Sunday, May 15, 2011

Days 25 and 26

With a small agenda change (for the positive) we had to make our presentation to the conference on Friday at 12:30 - everything went really well and should be our last presentation for the trip. Once the presentation and lunch was over, we had the rest of the day off - our Sao Luis friends (mine and Jenny's hosts and Marcelo from the Brazilian GSE team) made arrangements to meet us at a beach bar called Croco Beach - it is a pretty large bar complex with something for all ages. First, we made an executive decision to get a hotel room for the team (except Brenda who could more easily get to and from her hosts) as we weren't sure on how late the night would be and we wanted to be at the beach in the morning - hotel rooms are reasonable and with the Canadian dollar stronger right now, it made lots of sense - it also allowed us somewhere to store our suits from the presentation while we went to the beach - after some emergency purchases of toiletries, we headed off to the beach - after some cervejas, our Sao Luis friends showed up for a quick visit before the bar closed for the day - since the visit wasn't long enough, we made arrangements to meet for supper back downtown - the team and Marcelo were able to do some minor shopping at the ocean side market before supper, and then we enjoyed a night of visiting, eating, and yes, drinking (how were the caipiroska's girls?) - we finished visting at the restuarant late enough that we didn't have time to go to the conference hotel where a forro dance had been going on (although we learned the next day that it likely was still going - the sleep ended up being a good choice though...).

Saturday morning we awoke to head back to the beach bar to meet Brenda at ten for our day off, relaxing at the beach - however Marcelo received a message that he needed to go to the conference hotel to get some supplies for his GSE trip, we needed to go to the bank, then Marcelo found out he was going to stay with us till Monday and come to the dinner Saturday night (instead of returning to Sao Luis) so he headed off with Carlos to get some clothes for the extended stay - upon his return, waited for him to get ready (a consistent theme for the next two days....) and we arrived at the beach at noon - luckily Brenda is now climatized to Brazilian time and didn''t worry too much about us and she did an excellent job reserving a beach front table - from this table, we spent the rest of the day swimming in the large waves, watching the surfers (in the late afternoon rain shower), playing cards, having fruit puree drinks, ice cream based drinks, cerveja, and a really disgusting cheeseburger and fries from the kids menu (should have known better...) Other than the clouds and the late afternoon rain shower, the day was really good, although we all could have used a hammock for an afternoon siesta.

We returned to the hotel to get ready for the evening dinner - the conference wind-up event - the team got dressed up in our suit/dresses for what we thought was a gala event - waited for Marcelo to get ready (the ladies even went and got their hair done, but apparently something was lost in translation as they ended up paying for getting their hair dried and Laurie's bangs were teased and partially trimmed, but Jenny's cost more even though it was only dried - neither got any product, curling, straightening, etc....still looked beautiful though ladies!! well, presentable anyways...) While walking to the conference hotel, Marcelo then informed us that the event is semi-casual, that 's why he didn't have a tie and jacket...thanks for the heads it was, there were a wide variety of dress so my tie wasn't out of place and the ladies in Brazil always seem to dress up, so the ladies on the team were not out of place either...we arrived at the scheduled time of 8 - there were about 20 people there of the expected couple hundred, there were more waiters than people although the waiters weren't serving anything...more people arrived as the time passed, yet no drinks were served - again, a culturual difference noted by our team, especially since we had spent most of the day wetting the whistle and our whistles were now bone dry....finally at 9:30 someone instructed the waiters to begin - whiskey and cerveja were the choices (surprise, surprise) - at 10:30 a local dance group came in and provided a show of a local dance - very entertaining - at 11:10 the buffet opened and a live band began playing. We spent the night with our Sao Luis and Pedro II friends, visiting with many others, a little bit of dancing, and lots of laughter - my host 'mom' from Sao Luis has a gift - after two glasses of whiskey, she is basically fluent in english which is quite amazing since she doesn't really know much english...a very enjoyable evening, although it had a sad ending as this would be our last chance to visit with our hosts from the other parts of the district - after lots of hugs and offers to visit, we returned home for our early morning pick-up for Sunday's activities.

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