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!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sao Paulo Redux: Antique Fair!

Today I got the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite activities when in a foreign country: visiting an antiques market. Now, there are two general types of antique markets in my personal opinion. 1) the antique market where for sale are real antiques, that cost a small fortune, and 2) a junk antique market where you could easily buy a little chatchka without breaking the bank. Fortunately/unfortunately, this was the expensive market. But that's ok, because space is a limiting factor for us, and let's be serious, I think I have brought back enough espresso cups from far flung locales.

Trinkets, trinkets, trinkets

Amaka, a friend here in SP, was a good sport and joined me for the afternoon. She has a thing apparently for small turtles. 

Are you my turtle friend?

Yes, you are my turtle friend!

There were just antiques out the wahzoo.

Crazy old cameras galore.

Didn't realize there was a market for bent silver spoons...

I am a sad stuffed animal.

If you think buying shoes is tough, try fitting your foot in one of these wooden ones...there's no room!

Brazilians are obsessed with these masquerading-as-food things called 'salgados', which basically is a blanked term for salty non-nutricious-food-like items. Stores sell them on every corner. Beware, they are not real food.

Now acaraje, is a totally different experience. I couldn't even begin to describe it, so here's what wiki has to say on the matter: Acarajé is a dish made from peeled black-eyed peas formed into a ball and then deep-fried in dendê (palm oil). It is found in Nigerian and Brazilian cuisine. The dish is traditionally encountered in Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, especially in the city of Salvador, often as street food, and is also found in most parts of Nigeria, Ghana and the Republic of Benin. It is served split in half and then stuffed with vatapá and caruru – spicy pastes made from shrimp, ground cashews, palm oil and other ingredients. The most common way of eating acarajé is splitting it in half, pouring vatapá and/or caruru, a salad made out of green and red tomatoes, fried shrimps and home made hot sauce. A vegetarian version is typically served with hot peppers and green tomatoes. In Nigeria, it is commonly eaten for breakfast with gruel made from millet or corn.
Women in traditional (beautiful!) Bahian dress serving up a tasty lunch!

and then there is the phenomenon of a dessert that to the best of my knowledge is just frosting. In a cup. That's right. Frosting in a cup. Probably to counter-act the salt of the salgado. 

What a sweet afternoon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sao Paulo Redux: Jardim Botanico

Back in Sao Paulo after a great trip to Rio, I'm committed to getting out each day and exploring a little more of this gargantuan city. Yesterday, it was two art museums. Today, a trip to the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden, who says this blog never taught you anything?). It was a lovely morning: warm and sunny in comparison with the cold and rainy last day or two. I soaked up the sun and enjoyed the time to snap a bunch of photos (surprise, surprise).

 Beautiful landscaping

 A thought-provoking exhibit on electron-microscope images of seeds and spores for this photo-bug

What's the saying? Many stair-cases are in my garden...? Or was it many paths...

 Pretty (interesting) hanging orchid display

 Stand out beautiful

 One giant scary spider.

                                                                       Water lilies abound

 Busy bees

 Captivated by texture

Always a fan of a garden with some big old sculptures

The highlight of the Jardim Botanico, though, in my opinion, was the kilometer-long walkway through Atlantic rain-forest in the middle of Sao Paulo.  

 A dead relative of who I believe was making the chain-saw noise throughout the forest

 Beware of traffic in the tunnel of bambu


So, a pretty neat morning activity all in all. I wouldn't put it at the top of my to-do in SP list (although I don't know what I would, sorry SP, but you pale in comparison to Rio), but if you have a little time, or are skyscrapered-out it is definitely worth a visit. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rio de Janeiro: Part 1

It was a great pleasure to find myself with a set of research excuses to be back in Rio de Janeiro over the weekend. To share a secret, at heart, I think I might be a Carioca (person from Rio), or maybe I was in a past life. All I know is that I wouldn't characterize myself as a “city” guy, but there's just something about Rio that's infectious. Here are some thoughts on why I feel drawn to Rio:

It could be the beaches:

Max Relaxing at Ipanema

It could be the mountains which encircle the beaches:

Ipanema with the mountains known as Dois Irmaos (Two Brothers) in the background

It could be the juice culture:

It could be wonderfully hospitable friends who make amazing french toast with nutella topping, and who happen to have a stash of peanut butter!

It probably wouldn't be the fast food that people seem to subsist on when there not having their acai:

Hot Dog with Raisins

It might have something to do with the really cool graffiti and murals throughout the city (in all seriousness):

Unfortunately, it no longer can be linked to the neat little cable car that ran through the Santa Teresa neighborhood where my friends live. The cable car, which I vaguely remember from my time in Rio before, was shut down this last year after a cable car accident left 8 people dead. The neighborhood seems to be incredibly upset about the absence of the cable car, which is known as the Bonde (pronounced bon-gee) after James Bond due to a film of his that was filmed here.

And those research reasons I mentioned, well, participant observation (the bread and butter of the anthropologist's methods), of a march of people who are planning the “People's Summit” which will occur at the same time as the Rio+20, and serve as either a counter-summit, or simply a summit showing alternatives to global leaders, depending on who you talk to.

and yes, given the above reasons, this blog post is part 1 for there will surely be a part 2, if not a part 3, and part 4 as various family members and friends earn their gold stars by making the trip to the southern half to watch the toilets flush counter-clockwise.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lar doce lar (Home sweet home): 1

Success! After a week of making cultural inroads, I was successful in finding us a house! It is owned by the settlement's governing council, and is in fairly decent shape, but does need a little work, which is getting done by some very eager beaver workers in the community. Here are some photos from the new home front:

Mopping mopping mopping

the casa de Che

and after all the work, all I needed to relax was a hammock, banjo, and old episodes of Lost

and when I woke up in the morning look who was my backyard....didn't know they came with the house.

Horses with cupucucu (a local Amazonian fruit in the background)


In other news, I had a lovely afternoon after all the moving in helping some of my neighbor's girls knocking this local fruit called Jambu down with a twenty foot pole.

and a parting artistic shop.