Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A few weeks

Strange - I wanted to write the date today as 2011. That's a first. Usually, I struggle to adapt to writing the new year when it arrives.

Two buses went straight past this morning - too full. Squish room only in the third. I decided to take my chances and wait among the crowds for the new metro to open - it doesn't run at useful times - though it would be cutting it fine. The new station is surrounded by its own patch of grass, which makes for a nice start to the day. Burying my uncomfortable feet (I really don't like these sandals) in thick early-morning-cool grass is pure bliss.

Today's "Nossa Bairro" (Our Neighbourhood) newspaper's front page is news about Facebook's plan for email and such. The neighbourhood must be out of regular news. Later, glancing at the Metro News over someone's shoulder showed me an article about Wikileaks... apparently the USA is trying to take over Brazil. Whodathunkit? That should help with Brazil's neurosis over the USA.

Most students are cancelling the rest of December. That should make January 'interesting'. I have inherited at least one new, confirmed student and two others in the pipeline, which will help enormously. Fingers crossed that they confirm.

Our week was marked by overcast, muggy days and afternoons complete with thunderstorms and associated power failures. Night before last, we had a frantic hauling out of towels and sweeping vast quantities of water out the door. Brazilian housing = major leak incidents. In fairness, the rain has been heavy...

This is the river about 200m from our gate. Photo from our local news site.

This is the usual level... though the rains had already started when this photo was taken...

To get an idea of depth, take a look at the trucks and cars along the road on the left.

Thursday... end of my working week - well, kind of. There's still Saturday, but tomorrow is off and its probably a good thing. I have a zillion things to do. Today has, so far, been one of those weird can't-get-going starts. Then I got onto the bus, which felt strange... standing room?! Then I nearly fell out of my chair - oh wait... I was standing. The first clusters of seats are for the aged and infirm. A pretty girl stood and offered her seat to me! *hauls out mirror* Ok, there's grey, a few lines, but over 60??

It always amuses me when we're standing with our faces mashed up against the metro doors during peak hour and the standard recording comes on, "If you're not getting off at the next stop, keep clear of the doorways." I really, really like the new air-conditioned metros, especially in our current super-muggy weather.

My plants are loving the rain. So am I. It's a whole lot cooler with the rain, even if keeping dry is somewhat challenging.

My most recent students are far from me, quite literally on the opposite end of the city. Going to them takes me through Bras. This area is well known to all Paulistanos as being the best place to buy clothes.... literally street after street of clothing shops, both wholesale and retail. Some shops are vast warehouses and others are small. The area also has streets that specialise in outfitting clothing shops. I find the mannequin shops fascinating. This one, I caught in passing. It tickled me that the sales girl was sitting so companionably with her mannequin 'friend'.

Christmas décor is out now, but very sporadic. I was on Av. Paulista, standing waiting to cross to Conjuncto Nacional. They pride themselves on their recycled Christmas décor. Aside from the snowflakes (don't know what those are made of), the rest of the decorations are all recycled cold drink bottles, in this case, more than likely Guaraná bottles.

I snuck a peek down a passage and saw a lady decorating her 'tree'. The tree was more a bush of naked branches, but the effect was pretty. It doesn't show well in this photo though. Ah for a decent zoom...

Then again, if you don't have a garden to decorate, what's the next best thing?


  1. It's good to hear from you. I thought maybe you'd run away. :)

    I like the decorations wherever you can find them. Reminds me of an old poem, something along the lines of decorating your own soul, rather than waiting for someone to do it for you.

    Hehe, the girl with the mannequin was cute!

    I'm glad you have the new metros and I hope you don't float away in all this rain.

    Have you had that Skype convo yet? Waiting to hear the results of that. :)

  2. Yes, it's been a while.

    Like has its challenges, right? Such rivers are scaring.
    About the woman with no tree..she's doing her best with the cards she has got-, and that's the best we can do.

  3. WOW when it rains, it does rain!!
    Yeah, I second Kippy's.. it's good to hear from you!
    I love the 992 door pic. It's always shocking to see your pics, it's all so gray in Sao Paulo.. so weirdly strange for me!

    Stay dry!

  4. Kippy, running away would be nice. No, the Skype convo hasn't happened yet, but it's still in the running. I love the idea of that old poem... decorating your own soul. Nice!

    Amalie, the scary part about the river is that it's extremely toxic. That's not a river you want to fall into. I've been making a point of looking for non-conventional Christmas decorating, perhaps because we're not decorating this year.

    Dani, it's grey here.. probably because of the pollution, though that has cleared now with all this rain, we have the heavy grey clouds. When the sun comes out, São Paulo will turn into a sauna again.

  5. This was a very fun read with my tea! I loved the pictures and the holiday decorations down there!
    My favorite was the lady decorating her tree pic but what I really loved was how the sidewalk looked in the picture leading up to her door, almost like a watercolor painting :-)

    Very good to hear from you, and to know that you haven't been rained out!

  6. Love all the pics you take when you're out and about!
    New students is good news! Who will inherit all your wonderful plants??

