… george …

“Do you remember George?”  he asked…

It was late November, 2005,  and my plans had been set.
I would be in Rio for New Year’s Eve… and he had
Big Plans for the night.
As well, his studies were over, he had taken the Big Test back
in October, and although some relief had set in, the long wait
for results and his Captain’s License loomed ahead.

Remember George? I thought.  Of course I remember George….
George and Angela!  His long time friends in Ibicui, Angela with
her lessons in making…and drinking…Caipirinhas.
Ah, Caipirinhas, Brasil’s intoxicating drink, made from Cachaca
and fresh limes, (pronounced cashasa, a colorless liquor similar
to vodka and tequila, made from sugar cane) mashed to bring
out all those wonderful sparkling tangy flavors of pulp and peel,
with a touch of sugar, pounded over and over in mortar and
pestle, adding sugar, adding cachaca, pounding pounding,
until at last… ready! and strained over ice.
And it was the Best Cachaca…. I had bought the Brandy version
at the Cachaca Museum we’d visited the day before….
Wow, did we get ploughed that night!

“Remember him?  of course I remember George…why ?”

“George was shot.  He’s dead.”

The words hung in the air, from a long way off.  I couldn’t wrap my
mind around the words… I couldn’t speak.
“He was shot by two guys on motorcycles.  They just drove by and
shot him.  It happened back in August, but no body told me,
probably because I would go and take care of it.”

“NO…..!!!  No, oh No.”  I was instantly sobbing, and the memories
flooded back, of the time we stayed with them, of the boys coming
back from the bar all silly and tumbling into the upstairs apartment
like puppies.
Angela with her big smile and warm heart.
George with his roaming eyes, as he met me, taking me in
top to bottom.

“Angela!….”  …my heart leapt…  “what about Angela?”
“Oh she’s somewhere staying with friends.  She left ”

“Why? do you know why?”
“Oh…I guess he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing…”

I remembered sort of understanding that when the boys got
together and went off, there was more than beers and scotch
going on…
They both had a weakness for powders.  Angela and I had stayed
home, and although neither spoke the other’s language, we laughed
and traded words, laughed some more over our accented attempts,
and those Caipirinhas definitely rounded out any differences,
between smiles.

Now I realized that one area where Alcir and George bonded was
their bandido-ness.  When they were together, I saw the bad-boy
in each, paling around like school boys on a mission.

The next layer hit me.  It had been our dream to move to Ibiqui,
this tiny ancient fishing village along the coast north of Rio.
Quiet, quaint, slow…. as we’d walked the cobblestone streets, Alcir
smiled at me, his big arms around me, warmed by the sun and salty
air, sounds of the little boats bobbing.
Slowly, he shook his head…

“Oh Babe….this is Us, Babe.  We could get a little house an you
could sell your jewelry on a little cart on the beach.
I could make a big barbeque out of a barrel…I know how to do that…
an we could cook chicken outside in the yard, an sell it to the
tourists who come here on  the weekends.
I could get a little boat….. we’d always have fish to eat.
I could sell the extras…”

Our beautiful dream, out of time, slow and easy, a time to just
be together and float for a while…. our dream was gone.
Alcir could never live in that town, never again, connected with
George the way he’d been.
It was gone to us.  Ibicui was gone.

__________________________

…ibicui pics…

I share photographs here, of our trip to Ibicui.
You’ll see images of our drive along the coast, views of
the streets from George and Angela’s home, pictures as
we  walked, some shots from The Cachaca Museum, where
they have a collection of every label ever produced,
and G and A’s lovely dog.

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…to ibicui…

After the daughter went home to mother, it was finally
our time.  He wanted to show me the backhills country,
and other sides of Brasil that he loved.

One particularly beloved place was Ibicui (i-bee-quee)
Going south, along the coast a ways, there were small
fishing villages, quiet and quaint, and here we found our
heaven.  I remember his saying …

“Oh babe, this is Us…” as we walked down the cobblestone
street to the beach.  A vendor pushed a little cart with hot
meat on a stick… a particularly popular food in Brasil.
The Scale of the place was so gentle and human, a certain
ease and slowness that you could deeply sense.

We found a bunch of little blue crabs for sale, sadly blowing
bubbles as they awaited their fate.  I couldn’t bear to buy
them, it was just too depressing.  Their colors were Art.

