We spent the weekend at the apartment of Gerson's friend, Gabriel and enjoyed the company of Gabriel's wife, Jo, and six-year old son, Diego. Gabriel's apartment is located a little over two hours from Curitba and is an hour south of where we stayed with Gerson's sister. Camboriu is another beautiful beach city and also a much more lively one. People from all over the states of Parana and Santa Catarina come to this area for their summer vacation (not unlike our home in Huntington Beach).
We took the opportunity to dine at one of Gabriel's restaurants, The China Box (Gabriel owns three franchises) and also to have the obligatory bar-b-que. Given a break in the clouds that hung around most of the weekend, we took a jaunt out on the ocean in Gabriel's boat and had some refreshments and seafood tidbits at a floating bar/snack shop.
Taking a short drive south, we went to visit even more friends in another beach town called Bombas. There, we met Lufe (Loo-Fay - short for Luis Fernando), his mother, Irene, and his daughter, Maria. Of course, we had to be talked into having a terrific lunch on the beach and to imbibe several cold beers.
It appears Lufe, how do we say nicely, was the "butt-end" of the jokes when he and Gerson were younger and this has not faded with time. I did not have to understand what was being said to laugh at what I knew to be stories about Lufe. One story that was later interpreted was this: Lufe, out with several friends and after (I will be nice here) a "few" beers, saw a young miscreant trying to steal another person's metal surf racks from the top of a car. Lufe successfully scared the would-be thieves away just when the racks were separated from the car.
Lufe, clutched the racks and hurriedly walked around, gently yelling if anyone knew who owned the car and the racks. With the chorus of "No's", Lufe continued to wander around with the racks raised over his head and asking the same thing of the people in the balconies above. While not being in the sharpest state of awareness, Lufe walked right up to and tried to pass underneath the very-much alive electrical wires. And, you guessed it, Lufe was lit up like a Christmas tree (in more ways than one). Once unceremoniously tossed clear of the wires, Lufe hurled the racks to the street and told the racks a few choice words. So much for his heroics.
We also managed to fit in a bar-b-que and another friend of Gerson's made his appearance. Of course, the food was superb but check out the bar-b-que that is common in Brasil. I see how we are going to build our bar-b-que...
For the week, we stayed with Marjorie in Curitiba and completed a list of "to do's". From my getting yet another eyelid surgery (to remove a small cyst under one eye), to a trip to the dentist for both, we have been checked over and are ready to travel. Of course, I get to go to Carnaval with a little extra something - a black eye! Gerson is making the most of it saying that he smacked me...fortunately, no one takes him seriously.
With the help of another childhood friend, Mauricio, we took care of our loose ends and especially went to visit Gerson's mother's tomb. Gerson's mother died suddenly of an aneurysm when she was 37 years old (Gerson was not yet twelve). She was a professor of History and ironically enough, Mauricio had Professora Silva as his teacher. The tomb is located in a cemetery wherein all the bodies remain aboveground, much like you would see in the south of the United States. The visual effect is that of walking through a small city or a labyrinth of small buildings.
While we were looking into Gerson's past, we went back to his old neighborhood to visit Aunt Raquel and her son, Vitor. We also walked along Gerson's street where he grew up with his grandparents and with Marcio and his family (remember Simone, his wife just passed last week).
A very interesting history here... Gerson's great grandfather owned a corner building (and quite a bit of the street) and at this corner he used to repair the wagons of the passing merchants, townspeople, etc. While he was fixing the wagons and their wheels, the horses would receive their horseshoe tune-up across the street by a fellow Polish immigrant. The building is still there and still owned by Gerson's family.
We had a chance to finish up our week visiting with Lincoln, Gerson's brother, and getting ready for Rio and Carnaval. Carnaval has come early this year and it starts Friday, February 4th and goes through the 9th. We leave on Friday for Rio where we are to meet seven other "gringos" for the celebration. I am not sure when I will be able to sober up, sit down or saturate another web page after Carnaval so there may be a tad delay for the next page; however, trust me, it will be worth the wait. Ciao (or tchau) for now...