  7. Marty, that 'watercolor painting' effect is the result of poor photo resolution, but I'm happy to oblige anyway ;)

    Katey, we'll leave them to posterity and to whoever follows us. Or perhaps we'll put them out on the pavement for others to take as they wish.

  8. Some river! Yikes, not fun to be inundated by pollution. Always love your accounts of life in Brazil. I so admire the way people make the most of things. Funny that Brazilians feel that decorations should be snowflakes. hoping your next Christmas will be somewhere you can be happier....Meanwhile, good luck with the students!

  9. Yikes, that river looks scary!
    But new students are great. I hope they will stay!

    I love it when people take the time to decorate whatever they can ... naked trees or just a balcony. It means they care ...
    Thanks for the photos. It's great to see a little bit of where you live!

  10. I've seen some flooding here it's been a couple years and I posted pictures then as well, but small town here. It was when the Patoka River flooded. A large portion of the river walk was under water. The water came up to the top of the bridge it was crazy and I saw for the first time with my own eyes and not through pictures of sandbags surrounding some houses and water surrounding businesses.
    I have a niece that just arrived home from Brazil. I have been enjoying some of her pictures.
    Thanks for the sharing of the blog and pictures

  11. Ien, I find the snowflakes amusing too... and the frequent references to a 'white Christmas', usually by people who have no idea what is written on their imported ornamentation. As for happiness. I'm happy now. That has nothing to do with where I am. I would like to be in a place with more natural beauty... that's a whole different issue.

    Riete, I'm just grateful that the river hadn't broken its banks yet. That is just nasty. The new students seem keen and are here to stay. I just hope the others confirm.

    Cheryl, this kind of rain is quite normal for us. Usually it gets worse. The river nearby overflows and the water is horrible... not your usual river water. There's a lot of chemical and sewerage that flows into that river. I'd like to bet that your niece saw a prettier part of Brazil. I hope she enjoyed her visit.

  12. You could always give a couple to your favourite bus drivers ;)

  13. I'm planning on baking a batch of biscuits to distribute to them. I doubt they'd be able to cart those huge plants in their buses.... just laughed trying to picture myself getting onto one of those crowded buses lugging a huge plant. You know the locals call my 'garden' a jungle and crack jokes about it?

  14. That's exactly why I would love you to try! kind of like the basket of chickens at home ;) or the odd goat!

  15. I always feel "transported" into your day with your blogs :-) Whoa, we've also had hectic rain and flooding rivers, but that looks bad and toxic too? Yikes.
    I like the mannequin photo... I bet it knows all her hearts desires from conversations through the day. Im also loving door 992... We aren't decorating either this year, well apart from the little wooden tree the height of my hand that I found at the Salvo shop for $2! It's missing a little decoration, but I fell in love with it and had $2 to spare.

    I hope your day off is good and saturday goes well!

  16. Eh... Katey... they have a strict 'no animals' policy on buses here, so the chickens and goats wouldn't go down too well. I'd have to carry the plants on my head to get them in!

    Good to see you again, Kerry! Yes, this river is awful. I'll leave the summer heat smells to your imagination. You have me wishing I had a mannequin of my own to talk to - the perfect companion and it doesn't answer back. And it doesn't stop talking to you at a whim like humans would... after all, it never did talk. This blog is old... It's been over a week in the writing. Saturday is now a long way off.

    Hm... perhaps I should drape some tinsel over the ferns...

  17. That explains it!! I'm sure we bought Dad that same tree a couple of years ago!! Mggg! Funeeee laydeeeee! <-------- message for Marmite.

  18. Speaking of trees... did you get your baobab in SA or at a Seffie shop? Anne had one she used to decorate and I lived in tree envy.

  19. I bought two of them at a market in Zim when I was there with Derryl. I LOVE them. They're not even A4 height but make me happy just looking at them. I couldn't decide between the copper wire one and the silver wire one so I got both. I also got two great wire sculptures of women (one carrying firewood on her head and the other pounding sorgum) when I was flying out of Zambia. I will take pics .... I will find camera .....

  20. Awesome! Do take pics!

  21. *laughs I guess if you don't have decent coworkers, you can always just.... have your own funky mannequin friend!

    Our house will soon be more like the balcony - random plastic ornaments dangling from the ceiling with other sporadic decorations placed around. Wheee!

    Apparently you are really looking forward to 2011, eh? *laughs Yanno what? ME TOO!!! ;o)

    Here's to the New Year being fun, fantastic, and adventurous! *lifts coffee!

  22. Roll on 2011! It'll be interesting to see what the year brings, huh? Just claim that you're aiming for the minimalistic look. Oh heck... at least you have an excuse!


  23. Seems odd to me, Christmas there with no snow, no cold. Does Santa use a cart instead of a sleigh ?

  24. I'm thinking this time of year maybe he uses a boat ...

  25. Nah... waterwings ; )

  26. MAGIC! He uses magic and eats snowmen.

    Oh, wait...

  27. What a lovely post with a peek into your day and your city. Will come back a bit later to read the comments and so. Have a fantastic day. Here it is 07h11am, and time for me to get started on our last official working day this year.

  28. I love the peeks you give us into your life and the people and neighbourhoods around you! I thoroughly enjoyed this blog Tint! I hope those students confirm! xxx


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