We stayed with his old friends, George and Angela…
(ghorrgh and anhella) who had an upstairs home on
the little cross streets, and they walked with us, and
the guys had a great time getting drunk and reminiscing…

Or so I guessed, as once again, it was all in Portuguese.
But they were so sweet, laughing all the time, playing great
music, and it didn’t matter…. I felt very included…

That was especially true, when the boys went to the bar,
and Angela, a giant grin on her face, said the magic word….
“…Caipirinhas!”  big smiles back and forth, and I got it that
She wanted to show Me how they were made for Reals,
her style, Brasilian Home style.
She was very proud of her methods…

This is the national Drink, and since we’d come from a visit
to the Cachaca Museum… sort of like a wine tasting bar, with
Cachaca bottles lining the walls, and huge casks in the other
room….I came prepared!  You say it ‘kashasa’…

There were all grades and flavors of this strong liquor, made
from the sugar cane.  I found that it was similar to Tequila,
with the same differences in hangovers too…. the better the
grade, the better you felt next day.
So after tasting a few, I got us a nice expensive bottle of Brandy,
and it was true.
We got wasted with our Caipirinhas, and I for one felt great
the next day.  Ha!

Caipirinhas are made by chopping up fresh limes into very small
pieces, and crushing them with a mortar and pestle, slowing
adding a little sugar, and a little cachaca, alternating them.

You work it and work it, and all the wonderful nuances
of the pulp and peel come out…
Once you get it to the desired taste and blend, and personally
I don’t like mine too sweet…
strain it, pour it over ice, and Drink it!    Zowey!!

You can also make Vodka Caipirinhas, if you can’t find Cachaca,
but there’s nothing like the real thing.

The next day we all went to the beach and jumped in the water.
This place is magical, truly.  These are 18th century colonial
Portugal fishing villages, along the edges of the bays.
Ibicui is clean, quaint, there is no crime, people eat locally, and
there are dolphins in the bay.
(“Dolphins….it Had to be Dolphins”, and they both snickered)

It is along the same mountain range as Rio, with views of the
village and forest of about 50/50, edged by varietal rainforest
covered hills, and up into the mountains.
Then there are the Angras…. 365 islands scattered along this
coast, and it is a quiet little tourist get away for Brasilians.
They like to say it takes a Year to see them all!

Journal, February 26…

“Ibicui, Mangaratiba county.  Paraiso!  (pa-ra-ee-sou)

The place was/is perhaps the most perfect place.  Surely
there are other such places, where people just walk along
the streets, and swim with their kids, and everywhere
you look, all is PAIX.   A peaceful paradise.
Complete comfort, easiness, openness…unreal.

Built on rising levels of ground and winding railroad streets,
it’s all cobblestone, ancient.  The strong healthy Rain Forest
within and along this series of communities, matches
approximately the mass of the manmade…
Life and Death, as Alcir was to call it.  No doubts that
if left alone, this jungle richness would cover over and
eventually eat up all the buildings.  How Lovely.”

“It’s Saturday nite … checking in from Brasil…
Dear diary,”…she wrote as she savored the day’s delights,
and remembered his eyes, in the water, glazed….
…glazed and blissed…..saying it was a new day, and
he was really a new man, and at last he Knew it.

He said he’d call himself Lazarus.
“Lazarus, brought back to life, thanks to…..Me!”
and he spread that wide enveloping grin as he had been
doing a lot of today.

“…and you!” (tenderness moved in like clouds,
soft filtered over primal joy)…
“I could never have gotten here without you.
Why are you becoming so important to me?”

His demeanor had altered today, as he showed her
the small town around the bay.
This day, she thought…has been perhaps the most
perfect day… or the closest to it so far.

Her feeling radiated from a heart and throat chakra,
a pearlescent center, and her entire face radiated with
light and color and hair… She felt it, she used it.
She was Quiet, and from the inside.

“He has joined us today,” she noted to herself.
“There’ll be a lot more power available for us to use,”
and she smiled to herself.

“Your new little egg heart has just cracked open,”
she told him, there in the bay, in the water, after
his dive and swim to her, and she to him.
Swimming to each other, each in their own fashion…

“I love you..” he said, his eyes pouring it over her
like soft molasses,  his eyes pounding out
the heart drum of truth.

“I love you… I know that now.  You’re going to see
more of the old Alcir that you knew….”
She looked clearly into his radiant eyes.  His entire
being glistened with sparkling drops of water and sun.

“Hi,” was her whispered reply, and they kissed…..”