Thursday, September 3, 2015

Travel, Fat Cat makes a Statement and Son falls into a pond

The last month and a half have been a complete blur to me. In fact, the past 10 months have been one endless work/party/travel/visitors/Carnaval blur to me. We have been lucky to have many of our friends and family visit us here already (in sharp contrast with NO ONE but the closest family coming to see us in Bangladesh). We also have been traveling as usual.

To make a quick summary of the latest, after the Diplomat came back from India, we took a 5-day trip to Salvador and the small coastal towns of the state of Bahia, before Son came back with Grandma. Salvador has been the capital of Brazil at some point, and later on remained as a major commercial hub since it has a port. Carnaval is a whole new beast up there; apparently, according to the Guiness book, it is the biggest party in the world annually. Salvador has gorgeous colonial architecture and good food. The last day in the area we decided to explore the famed deserted beaches north of the city. After we took a frivolous right turn off the main road to what appeared to be a beach within visible distance, we ended up driving for over 20 mins through a maze of sand dunes on a really crappy road to finally end up in a sleepy, disheveled village whose inhabitants enthusiastically confirmed that indeed, the beach is just over there. It was, and we found ourselves on an endless blue green ocean beach, with snow white sand, and no soul for miles. Except for the owner of the beach shack that just happened to be there, something out of a decadent bohemian movie, and he made us many caiprinhas, glorious giant fried fish and all the works that should go with that. Just as I was nodding off on the ancient lounge chair, put just for me right on the edge of the water, a very naked man came out of nowhere, strolling with not a care in the world along the beach. He nodded to me in all his naked glory and kept walking firmly forward. The shack owner explained that the place we so happily found was indeed a nudist beach.

When we flew back to Rio, tired and wishing only upon a comfy bed, we discovered with dismay that Fat Cat did not appreciate our prolonged absence and had taken not one, but two incredibly foul smelling poops in our bed. Mind you also, both were on MY side of the bed, one practically tucked under my pillow, sort of a delayed surprise of the first discovery of poop was not enough.  Since I had just spent 3 weeks alone with him at home while the Diplomat was gallivanting in India, I took this to be a meaningful statement for me to teach me a lesson what would happen if I ever leave again for a prolonged period of time. It was 5 days, people! And the neighbors took care of him every day. Damn cat! Those of you with pets surely know that it takes several scorching laundry cycles to wash that cat feces smell away from your silk satin sheets. We were not on speaking terms for a week.
A week after Salvador, I had to leave for a week of work in Sao Paulo. The Diplomat decided to join me for a weekend of exquisite Japanese food gorging; at least we did go to the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, otherwise it would have literally been a trip for the sole purpose of eating. After I came back, exhausted from travel, we welcomed a family of old friends and their kids. The following weekend, the Diplomat and Son joined them for a blitz weekend trip to Iguazu Falls, while I decided to rest home. And rest I did – I got up at 11 am, played with the plants on the balcony for an hour, then had a massage, a facial and a blow dry. After which I went to 1) a bachelorette’s party, 2) a birthday party, 3) took a friend for a drink on the rooftop of a super hot hotel for her birthday, and 4) re-joined the bachelorette’s party in a nearby club. I got home that night about 4 am. I felt absurdly cool about myself. I still do.

Life is more or less back to normal here. Grandma left, Son is back in school, the Diplomat and I are back from endless travels and Fat Cat is using the litter box for a change. This past weekend, we decided to be good parents for a change, and took Son to a goat farm about a couple of hours away from Rio, up in the mountains. I admit, the idea was not mine, but of a friend’s who is a much better parent than I am. So, armed with two kids, the Diplomat, my friend A and I took off for the goat farm on a balmy Saturday morning. We only got lost 2 times, and the kids did not stop yelling the entire time. The farm was called Fazenda Geneve, and had a fabulous outdoors restaurant, various smelly, delicious goat cheeses, a bunch of goats and a dirty, muddy artificial pond. After we sat down to a lovely Carmenere and several cheese creations, the two boys disappeared running about the farm, shrieking in delight. We yelled at them to make sure not to fall into the lake and proceeded to sample cheese. So naturally, 10 minutes later they fell into the lake.

Thankfully, it was shallow. On the other hand, it was still full of wet water and decomposing flora and fauna, all of it quite smelly. After some piercing screams from the sopping wet kids, there was nothing else to do but strip them down to their boxers and prostrate the wet clothes and shoes on the neighboring trees to dry. It was rather picturesque, if I may say so. The restaurant graciously lent us two large white tablecloths, which the kids happily donned like white capes and ran around the farm like two deranged mini ghosts. It was a visit no one will forget soon, including the farm owners.

In other work news, I actually finally got tenured. Yey me! We are also currently bidding for our next tour, an exercise of particularly cruel torture, equal to none in the world. More on that - next post. Hopefully with some news.