Demonstrations and Graffiti, etc.

Occasionally, the Consulate gets a demonstration outside its gates, usually due to something that we have no control of.  A number of months ago, there was a demonstration of employees who were laid off unexpectedly by a company that is owned by a rich American.  The law in Brazil states a company has to give so much notice before it can lay people off.  Evidently, this rich American thought it didn’t apply to him.  Don’t know what the outcome was but the Consulate General took  the information and passed it on to the Commerce Department.

A few Saturdays ago, we had a demonstration to protest America’s sanctions on Cuba. They kept chanting Vivi la Castro!  … the idiots.

Then a few days later, there was a sudden demonstration to protest US sanctions against Venezuela.  These are from mostly young people that have no sense of reality.

A few weeks ago, my Brazilian buddy put together a beer crawl in which we went to six different places to drink beer and eat, than move on to the next one.  It was slow moving and relaxing, but the tour was in the downtown area where there were ample exhibits of graffiti.  Sao Paulo has it all over the place, but downtown was most interesting.  Below are some of the art work. And the city has very old trees.  Talking to the Facilities manager at the Consulate, he said the compound alone has over 900 trees. And I always notice the architecture of the city. As with any large city with populations in the millions, there are homeless everywhere.  Driving through Sao Paulo, you will see hundreds of make-shift homes everywhere.  Here is a rather successful homeless family that acquired a tent which is planted on the sidewalk.  As I walked by, the father was relaxing and looked quite content.  But on the cold nights that we have had recently, I wonder how they keep warm.There is a lot going on now, yet there isn’t.  My replacement is here and it has been busy, but things are moving forward.  I am now looking forward to retiring and finding a place to sit and relax at whim.  Plus I want to start writing again.

Kick butt and keep looking for the next adventure.     D.

 

 

Well, I took a 5300 mile (8530 Km) trip and then had BBQ

I took three weeks in the States to drive from Texas (The Greatest Country on Earth) up to Virginia, visit friends and learn my retirement is not very healthy.  So, as I told my four kids decades ago, I plan to spend three months a year with each or you.  I hope they remembered.

I took my little Barbie car, as MotherDear calls it and completely enjoyed the trip.  Yes, there were a few times that I was boxed in by several huge trucks and was able to stomped the pedal and squirt out of the impending doom.  Most fun since I set off fireworks in the high school during a home-coming game.

… and there were a few other times that I had to deal with arrogant truckers which made it a bit difficult to move my bowels the next day.  But seeing me now, you would never know I had to deal with any of that.

On the way home, I stopped for the night in Tulsa with a brother and his gracious wife and enjoyed the peacefulness of their backyard.  I hope I can do that in my backyard someday.

…. and last week, I got myself invited to another BBQ.  Best I can do, is show you a mess of pictures. In November when I am pushed into retirement, I will throw a massive BBQ and use this guy and one other to do the cooking for me.

And then there was this card game that I have yet to figure out, so what I do is try to video the more physical aspect of it instead.

 

One of the local police officers who works at the Consulate and is fluent in English, tried to explain it to me, but all I heard was, blah, blah, blah ….

Okay.  Until next time, kick butt, look for another adventure and don’t look back.

A Few Odds & Ends Before I Head Off to the Great Country of Texas

The other day as I was walking home, I was behind this guy who was bundled up for a blizzard while jabbering on the phone.  The outside temperature was a comfortable 66 degrees.  But what you see with the guy bundled up is normal for people who live in this climate.  When the temps get below 70 F, everyone dons their cap, scarves and gloves.  Same as Ethiopia whose weather is similar to Brazil’s. _______________________________________________________________

Here is something interesting …

During the past 5-6 months, I kept having a run-down feeling that I couldn’t shake, like I was coming down with the flu.  Normally when I had this, I would pop 3-4 pills of ibuprofen and a gram of vitamin C, and within twenty minutes it was gone.

But at this time, that didn’t work.  I had to get some of those probiotics “gummy bears” to help get me back to normal, and even those only lasted a few hours.

And since I had the run-down feeling both in Brazil and Texas, I determined it was nothing I was eating.  So, what could it be?

When you take to time to “listen” to what your body tells you, a great deal is learned.  The only thing that I have not changed was my underarm deodorant.  And I remembered that I switched to a particular scent about the time the persistent “trashed out” feeling raised its ugly head.

So, I switched to a different scent, and the trashed feeling seemed to subside.  After a week or so, I tried the deodorant again, and sure enough, I felt like crap throughout the day.

That’s bizarre, right?

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Remember my dear little friend Hiwot in Addis Ababa?  She was the nursing student who served us pizza while she was going to nursing school.   We had fun talking and joking with her, even invited her to our house for dinner a few times.  While Terese helped her to have the courage to deliver her first baby, I just joked about it.   Here is a picture of her with Terese. Then she became a doctorate student in Sweden and then England.  This is what she looks like now:I have no other word except “stunning!”…. and what you see here is what many Ethiopian women look like.   If I was 30 years younger, I would fly to England and bring her home to Mom.

