Where are we now?

View Where are we now? in a larger map Jo, Annie, Miles and I are living in Northport, Alabama and working at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. We've been glad to be in one place for a bit after what appeared to be semi-permanently traveling (in actuality for a period of 2.5 years).We started this blog to catalogue some of the adventures when Jo and I were sequentially conducting our dissertation research in India and Brazil. While we've fallen off the blogging bandwagon somewhat during recent trips to Brazil, we're trying to pick it up again now that we're back in India!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bonito, so bonito.

One thing that Bonito is famous for, actually the thing that probably put it on the map, is its' crystal clear rivers and diverse aquatic life. The place has been described as if someone let you go swimming in an aquarium. While the fish are not tropical ocean colorful, I think they're pretty amazing, as was the whole experience of snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Below is a video I put together with some music from "The Life Aquatic". Enjoy. o
p.s. this video was shot underwater with the Kodak equivalent of the flip video camera. I was incredibly impressed with the results, and then the next day it stopped working. Big surprise.

And because we've been getting some feedback that the blog is not carrying enough photos of Annie, well, here are a few gratuitous pics to keep those critics at bay. You know who you are!

Doing my dance

                                                            To the moooooon!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bonito: Part 1

Bonito, one of Brazil's most popular ecotourism destinations, is known for its rivers, lakes, caves, and many species of fish and birds. The high concentration of calcium in the water causes everything else to precipitate out, creating waters so clear that one can see the bottom of its many bodies of water. We are in the midst of a five-day trip with the Weavers to this fantastic place.

The first day, we went to a municipal beach located on the banks of a narrow river. A natural rock bridge made a nice viewpoint for watching hundreds of big carp swimming around. You wouldn't know it from these shots, but families were picnicking, playing beach volleyball, and swimming all over the place.

Surprisingly, given their density, the fish didn't bother us when we were swimming.

On the second day, we went to the Lagoa Azul Grotto, a wide-mouthed cave with spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, and a lake of an incredible blue at the bottom. This is Bonito's most-visited site.

It was quite hike down into the depths of the earth, but the Weavers were troopers.

This picture isn't altered in any way; it's really that blue.


Jo translated the guide's descriptions of the cave's geology for the Weavers while Dave took pictures. Her Portuguese is amazing, especially considering that she has never formally studied it.

Annie stayed behind with a babysitter on this trip, but allegedly she had a wonderful time blowing kisses to the hotel staff and didn't cry once!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


For one of our last evenings in Rio we took the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf.

                                     The view from the top is simply incredible, especially at sunset.

I had been to the top once before, climbing up the backside, but was really excited to take the more leisurely way up and enjoy it with the visiting Meek clan.

Of course, Jon's moustache, silhouetted by the sunset with Ipanema in the background was the view that stole the show.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Parque Lage

One of Rio's many beautiful attractions is Parque Lage, a city park with a large mansion that serves as an art school and performance space. It sits right at the foot of Corcovado, the mountain in the middle of Rio on which the Christ the Redeemer statue sits, and in fact one can hike a trail beginning in Parque Lage right up to the statue. We never made it the entire way, since it's very steep and actually rather long, but we did have a great time visiting the park and seeing a cello concert there.

Jon and his moustache were overwhelmed by the majesty of the park and its mansion.

Annie, however, was not. We consoled her with Rita's brush, to which she quickly got attached. She was ticked off when Jon decided he needed to do some on-the-spot moustache grooming.

But she warmed up to the idea pretty quickly.

Here we are in one of Dave's infamous self-timed pictures at the reflecting pool in the mansion, where there is now a swanky cafe. Annie's prominent belly was an accident. It's hard to keep that thing covered up.

The cello concert was in a beautiful hall of the mansion and featured musicians from all over the world. We saw a couple of Brazilians, one French Canadian guy, and a French guy.

Annie was content to read the program for about 10 minutes, but then we reached the end of her attention span, so she and I went and hung out in the park while the Meeks enjoyed the music.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Annabelle!

There are more posts on the way from our recent trip to Rio and time with Dave's dad in Brazil, but we wanted to get this time-sensitive one up before it was too late.


Annie, you sure woke up in the most amazing mood on your first birthday.

 It was as if you knew that we were about to go completely crazy hosting a Brazilian barbecue for fifty of our closest friends here.

 Luckily, we had help with the decorating, because people have a very specific way of tying balloons and making streamers here.


Having raked, burned, blow-torched, and swept (in that order) our yard to obtain some semblance of the locally prized smooth bare ground, we borrowed the plastic tables and chairs from the derelict ice-cream shop next door to transform the backyard.

Yes, that is our cooking stove propane tank in the stroller. This was Jim's solution to the problem of having to carry it around while we attempted to blow-torch the grass away.

We bought 10 kg of beef and I made a salad and a large pot of farofa, 
or roasted manioc flour, to go with it.

 Here is the grill, which we built out of bricks and an old shelf from a fridge.

 Sweets made by one of our closest friends

Annie got all dressed up for the party.

 Here she is opening her very first official present, a book left in Brazil for her by her Bubby.

 She loves it.
The back yard filled up fast.

 Fortunately, we also had help with the grilling itself from a friend's father, since neither of us has ever grilled beef before in our lives. He had no idea we were going to put him to work when he arrived, but he was a very good sport about it. His wife cut the grilled meat into bite-sized pieces, then a few of our neighbors assembled and handed out plates of the meat, farofa, and salad to all the guests. Mind you, this all happened AFTER the cake and singing, which is traditionally (at least in this community) done first.

Speaking of singing, here's a video of the birthday girl's celebration (sorry for poor resolution, had to shrink file size for rural upload):

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cake truck

Lo, brave light that blinkest yonder!  Why, it is the mighty Cake Truck, which plieth its humble way down the fair lanes of our Ilha Grande!

Full of chocolate-covered delicacies and confections of all types!

How canst we resist thee?

How we adore you and your delectable sweet-meats!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In and around Ilha Grande 2

On our last day in Ilha Grande, we had a lovely sunset caipirinha (the national mixed drink of Brazil) on the beach near the house we were renting. The drink is made with cachaca (Brazilian rum), lime, and sugar.

Jon picked up the nickname "Tio Joao" (Uncle Jon in Portuguese) during our trip, and hence this bicycle parked by the side of the beach was a photo opportunity that we just couldn't pass up.

Annie really thought his moustache was fantastic.

We agreed, and also thought his music playing was pretty fabulous.