Archive for October, 2012


Mondays….. pfffff!

I hate Mondays, something always happens. Even if it doesn’t, it lies in wait to ambush you on Tuesday; which is totally unfair.

Yesterday, I had the day planned. Up earlyish, chemist for some Enos, hair & beard cut (weather is getting hot, so I’m getting sweaty under here) and supermarket.

Result, up late, no Enos, no hair cut, no supermarket. It was only then I realised that it was Monday.

During the course of Sunday, I had several trains of thought about posting. Of course, Sunday is Travel post day. Now they have gone; the trains that is, the demons are still there.

Curious saying that, “train of thought” have you ever wondered what that would look like? I hadn’t until I saw this…

Makes me wonder that I didn’t have a headache with several trains of thought yesterday; would have been like Waterloo Station.

I love the visuals that are possible in life.

The English language, so rich, diverse and confusing. See my recent post on Tomus Arcanum to understand why.

I have two hours until class. Lunch is upper most on my mind, but blogging takes precedence.

I managed to defrost the fridge this morning, so the day hasn’t been a total waste.

Later.

Sunday Travel Tales

Getting back into the swing of things. This is the first Sunday Travel Tales for a month, sorry about the absence, but as the say “… makes the heart grow fonder.”

This week we’re back in Cusco. Having lived in Cusco for many months three times, I have a lot of stories from there.

A photo, not just any photo, this is a photo that tourists can’t take.

The alter of the St Francis Cathedral

When tourists enter the church they have to surrender their cameras, as all photography in the church is banned, whether that has anything to do with the fact that they sell plenty of postcards or not, I have no idea; I suspect so.

Hernan Hilario, 10

In an earlier post I told you how I met my guide to visit The Sexy Woman; well, this is a story of  another of the rascals that I knew in Cusco, Hernan Hilario.

Hernan was part of a group of rascals that preyed on tourists, begging, selling postcards, shining shoes, guiding, offering advice and generally learning about the outside world while they did so.

They were an unkempt lot, a fact that often belied their intentions; for they would no more have robbed a tourist than flown to the moon.

Some weeks afterward I was taken aback when Hernan suggested he could get a photo of the inside of the Cathedral of San Francisco; all I had to do was loan him my camera for maybe fifteen minutes. Now we are talking here about my old Nikon. It was old, it was battered, but it took shit hot photos when it could be coerced to do so. It wasn’t the most modern model, it was an FM, the last of the Nikons that you could operate without a battery, which I preferred. I much preferred ‘fly-by-wire’ photography as that was how I learned as a youngster with my first camera an Olympus PenS. Never the less, the camera and 80-200 Zoom lens was valued at around $500 and here was this street urchin suggesting I loan it to him. Can you just imagine the myriad of thoughts that were racing about my mind?

It took me about 10 seconds to think about it and a quick outline of the plan to return the camera to me. What Hernan suggested meant that where I waited for him I could observe the only entrance into and out of the cathedral, I figured that if that was the case and the plan was that my camera was to be ‘disappeared’ I would see him leaving the church.

I handed my camera over. I showed him roughly how to take a photo. We crossed the plaza together, my camera hidden in its supermarket bag swinging freely from Hernan’s grip. I always carried my camera in a supermarket bag, a black one inside the marked one, it was my security measure. Thieves steal a camera bag, they don’t steal a supermarket bag.

The tourists were lined up for the doors to open at 10am. Hernan just wandered to the front and entered as is the right of Peruvians, he didn’t need to get his Cusco Passport stamped or surrender his camera, because he was a street urchin and didn’t have one.

I took up my position under the veranda of Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub, which I later managed, but that is another story, and waited.

It wasn’t long, about ten minutes when all hell broke loose. I could hear the shouting and noise emanating from the cathedral, then running out of the door like the devil himself was chasing him burst a fleet footed Hernan, dodging and weaving among the tourists being chased by a less than fleet footed group of men. Hernan flew down the steps, tossed my plastic bag at me as he ran past and kept running without saying a word.

I tucked the bag under my arm nonchalantly watching him beat a retreat and disappearing into Calle Loretto. The men chasing him had been impeded by the tourists and lost track of him, they hadn’t seen him toss the bag to me. I leaned against the stone pillar as they shrugged their shoulders and stamped back up the cathedral steps in frustration.

I had my camera back, hopefully, I had a photo.

Later that afternoon, a smiling Hernan found me in the plaza. We laughed, and he told me how scared he was. We had dinner together that evening in the same chicken restaurant as I had been with William and Idália.

Life is an adventure, some times you have to take risks, sometimes you have to trust even the most unlikely, the result can be priceless.

Back again next week.