But seriously, when I see a picture of her smiling, I feel good inside knowing this Beauty was a simple, but a most enjoyable part of our lives for a few years.

Carry on my most beautiful friend.  Life wants to hold you close to her bosom.  Keep smiling and accept all that she offers you.

Dwaine

It is Police Week Again

As with last year, the Consulate hosted all the Law Enforcement agencies in Sao Paulo to a BBQ with music.  Understand, that a Brazilian BBQ is not like we have in Texas.

And as with last year, there were many booths set up by the different branches of the Brazilian Police.  So, I have a mess of pictures to show but understand, even though these booths were set up for picture taking, I always asked permission from these good people just as a courtesy.

Last year, they had the K-9 force, but this year they didn’t; but they did have the beautiful horses again.  I have had very little contact with these amazing animals in my life, so I was amazed at the sheer beauty they have.  It is as if they are made up only of muscle, sinew, bone and a skin of leather.   And as expected, people were given the opportunity to ride them. Below are an assortment of pictures that I took of the various booths. One display was a walk-in cab with an assortment of drugs and paraphernalia that was confiscated.  It was a bit eerie as I actually found it to be looking at some of the instruments of Satan.Below is a very small part of the water fire fighting force.  I am sure they had a better title, but that is the best I can come up with at this time.  The word Bombeiros means firefighter.To me, the most interesting group is the CHOQUE Team.  They are equivalent to our SWAT Teams.  Choque is pronounced “Shock”.And on the other end of the spectrum, were …. clowns.They didn’t seem to fit the program, but the kids loved them, and they did a very good act.  If I understood Portuguese, I guess I would have loved them more.

And there was a butt-load of food and beer, and people chowing down. And these last pictures I found quite interesting.  First is a picture of a lady taking a picture:Then a picture of one of my many bosses with his very pretty little one…Then a picture of an individual who I would not want to meet in a dark alley if I was a felon:Brazil is a country unlike any other I have been in.  I love it and its people.  I will sincerely miss everything about it.

Kick butt, but behave yourself if you come to Brazil.       D.

 

Cristo Redentor – (Christ the Redeemer)

There is a huge statue in Rio, that pretty much defines the city.  It sits high on a nearby mountain and I doubt there is any sane person who has not seen the image somewhere sometime.  It is called Christ the Redeemer.

During the Easter weekend, I worked in Rio performing some work that had to be done with no one in the building, and on that Sunday, Easter Sunday, my co-worker and I took a taxi up to see this famous statue.

This image was from Wikipedia By Gustavo Facci from Argentina:I was expecting the taxi driver would just drive up to a parking lot and we would get out and ooh and aah, and then get back in the vehicle and return to the hotel.  Not so.  The taxi driver is one that is used by my co-worker and he took us to the top and helped us cut in the long 45 minute line to get our tickets.  Then it was a shuttle ride further up, then a climb of 220 steps to get to the base of the statue.

This old fat boy was sucking air as he climbed 220 steps.  For more info on it, go to the Wikipedia link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_the_Redeemer_(statue)

Not only is the statue awe-inspiring, the view from it is also,  I will post a mess of pictures below.  All of these are my photos. And in the base of the statue is a very small chapel.

The more of the world you discover, the more you realize is out there.

D.

Rio de Janeiro (River of January)

The famous Rio …

Last week and through the Easter weekend, I helped others work on the tear-gas system at the consulate in Rio de Janeiro, which has to be done on the weekend when no one else is around.  And during the off hours, we headed to the beach across the road from the hotel.

The beach is the famous Coco Cubano Beach that you have heard over the years.  I took several pictures, mostly from the terrace of the hotel 24 floors up.  Enjoy the beauty. The beach is quite crowded during the day with vendors everywhere trying to sell you all sorts of items.  Hats, umbrellas, scarves, fancy drinks, chicken, sunglasses, ice cream, beer, swim suits, fried cheese and many other things.  Additionally, it was pleasant to watch the playful local fauna.This is a sand creation that an artist makes every day.  I took the picture and suddenly the artist told me I had to pay.  I reached in my pocket and pulled out a 2 real note.  About 60 cents.  I should have given more because of the mastery of the creation.

And as the day wound down and people drifted away, crews were busy collecting trash and cleaning the place up.  A few hours later when the darkness returned, the beach was pristine again. I was there during the full moon, which in itself seems to be magical.And as with any beach you go to, there is a tranquility that takes place as the sun begins to set.  Same here.  People would find a place just to sit and watch this daily, yet captivating part of the day.Captivating part of the day, doesn’t serve it justice.  What would you call it Dear Reader?