Friday, March 27, 2009

Rio de Janeiro

Section 1-----Ranch News

Hello again from Pine Mountain ranch. Hope everyone had a great week. Here at the ranch the week started with a late winter snowstorm that left an inch of snow. The next day it warmed up and melted.

I took both Rocket the horse and Pete the mule out for some exercise.
I worked in the greenhouse and cultivated, fertilized, and watered the plants in my winter garden.

I began building the growing table for my aquaponic project. Aquaponics is basically a closed eco system. It has a large fish tank and a growing bed. The water from the fish tank fertilizes the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish.

Well enough about the ranch. This week we have a new section called Poetry by Emily. Emily wrote a sonnet about traveling through the countryside of France on a train.

Our travel story for this week is a journey my friend Jordan Williams took to Rio de Janeiro during carnival season

Section 2-----Poetry by Emily


"rolling along the french countryside"

A sonnet by Emily D Stine

Our train rattles through the French countryside at dusk.
Mist sprinkles the landscape as cobalt overtakes the magenta horizon.

Inside, we drink Bordeaux as we snack on baguettes & parmesan.

My hand rests on my forehead and sweat threatens to break my skin.

Across the train compartment,
Sarah looks at peace and adds in the occasional comment.

She shows me the moon and I smirk for at this exact moment,

it strikes me as brie smooth as cream.

Section 3-----Rio de Janeiro

An adventure story by Jordan Williams

A Few Days in Rio

We touched down in Rio de Janeiro just after dawn. I’m not normally one for sleeping on planes, but I was feeling pretty good in the early morning glow. We’re in town for carnival, the festival they have before Lent. Mardi Gras in South America, more or less. I’d wanted to see more of South America anyway, and this seemed like as a good a reason as any.

We did have a hotel arranged ahead of time, thanks to Rich, my best friend and frequent travel buddy. He’s the organized efficient type, which makes him an excellent person to have on a trip, aside from being good company. He’s not what you’d call an early riser, though, so he was half a vegetable when we got off the plane.

The city is beautiful. There’s this combination of old world and high tech that you just don’t get in America. Skyscrapers rubbing up against stone building hundreds of years old, modern cars on cobbled streets. There’s a sense of age and history and thundering activity.

We dropped our bags at the hotel and set out for the Christ Redeemer.

The statue of Jesus, over one hundred feet high and keeping a watchful eye on the city, is said to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. It is. I can’t do justice to how amazing it is to see the statue. Just getting to see it would be reason enough to visit Rio.

There’s also the Sugarloaf, a cable car that will take you to the mountain that overlooks the city, and give you one of the most spectacular views in the world. It was a little nerve wracking for me, since heights aren’t my favorite thing, but the view made it all worthwhile. Mostly. Rich, who’s half baboon and loves heights, thought it was just about the best thing he done since he hurled himself out of an airplane for fun.

We got back to our hotel in time to see a blocos, which was something I didn’t have any idea about before I saw one. It’s basically a block parade, and they have them all over the city from January right up to Ash Wednesday. It was a nice warm up to Carnival.

Carnival was, well I don’t want to use the term indescribable when I’m actually trying to describe it, but it was amazing. I described it was South American Mardi gras, and while that’s not wrong, it doesn’t even begin to describe Carnival.

Dancing in the streets, gala balls where celebrities celebrate side by side with factory workers. The whole city comes alive with light and sound, color everywhere. I’ve never seen anything quite like. It’s not just the obvious things like the costumes and parades; it’s the spirit that overtakes the whole city.

Samba dancers

By the time it ended, Rich and I were both exhausted and exhilarated. I didn’t want to leave the city or the carnival, but it was time for us to keep moving on. I’ve been a lot of places, but Rio de Janeiro is a place unlike any other. If you ever have the chance to go, make sure you do. Maybe you’ll see me there.

Section 4-----Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once more on the Pine Mountain ranch. I am sitting in my easy chair by the warmth of the fire in the fireplace. Squeekers is on his perch crunching peanuts.


I am relaxing with my coffee of the day from Tonight I am having Dutch Chocolate. This American roast coffee has a deep rich chocolate taste with just a hint of coffee flavor. It is just right for relaxing by the fire with a plate of sugar cookies.

Squeekers and I have been watching another episode of "Lost". Now my show, cookies, and coffee are finished and it is time for bed. I put squeekers in his cage. I turn off the fireplace and the lights and head upstairs to bed. Good night all see you next week.