Around the neighborhood, I have been seeing yellow bicycles sitting at various places, and it was pointed out to me these bikes could be borrowed anytime you saw one.  You would download an App online and then scan the barcode on it with your phone.  The bike would then unlock the back wheel, and you were free to use the bike for a certain length of time, for a fee of course.

And now I see the bikes have been replaced with scooters.  Yellow at first and now I see groups of green ones.  They have a barcode to scan, then you can take off with it.  They are also electric and move very quickly along the street.  I would guess at least 20 mph.I looked online to see what it costs, and found it is Br$2 (about 60) to unlock the scooter and an additional Br$2 for every 5 minutes, with the first 2 minutes free.  Plus they have lights at night and colorful lights underneath them.  I assume there is a vehicle that runs in the area at night to collect them since they all have GPS, charge them back up and place them back in groups at strategic locations.

Actually, a pretty clever idea if you ask me.  I even thought about getting one to go to and from work, which would be about one US buck a trip, but I can also see myself running over an old woman or someone walking their dog, and then I would go tumbling down the street at 20 mph.

So, I decided against it.

I Know a Woman …

who just turned 100 years old.

I am convinced that one’s success in Life is determined not by wealth or how far up the ladder they can climb, but by the number of people who have an intense love for them.

Case in point:  I personally know an old woman who just turned 100.  She does not have a fancy house with fine carpets or classical paintings on the wall, nor does she drive an expensive car.

What she does have, is generations of good people who have descended from her.  Of her nine kids, all are successful and of sound mind (for the most part) and have passed her amazing gift of Life to their children.  And those incredible Grandchildren will pass it on to their children.  It will go on and on, and I think what a wonderful contribution to the world this good woman has given!  I am at awe ….

Please allow me to take a moment of your time to tell you about her.

She was one of 11 children, second to the youngest.  This dear woman’s nine kids have given her 21 grandchildren and at last count, 28 great-grandchildren.  The number of her descendants will eventually number in the hundreds, and in generations they will be over a thousand.  She came to Pampa in 1939 and got a job at KPDN, then met a young soldier at the Pampa Army Airfield, and in 1944 began a happy 63 year marriage together.

She helped write the Gray County Heritage Book, and wrote six additional books of her own, ending with one to extol the truth that age doesn’t keep you from doing what you want.  Her proof is her graduation from Texas Tech University at the age of 89.

I recently sat at lunch with a friend telling him about this wonderful lady, and he asked me something that I had not thought of, “What is it that made her live to be 100 years old?”

I thought about that a moment and realized it is her sense of humor, her outlook on Life and her descendants.

A wise person will always observe others and learn from them.  During a life of 100 years, we realize the more we learn, the less we actually know.  We begin to enjoy Life at a deeper level, and we enjoy laughing at ourselves.  We see all people as precious souls, so we connect with them more.

Watching her throughout my life, I see she is content with her life and her past.  Her regrets are put aside because there is nothing to do with them, except learn from them.

This incredible Lady is Elleta Nolte and she just turned 100 on March 18th.  Needless to say, I am very proud that she is my mother.

Thoughts on Brazil

Here are a few insights on the wonderful Brazilians:

1 ~ Brazilians love their Futball (soccer).  On my 9th floor apartment, I can see a soccer field and a goalie training court.  Brazil tends to get some amazing storms at times, which doesn’t seem to phase them.  Below is a picture of the soccer field during a hellacious downpour.`didn’t slow the game down.

2 ~ The other day as I walked to work, I saw an electric unicycle go down the street at a pretty good clip.  There was no seat, so the rider was standing up and wisely wearing a helmet.  Didn’t have time to to take a picture, because it went by so fast.  I did notice it had a red light in the back to show which is the front and which is the back.

3 ~ One of the brew-houses my buddy Ricardo and I visit, has a pretty lady named Alice (accent on the second syllable) that I have gotten to know well.  She has tattoos on her arm and is planning to get both sleeves covered with them.  I ask her what she thought the percentage of people in Brazil who has tattoos, and she thought about half.  That is what I figured.  I am amazed at all the people with tattoos, and you know many have them placed discretely where they are not seen.  I find it quite fascinating tattoos in Brazil are so prevalent.  Below is Alice.  I am the ugly one.This type of brew-house is common throughout Sao Paulo.  Here is the selection of beers that they brew:4 ~ Sometimes, I have to stop and laugh at my idiocy. The apartment building I live in, has bio-metric screens (finger-print readers) that we use to access the building.  I do not fully understand Portuguese, so when they were taking my finger-prints for the access, they asked me to put my fingers on the magic little screen to record my prints, I obeyed.  What I didn’t realize, is they were wanting prints for both “open the door” and “help! I am panicking!”

