Friday, February 08, 2008

Chad part 2. Just spoke to Mum this morning on Skype. She is in Southampton with my Uncle and Aunt. Things have quietened down steadily through the week. Today, Dad was able to call her from their own house which, surprisngly and wonderfully, hadn't been looted. Still lots of unanswered questions, missing people and chaos. And it is possible the rebels may try to re-enter the city at some point. But, all in all, the news coming out of Chad has been better, thank God. Be in touch if you would like more news about this.

Marcelo Alves. My lawyer friend (see last week's post) was accepted for his PhD at King's College. Wahey!

Edson Careca. It was carnaval this weekend which is a good time to get together with the family and hit the beach. The sun was beating down and everywhere was obscenely crowded but we had a good time nonetheless. For the fourth time, I went on the sand dune buggy ride, this time with Rachel's brother and girlfriend. In a moment of insanity we chose to go with the driver Edson Careca (see last week's post) who seemed hell-bent on raising his own ridiculously high bar for driving like a lunatic. Nelson complained about a sore bum the next day and Marcella vowed never to do it again.

Things I miss about England #28: Cycle lanes. Steve and I cycled out to Genipabu beach from north Natal (inspired by Theo who walked there in a morning) on Monday. It was fairly flat and the scenery was beautiful - a recommended excursion for any gringos, as long as you have sundown layered on with a spade, shades and a hat. The only thing was in the short stretch on busy streets it was really a case of us battling the buses, the buggies, the pedestrians, the animals, the motorbikes and the potholes with no protection except your wits. York cycle paths this was not. At one point, I was distracted by the sight of a small town car close to scraping the floor under the burden of the 9 people it was carrying. That's 2 in the front, 4 in the backseat and three kids sitting in the boot, with the hatch open and their legs dangling out over the bumper waving at the cars behind.

Things I love about Brazil #39: Carne de sol and macaxeira fritas. After our cycle ride I was famished and couldn't wait to order my favourite snack. Carne de sol is sun-dried, cured meat which is included in many of the dishes of northern Brazil. It is often cut into strips or shredded and has a very salty taste. It is usally fried very simply - probably in soya oil - and comes with some tomatoes, onions and lettuce if you're lucky. The local deli sells it and today I bought a kilo to make for lunch. Macaxeira (Manioc in English) fritas (fries) are a good accompaniment, very filling and so nice when they are crispy and fresh. Nelson loves to get a long Macaxeira frita, dip it in ketchup or Mayonnaise (or both mixed together) and suck the chip soggy.

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