 

I am humbled

I got an award.

I am late getting this organised because the email advising me that this was about to happen got buried; for that I apologise.

Thanks to Lily Wight of Lilly Wight –  The Arcade of Arts and Arcana.

Now there are some beastly things I have to do, there always is when you are nominated for one of these.

Take the easy way out ctrl-c, ctrl-v

Award etiquette can be needlessly complicated so here are my refined, abridged and preferred Blog Award Rules.

     1.  Display the award certificate on your website.

     2.  Announce your win with a post and include a link to whoever presented your award.

     3.  Present 7 awards to deserving bloggers.  Create a post linking to them and drop them a comment to tip them off.

     4.  Post 7 interesting facts about yourself.” – Lily Wight

On with the beastliness…

No. 1 – Done

No. 2 – Done

No. 3 – I used to do this religiously, but have stopped; why? Because the last few times I have lumbered honoured people in this way, they have failed miserably, and I might add 100%, to reciprocate, so I don’t any more. However, if your blog is linked on any of mine, you deserve this award, take it.

No. 4 – Hmmmm….

:: 1 – Where most people have ‘been there, done that’ and proudly have the T-shirt to display, I have no T-shirt, but my 61 years tells the story; I have ‘been there, done that.’

:: 2 – At school I hated English, it was a bore, so was the teacher; subsequently I failed English. It wasn’t until 2000 that I learned my language, and have since turned my knowledge into a hobby that I teach with a lot more enthusiasm and passion than my own English teacher. Check out this post on Tomus Arcanum and you will see a little of what I think of my mother tongue.

:: 3 – I’m a chef, apparently. I love food and it’s preparation. I am also partial to the tasting. You can check that out on the About on my Things that Fizz & Stuff blog.

:: 4 – I hate violence in all it’s forms. I am convinced that increases in the levels of violence in society are directly attributable to ‘sports’ on TV. Boxing, Combat, these programmes should be banned, they are nothing more than pathetic barbaric displays of man’s darker side.

:: 5 – I don’t use drugs, although I enjoy beer, coffee is essential, I even resort to tea and I smoke. I am talking about the futility of the ‘war on drugs’ drugs. 50+ years and the fools haven’t learned that the use of these banned substances is a sickness, not a crime. I am all for the decriminalisation of all drugs, which of course removes the criminal elements from the supply chain.

:: 6 – I have become by nature a hermit. Not the traditional view where I live in a cave in the woods, but the more I see of people, the more I prefer my own company. I don’t suffer fools gladly.

:: 7 – I am still seeking answers, not all my questions have been answered yet. I consider the day wasted if I don’t learn something new.

There, got to No. 7.

Now it’s your turn.

More Black Sludge

This time, not on toast.

Rather it was this stuff.

I found it in my local supermarket, surprise, surprise. It’s not exactly what one tends to find in one’s supermarket in this part of Rio.

It has been 12 years since I had this particular black sludge, so there was an immediate attraction. The first time I saw it, I restrained myself wonderfully. I waited to visit the other supermarket where drinks are usually cheaper; they didn’t have it.

I could resist temptation no longer. I m so weak. Into the shopping cart went a can. It’s R$18 (about USD10) a can, so I was able to limit my enthusiasm to one can.

I had the first glass straight; oh nectar from heaven. The rest I worked out a good ratio with Brahma and drank the rest as “Black ‘n Tans”.

Now there is another can in the fridge…

You see a good beer is rather like a woman’s breasts… you can’t just have one.

There are some things in life that you just can’t pass. Great beer, or in this case stout, is one of them.

The news is about to start, so this one is short. I am slowly getting things back to normal and should be posting a little more regularly.

Black Sludge on Toast

Yesterday, I wrote about bliss.

Today, something similar, close to bliss, nostalgia, the taste of one’s childhood.

Black sludge on toast… Marmite

Marmite was a strange stuff, it came from a jar and was spread thinly on toast for breakfast, and if you were really unlucky and your mother had run the gamut of her imagination, you got it in your sandwiches for school lunch too.

On enquiry as to the origins of Marmite, one discovered that while mother knew a lot, she couldn’t really define Marmite.

She bought Vegemite once, and once only. It tasted funny, it came from Australia, but it wasn’t Marmite.

I only really found out the whole story from a post I included on Things that Fizz & Stuff. Interesting, it took me sixty years to discover the mystery of Marmite.

“The story really begins in the late 19th Century, when an edible by-product was first extracted from the yeast used by brewers to make beer. In 1902, Britain’s Marmite Extract Food Company came into being, taking its name from the French word “marmite”, for large pot.” – BBC News

Life moves at a leisurely pace.

