Sunday, January 29, 2012

Don't worry guys, we will not go hungry here

It's really hard to find a place in this area where food for sale isn't more than 20 feet away from you. Everywhere we go there are vendors, which I like, but it also leads to more eating. Yesterday's lunch (we still don't have all our cooking stuff, so we're eating out a little bit) on the beach was 4 kebabs: chicken, chicken hearts, beef and a hotdog. Then from a different vendor a popsicle, and yet another vendor a beer. They all come to you. It's great.

Dinner last night was a feast. I'm not quite comfortable enough to order at a restaurant, and I also can't really read the menus. So Toby orders for both of us (although I did manage to order myself a water, yay me!). The item he picked serves 4 people. There were two of us. We came home with a ton of leftovers. 

The dish we got was matatao, which if you break it down is: matata=restaurant name, the ending ao=HUGE. Two dishes of rice with meat in it, two dishes of black eyed peas, a bowl of french fries, and a bowl of macaxeira (a veerrrry starchy root vegetable) fries, two bowls of vinaigrette (which is like salsa, but with, you guessed it, more of a vinaigrette dressing), and two bowls of farofa, which is a semi tasteless ground up grain of sorts. It's not my favorite, but I try it everywhere I go. The meat selection was comprised of many of the common meats here: picanha (beef with a large strip of fat on the side, very tasty), carne de sol, linguica (we had two kinds, but it's just sausage), HALF a chicken (it was a big dinner) and another beef whose name we cannot remember. I didn't have my camera with me, so you'll have to deal with this picture from the internet. This is sort of what our dinner was like. Just multiply it times three or four.
Leftovers from dinner. Below: the view of our building from our pool, then the next picture is the view of the beach from the same spot.

The meat kebab truck with the view of our building from the beach behind (I'll get a better one from all the way out on the reef, I didn't have my shoes this time), then next picture picole (popsicles).
Aaaand, just for fun: some of the hermit crabs from our "front yard". It's  video.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cajus for you!

My Portugues tutor is loading me down with fruit on a regular basis now. Last lesson she left me with hours of homework and many new words, as well as a bag of caju. Any idea what those are? Well I'll let you know! It's the fruit of a cashew. I guess the nut is connected too, but the caju is the fruit here, and the castanha is the nut part. Toby thought they were poisonous somehow, if eaten incorrectly, and I thought I had heard somewhere that raw cashew nuts were poisonous also. But my Portugues teacher mentioned nothing of poison. Of course, I can't understand anything she says either, so, in hindsight, maybe she did warn me. Here are some pictures.

Oh, and I just looked it up. The shell of the castanha de caju is poisonous. Lena (tutor) probably thought I was smart enough to now chew on the shell.

Okay, well now I'm eating the caju. It's not super juicy, and very... ummm... I don't know how to describe it. It is chalky? Or it makes my mouth dry. I really have no idea how to describe it. But it is tasty. I sort of gumming it down to a mush ball. No too attractive.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One last post to catch us up to speed.

Some notes on what we've been up to:

-Sarah attends her first class with a portugues tutor (like the first day of school picture?)

- We sat in on Toby's cousin's Jui-Jitsu class. We're both thinking about doing it... maybe. The thought of being caught in a headlock with a complete stranger who I do not share a common language with is my only opposition.

-We've played two good games of Scrabble and I hope will eventually try to play in portugues.

-Have done some laundry, and air dried with our neat system of ropes and pulleys. 

- Have tried a few new fruits: Spanish Melon (I guess that's what it's called in English), jaca, and a small orangish fruit which we can't describe the taste of and do not know the name of. They are all good, except the jaca is a little slimy, so I don't know if I'd buy that. But if I saw it growing on a tree, and I could take it for free? I would eat it then.

That's all for now. Will have more organized and logical posts next time.

The reef

This is my first attempt with our new underwater camera, so just know there will be better pictures. As soon as my snorkel gets here.

This is probably the best part of where we live. There is a coral reef in our front yard. One of the worst parts of where we live is that it's not protected or taken care of at all. There are lots of live corals living on it, but a few days ago we met a 'fisherman' who was taking chunks for aquariums. AAAND he was taking marine animals too! He had a sea slug when we saw him, and I sort of foolishly asked him about this crazy cool specimen of a slug that was in front of me, and he took that too. And this is sort of normal practice here.

