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!

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.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Meeks: Ilha Grande 1

With much excitement, we made our way from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande. We hiked, we played on the beach, and had a generally lovely time.

Annie got some more leaf time

Annie--and in reality her fan club--got a last chance to enjoy her incredibly cute "I'm a strawberry" swimsuit

Bubby got some really special time with Annie on the beach

After a debacle involving a leaky kayak, turbulent seas, and barnacle-covered rocks, Rita had to use her special needlepointing light and surgical skills to fix Jon up. That was, perhaps, the lowlight of the trip.

Yet, somehow we all still managed to enjoy ourselves!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Teresopolis and thereabouts

In addition to enjoying the wonders of Rio de Janeiro we took the opportunity to rent a car (!!!) and head out to Petropolois and Teresopolis in the mountains surrounding Rio. Teresopolis is home the the Serra dos Orgaos national park, known for its incredible rock formations, including the "Finger of God" pictured below.

I had wanted to visit this national park for years, and while we didn't have a ton of time to any climbing, we did do a whole handful of phenomenal day hikes.

Giant tree ferns

Behold! Nature!

As Annie is fond of "dando tchau" (waving) everyone else is as well by default.

Pausing to enjoy the view and company

All smiles in my palanquin!

In addition to the great hikes, we had perhaps the most phenomenal picnic lunch. While the PB&J was quite tasty, what was really the proverbial icing on the cake was the really lovely time we had just lounging around on the grass, chasing Annie around as she crawled like a speed demon, and playing a little banjo.

And at the end of the night, an incredible view of the Dado de Deus staring at us from the hotel.