from Sandy Needham

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Brazil Dispatch 6

December 8, 2006

This comes to you on the day before we move into our house! Fidel's movers had many delays, so the schedule we anticipated changed several times. We heard from him last evening that his container is filled up and on its way. We are very excited!

While waiting for this moment, we have enjoyed the beach here, have struggled with the bureaucracy, as usual, have signed the contract with Fidel, shopped for interim household goods, ordered beds, and almost got kicked out of our second hotel. (Thank goodness a cancellation came through soon after they saw the unamusement on my face in the lobby!)

Vendors on a crowded beach weekend include sellers of the national drink, Caipirinha (kie-peer-EEN-ya); espitinhos (es-pee-CHEEN-yos) - little delicious kabobs of chicken, chicken hearts, shrimp, meat, or cheese; crepes on a wagon with two round griddles on top; soup; fruit salad; roasted cashews; bikinis; sun glasses and sun block; hats; pareos; hammocks (we bought 3! - the guy walks around with about 30 of them over his shoulder, then walked uphill with us to our hotel to get the money; we were puffing more than he was!); ice cream; beer; homemade coconut desserts; oysters; macaxeira (mah-cah-SHEA-da) - fried yucca root, like delicately sweet French fries); fresh French fries fried on the cart; and several wagons with blasting speakers selling pirated CD's, among many, many other things. ALL of them stop to ask if you’re interested and wait there until you indicate you are not interested. Luckily, they do not persist. You can see that reading or even just having a conversation on this city beach on a crowded day is tricky. We love it anyway!

The adorable dog in this video is always a hit on the beach:

Our son Jake is arriving Monday night from San Diego (a 38 hour journey). Elise, our daughter, will meet us in São Paulo on December 20th for Christmas there with Newton's family, then she’ll return with us to visit our new, rather empty home. Thank goodness they won't be visiting us in a hotel. Tonight will be our 98th straight in a hotel!

Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season. "Natal" (nah-TOW – ‘Christmas' in Portuguese) in Natal is very festive - bikinis and Santa hats, lots of city decorations and lights on the tropical trees. It is getting hotter, too! I'll be putting my small stock of Japanese ornaments on a potted plant at the house and humming 'The Nutcracker' while I walk to the beach!


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