Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Christmas in November

We finally found a puzzle to put together. Some day we will get to Rio.

Rio de Janeiro
We work with very technical people, but it took several days to find the wall switch that turned on the power to the projector. The people that knew were gone for a few days.
This is way over my head!
Since we will be going for two more weeks we had our last English class on Thursday. It has been fun, but wearing after a hard day at the office.
Say that again
On Friday we started our trip through the Nordeste (northeast). We started in Natal, which means Christmas. We did´t leave until about 5 pm, so we spent the morning catching up on things in the office.

We were greeted at the airport by several members of the church in Natal. Actually they weren´t there to greet us, but another missionary that was returning.

Airport greeting party
 Our host in Natal was Martins. He took us from the airport to the hotel. On the way we met his wife, Leticia, at a mall for dinner.
Leticia and Martins
Saturday was our tourist day in Natal. We started by visiting the market across the street from the hotel. 
Market full of goodies
Shop keeper?
We then went to the beach. It was only a few blocks away from the hotel, but they were steep blocks.
Our hotel from the beach. The one with the yellow horizontal stripe.
Beach at Natal
Paul, sea-horsing around
The coconut cutter
The beach from our hotel room
Martins picked us up at the hotel then took us to Leticia´s school where she teaches. She has a young student named Sofie who is autistic. She told her that we were Santa´s friends and came to visit her. Sofie showed us her classroom. It was a lot of fun.
Sofie with Santa´s friends
Dance class
They took us to see a rocket museum. Brazil fired its first rocket (with the help of America) while I was on my mission fifty years ago.
Brazilian rocket museum
Rocket science
Astronaut recruit
Jet setters
From there we went to a fruit market to see and taste new kinds of fruits.
Have a taste of coconut water
Green beans Brazilian style
Caju (Cashew), The curled stem is where the nut is. Caju juice is popular here.
They then took us to see the world´s largest cajueira (caju tree) that stretches out like a forest. It is a genetic aboration that makes the tree branch out and go along the ground.
Biggest Caju tree in the world
It´s bigger than you see here. The green is all one tree.
Now that´s a big caju
Spreads like a forest
 We went to lunch at Paçoca de Pilhão which means meat pounded with large mortal and pestle.
What a grind
We then went to Fortaleza dos Reis Magos (fort of the three wise men). It was an old Portuguese fort taken by the Dutch and returned to the Portuguese.

Bridge over the river
The fort
Powder storage
Martins and Leticia
Natal from the fort
The cannon couple
Nice fortress
We then walked along the beach to look at a large sand dune that went right into the ocean. There are a lot of sand dunes around Natal.

The beach
Boats on the beach
Morro do Careca sand dune
 Traditional food from the interior is cooked in large wood-burning ovens.
Typical oven of the Sertão
We had a nice time at church. It was the primary program. There were just a few primary children, but they sang their hearts out. The ward that followed had a large group of primary children.
Going to church

One of the first STSs to contact us after after we started this calling was Shane Allred, an American from Ogden, Utah. He had been released and we wondered what had happened to him. We were able to meet him and his wife at church. She was the Gospel Doctrine teacher. 

Shane Allred and his family

After church we passed the "Biggest Berimbau in the World". We stopped to take a picture and got more than we expected. It was a capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) school for boys in the neighborhood. It was also a museum for capoeira. Eber, A young boy, showed us around the museum.  Mestre Arrepio came along and we were able to see a demonstration in capoeira.
Largest berimbau in the world
the gourd is a cement mixer
History of capoeira
Capoeira demonstration
The capoeira crew
Chair made of recycled automobile tires
We met Rayane at the church where we were having our training meeting. She recently returned from the São Paulo East mission and served under President Andrew. She was happy to find out he was my cousin.
Rayane with us at church
 Our training meeting was scheduled for Sunday night. We were supposed to train a Council Technology Specialist (CTS), but Natal didn´t have one so we arranged for a meeting with the Stake Technology Specialists (STS). On Saturday we were notified that a CTS had been identified, but needed to be called and set apart. I was able to be present for the setting apart which took place in time for the training meeting.
Technology training
 On Monday we went with Roberto, the FM, to look at some chapels. We stopped by his house and met his family.
Roberto with his wife Danielle
Tower designed by Oscar Niemeyer
One of the chapels visited
Setting up webcast
 We really enjoyed Natal. It was a beautiful, clean city with very little pixeição.
Sunrise in Natal

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