A Recipe for Bliss

I apologise for my recent absences, but I have found it hard to return to blogging after battling the ‘flu for a couple of weeks. I am hoping the impetus has returned and that I am back to normal.

Now, on with bliss.

There is a recipe for bliss, and it is a simple one.

  • 2 slices of freshly baked white bread
  • 1 slice of generously cut ham
  • Butter (NOT margarine)
  • Coleman’s Mustard (NOT the ready mixed poop)

A ham sandwich is about as close to bliss as I can come.

It has been a favourite of mine since childhood, and in fact is still my favourite sandwich. I have just had two as a late morning snack.

I would love to hear about your version of bliss. What’s your favourite food? What do you consider ‘comfort food’?

Work is increasing. I have taken on some new students privately because the course I work for has been unable to fill my hours of late, and I was tired of having to think, ‘Can I afford this beer?’ This is stress I don’t need in my life, which, as a 60+ year old, I try to avoid. Stress is the greatest killer, worse than heart problems, smoking ills and various other maladies.

Our weather has returned to hot and dry. Despite a feeble attempt to rain the moment I walked out the door to catch the bus yesterday, I didn’t even get wet and found it rather refreshing. Brazilians have this innate fear of rain drops, they see two and run, or up with the umbrella, or slam the windows shut in the bus. When you are on a Brazilian bus, you are already packed in like sardines, to close the windows makes you sweaty little sardines and that is even worse than the rain.

Nice to be back.

 

An Idyllic Thursday

Still got some snivels, but beginning to fire on all cylinders.

We have had a week of high temps (35°C+), it seems like we have jumped right from winter to summer and not worried about the spring this year. Although, we are under dire threat of a weather change during the day. At the moment it is bright and sunny and a short walk to the shop for bread raised a sweat.

It’s like a Friday, my morning students cancelled, my afternoon student cancelled and I sit here with the prospect of posting on all blogs under the cool breeze of my fan.

Boa do Samba

Tomorrow is Friday, a holiday. Brazilians love their holidays. So what is the 12th October? Dia de São Cosme e Saõ Damião, or better known as Dia das crianças (Children’s Day). Kids roam the streets in search of sweets and small toys. Raimundo has organised AMBEV (The big South American bottling giant) to sponsor music in the praça from noon until 10pm, so it should be somewhat gala-like; and noisy.

The AMBEV van comes along, parks in front of the bar, they open the doors, extend the stage and away they go.

So there will be no peace tomorrow. I may even escape and dine out for a bit of peace and quiet, because the level of the music is such that I can’t even hear my TV.

The rest of the weekend should proceed pretty much like normal.

Totally Screwed

The reason for this image will become apparent

This is a saga.

I have just woken from a nap in which I dreamt that I had written a lovely post, only to find that there was not a word on the screen. I hate that; it has happened before.

This has not been a good week.

I’ve got this far and it’s time for a break… LOL

Wednesday was one of procrastination, but that was okay, I had the evening in front… or so I thought. The power went out about 8:57pm,  and didn’t come back on until later, about a half hour. By then, I had to catch up with my soap opera, then it was football. Brazil vs Argentina, but that fizzled too; the lights went out in the stadium and then the emergency generator caught fire. The game was eventually called off and I went to bed disgusted.

Thursday, nothing much happened. Including on the blogging front. I had decided that I need more exercise, so I set out to walk to my late afternoon lesson. It was further than I had walked for some years. It was on the walk that I saw the beastie. I had never seen a cockroach like this before, but I figured that it was a cockroach. I prefer my cockroaches on their backs twitching their little legs in the death throws. I am not terrified of them like some people, I just prefer them dead.

It took me an hour to walk to class, but I’m afraid that I over-did it; and duly suffered because of it. As I get older, I need to learn my limitations.

After a broken sleep, I canceled work. Going back to bed, I slept until 3pm. I was not a well puppy and sweating profusely. Blogging went totally by the board; unfortunately so did beer o’clock, but I did have an H2OH. It is a drink that I discovered when my stepdaughter had some at the pizza party a couple of weeks back.

Saturday an improvement and another bottle of H2OH, rather refreshing.

It was then I discovered it had aspartame in it. Aspartame is the poison that Coca Cola put in Zero Coke. It is so dangerous that there should be a worldwide ban on the stuff. Do a google on it, the stuff is pure poison.

By afternoon and something in the tummy, I started to feel better and began this post.

Now it is Sunday, and with luck, I’ll finish it.

Today is voting in the local body elections. In Rio we are lucky, the incumbent mayor will win hands down doing away with the necessity of another month of political propaganda until the second vote for the play off between the two top candidates.

Life will return to normal.

So there you have it, why I haven’t been around.

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