Monday, December 21, 2009

snow day

I'm not quite sure what the official measurement was in our neighborhood, but I think we got about 20" of snow on Saturday. CJ had been sick all week, but needed a little motivation perhaps for getting better.

Our neighbor was quite helpful in showing CJ how to build a snow house.

It took a while to clear the driveway, but I managed.

All in all, it was a good weekend to have a home. But I'm a little sore this morning from all that shoveling...

Saturday, December 05, 2009


The highlight/lowlight of November was a week and a half-long business trip to Brazil. It's always interesting checking out a new place. That's why it was a highlight. But if there is an enchanting location in Brazil -- and I'm sure there is -- we were pretty far from it. You won't see the petrochemical refinery two miles up the beach from where we were (I didn't photograph it). But let's just say that the ocean looked more like it does off Jones beach than in your typical pristine tropical venue.

We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts, and attended a big fisheries meeting at another. It's kind of hard to tell the resorts apart, although this one liked setting up for the day during high tide.

A large rock shelf blocked off the surf from the sand. It made for interesting photos, but not so much for swimming.

Here's the view with my back to the refinery. Fairy nice, but that water just doesn't have the blue sheen it should.

The egrets seemed pretty content with the place, although the tidal pools didn't hold much of anything except a bunch of sea urchins.

A few miles south of us was the tourist village of Porto da Galinhas. In ten days, we escaped to eat here three times. At least the water was a little cleaner here.

Porto da Galinhas is an hour south of the industrial port of Recife. The name means "Chicken Port," and it was one of the main ports used in the slave trade (chickens being derogatory slang for the slaves waiting to be sold). Now, the town takes its name literally, and chicken imagery is ubiquitous.

The town did have its unseemly parts, of course.

Recife, incidentally, is the shark attack capitol of Brazil. They filled in the estuaries along the coast where the bull sharks breed and built a nice strip of hotels on the beach. The only estuary left has a slaughterhouse upstream that is known for unregulated wastewater discharges. So the tourist hotels basically sit on a beach with a lot of confused bull sharks smelling blood in the water and not sure of where they're supposed to be. Very typical of Brazil, I think.

And for those who are curious, here's what the big meeting room looked like where I was stuck for all that time. Note that I was inadvertently filmed while taking the picture...