Archive for November, 2012

A Fine Friday

Fine, because it’s not only the end of the week, but it is warm and the sun is out, although clouding a bit as I tap away here.

Fine because I have successfully made my first porn intimate close look at nature movie.

Fine because the Palestinians have won part of their fight.

Fine because I have just had a large pork chop and guava juice for lunch.

First, my movie…

A bezerra (big black bee) pollinating a passion fruit flower in my yard. These bees are necessary because of their size, as they are getting the nectar, the pollen brushes off on their backs, and hence taken to the next flower where their backs rub against the stamen and deposits the pollen., I am so glade that the bid by Palestine has succeeded in the UN.

The USA and Israel are not happy chappies, because it means that Israel has lost its ability to bully the Palestinians.

As for the cowardly 41 nations who abstained from the vote, well enough said.

Israeli and US spokesmen have declared that this is the wrong way, that only through negotiations can the Palestinians achieve their goal. Hell, they have been negotiating for 65 flammin’ years and nothing, but nothing has been achieved; in fact, the lot for the Palestinians has worsened. Now Israel is saying they will build more settlements on the West Bank( ie in Palestine), just who are the aggressors?

This is not my political blog, but personally I am pleased that they have succeeded.

It’s almost time for work, so later.

Are you on meds?

Pink grapefruit?

Then don’t eat or drink grapefruit.

Apparently recent findings show that 85 kinds of medication react badly or excessively with grapefruit or Seville oranges; even to the point of death.

In searching for an image to use, the vast majority of images are pink or red. I really had to search to find a yellow one. I was surprised, I’ve never seen a pink grapefruit in my life.

We now return to our regular programme following that public service announcement.

My reaction to Monday

Monday, came and went. It is now Tuesday.

Today it has rained. It has rained lightly, heavily and sporadically.

I should be at work, teaching, but at the time when I needed to make a decision to be a teacher today, or not, it was persisting down, it was torrential. Having made the decision NOT to be a teacher today and advised my students of that decision. It promptly stopped raining and the sun has come out. I could have been a teacher after all.

You see, I don’t own an umbrella; well, I did, but another teacher stole it from my classroom a year ago, so I remain umbrellaless. I refuse to buy another, so when it rains and I can’t get to work in at least a semi-dry functional state. I don’t, simple.

Inspiration has eluded me today, my guru has flown to coop. Maybe he had a bad day too and decided not to be a guru today. So my posts have been images, they’re easy and you don’t have to think too hard. I guess that’s why bloggers often have ‘wordless Wednesdays’.

I should keep a couple of cans in the cupboard for emergencies.

I had things to write about, but they have followed my guru. Now I can’t think of one of them. But surely, as soon as I hit the publish tab, they will all come flooding back; so you may/may not get them tomorrow, or the day after…


Sunday Travel Tales

One of the trips that I did often was up the Tambopata River, a five hour journey from Puerto Maldonado which is 55kms from the Bolivian border.

Puerto Maldonado is a jungle town. At the airport, if your yellow fever isn’t up to date, you get a shot there and then

Long narrow boats that didn’t go fast along the windy river as the passengers gazed at the scenery which never really changed. The odd flash of excitement as the boat swerved to avoid a floating log or some such.

The scenery never changed, much – image: AV

We passed the odd river community, other boats carrying stuff like bananas down river.

Bananas – image: AV

Muddy cayman watched us, we watched them – image: AV


Muddy children watched us, we watched them – image: AV

Household chores, no washing machines here – image: AV


Mothers doing the washing, while the kids swam and bathed.

Other boats with passengers going downstream to Puerto Maldonado. Everybody was very friendly, everybody waved.

But the scenery was the same, the water was muddy and the river twisted and turned.

My first trip, I found interesting; the second and subsequent, merely a trip. Quite frankly it became boring.

But it was necessary, as we were on our way to spend two nights in a jungle lodge in the Tambopata Reserve; although the second night, we woke at 3am to take the boat back to Puerto Maldonado in the dark, only the moonlight as our guide, to get our onward flight after 8am.

