Happy New Year from Brasil

deltaWell, we are back in Brasil again.  We flew out on Delta at 1pm on the 30th, arriving at our house almost exactly 24 hours after beginning the trip.  It is not often that a trip here goes without surprises, but this one went pretty well.  We had to wait about a half hour for our rental car at Tom Jobim airport in Rio.  Budget did not have the cheap car that I had reserved, so I got an upgrade!!  It will be an expensive upgrade for them because I am keeping it for a month (that is why I rented the inexpensive one).
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Delta seems to do a better job than American right now.  Their food is better.  We still get the first drink free (wine or beer with dinner), and I think that we are treated nicer.  The Atlanta airport cannot be compared to the mess that is Miami International.  We had to change terminals to make our connecting flight, so we used the underground train.  At Miami, we would have just walked.  While in the terminal, we had a snack and a couple of  these.xx Dos Equis is an excellent Mexican beer.  It tastes like beer, something that you can’t say about Corona.  If you put a lime in a Corona, it tastes like, well, lime.    All in all, an excellent airport experience.  I like flying Delta…
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We flew to Rio on a 767, and I was a bit surprised at the lean angle of the seats.  Since we had planned on sleeping (like everyone else on the plane), we were surprised by the fact that the seats only reclined an inch or two.  It was much less than I had ever seen a coach class seat recline before, unless one was in front of an exit row (we were not).  We were able to grab a few hours sleep during the flight,  but I was really beat when we arrived in Volta Redonda after our two hour car trip.
After a necessary nap, we headed out to the supermarket (through a tropical deluge) to pick up some stuff for the evening.  Fortunately, New Years Eve is not a reason to close supermarkets here.  We had a lot of company at the supermarket.  We did have to go to two different places, but we got everything that we needed for a New Years Eve party and had a great time.  The rain slowed way down after we got home.
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31122008238When we have a barbecue, I get to cook.  Brasilian men are born barbecue artists.  I am still learning31122008237.  We use bagged natural charcoal – not the briquets that I am used to.  Propane would be even easier, but nobody does that here.  I have a brick barbecue in one corner of my yard and I am getting better with it, I think.  Anyway, the food was good (sausage, chicken and steaks), the beer was cold and the company was agreeable.  Here’s a picture of Monica and her friend, Gilvane at the table (on the right).  I was able to make Happy New Year phone calls after folks left.  Because of Daylight Savings, we are three hours ahead of the East Coast.
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Today, almost everything is closed.  We are having a quiet holiday.  We took a long walk by the river – the city has made a lot of improvements on the w01012009239alk next to the water.  There is a shaded (that’s important here) walkway next to the river.  It is lighted really well, so you can use it at night.  That’s Billy at the bottom of the picture.  Beira Rio was being worked on the last time that I was here.  Now that they are finished,  it is really nice.
We had Gilvane over for lunch today, and it was awesome.
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The news..

It seems that the would-be martyrs in Gaza are getting their wish, courtesy of the Israeli Air warForce.  I read that the IDF is bombing the tunnels that the peace-loving innocents use to smuggle in rockets from Egypt.  The article in the link mentions that the IAF is being selective about bombing only the tunnels used by the murderers to bring missles, bombs and explosives into Gaza.  Bet you won’t hear that on TV.   I haven’t seen any TV news, but I am sure that they are showing more of the same.  Lots of staged pictures of children with injured people.  I hope that the conflict ends soon, but I also hope that the low-lifes that have been shooting rockets into Israel get theirs first.
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frankenThe Democrats are almost finished STEALING the senate race in Minnesota.  Shameless and totally without honor.  Good for them.  If there was any doubt about how crooked things are in politics, this should erase all doubt.  Way to build confidence in the democracy, folks.
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Hey, Minnesota, that’s your candidate.  He lost, but you’re going to get him anyway.
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Oh, and Communist Cuba celebrates 50 years of food rationing revolution today.  What else can I say about that?
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Hope everyone had a nice holiday.
Greg

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