Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm a little better-rested today, still playing catch-up. Just watched 'Mississippi Burning' - if you think the country's messed up today, this civil-rights era film is a powerful reminder of how far we've come. Hateful, murderous behavior considered virtuous. Of course, that could be Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur.... This movie, btw, offended some by implying that the fight for civil rights was waged mostly by well-meaning white people... One of my earliest memories, btw, is of sitting on my Dad's shoulder at a civil rights march in 1963, singing 'We Shall Overcome...' Still sends shivers up my spine...

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just stepped off the plane. Two hours sleep. Time for some serious piper-paying...

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Monday, May 29, 2006

On The Waterfront

My 'after party' is the need to write a presentation in the next three hours. Time to pay the piper... I leave Buenos Aires tonight and arrive JFK around 6am tomorrow morning... Here are some photos of the Puerto Madero waterfront area where I´ve been staying... (yes, the Cow Parade is here....)

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Today Andres and his friends took me to Luján, to see Argentina´s most beautiful and ornate cathedral. It´s a charming little town, and I took dozens of artsy pictures, so I can regale you with them upon my return. I leave B.A. tomorrow night and arrive in NY early Tuesday morning.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Vivir, Que Son 2 Días....

That´s a Spanish version of ´carpe diem´ I heard in Belle Epoque, a 1993 Oscar-winning film from Spain I rented two weeks back. Such is my m.o. this weekend. I´m in Buenos Aires, sunny and 70F (pictured left, with iconic obelisk), with the sun setting at 5pm and shining wan light in the oblique angles of autumn. It´s a beautiful city. And it´s nice to see Andres. We had a ample and tasty ´parrilla´ or Argentine mixed meat grill late lunch that will preclude dinner, washed down by red wine, a local classic, and a tiny cafecito with a kick.

Tonight, we´re going to the theater to see Él metodo Götheman, which won Best Play here this year. Tomorrow, a friend with a car is taking us into the countryside for an excursion... I have a presentation to write over the weekend, and I´m stumped as to when and where this is going to happen. I have to give the presentation hours after landing at JFK Tuesday morning - fortunately it´s about a company I know really well...

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Layover by the Sea-O

Friday in Rio de Janeiro was long and grueling, capped by six hours in airport hell. My last meeting ended early. My interviewee had just been informed she´ll be let go from the company, and it was a wistful and therapeutic talk that spoke little of the company´s operations.

So I got to Rio´´s Galeão airport four hours early and learned my flight to Buenos Aires was leaving two hours late. Endless hours in a food court, trying to listen to my mp3 over the din and incessantly hassled by a swarm of shoeshine boys looking for work. Watched a few movies on my DVD player. Arrived at my hotel in Buenos Aires shortly before 3am.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Pat....

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No Go(l)

`Cuz you're in Tokyo, and I'm not... The verse of an old new wave classic. I got up at 4am for nothing, and I am not in Belo Horizonte (pictured below in the sun, which is absent from Brazil this week). At quarter to 6 at the airport, Gol airlines would not sell me a ticket because they do not except credit cards issued outside of Brazil, accept Amex, the one I don't have. Got no cash. No Gol. The other airline, TAM, was booked solid to Belo all day. (You will recall that Brian won the TAM raffle and was chosen Mayonnaise Monarch for the day during our 1999 Brazilian honeymoon.) So, I missed a meeting, crawled back to my hotel, un-checked-out, or re-checked-in, took an hour snooze, and re-checked-out to do some work at the office ahead of my afternoon meetings. Can`t win 'em all...

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's still raining in São Paulo, I`m at headquarters, in the shadow of the funky post-modern FIESP building (pictured on a much sunnier day). Today's Big Lunch, with a sugar-producing cooperative, took place at one of SP`s top meat restaurants - exquisite from mini-hors-d'oeuvres to mini-deserts, with a scrumptious rump steak - juicy and tasty - as the centerpiece.

Two company visits, hours in traffic, hours on the phone trying to satisfy a tough customer, and then I must get a very early night, because I have to get up at 4am to catch a flight to Belo Horizonte, a major city 600 miles northwest of SP, in Minas Gerais state, for one meeting, after which I fly back, do two meetings here, and fly to Rio at night to be ready for more meetings Friday...

I guess it still beats slaving away in my cubicle...

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Saved from a 4am rising by inclement weather, which precluded landing a four-seat plane in a cow pasture, I arose at a more civilized 7am to spend the day at the company~s headquarters 45 minutes north of São Paulo in the town of Cajamar. This picture shows Cajamar 100 years ago, when steam-powered rail travel carried you to and fro. I just took a cab. Very productive day. Since my hosts were beef exporters, succulent steak was on the luncheon menu...

