Seeing things from a different viewpoint…

At the weekend we stayed in town because we had a birthday party to go to on the Saturday evening. First of all this leads me to reflect on “Brazilian time”. … Fatima told me the party “…starts at six…” Knowing that things never start on time I was, therefore, in no rush to get changed but at 6.45 I asked if it wasn’t now time for us to have a shower and get ready to go…. “…in a few minutes…” she said and carried on doing whatever it was she was doing. Getting a little restless I went off and showered anyway and got changed; Fatima followed on a few minutes later. It was, after all, just down the hill and across the road.

So, we tootle off, carrying a few cans of beer and a bottle of Refrigerante – carbonated soft drink made from the guarana fruit. This is grown on a climbing plant of the maple family and, on looking it up in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guarana) it turns out that the fruit is rich in caffeine which is probably why it is such a popular drink here! Interesting Tupi Indian myth about how the plant was provided for them by the gods, too, if you link through to Wiki….come back though, won’t you?

Anyway, there we are, arriving at the party which is in what looks from the road like a single story bungalow; but when we got there and went down some steps there were some more steps and then some more and, once we were in the garden we looked back and saw a three storied house built on the steep bank of the river – which was just below the garden. And, by the time we got there, it was about 7.30. Apart from one table of people we were almost the first there! And newcomers were still arriving at about 9pm…so that’s “Brazilian time” for you.

The party was held outdoors (bear in mind it is mid-winter here!) and I was in a short-sleeved summer shirt, as were quite a few of the guests; indeed some were wearing shorts too. Others however, had sweaters or jumpers or jackets on – so were, perhaps, feeling the cold!? There was a full moon and a clear sky, and by eleven there was a slight chill to the air but, even so, I was still pretty comfortable in my short-sleeved shirt.

So, early the next morning we left for home and it was unusual for us to be going in that direction at that hour (hence the ‘different point of view…’ in the journal post title) My first reaction was that we would have the sun in our eyes all the way home since we would be travelling almost due East and I was not particularly looking forward to the drive into the sun for the next hour.

The first point to make, therefore, was that I noticed we were NOT travelling all of the time directly into the sun. I know that roads wind about a bit but I had never noticed before just how much this particular road varied in direction…. One just assumes that if one is going from A to B, one is more or less travelling in a straightish line. In fact there are several moderately sizeable granite hills in the way and we had to travel around them, at one time going almost due West instead of due East! It quite surprised me.

The other thing I noticed was the road. It is, to be frank, not a very good road and has been patched and patched many times but, going in the opposite direction to our normal mode of travel in the early morning, I noticed a thing of beauty in front of me! Whatever stone they have used for the road surface has quite a lot of reflective particles of rock amongst the tarmac and, at this particular hour, with the sun shining at this particular angle, (probably lower than usual because it is mid-winter) the rather grotty road surface turned into a glistening bejewelled pathway home, like glinting diamonds!

Quite a nice surprise for our first wedding anniversary. Talking of which, I was chef for the day whilst Fatima went off to church and we had salmon and prawn creamed pasta. Not my best culinary offering ever but quite pleasant with a glass of nice wine. Fatima was tempted to a second helping, so it couldn’t have been too bad!

About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
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