Finally, we arrived and signed in at the ranger’s station, then it was onward again for another 20 minutes, a scamble up a muddy bank with makeshift steps. and…

First sight of the lodge – image: AV

That was part of the adventure, just getting there in one piece.

More on this another time.

Are we Doomed?


I have successfully made it through another week, albeit a short one. The arrival of Friday is always a milestone.

Last night was another Dead Cow occasion. Halfway through my lesson last night, I had a stroke of genius and decided that a second Dead Cow event this week wouldn’t go amiss.

They’ve changed presenters a couple of times since this one

The only point that marred the occasion was that they had the TV on a programme called Cidade Alerta (Alert City) requested by the next table before my arrival. It is the pits of a news programme, banality at its worst. Last night their main topic as the Brazilian goalie, Bruno (sadly of Flamengo fame), and the court case surrounding the kidnapping and subsequent murder of his ex-girlfriend over a paternity matter. Now the murder was a couple of years ago, and every so often the news breaks out in spots over it. But, it has reached a jury at last, so the rash of reporting is greater than just an outbreak in spots. Cidade Alerta raves on and on, repeating itself, repeating the same images time and time again ad nauseum for a couple of hours. Boring af!

They finally turned on the other TV to the regular news channel. I requested a move of tables so that I could watch it. No sooner than I was installed at the new table, the other TV was switched over…. Aaarrrggghhhh!

‘Boring af’, have you figured that one out yet?

It’s a Twitter abbreviation.

I have just read an article on BBC News about the future of the English language and it makes me wonder if we are indeed doomed.

Things like IMO, or more formally IMHO, meaning In My (Humble) Opinion, or emoticons, ūüėČ

Is it already too late?

Are these now already an irrevocable part of the English language?

Will they appear in dictionaries?

WTF do you put a yellow ball in the alphabet? (Where, as opposed to What)

As a teacher of advanced English I am not ready for this, although I am guilty of having used them on occasions.

As a result of Twitter and all the other banal forms of social media, are we seeing the destruction of English?

Sitting on a Brazilian bus in Rio de Janeiro, high school kids across the aisle were laughing at a joke and one actually said “LOL” in place of laughing. LOL is now in Portuguese, so it’s not just English that is changing. The ability to communicate is hemorrhaging.

Black Friday hits Brazil with a vengeance

Another American import is this year intruding into the lives of Brazilians. Black Friday, you know that insanity after Thanksgiving. Last night on TV chain stores, airlines, Chevrolet were all offering Black Friday specials.

Some stores had ‘Red Friday’ or ‘Dark Friday’.

I am suspecting that in an hour I will see the induced madness on the news. The stores were opening at 10pm last night, advertising 26 hours.

And… we don’t even have Thanksgiving!

We don’t need this shit!

Brazilians are already broke, the inadimplência (failing to pay your credit card) is already at record levels, but the government is pushing Brazilians to buy, buy, buy to keep the economy moving.

I finally got my credit card paid off and cancelled it. Credit is a fools game. But on TV, in the shops, all advertising shows the price of buying on credit, the price of the installments with the cash price in little bitty letters, so small that on TV they are unreadable.

Then Brazilians wonder what went wrong when they can’t pay; they treat the installment price as thought it were the cash price.

Lovely sunny day out there, light breeze, inside… wonderful Brazilian coffee and my Rubbish (Lixo, my cat) is asleep on the sofa.

Lessons tonight at 4pm, home at 9pm which is my designated beer o’clock.


A Storm in a Cup of Claret

I see there’s a ‘storm in a tea cup’, or rather a cup of Claret. It has been called into question in England whether the judiciary should imbibe during the lunch break.

A long tradition of Claret with lunch for some judges in the Old Bailey.

And why not?

They have two hours. I am not afraid to have a beer with lunch, although it is frowned on. Admittedly, some would abuse the privilege and should be chastised in the event it affects one’s performance, such as a judge falling asleep on the bench in the afternoon.

For me it is a personal choice. If I were operating a machine in a factory, then I would be foolish to consider a lunchtime tipple.

