I know a pretty Brazilian lady who always wanted to get into Jujitsu when she was young, but her mother told her that it was a man’s sport. After an altercation with a brother one day, her mother agreed. So she went to the gym where they practiced but she didn’t have money. So the gym decided they would allow her to clean the gym in exchange for the lessons, and then eventually she became the gym receptionist. That was seven years ago. Now the video below took place on Thursday, Nov. 11th. It may take a few seconds to load.

She graciously interpreted what her master was saying and added it to the video. She is one very happy woman!


When we were posted in Ethiopia, we were fascinated by the small carts pulled around by men and many young boys, who would go through the trash and retrieve things of value.  In the years that followed, we also saw the scene in Turkey and now I see it in Brazil.

Once I arrived in Brazil four years ago, I had unpacked all my shipment and had to flatten and store my boxes into a bathroom until I could figure out how to get rid of them.I contacted the Consulate to change out some furniture and when the delivery guys saw my stack of cardboard, they asked if I wanted them to haul them off. I said “sure”. In a matter of minutes, the cardboard was gone and the guys were all smiling. I realized cardboard collections bring in money.

So, that explains all the guys pulling carts around the city, digging into trash bins to collect anything of value, especially cardboard. I see many of these collectors in the streets near our apartment. Here is a mess of pictures collected of the collectors. Mostly from the balcony. The guy in the back of the truck is flattening the boxes as they drive along. I have watched many of these guys throughout the city and I sometimes find myself a little envious of them. There are some that have their families that walk with them, and sometime I see their children riding in the cart. But to be able to roam where you want and pick up things of value, seems pretty low stress. These guys have command of the streets. When they want to cross over, they just start crossing, sometimes diagonally across an intersection. Cars are forced to stop. When the weather is nice as it is most of the time, it’s mild exercise with somewhat fresh air. When it rains, they stop the cart and sit under it for a spell. No bosses, no HR departments, no taxes to pay, no overhead costs, etc. I told Dani that we may just stay here in Brazil and I will collect cardboard. She just ignores me.

A Harrowing Tale of Halloween

When I was a young innocent boy in the first grade, my family lived in the desert hole of Battle Mountain, Nevada. This was probably ’61 or ’62, when the state was in the rough era of whiskey, women and gold mines, which makes sense in my mind that they should go together.

I strongly remember the Halloween of that year, when three of us went on the “Trick or Treat” campaign. I remember my older sister was there, and either an older brother or a younger sister. I distinctly remembering seeing a house, that although did not have the porch light on (to tell kids we have candy for you), it did have a light in the window with noise from a TV or radio inside. So, common sense would be, there is someone in that house, thus candy.

I remember knocking on the door and standing back to wait. No one answered. Stepped forward again and knocked harder, then stepped back. Still nothing. Tried once more, and the door creaked opened.

We gleefully announced, “trick’er treat!”

Standing before us was the silhouette of a man that filled the doorway, and by the words he spoke, he was not happy.

Here is what he said. Read it the way he spoke. Slowly, one word at a time.

“You woke me up. I ought’a switchboard yo’ ears.”

We really did not know what to say, other than to repeat, “Trick’er treat.”

There was a moment of silence, then the silhouette moved his hand into his pocket, withdrew it, and reached out and dropped a silver dollar in my sister’s hand. The door closed and we turned away. I don’t remember if we continued to add to our collection of candy, or if we made a direct line back home, because we were now filthy rich.

Once home, it seemed there was a delay of several days trying to decide how to divide 1 silver dollar evenly between the three of us. I knew, even at my young age, that each would get 33 cents, but somebody would get one extra. To this day, every Halloween, I wonder what happened to that extra penny. Did it go to my oldest sister? Did my mother keep it as a service fee? My worry is the penny went to one of my older brothers who didn’t deserve it, because none suffered through the harrowing ordeal.

I realize it is one of those things I will find out upon my demise and entrance into Heaven. Whichever of you guys got it, I will find out.


The Produce of Brazil

One thing that stands out in any country I have been in, is the differences in food.  Ethiopia seemed to have an affection for jalapeños.  In everything we ate, we had to open it up and remove them.  Turkey loves its yogurts and its breads.  Russia has very flavorful eggs and strong onions with lots of flavor.  And they have wonderful breads and plenty of vodka.  Brazil has so many differences, it is an amazing thing to experience.  Look at this star fruit below.  It has a very subtle sweet taste.

Below is Papaya that is very popular in Brazil.  It is also common in parts of the US, but not where I am from, so I posted it here.  Brazilians call it, mamão papaia

Here is the Brazilian melon called, Melão.  It is the same taste as the Honeydew melon in the US.

This is a Brazilian grapefruit according to Dani.  It is not the same as the melon above.

This is the Brazilian orange.

The fruit below is Chuchu. It is cut up into small pieces, boiled and eaten after it has chilled. It has a light taste and seems would be better if cooked, then salted and eaten while still warm.

This thing is called Inhame, which translates to “yam“. It is a root that is cut up and cooked.

While we are here, I will continue posting any produce from Brazil that I come across. Until then, eat well, which does not include McDonald’s.



… and now for something a little unusual.

Look at the two bottles of Jameson whiskey below. They appear identical except for size, but the liquid inside the larger bottle is fake. This is something I discovered about a month ago when we ordered whiskey and other things online and had them delivered to the apartment. The bottle has a taste like watered down Johnny Walker. We contacted the distributor who denied everything. I looked closely and could detect that the label over the bottle cap was not pasted down completely, but other than that, there was a label on the bottle showing some sort of Brazilian info. The bottles are genuine as well as the caps, so I don’t know how they were able to do that. I poured a little into small glasses, and the fake whiskey even has a lighter color. I now remember drinking Jameson at restaurants that have that taste, and next time that happens I will send it back.

The Meat of Brazil, (and a few other places)

Americans have a passion for bacon, but the Brazilian bacon is very different.  They do have the thin-sliced bacon in Brazil if you look for it, but this is mostly what you find:

I cut into small pieces and use it in my beans, but I have yet to try slicing it very thin and frying it. I am guessing the fat is desired, probably for soups. I am guessing this is something most people have seen in the US, just not me. I purchased a whole chicken to roast in the oven and upon unwrapping it, I see that the butcher was kind enough to leave the feet and head inside for my consumption. I didn’t really notice the head until I picked it up thinking it was just a large gizzard. No, I did not cook these, as they were donated to the lixo (trash). But think, how would anyone eat a chicken head? My research tells me they boil it and suck the brains out.It was not uncommon to see whole goats hanging in the markets in Russia, and in Ethiopia, one of my local technicians wanted to gift us with a lamb for the holidays. It was delivered fresh to the Embassy with blood still dripping out of the wrapping.  We took it home and put it in the freezer and gave most of it away, because it was just too much for us to eat.

This is a picture I posted several years ago while in Ethiopia, of a man on a bicycle taking his lamb to be butchered for the upcoming holidays.  I’m kinda thinking the lamb is enjoying his last ride.

We have a good friend who I used to work with, who has invested in a restaurant with several others.  We ordered some of the food online and got this:We were very impressed with that, and here is another online purchase.  It reminds me of the typical Brazilian BBQ where it is cooked, sliced and placed out for all to eat. The Brazilian BBQ is a social event with people milling about and eating with their fingers as soon it is served.Here is Dani’s attempt to make stuffed peppers.  Not spicy, but sweet with a lot of flavor.  She will get hotter peppers next time.  Someday she will make these for the Family Reunion.Okay. Visit more later.  D&D