Archive for January, 2012

OMG – It’s started already


This is the first ‘real’ Monday of the year.

Last Monday didn’t really count, it was too soon after New Year, sort of survived because the mind was still a bit numb.

But my worries for Monday were inconsequential when compared with the rest of the State of Rio de Janeiro.  The last more than a week severe rains in both Rio and Minas Gerais to the north created massive problems, cutting highways, isolating communities and towns and leaving thousands homeless.

Floods in Sapucaia

Today, after a brief respite over the weekend, the rains returned with terrible consequences. In Sapucaia on the state border the town is flooded completely.

Landslides buried houses

A landslide buried houses, so far they have recovered eight dead with another 15 people unaccounted for.

And I am worried about the trivialities that Monday bring my way.

Sunday Travel Tales

I missed last week because it was New Year; Sort of lots going on. So a Happy New Year to those who come for this feature. Things are back to normal.

During my travels I spent a lot of time in Cusco, Peru. I was based there, I passed through there many times and I lived and worked there twice.

One of my favourite photos was taken there.

Santa Catalina Convent

Paddy Flaherty's Irish Pub

Taken at night with a long exposure from the left window of Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub. I used to work there as manager many years ago, about 1999.

Paddy’s was the original Irish Pub in Cusco. The ownerwas Carlos, who got the idea of an Irish Pub when he studied in either England or Ireland; memory fails me in my dotage.

Anyway, a bit of romance. Carlos eventually married one of my tourists. True, I used to take groups on tours around Peru and we usually spent four days in Cusco as some prepared for the Inca Trail. Carlos and a young Australian girl fell in love. She left the tour when we returned from Machu Picchu and stayed in Cusco. That was all in 1997.

A true fairy-tale romance, she met her Prince Charming and that was it; maybe they lived happily ever after, I don’t know because I have long lost contact with them.


The same Santa Catalina Convent in the daytime

The third balconey from the left is the home of Norton Rat’s Tavern, a well known tourist bar run by Jeff, an American. I was a frequent customer there.

Lucia Isabel Rivera de Padilla founded the Santa Catalina Convent (named for St. Catherine of Siena) in 1601 after one she had founded in 1559 in Arequipa was destroyed by the Waynaputina Volcano. Since 1975, the convent has housed a museum of colonial religious art.

The Santa Catalina Convent (Monasterio de Santa Catalina) was built between 1601 and 1610 over the Incan ruins of the ancient Acllawasi, the “House of the Sun Virgins” or “House of the Chosen Girls.”

You’ll see more of Cusco on future Sundays.

Once again, I apologise for the quality of the photos, time ravaged the negatives before I scanned them and now they are gone.

Absolut (ely) Wasted

Screwdriver - Whoops, wrong image!

Not that kind of wasted, I don’t drink vodka. I can’t understand those who do; nothing but rotten potatoes and no flavour. That’s why they invented the Screwdriver, to give the stuff some flavour. Mind you, that kind (pictured) of screwdriver has more flavour than vodka.

The day was wasted as I predicted yesterday.

Yesterday started off wrong. I was awake during the night and went back to bed, when I woke it was already 10:15. I had planned to leave the house at 10 because of the trip to Barra. I didn’t leave until 12… well, I needed coffee.

New bus against the current road works

The trip was slow because of the major road works for the new BRT from Barra to Santa Cruz, a distance of about 60kms.

The plan is great, but requires two years of disruption to achieve.

The current trip requires a slow grind up Grota Funda, the new route goes through an already completed tunnel under the same hill.

So, on with the story. I got paid, I paid my bills and had my sushi lunch. It was a hot day when I started 34⁰C, by the time I got the bus at 3:15 it was cooling rapidly and started to spit as we climbed Grota Funda, once over the top we reached the storm on the other side, torrential rain, howling wind, thunder and lightning and the temp had dropped to 22⁰C. The bus was packed, everybody raced to close windows and the temperature inside rose becoming unbearable. Because of the road works (also in Recreio before we get to Grota Funda) we were racing along at a crawling speed, or stopped. I arrived home at 6:30pm; more than 3 hours packed like sweaty sardines in the bus. No joke.

My leg was sore, I was tired, I was irritable, so I determined it was beer o’clock.

I saw this on Twitter: “Red Wine May Lower Chances Of Breast Cancer” I thought oh goody and tweeted,  “”Red Wine May Lower Chances Of Breast Cancer” Just checked mine… no cancer – It works” I’m not even sure men get breast cancer… But I couldn’t resist a bit of devilment.

