Friday, August 28, 2009

Taking down large prey...

It's common knowledge that we humans often display behavior we would prefer to associate with animals. Having kids teaches you that more of this behavior is based on gut instinct than we would would like to admit. Case in point: the kids have recently demonstrated proficiency at gang tackling family members rivaled only by the deadliest of hiena packs. Their MO is mercilessly consistent:

  1. They lay in wait where their pray is likely to be caught unawares, such as the entrance to houses or apartments
  2. The attack is initiated by the most aggressive member of the pack or the best positioned (in our house, Emily is the alpha female)
  3. Once the attack commences, the others engage with disarming speed and voraciousness
  4. Only the strongest of prey survives the onslaught. Most quickly succumb to the an evolutionary adaptation that sacrifices the life of the individual so that the rest of the herd may survive.

As is the typical with many nature shows, I've withheld the gruesome pictures of the primal, frenzied consumption of the unfortunate victim.IMG_0080 (2) (1024x683)IMG_9664 (2) (682x1024)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Posting from Posto 8…

Who knew beaches in Rio had wireless? Wanted to do at least one post from the beach (actually, from a kiosk on the beach). Sitting here enjoying a cold coconut water and soaking in the final days of sea air before we head to the mountains tomorrow. It’s too bright to see the monitor well so I’ll keep it short.IMG_0110 Panorama (1024x416)IMG_0140 (683x1024)Sophia getting ready for her closeup… IMG_0158 (683x1024) IMG_0159 (683x1024) IMG_0160 (683x1024) Iza took off work and came to the beach with us.IMG_0164 (683x1024) IMG_0195 (1024x683)IMG_0194 (683x1024)IMG_0188 2 (683x1024)IMG_0231 (2) (665x1024) IMG_0241 (683x1024)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Baltz Compound...

I mentioned in a previous post that we went to my mother-in-law Cristina's house in Niterói for the fashion show. I didn't mention that the venerable Carlos Agostus Baltz, a.k.a Carlyle, made an appearance. The kids' grandfather has been in Cabo Frio (Wikipedia has some nice pictures) since I got here. We'll spend a few days at his beach house (now almost his primary residence!) there before we head back to Germany. The kids spent a few days there before I got here and said they like the beach better than Ipanema. That sets the bar pretty high, but they are already beach veterans with highly refined taste, so I'll take their word for it.IMG_9698 (1024x682)IMG_9738 (2)IMG_9717 (2) (1024x683)On Tuesday, my father-in-law took me to have lunch at a simple seafood restaurant in Jurujuba called Berbigão. For about 20 Euros, we had more shrimp than we could eat (one dish breaded, the other served in cheese sauce with, of all things, potatoes), rice with broccoli and raisins and more ice-cold beers (Brahma of course) than I care to count. I've always like traditional Brazilian food, but this trip I'm getting addicted.

One of the things I love about Cristina's house is the landscaping. After all these years, I still think it's amazing that these exotic (to me anyway) plants grow in folk's yards and gardens. I was really impressed with her mini-tropical forest this time.IMG_9751 (1024x647) (2) IMG_9763


IMG_9756I managed to take a few shots of the hummingbirds that whiz by to partake of the flowers. Brazil has some huge hummingbirds, but this time the ones I saw were pretty small (but still bigger than the ones I saw growing up in the States). Years of trying to take pictures of the kids still left me unprepared to get good shots of these hyperactive hoverers. In a couple of days we'll head to the mountains where I'll try to get some better shots using my camera’s remote.IMG_9781 (2)IMG_9772

By popular demand...

The final pics of the girls in their wedding garb. B's family and friends can't seem to get enought of them. The good news is I'm posting them. The bad news is that there are no more!IMG_4237 (768x1024) IMG_0062 (1024x684) IMG_0064 (593x1024) IMG_0065 (684x1024) IMG_0066 (683x1024) IMG_4230 (768x1024) IMG_4231 (768x1024) IMG_4232 (768x1024) IMG_4235 (768x1024) IMG_4236 (1024x768)