It is interesting to note that while looking for an image to accompany this post, I discovered that there was a Saint Antoni Maria Claret, Brazil even has a Lieutenant Colonel Claret somewhere in the armed forces, a claret gnat fishing fly, Ray Ban Claret rimmed sunglasses, and my favourite…

(2009) Triumph Bonneville T100 ‚Äď Claret aluminium silver right angle – Image: Triumph ¬©

Venezuela’s Chavez has built a monument to house the remains of Sim√≥n Bolivar; as some pundits have pointed out it looks more like a skateboarding ramp and is a monument to Chavez rather than the hero now entombed there.

It tried to rain, but barely managed to wet the ground. Now the sun is out.

My kitchen is in a state of shock, I washed the dishes.

Have the rest of the day to myself, only a lesson at 5:30pm and then it will be beer o’clock.

Today is Monday, no???

It feels like a Monday.

Not that anything has gone wrong yet, but we have just finished a six day holiday period.

Image – Wikipedia

Yesterday was Dia do Zumbi (Afro-Brazilian Awareness day or Zumbi’s Day). Zumbi dos Palmares (1655 – 1695) was one of the Quilombo (fugitive settlements) freedom fighters of the resistance against the Portuguese.

So we have a short week this week.

It’ll be the weekend again before we know it.

I have a good crop of passionfruit growing on the vines alongside the house. Last year they didn’t fruit, so I am quite pleased. There is also a pumpkin plant that has sprouted from the compost heap and spreading along the fence; it has already had flowers and promises a lot more.

I see the Pope has written a biography of Jesus, what can he say that hasn’t already been said? Things like this annoy me.

The Gaza conflict is worrying. Israel is defending its rights to retaliate to the Palestinian rockets. They conveniently forget that it was they that caused the rockets by the missile attack that killed the Palestinian military leader. The USA has proved to be the wimp once again in defending the Israeli’s right. I found out the other night a new side to the Palestine/Israeli conflict. I was always under the impression that it was only religiously related, but it appears that Palestinian territorial waters off Gaza have more gas and oil than Israel; that wouldn’t have anything to do with it, would it?

Then yesterday I read about ‘designer vaginas’ where women want custom made perfect vaginas. I posted on that on They Say it’s in the Genes.

Just more proof that the world is totally screwed.

I get so morose at times when I see the inconsequential things that worry the world. Things like Starbucks, the fashion world and big boobs, people truly are pathetic.


Sunday Travel Tales

Running late, so a quick one tonight.

Still in Playa El Chaco, this week one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen.

Taken from the beach in front of the fishermen’s houses, with their fishing boats and Paracas Peninsula in the background. The condition of the photo is not good, hopefully it will not detract from the beauty.

Baia de Paracas/Paracas Bay

The Sun is Out

For three days I have been trying to think of a provocative and illuminating title for this post and all I could come up with is the sun is out.

While it’s true, it’s hardly provocative nor illuminating.

As a responsible blogger one tends to look for the best, but it doesn’t always happen.

The sun is out, it’s still cloudy, but the day looks promising after five days of solid cloud, rain and cold nights. The rain we have had has threatened the hill country of the state and there have been landslides, houses destroyed and people evacuated in the same areas that had over 900 deaths a year ago.

Old Marmite Jar

Yesterday I had a visitor, he’s a chemistry teacher who has taught himself English over the course of 20 years; he’s pretty good actually, but because of a lack of opportunity to speak, he is not fluent. The subject turned to things like peanut butter, black sludge and then Marmite (another form of black sludge).

I have talked about Marmite before, about a month ago in a post Black Sludge on Toast, but the matter in hand was that Marmite is not, to my knowledge, available in Brazil.

BTW, if you remember the old jars like the one pictured here, you are older than me. I had one, it was raided from my mother’s ‘jar cupboard’ in the laundry to use in my lab in the garage. You see at age 13 and all through high school I was a chemistry buff. My jar held the residue of an experiment, arsenic nitrate. I had many little jars with arsenic compunds. My father had a large can of arsenic trioxide, he used it in the garden, and of course what budding chemist could resist the temptation to experiment?

