Diary/Photo Journal


Week of December 19 - December 25, 2010

It was difficult to resist a sunny day and not go to the beach so Gerson, Marjorie and I headed off to Antonina, a small port town an hour or so from Curitiba.  This jaunt gave us the opportunity to visit good friends' of Gersons, Luis Fernando (Loo-fay) and his mother, Irene (I-reen-ee) and to enjoy some carangueijo (crab).

It was sunny and breezy and our lunch at the port was wonderful.  Antonina is a cozy place and Lufe and his family have a very nice home near the bay.  Gerson and Marjorie soaked in a little pool time and we all enjoyed hearing some of the "old" stories of Gerson (as he and Lufe have been friends for a long time and Irene was involved in some of their hi-jinks).

The star attraction, the food!

Gerson and Lufe

Lufe's house is just near the
Marina club's white building

Lufe, Irene, Gerson and Louise

Lufe's back yard

Gerson soaking it up

View from Lufe's
house to the bay

Monday was a trip into Curitiba to knock off our "to-do" list and with the idea to meet up with Marjorie's family at this terrific German restaurant (Schwarzwald) we always make sure we get to when visiting Curitiba. 

This is a tasty fruit called
"Lychee".  It's exterior is spiky
and once opened like a jewelry
box, inside is this soft, gooey
gem of the fruit.  Just pop into
your mouth, gnaw and suck
around the seed and the flavor
is lightly sweet.

A few down a typical street in Curitiba

The outside tables are always crowded
along Largo da Ordem

Just a random person walking on
stilts...entertaining for the holidays

And to dispel that our traveling is all play and no work, we put in a little hard labor time to help Carlos and Marjorie with their Christmas rush at their wine shoppe.  First, we delivered a few Christmas baskets around the city and then we actually worked in the store.

I could not resist joking that the economy was so bad in the United States that I had to go to Brasil and work under the table.  Flavia actually teased this to a customer who was eyeing some of the dates that I had wrapped and he bought the package with a laugh.  Those were special dates indeed - wrapped by genuine illegal American labor!

Adega Boulevard - wine shoppe

Adega Boulevard's Christmas baskets

Gerson tying bows

Louise separating and wrapping dates
(they had to hide the illegal labor in the back!)

Gerson and Louise
showing off their
work product

We did venture a bit more downtown as we had a few more errands to run and we just happened to get over to the Coritiba Football Club (Coxa "Koh-shah"), Gerson's soccer team and buy some team 'stuff'.  Gerson's eyes always light up when he sees green and white and he was a happy boy buying his shirt and fuzzy soccer ball to hang from the mirror and his stickers and, and....

As this was nearing Christmas Eve (which is the main night of celebration for many Brazilians), the people were out and about, hustling and bustling here and there, shopping and visiting all around the downtown area.  You could feel the festive spirit in all the cacophony. 

Every Christmas Eve, many of Gerson's long-time friends (from surfing days and such) get together in a place called Barigui (bar-eh-gwee) and meet for beers and bullshit.  As it is a "guy thing", Gerson tottled off for a few hours to enjoy his man-talk (IE: gossip).

Downtown hustle

The Cathedral

Beautiful Portuguese influenced

Gerson posing with his
Coritiba Football Club logo

This very cool mural represents many
fantastic places to visit in Curitiba -
(L to R - Niemeyer Museum, the Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens, etc.  Even the church in which Marjorie and
Carlos got married is shown -
the white church behind the Cathedral).

Gerson and his old buddies

Gerson made it back in time for our Christmas Eve (or rather, Newtonmas Eve - for those of you that celebrate Sir Isaac Newton's birthday on the 25th) and we had an outstanding dinner of traditional Bacalhau (back-a-ylow, a salted codfish).  In keeping with tradition, we all ate too much, complained that we ate too much and proceeded to fall asleep while watching TV.

The table is set

Felipe doing the
Champagne (sparkling
wine) honors

Felipe caught in the
act of stealing eggs

Carlos, Gerson,
Marjorie and Felipe

Familia Feliz and guests - Louise, Gerson, Marjorie,
Carlos, Helio, Flavia
and Felipe

The star attraction, the Bacalhau

Having the intimate family dinner was very, very nice and then on the 25th, it was time to get ready for the big family lunch.  Marlene, Marjorie's caretaker (as she works fulltime preparing food, cleaning the apartamento, doing the laundry, etc. for the household), provided the much-needed additional help to get the building's common room prepared and sort the food that arrived via the guests.

Both sides of the families were well represented and inasmuch as a lot of food was consumed, there were many more stories being told and laughs being had. 

Gerson getting ready for the day

Marjorie making sure all is in order

Carlos and Marjorie preparing the

The toast to all

Flavia and Marlene

Gerson and Marjorie
with cousins, Celso and
Edson (sons of Sebastiao
and Marilda)

It was nice to see family that is difficult to spend time with otherwise as they are spread out over the city and some live a bit further away.  Also, we were quite amazed at how much Gerson's younger cousins (sons of Celso) had grown up and past even Gerson! 

A Familia (or as I call it, the "Clan")

Too pretty to eat (yeah, right)

Dona Mani (right) - Carlos' mother
and her sister, Lele

Gerson with Tio Sebastiao and
Tia Marilda

Marilice (Carlos' sister)
and her husband, Paulo

Gerson dwarfed by
Bruno and Bernardo
(19 and 17 and TALL!)

Eduardo's (Carlos' brother) family

The nice thing about the get-together was the merging of the two families.  There are rare occasions when the two sides meet and there was a mutual enjoyment of conversation and billiards.  It was good to see everyone.

Juliano (Marilice's son), Flavia and Lele

Flavia and Dona Mani are in the spirit
of the occasion

Gerson being hustled by Lele

Gerson and Celso

What being with family
is all about:

Edson holding hands with his
wife, Marcia and nephew,

After clean up, it was time to enjoy the sunshine that added to the beautiful day.  Some people may enjoy a white Christmas, but I much prefer the color of sun. 

Marjorie and Gerson making the most of their Christmas Day

I love this view from the apartamento


What a nice week with all the good things in life:  Family, friends, food and fun (oh, and for Gerson, football and beer).

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