A night to remember…

Some more shots from the fashion show. This is what the Casa Design looked like when we arrived, before it got dark. There were probably about 300 people there.IMG_9793 (1024x654)Robert was in attendance and thrilled to see his sisters make their debut. He made it clear he had no interest whatsoever in a Prickril modeling “hat-trick”.IMG_9828 (1024x683)IMG_9836 (683x1024)For most of the show, the girls sat watching the other designers’ wares with their cousins and us. These days it’s almost impossible to get a picture of everyone without one of the kids (Sophia below) getting creative.Cópia de IMG_9831 (767x1024)Marina was there cheering on her nieces.IMG_9824 (1024x767)As show time approach, Sophia put on her game face.IMG_9912 (1024x683)Here’s Emily (sporting her Michael Jackson face) with her aunt Dinha (left) and Joana.IMG_9857 (1024x683)Emily has spent a lot of time this trip with her godmother, Luiza (Joana’s big sister).IMG_9885 (1024x683)Like most aspiring super models, the girls do their best to appear constantly engaged in negotiations on their cells.IMG_9900 (1024x683)IMG_9929 (683x1024)    Here’s B and Iza’s mom Regina toasting a successful show.IMG_9966 (1024x768)

The moment we’d been waiting for…

was a bit of a technical nightmare. I was so excited to see the girls finally making their way down the “catwalk” I didn’t pay too much attention to my camera. I snapped several pictures of Sophia but by the time Emily made her way in front of me, the battery was temporarily depleted so I didn’t get many good shots. B was shooting the video and was so excited that isn’t exactly top notch footage either. Anyway, here are the shots I did manage to take. Will post more from the video later. IMG_0021 (2)IMG_0067 (2) (681x1024)IMG_0030 (683x1024)

Work it girl…

On Monday morning we headed to Niterói for the girls to make their runway debut. We had lunch at B’s Mom’s (Cristina’s) house and then they headed out to get their hair done at around 14:00. At 17:00, Cristina and I went to the Casa Design just down the street from Cristina’s. Casa Design is a big house that’s been turned into a showcase for interior designers and is also used for events like the  fashion show we attended. We were later met by several folks from B’s family as well as a big contingent from her best friend Iza’s clan. It was Iza’s aunt, designer extraordinaire Matilde Kraichete, who designed the wedding attire the girls were modeling and made their dream come true. Our entire family’s heartfelt thanks go out to her. IMG_9958 2There were 7 or so different designers represented. There were professional models, loud music and Champaign – pretty much the works. The girls modeled for the last designer and stole the show. As you can see below, waiting for them to go on was tedious, but the kind of sacrifice any father would make for his daughters (I’m pretty sure I had the best seat in the house). Notice the special care I took to even film their shoes.

Here is our darling Sophia. At 5, she showed major chutzpah, hitting her mark and working it like a pro.
Emily seemed like she was born to do this.
More pictures and videos coming soon…

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weather man zero, weather gods 1…

Against all odds, the weather has become almost perfect again. Last night we went to Boteco da Garrafa to converse, have a few beers (including Franziskaner) and gnosh on top-shelf bar fare. It was a bit cold by Rio standards so I assumed we were in for a few more days of unimpressive weather. By the way, I had the best aipim (manioc) I’ve ever eaten. I’ve determined that this food may be known by more names than all but the worst identity thieves. Funny that many Americans have never heard of it, much less tried it. They also had shrimp pasteís every bit as good as Belmonte’s. Anyway, the weather gods seemed to have somehow been appeased.

We headed to the beach at around 10:00. The temperature continues to be moderate and today was sunny with a few clouds. The beach was just about empty when we got there as most folks, like us, assumed the weather would continue to be dreary. The surf was still rough but other than that, it was banner beach weather.IMG_9615 Panorama (916x1024)Around 13:00 I took one of the bikes that came with our rented apartment and headed to a kiosk just above Leblon. The view from this place is mighty. By that time, the entire city was on the beach or walking on the closed lane of the street that parallels the beach in Ipanema/Leblon.IMG_9646 (1024x683)Notice that Corcovado, the statue of Christ, is virtually inescapable in Rio.IMG_9637 (2) (683x1024)IMG_9620 (1024x683)Anyone not convinced that Rio is among the most beautiful cities in the world need do little more than watch these videos.

On the way back I noticed this statue. I had seen it before but had completely forgotten about it. I like the pictures I snapped.IMG_9649 (2) (683x1024)IMG_9659 (2) (1024x630)Here’s a bit of video of the same place.