While I am writing this I am scouring blogs and sites that might tell me that Marmite is indeed available in Brazil. I found this description ‚Äúit‚Äôs like a dark brown, salty honey‚ÄĚ on Eat Rio. Well, no luck on the buying, but I have discovered that one can ‘make’ Marmite. It’s a longish process, taking ten days according to The English Can Cook, and one needs to be located near a brewery. Marmite is based on beer scum, or the top fermentation of brewer’s yeast.

The above blog is also cited by The Press, a Christchurch newspaper, so it must be on the right track, DIY Marmite only for the Brave. New Zealand is suffering because of a Marmite-famine caused by a fire at the only factory that makes the stuff.

So much for that black sludge. I had a can of the other black sludge (Murphy’s Irish Stout) yesterday in the presence of an AMBev rep, and inquired of him when his company would be supplying this heaven-sent nectar. He was, ahhh, non-commital.

I think that about does it for now. Maybe a Travel post later, haven’t a clue at the moment what it will be.


In Dire Need of Therapy

Mondays are always the same. Yesterday was no different. I didn’t post, except on Bullshit Corner, and that was a good one.

Between waiting for my daughter at the bus station for more than an hour so I could take her to the dentist to have a tooth restored, only to find out that she had an exam at school and couldn’t come, and internet interruptions of service, and a change of my daily routine; it was a normal screwed up Monday.

So, after finding out that my daughter wouldn’t arrive, I decided that I needed therapy. The best therapy in the world is shopping! Every woman knows this. I went and brought a new pair of shorts, which I badly needed. On the way to get the Kombi home, I passed an electrical store. Better check that out. You see I have promised myself a new camera. I had seen one advertised for R$299 with internal rechargeable battery. This store had nothing under R$399, which was more than my ceiling price,

My little ‘puppy’

As I walked out the door into Passeio Mall, I saw a small photographic place across the way. I was drawn as though by a magnet to their modest display of¬† digital cameras… and there was my dream. A little Vivitar, just begging like an eager¬† little puppy pawing at the window in a pet shop to be taken home; and the price… R$199. Ten minutes later I was walking home with my little ‘puppy’ feeling quite happy with myself, that I had saved R$100 on the one I was thinking about. Forgotten was the morose feelings of not seeing my daughter and my annoyance at having gotten up early for naught.

Therapy is a wonderful thing.

Here is my first photo, a long awaited update of my Lixo…

Wot iz dat fing?


Update… reminder, must set the date/time correctly

The Fatted Calf

Well, not actually, rather a fatted me. But the title just seemed to fit after yesterday’s.

Some of the goodies on offer

The music started and I fled in a taxi.

It’s only a five minute trip and my table was being prepared as the waiters saw me walk hobble in the door.¬† My table is about half way down the restaurant, I always sit at the same if it is free. By the time I got there, doffing my hat on the spare chair whilst the other was held ready for me, my beer arrived. Chilled handle, sem colarinho (no head), placed exactly where I like it. Apart from greeting the waiters as I entered, I hadn’t ordered my beer; it just arrives and is often on the table before I get there, if one of the waiters has spied my arrival outside.

The restaurant is probably the classiest in my wild west part of Rio, it’s also the most expensive. The price of the evening rodizio is R$34 (about USD18) plus drinks; beer at R$6.90 a handle. Now that may not seem expensive by 1st world standards, but here it is. So I expect the service, I am also one of their more regular diners; three or four times a month, so they tend to look after me. Especially after an affair a couple of years ago when a request was refused and I boycotted the place for 14 months. Eventually the maitre (the one who had refused my request) found me in another restaurant and apologised, inviting me back for a free meal.

I did go back and I learned he got shit from the owner over the affair, considering the restaurant lost about R$1,500 over the period due to my boycott.

I get treated ever so well.

I got home just in time to see the music pack up and the van drive off, perfect… but not quite. There was a guy there with a mini disco system and they played on until 1am, needless to say I was sleepless until then.

Words will be spoken. Loud music until 1am across the road from my gate is just pure ignorance.


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