Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Nothing special

Yesterday was a quiet day. Monday around here is sort fo like Sunday. It´s the traditional day off for Brazilian musicians.

Early in the day we had a Xuxa siting so we invited him for lunch. Afterward we walked around the neighborhood looking at potential apartments to buy. There was a piece in the paper reporting that the CIA did a study of what to expect in the next 15 years. I´m sure that Shrub was not happy to hear that the old CIA thinks that in only 15 years, China and India will be the predominant world powers and the USA will be just another Eurpean style backwater trading mostly with Mexico. Further, Brazil is believed to be among the countries slated to rise to economic power. This means that our money is not going to return to it´s previous value in the long term and the real estate here is only going to become more expensive, unless of course, the Mogadeshu style gunfights and lawlessness of the favelas spreads to the whole city. Anyhow, seems like a good time to explore the real estate market.

Afterward, we went downtown where Xuxa put the hard bargaining on a music store for some surdos and accessories. I went next door to Casa Oliveira where, I´happy to report, they now sell those really cool tamborim baquetas with the tapered sticks and fat ends. Previously, these were only available if you got lucky enough to run into the maker at a samba school rehearsal. The design is very cool and leads to fat little ball at the end of the stick which is very light and really whips into the tamborim. Nice. A little pricey but worth it. Maybe Marko can figure out how to add this feature to his designs.

Afterward we went to the `´Sahara`` which is a huge street shopping area over around Rua Buenos Aires. I think that I´ve previously mentioned that they call street vendors `´camelos``. I think this is why they call this area the sahara. Lot snd lots of camelos. Lots and lots. You can buy everything here. Hang on to your wallet. In fact, leave it at home. Put your money in your sock or something. Anyhow, we went to several stores which specialize in carnaval stuff. They have ready-made costumes including the headress, shoulder pads, feather backdrop, bikini, etc. All you really need to go almost naked and look good doing it. Anyhow, we ordered a headress for our favorite Porta-Bandeira and it should arrive Thursday. Now we have to figure out how to get it home.

Finally got back to the neighborhood. We have been adopted as honorary members of the neighborhood family. We sat in the corner bar having drinks and snacks and.......talking, an art all but lost in America. Seu Juarez is an older guy who was once a banker but who has had literature as a life long passion. He loves Ernest Hemingway. Yesterday he quoted from the Raven by Poe in Portuguese. Very cool. His friend Manuel is an english teacher who specializes in Backgammon which they call `´Gammon``. Very big here. Anyhow, there were several people entering into the coversation and it went on for some time. Very pleasant and way way better than TV. The neighborhood bloco ``A Larajada`´ meets this Saturday.

I can´t believe that we only have 10 days left. j