, 2005

lots of stuff

20 Jan 2005
It´s been a pretty cool two days here. A couple of days ago it was kind of foggy in the morning. There was fog on the mountains across Guanabara bay from the aterro. The ships were using their fog horns and the frigate birds had come ashore. Sailors say the these birds only come in when there is a storm at sea. They are all over the tropics. Their body is very small and thin with a straight tail. Their wings must represent about 75% of their body weight and are shaped like boomerangs. These babies can float all day. Add about 200 parrots in the coconut palms having a big confab and expo, no one other then me and the birds at the beach. Magic.

I´ve had a couple of firsts occur here. The first first was when I ate something that I shouldn´t have. My stomach rewarded me by making me throw up in the shower. Way bummer. If you ever get a chance do throw up in the shower, skip it.

The other first was last night when I was invited by Xuxa to go out with him and three other gay guys. One was reported to be such a flamer that his nickname is Petula. Needless to say, this sort of stuff makes great copy so I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, two of the guys didn´t show. We still had a great time at Salgueiro. This time of year, the samba is boiling hot. If a member of the bateria misses, he gets cut. The bateria was really cooking, big, tight,fast. I knew about 6 or 8 people and was able to walk along with the bateria. The rehearsal was outside the quadra in a soccer field with a track around the outside. I had my headphones on and my miniddisc in my hand so I think that security must have thought that I was some kind of journalist. I just walked along with different parts of the bateria for about 2 hours. Man you have to experience this!! Indescribable.
Luckily, the rehearsal ended early so we took off toward Sao Clemente. Unfortunately, these guys fell last year so they are now in grupo A. The bateria is, therefore, much smaller and not as impressive as it was last year. That is not to say that it is not good. I knew about 30% of the guys in the bateria and, as soon as they were done hugging me, they gave me a caixa and away we went. I played for about 30 minutes or so and then rotated to someone who had just showed up and had to play in order to keep his card. In fact, I gave my drum to a 10 year old kid who we have watched grow up here in the neighborhood. He´s playing tamborim in Salgueiro and caixa in Sao Clemente. He plays everything but is going to have to grow a little before he´s tall enough to get the surdo off the ground.

These guys play samba with one hand tied behind their backs. There was not one intact stick in the entire bateria. They were all just splinters held together by a samll amount of wood in the middle. It´s amazing how much sound they get out of these beat up drums and pieces of sticks.

The other funny thing that happened was yesterday in the local bar. As I was having a beer with my new friend Seu Juarez (77 years old) I noticed a calender from about 1997 on the wall. It had a picture of the Pope doing that`blessing thing that he does. In big red letters across the top it said, `´God Bless This Bar``. You gotta have priorities. I love this place!!

Hope to lay down some pandeiro tonight in the local roda de samba. Fui, j