Today is Valentine’s Day – Dia dos Namorados – literally “lover’s day” here. Since the real one comes during Carnaval, it’s nice to know that even here in shameless, romantic Brasil, there is a limit to some things. So, here, it falls in June, when the weather is wintery, and I guess when some might need some encouragement to make more Brazilians this far after Carnaval.
Today there are no pictures, just a story.
In Brasil, or at least in Ouro Preto, when you get new glasses, you have to take them back to the doctor to have him/her recheck them to make sure they are the same as the prescription. Then you have to take them back to the place you bought them from, and have them clean off the markings, etc., and fit you. Then you are good to go.
So, the specs were ready Friday, but by the time I got to the Dr’s office, he had just left for the weekend. So, this morning, I skipped the gym, and took the bus to the praça, near where the Doc’s office is. He blessed them, reminded me that I was going to find them a bit strange for a while, (Yep!) and ambled down to the place I bought them, had the young lady I bought them from, clean them, and got me going. Then I tottered off down the hill, to the train station, to grab the bus up to campus. Sometimes when I miss the gym, like this morning, I like to walk a bit more… Ouro Preto, makes that part easy and enjoyable. Today I counted 3 honks and a wave, and a “bom dia” as I walked from the Dr’s office to bus stop.
So as things go here, especially this professor/grandpa with new glasses, I had been lost a few days ago on Pinterest and came across a bunch of cool ideas for old lightbulbs, mainly tiny terrariums. I was walking down the hill, admiring the flora, fauna and crazy traffic, when there on the side of the street was a light bulb. So, I put it in my pocket… walked the two more blocs. Waited a minute, and up came the bus.
Being over 60, I got on in the front (you pay in the back door) and sat down. The bus chugged up the hill to campus, I rode to the stop in front of ICEB (the science building) and got off. Then, walked down to my office in ICEB III. M called and we decided to meet for lunch and I did some work until then. I got to futzing in my new swanky office, and was pleased that the Wi-Fi was working – better than ever, I might add! – as on Friday I sent in a “mayday” to the Tec guys to come see why our Wi-Fi on my floor stinks… and it had been stinking for 3 years. My colleagues had never gotten past the “our Wi-Fi stinks” stage and call. The NTI guy fixed it … and OMG! So today, I felt so, well, first world! Things started downloading, and sharing, and backing up, and updating… the online radio was awesome sauce… it was magic!
After lunch, I did some more paper work, and listened to the rain pound the widows, (which unlike my old building don’t leak) and when it was time to go, I went up to the bus stop, and talked to some of the cleaning ladies that work in our building, the bus came and off we went. At the next stop at the front of campus a couple of guys got on, and began playing music. At the next stop, an elderly person got on, so I gave her my seat. As well the father – a bus driver so he got on in front too – of one of our students in the English class. We got to talking, and he said, “I saw you this morning, you picked up a light bulb!”
I put my hand in my pocket, and there it was, and said,
“Was it this one?”
We both got to laughing – and I explained what I was thinking of doing.
Mind you the busker – who was pretty good, actually – kept playing, and made everyone kind of happy. The next stop some more old ladies got on, and we all moved around, the busker, and let them take up more seats. Folks who get on for free, can bump, those sitting in the first couple of rows, and generally speaking people get up and insist. Since I “ain’t dead yet” I try and give up a seat for just about anyone. Especially for those that are paying.
The bus kept going, the busker kept singing, I noticed more smiles, the old ladies clapped in between songs. The next stop, Dona Efigênia got on, and she exchanged greetings with the busker who she had to finesse around to get a seat– the bus was packed – and she immediately began demanding “Música Romântica”. So, he started in, she started singing, the old people started clapping, I looked back at the guy who takes the fares (a fellow member of Bandaliera) and we laughed. Two stops later, I got off. The bus careened around the corner and I could hear them all enjoying themselves as it went around the corner of FAOP and on to the praça.
Happy Brazilian Valentine’s Day!
And, so this is why I live here.