Found this in my desk drawer this morning.  

Happy Easter!

To M. Puriņš and family

With warm greetings at Easter from

(Date unknown)

Easter holidays in sub zero temps means more of the same indoor action. We hung out with friends at their place last night and our boys ( we have two; they have two) ran in circles for FIVE HOURS with toy swords and sticks and shields. Through the kitchen, through the lounge, into the passage, back into the kitchen. Yelling the whole time. When, oh when will it be warm enough for us to boot them outdoors for hours at a time to do the running and yelling? What is a reasonable temperature? Anything above zero degrees? Of course the hard-core locals insist that as long as you have a good thermal jumpsuit you can lock them outdoors at any temp. I'm just a big old' softy I guess.

In other news, we went to an exhibition this arvo. Soviet era industrial and poster design by a well-known Latvian artist of the era. Lots of pointless kinetic sculpture which was a real treat.

Even Mikus was entertained for a while.  Gotta love an era of graphic design before the time of computer layout - where posters are all collages and hand lettering and texta pen. The posters in this exhibition were especially interesting for their Soviet era public service announcements. Need to take heed of some of that timeless advice:

Alcohol - enemy of the mind

Alcohol = crashes

Honest work and "careerism" aren't compatible

And never forget:
Avoid random sexual relationships.

Wise words indeed.

Every morning since I've been back from tropical South America - more than a week ago - I look out the window and see that the snowman is still there, proudly sticking out its sticky little arms and blank face pointing into the sun.

I loathe him.

I flew off to Brazil in late february.  When I left Riga it was quite mild - just under zero degrees - and I departed safe in the knowledge that when I returned it would be March already, and winter would be at an end, and there would be hope and a bit of warmth in the air. I didn't expect 25 degrees and a warm wind.  I would have been happy with 1 degree and slowly melting ice and snow.

Turns out, the week before I arrived back home, there was some snow.  And Mikus got busy and built this tiny little snowman in the backyard. Now, snowmen are usually a short-lived thing.  You can only build them when things are relatively warm (around zero degrees), because at that temp the snow is good and sticky.  You often wake up the next day to find your snowman melting, or already in a puddle on the ground, because things have warmed up overnight.

But not this snowman.  Oh, no.  THIS snowman has been beautifully preserved by the fact that the temps dropped down, down, down.  The closer I got to Riga, the colder it got.  I've been home for over a week now and we are still enjoying super-duper-don't-go-outside-you'll-turn-into-an-icicle temps.  The wind chill factor is minus a million and our pellet heating system is eating pellets like there's no tommorrow.

I that is why I HATE THAT SNOWMAN!

So I'm back, and before I return to normal programming (ie. Latvian weather reports), I will make a couple of trivial observations about Brazil, for your viewing pleasure:

1. You can find a Garden of Eden in the most unexpected places.  Brazil has moments when it truly feels like paradise. Corny, but true.

2. Despite the fact that many Brazilian gardens ARE Gardens of Eden with an amazing array of fruits and flowers, most Brazilian households sport a bowl of PLASTIC fruit on the dining room table. Go figure.

3. While on the subject of fruit.... Caipirinas (the Brazilian answer to a Mojito - just as tasty and a lot more powerful) come with many variations of added fruit.  From the left: passionfruit, cashew apple, and the classic - lime.

4. Still talking fruit and nuts... best thing on an overheated day is coconut milk straight from the nut, scratching out the white flesh afterwards.  Preferably at a bar on the beach.

5.  This is what a tapir hoof print looks like.  I said TAPIR!  Pity I didn't see the real creature in the wild. 

 6.  Some of the best impromptu photo shoots occur when you have received ridiculous frocks from well-meaning gift-givers

 7. Sao Paulo has awesome street art, everywhere.  Totally colourful and creative streetscape.

8.  I'm good at finding fabulous accessories in dusty sheds

8. I want a pet turtle 

9. Listening to the Brazilian jungle through professional sound equipment is a spectacular auditory feast which should be on everyone's bucket list.

...and last but not least...

10. From what I've seen -  Rio is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Pity it is also a dangerous city, where tourists are warmly advised not to carry around cameras.  Because of that, I have no photo to show you what I mean.  You will have to go yourself some day and check it out. 


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