We made it through Christmas and jumped into our readiness for the New Year. Being able to spend the New Year at this beach hopefully will set the tone for a sunny and pleasurable 2008.
Rain or shine, we spent our time between the beach and the pool and bar-b-qued in between. The bar-b-que was especially gratifying as this particular grill came from the United States. A year ago, Marjorie and her daughter, Flavia, came to visit us in Huntington Beach. They mentioned that their bar-b-que had rusted and corroded so badly that it literally fell apart and was no longer working. So, we found a bar-b-que that we could dismantle and repack into their luggage and Voila!, they were able to take it back to Brasil with only a slightly raised eyebrow from the customs people. The type of grills we have in the U.S. are very difficult to find in Brasil and very expensive so this turned out to be the perfect solution.
Here in Brasil, there is a tradition that comes from the Northern states and more specifically, from the African cultural influence (remember, Brasil had many slaves for a long period of time) and that is to wear white on New Years for good luck and to receive the blessing of the saints. In a way, it represents a clean start in the New Year.
We were all invited up to the penthouse unit that is owned by a good friend of Marjorie's. Like Marjorie, Monica and her husband are both Doctors in Curitiba and they certainly enjoy their time at the beach. The condo has a rooftop party area and a jacuzzi and it was quite the place to celebrate the New Year with a terrific group of people.
We had plenty of time to enjoy the food and the company and our cheeks got worn about because of all the kisses exchanged. The warmth and friendship was almost overwhelming and everyone was just so happy to be there.
The countdown came and went in a flash and hugs and kisses and smiles and well wishes were enjoyed all around. More champagne was heard popping and our laughter only overtaken by the sound of fireworks up and down the beach. From our rooftop perch, we could see for miles to the north, south and west (as east was into the ocean) and watch the various firework displays.
Another tradition that some indulge in, is the jumping into water for the New Year. Several of the women jumped into the ocean and leaped over seven waves and made a wish. I heard that one particular young lady wished for a boyfriend (well Laura, if you read this, from what I have had the pleasure to know about you, you will not have any problem with getting your wish).
Also, there were many sacrifices made to the pool and even more gatherings along the beach. If 2008 is anything like how it has begun, I can look forward to all that comes with the next 366 days.
On New Years Day, we took a leisurely drive up the coast to another beach hamlet called Pontal. Marco, another friend that lives in the United States and was in Curitiba visiting his family (as he is a cousin to Julio and Bela as well), cooked us yet another bar-b-que, only this time with a very unique cut of meat. In a previous webpage, I showed you a picture of this bull and that hump is very tender and moist when slowly cooked over the grill.
Marco prepared some fantastic meats (as always) and we were joined by his sister Lorena, her husband, Bido, and their daughters, Amanda and Nicole. Nicole could speak very little English; however, she seemed entranced with anything I said. Of course, that could be because my Portuguese was so bad I was probably telling her that I wear my underwear on my head, or something intelligent like that.
While at Marco's family's beach house, we popped around the corner to visit his cousins Julio and Bela and their families as well. I think their collective families own the entire street as it seemed that some relative lived in each house between the two homes.
When we stopped in to see the Caron-Harres families, all were in attendance as was the cerveja. It seemed as though it was either relax or hang in a hammock and somewhat recover from New Years Eve or to hell with it, and just drink some more. I will let you look at the pictures and you decide who chose which option.
We left the Vaz-Caron-Harres families and went down the street to visit families Gerson has known since his youth. Having been adopted by several "parents", he was welcomed in as though he were one of the family.
We first visited the Del'Claro family, which included Rodrigo, an old friend of Gerson's, his mother and father, sister and her boyfriend. We had a wonderful time talking about what everyone has been doing since the last they saw of Gerson and of course, I pressed for a story about Gerson. Apparently, a particular night when all were asleep (ie: passed out) and yours truly locked himself out of the house. Now Gerson, being a rather tall and lean thing at the time and only seeing out of half of his eyes, got the strange notion that he was half as big as he really was.
Seeing an open jalousie window (the kind of window where the glass panes open horizontal and outward), he tried to climb in through the somewhat narrow opening. Nonetheless, the inevitable happened and what his friends saw when they came running after hearing screams for help, were Gerson's legs kicking frantically on the outside, and his reddened face attached to his stuck torso on the inside. After about five minutes of his friends hysterically laughing, they managed to unstick him with the only damage being to Gerson's pride.
After the Del'Claro family, we visited yet another terrific family right around the corner, the family Branco. Jose Carlos was the friend that brought the stray Gerson home and Gerson was fed very well by the family. The father, having been a "sheriff" for a very long time, helped to keep Gerson somewhat in line. The fondness for this adopted son was more than evident and I just basked in the warmth of the entire family.
Even late that evening, it was a crawl back to Motinhos and Marjorie's place as people were still making their way back home after their New Years' holiday. The inland cities and villages must have been empty because it surely looked as though they were all at the beach.
We headed back to Curitiba to give us one day to prepare for our next jaunt as we planned to drive up the coast to the State of Sao Paulo. The weather favored us in Curitiba and gave us time to catch up and relax (me, to catch up on the website and for Gerson and Marjorie, it was pool time).
Well, we did it again. We had way too much fun to contain it on one page so our week continues on the next page.