The idea is, if somebody has a gun on me and wanting to follow me up to my apartment to rob me of all my furniture and possibly molest me, I am suppose to use a particular finger to get inside which will also alert the building security I am panicking.  Again, since I lack the ability to speak Portuguese other than, “another beer please” and “where is the toilet?”, I didn’t know there was a difference between fingers.  So, in the year they had this system in place, several times a day as I came home I was setting off the panic alarm.  Every day.  I remembered  one time someone called me to see if I was panicking, and since I didn’t know what they were saying, I just hung up on them.  What a silly thing to ask, if I am panicking!

Well, they sent me a message the other day and after running it through Google Translate, I saw the humorous errors of my ways.  So, now it has been corrected.

5 ~ Here is a picture of morning the other day.  Always nice to step out on my balcony with my morning coffee and sit with this in view.Life is good if you are open to it.  Until next time, smile always and grab the next adventure with a firm grip.  D.

Amor no Brasil – (Love in Brazil)

I have been in Brazil for more than two years now, and I see more and more of what make Brazil so amazing, so incredible.  It is a country of sensuality, and not just sexual but a sensuality of all facets of human life.  I see it in their music, their dance and their art.  In the way they dress and the way they smile.  Even in their handwriting!  Very few print, but instead use the most amazing script I have ever seen.  Brazil is a country of lovers of Life and of each other.

A beautiful friend of mine in the Consulate has been married a few years now.  Her name is Carol (with the accent on the second syllable).  She is one of those individuals you instantly fall in love with, and her incredible husband made a video that perfectly shows the Love of Brazil.

Although most of us who read this blog do not understand the soft-sensual language of Portuguese, the video is still a pleasure to watch.  Especially the first two minutes of it.  Please click on it and enjoy.

I think they kinda like each other …  and it makes me smile inside.

What a stunning adventure of Life these Brazilians have.

Cigars and Flank Steak

It was a good weekend last week, starting out with another fine BBQ on Friday after work, and ending with the Churchill Club on Saturday, gathering together to smoke cigars, drink the liquor of the devil and discuss matters that are far from serious.  So, I will show you the cigar gathering first: We only numbered eight, but we enjoyed ourselves and are already planning the next one.  And the fine BBQ the previous day was hosted by the Facilities Department.  The MeatMaster of the feast used only salt and flavored the meat by different types of wood used to smoke it. I will tell you in all honesty, the meat I ate that day was the best tasting steak I have ever had.  Generally overseas, including Brazil, the beef is mostly range fed and is not tender.  It has an amazing taste, but it is tough to chew.  The meat I had Friday was extremely tender.  I could have eaten a large plate of it.  My RST, the Good Mister Wilson, told me it was from the flank of the cow.

And as I walk home in the evenings, I will occasionally stop by my buddy Antonio and get a couple of sausages from him.  I have also learned to look at the meat and make him cook it longer if needed.Life continues to be good.  Adventures come and go and if you have an open mind, you will be amazed at what you encounter.


Muting the TV and Good Bread

I am my father’s son in many ways.  I hate having to listen to commercials on TV.  Many commercials insult the intelligence of any cognizant viewer; and those viewers who are not cognizant, will just cherish the celebrities and the fantasies they portray.

Many years ago, my parents purchased a new color TV.  Since I am a strange technical guy by the standards of the time, I installed a switch on a cable that plugged into the back of the TV, where Pop could turn the sound off of the commercials.  He was elated.  I personally would have used it for his Lawrence Welk shows also, but I didn’t suggest it to him.

So, fast forward decades later; I am sitting on my couch eating hot wings watching the old movie, The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and several others, and every time a commercial comes on I have to use a knuckle that has the least sauce on it, to push the mute button on the remote.

Now, a quick side note here.  I have all sorts of gadgetry in my apartment, most of it connected to the strange Alexa/Echo I have scattered about.  There is a little black module I paid maybe $12 for that will turn my air conditioners on in my living room and bedroom.  So when I am sitting at my Portuguese class at the Orange Bar, I can open an app on my phone and turn on the AC as I head home.  See the black module below:Well, the same little black module will also do its magic on anything that uses remotes, such as my TV, Stereo and DVD player.  So, I was surprised, no …. thrilled to find out that if I say, Alexa, mute the TV, she does!

Ya know, Life is damn good!

Now for the subject you have been waiting with abated breath; I think my gluten intolerant is just gluten sensitive.  But since we have last visited, I have been baking gluten free breads in my bread maker (BM).  As I sit here writing this, my BM has a nice loaf cooking and should be ready to remove and cool down in 32 minutes.  I am amazed at the flavor of these breads.  I will probably gain 10 pounds this month alone.  I eat far more bread than I did several months ago.

I would be lying if I said the bread mixes were cheap, because they are not.  That is where the amazing Capitalism comes in, because these small companies that make the breads (gluten and gluten free) have to make them worth paying extra for, and I will gladly purchase them.

I will hold off an hour or so to publish this, so I can add a picture of the loaf that is currently cooking.  Until next time, kick butt and take any adventure Life lays in front of you; and eat the good gift of nature, bread.Done.  Fini.