Oh well... I will learn the language and tell the bad people to stop stealing from the reef.
Also... below is a picture I found online of the slug I pointed out to the bad man. It's about the size of a small person's thumb and leaves a trail of goo. How do I know? I picked it up... Is that bad? I hope not!

Queijo de coalho

I just googled that to make sure my spelling was correct, then decided to check out google translate. Apparently it translates to 'cheese curd'. Hm. Who knew?

Anyway, our first meal cooked in our house! Queijo de coalho. It's supposed to be firm and grilled, easily cut by a knife and eaten with a fork (or an a stick like a kabob). I believe I may have bought the wrong kind? A lesson in languages.... I guess I should try to read into more packaging detail. I read 'queijo de coalho' and went with it!


And lots of it. Our first 4 or 5 days were full of rain. Not that we minded, it lowered the temperature to about 27 C. The first two nights the storms had amazing gusts of wind, strong enough to wake me up, get me out of bed and coerce me to sleep on the couch (in our TV room, which is windowless). The drops of rain seemed smaller for a while, and we had a theory that it could be because the people here are much smaller (Toby and I are tall!), but then the rain came stronger, and we decided the droplets seemed normal.

5th day here, the storms were the worst yet. We had a palm in our courtyard break in half from wind gusts. I think it might have been damaged or sick also, but impressive, nonetheless. There were a few offshoots growing from the tree, so we took one for a houseplant. Our first plant! And the best kind too: free.

Amidst the rain, day 4 we decided that it was about time we headed out to the beach. It was time to stop being wimpy and just hang out in the rain. It doesn't seem to lightning here much (we haven't seen any at all in 5 days of rain), so there wasn't much to worry about. It was a good idea to get out, and it started the beginnings of a daily schedule for us, which includes waking at 7ish, working out/playing on the beach until 8:30, showers and breakfast. That's all we have down so far, the rest has been moving and meeting relatives and buying things.

And we're here, with internet, and almost fully functional.

We were in airports/on airplanes for a full 24 hours on our way here. There are faster ways to get here, but not many cheaper ones. Lots of family came to pick us up, including Solange, Marcelo, Aida, Pedro, Duda, and Renata. This is just to give you an idea of the names here. It's a pretty bad representation, as we've met many Albert, Rachel, Anthony and Rogers.

We had a pretty huge amount of luggage, plus 12 bottles of booze from the duty free shop (gifts, not all for us), but all of that luggage seemed the norm. 

Our house was nearly completely empty, so the first two days we bought a stove/oven, fridge, one luxurious A/C unit for our bedroom, and washing machine. After one pretty horrible night sleep on a blowup mattress and couch, we broke down and bought a bed and pillows. 

I'm writing this post one week into our stay. We just got internet today, so I'll be back tracking with a few posts. Buuut, because it's a blog, and this is the first post I'm writing down here, it will be read last. Oh well.
Also, mail! ALREADY! Yippie-yi-yay! Who knew we could get mail this fast? Word on the streets was it was impossible. Thanks cuz!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We are finally on the move

We're out! Out of Atlanta at least. We are now residents of JFK, for about 7 hours, until we head to Rio, the end in Recife. Our total time of travel will be 24 hours. Haha, I guess that's what it takes to travel cheap.

I still can't seem to understand much Portuguese. I couldn't understand the lady we talked to about our flight, the people in line with us, Toby when he's talking to people. Hopefully that will change. Or I'll just be very silent. Until I figure it out. Which hopefully will be soon.

One last tidbit, as I don't have much to talk about now: India seems like it would be a place full of really interesting people. But I sure wouldn't want to take the flight there. We're sitting next to a flight to India and the line is HUGE!

Here are some farewell pictures of us. Goodbye friends and family, we'll miss you, hello Skype.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Days of the week

Here's something I would have though would be different. The days of the week in Portuguese are called second day, third day, fourth day, etc. I don't think that's the exact translation, but it's as close as I can get. All of the days are like this except Sabado, which is the last day of the week, and Domingo, which is the first day of the week. Here's a week translated:

Sunday         -          domingo 
Monday            -     segunda-feira
Tuesday           -           terca-feira
Wednesday      -         quarta-feira
Thursday          -         quinta-feira 
Friday             -       sexta-feira
Saturday       -          sabado

Also, I'm not sure that they capitalize those days. Hmm. Right now this is just what I'm learning from Rosetta Stone, so who knows, it could be wrong. Posts should get a little more interesting (more pictures, better topics) in... t-minus 8 days.....