Now, I must away and blog some more…


Coffee Spiller


I read this on Lynn’s  blog this morning…

Kevin:             didn’t you remember we had a gas dryer?

Me:                  are you kidding me? I don’t remember your name half the time

Kevin:             where’s the receipt?

Me:                  Oh my god.  I cleaned up. Who knows where that is?

Made me spill my coffee.

Read All Fooked Up for the rest of the story

Got to go, off to Barra for my monthly jaunt. Another day wasted. The only advantage, sushi for lunch, and I have the money to go shopping.

Later, be good kids,

A bit of retro

Nat King Cole’s version was the closest English version to the original sound in Portuguese. None of the others, Frank Sinatra’s included came close, and this is not a song for a female voice; so the choices of an English version were limited.

And in the original Portuguese…

Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim reunite to play their old song, The Girl From Ipanema (A Garota de Ipanema) years later

Makes you wonder

It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas, it’s Hanukkah, it’s New Year’s and then, with no warning, it’s just Tuesday.

That was a tweet this morning from a RT by @AmidPrivilege.

The exhuberance of carnaval

But it makes you wonder what all the fuss is about. Here in Brazil it is a little different, in February we have Carnaval to soften the dreary days between New Year and Easter.

Carnaval certainly breaks the monotony as we head towards winter.

Now that the New Year is ahead full steam, I am back to work today, lesson at 4:30, it was supposed to start yesterday, but the student canceled, he was stuck in traffic on the way back from holiday.

With the week of torrential rain that we had over New Year disrupting traffic all over the country. The highway from Região dos Lagos (very popular getaway from Rio) experiencing 30km traffic jams. Apparently is was worse in both São Paulo and Minas Gerais states.

The price one pays for a weekend of celebration.

Me, being the wise one, I walked no further than the 11 metres to the botequim (neighbourhood bar) the whole weekend, most considered that I was quite correct. New Years Eve was the worst best day, I actually got sunburned when the sun shone for a few hours late in the morning before the rain started again. I am feeling the lethargy today, usually do just before I peel.

New Year is the one time of the year that I allow myself to get a little tiddly. I don’t get drunk, that’s a fools game. One of the valuable things I learned in the air force was that officers don’t get drunk, they merely become socially excited; it has stood me in good stead ever since. It has been many years since I had a hangover, probably more than twenty. The chaps at the botequim were surprised on Saturday and a few commented that theyd never seen me chapado (legless, drunk) ever. While I certainly was far from being chapado, I had a buzz and did trip over the gutter once saying “Whee, that was fun!”

More, or should that be less, carnaval

It is this year that I turn 61, hence I discover that there is life after 60. I must discover where…

There’s another shot of carnaval, just in case you were wondering where to spend February this year.

I should go and shower then apply smelly concoctions and run the nugget brush through what’s left of my hair so that my cadaver is acceptable to the world at large before my lesson. I should also put on my pants. Yes, it is true bloggers blog in their underwear, that is not just a horrid  myth.


Still Raining & Happy New Beer!

Yup, started yesterday before the New Year and it hasn’t really let up. It has rained more or less all day, sometimes heavily, sometimes like now a heavy drizzle.

I have spent the day indoors, apart from a BBQ lunch at the neighbours, I have browsed the news, none of it good. The Tele Tubby in North Korea has assumed control of the armed forces and expects the people to lay down their lives for him.

The most important news everywhere was the opulence of the displays to welcome in the New Year around the world. Quite frankly a lot of noise about nothing.

So we have an ignominious start to 2012. It’s a year in which I think we are going to see many changes and I have to say that none of them are good. I actually wrote My Predictions… 2012 on my blog Shit Happens and globally they paint a pretty dreadful picture. The world has become that power hungry and corrupt in recent years, that we can only suffer.

Let’s see what the new year brings.


Tomorrow it’s back to work; nothing changed there. I lost another student, he is due to travel to Canada for his training course in the middle of the month.

Felipe insisted on a photo before he went, which I now present to you. Class was over and we were on our way out the door after the last class of last year. One of the rare occasions that I get in front of the camera. Dangerous place.

You can see by the Vasco monogram on his shirt that he is still a boy and hasn’t realised that serious football fans only support Flamengo.

I am about to take a rest from the PC, too much PC is like too much sex… makes your eyes go funny.

I start the year with a defrosted fridge, now there’s a milestone for you. The highlight of my day was defrosting the fridge, does that give you an idea of the exciting life I lead…

Meanwhile, I am going to adopt a leisurely horizontal position on the sofa and watch Fantastico, one of the few programmes worth their salt on Brazilian TV.

All I can say now is, Happy New Beer!


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