June 30, 2005


Yesterday, after 18 hours of travel, our friends Max and Julliana picked us up from the airport in Rio. I was fried and out of it, and in terrible need of a shower and to burn my clothes but we just HAD to stop in a bar in a town half way back from Rio to watch Brazil and Argentina play a soccer match. Yep, I’m really here, and soccer comes before everything. So we drank some beer and ate some snacks for 2 hours then drove another 2 hours to Max’s where I promptly passed out.

We are so lucky to have such great friends in both countries. Everyone in New York just showered us with so much love before we left, and now here..... Max has set up a whole section of his house and last night even went out to buy us brand new pillows (without telling us) because he didn’t think his pillows were good enough.

Culture shock hasn’t set in completely yet, but it will surely. I’m just kind of bumbling around after C with no clue what’s going on. Not so bad though as I can click my brain off. This city is more crowded than New York. Much smaller, but more dense. Sidewalks are crazy you can hardly walk there are so many people. It’s like Canal Street on a Saturday afternoon all the time. At least so far the language thing hasn’t been as miserable as I expected. I think understand less than 30% of the words, but 70% of the context, no major headaches or total frustration.... that will get worse before it gets better though I’m sure.

Saw our apartment for the first time today and I have to say I don’t love it. It’s okay, but was cooler in pictures (I’m a little disappointed)... We spent the morning with two builders who are going to do some remodeling on the place. If we can afford to do everything we want, it’s going to be great. We decided to tear down a couple walls and eliminate the 3rd bedroom so the living space is much bigger and open. Right now it sort of feels like a rabbit warren -- lots of little small spaces. The kitchen is just horrible. Not only is it tile from floor to ceiling, but the tile is baby blue. Couldn’t be a more unappetizing color! So we’ve got a lot of work to do.

The next few days are going to be very busy. Setting up electric account for the apartment. Getting the customs broker figured out, and a million other little errands. It appears things move so slowly here (a traffic jam seems to be regularly caused by some old farmer with a horse and cart in the middle of town. I guess this place is not as modern as I made myself believe) but we’re figuring it out.

It’s the beginning of winter here and it couldn’t be more beautiful. Temperature is about 75 and the sky doesn’t have a single cloud. At night it’s in the low 60´s. Next week people are saying it will be cold. Can’t imagine what that could be.... 65-70 degrees??

Internet access for us is going to be a little sporadic. Max lives on a “sitio” or little farm about 20 minutes outside of the city and doesn’t have internet access (or a telephone) and C’s aunt who lives in the city has an ancient computer so it’s not the best option, even though it’s currently the only one. (Wifi doesn´t seem to exist here (so laptop is useless...)

So here’s us arriving -- exhausted and pasty and watching the soccer game in a bar after they picked us up.

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