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Had many meetings today and a few very long and expensive taxi rides through stalled traffic in the pouring rain. Our best momemnt was a Japanese lunch at Shintori (Sao Paulo has 1 million people of Japanese ancestry, the largest such community outside of Japan) - we were seated around a grill table and given bibs to protect our businessgarb from splattering. Succulent sushi was complemented by all sorts of grilled tidbits dipped in an array of sauces. At 3pm, it will do for lunch and dinner. Tomorrow I have to get up at the ungodly hour of 4am to fly out and visit... a slaughterhouse...

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil safe and sound. Rainy, gloomy day - perfect for preparing for the next day's meetings and for watching a movie. I the evening I had dinner with my friend Doug, who was once my colleague and is now my customer. We went to "La Tavola" in Bela Vista, the picturesque, tattered, and festive Italian neighborhood down the hill...

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Free to Spree

I'm your businessman, that's what I am.... Last minute dash through midtown to look spiffy on my business trip to Brazil. Which I have all of 50 minutes to pack for, if I am to get my fanny to the airport in time for a 9:20pm flight. Brian's N.C. (neighborhood chicken)©® has been sighted again. Brian has been enjoying BAHafreshness©®.

For the record: This will be (presuming I make the plane) my 21st trip to Brazil, my 16th trip to Argentina, my 32nd trip to South America, my 54th trip to Latin America, and my 97th foreign trip overall. It will be my 63rd business trip, and my 14th for ABN. So I'd better go pack for it...

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Miles To Go Before Brazil

Last night I crossed the street to attend my LGBT outdoors group's 26th anniversary dinner at East of Eighth (pictured), which is my brunchery of choice when guests are in town. The buffet was delicious, washed down with white wine, but I couldn't stay for the raffle drawing, the grand prize of which is a GPS system (directions by satellite). The reason: I'm going to Brazil tomorrow night, and the mountain of personal and work tasks that must be done is daunting...

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Here's an artsy shot of the Chelsea sky - those branches have tiny leaves now, but the sky is grey yet again...

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Brazil 21

In honor of my upcoming 21st trip to Brazil, the stark contrast between the favelas of Rio (picture) and the view through the romantic prism of the Hollywood 40s....

"Brazil "
(English lyrics by S.K. “Bob” Russell)

The Brazil that I knew
Where I wandered with you
Lives in my imagination.

Where the songs are passionate,
And a smile has flash in it,
And a kiss has art in it,
For you put your heart in it,
And so I dream of old Brazil

Where hearts were entertaining June,
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured “someday soon”
We kissed and clung together,
Then tomorrow was another day
The morning found me miles away
With still a million things to say

Now when twilight dims the sky above,
Recalling thrills of our love,
There’s one thing I’m certain of;
Return I will
To old Brazil.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Christi....

p.s. Christi has become 20 lbs thinner since this photo from my own birthday:

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Back in NY. Atrocious rain followed me... : - )

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Monday, May 15, 2006


Funeral day. This weekend marks the most atrocious weather and road conditions I've ever encountered as a driver. Nary a reflector or an overhead light, long and serpentine exit ramps to nowhere, sheets of rain moving faster than windshield wipers on top speed. Unrelenting gloom. : - ) Last night we went out to an old-style Chinese dinner, the nine of us (me, Mom & Deena, my cousins, and a family friend. Chow mein, egg rolls, boneless spareribs - didn't know these still existed. As Brian would say (from a health/weight point of view), 'Chinese food is seldom a good idea...'

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can't Get There From Here

This is Logan Airport's simplified central parking system. Having rented a car to pick up my Mom & sister on their arrival in Boston for my Aunt's funeral, I inadvertently parked it about a mile from where they'd be arriving. My sister travels with a wheelchair, so I had to go back, get the car, and pick them up at the curb. This all took about a half an hour - longer than my actual flight from New York. It is pouring sheets and sheets of rain - in stark contrast to the picture-perfect day I left in New York.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

My cousin Rich, who's Mom, my Aunt Lorraine, passed away Wednesday. I'm headed up to Boston in an hour or so to meet my Mom & Deena - the funeral service is Monday... Rich is a photographer and photography teacher, and has been a rock-climbing instructor.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

and heeeeeeeeeeeeres......Fiedel

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Aunt Lorraine passed away last night at 76.
She was my Dad's sister, and a very sweet person whom I'll miss...
This pictures shows Aunt Lorraine (right) and Aunt Eleanor (left), in 1936, around the time my Dad was born....

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Donna's birthday cake: chocolate icing on the outside, lemon curd filling on the inside - very rich and distinctive... At the same party, I also ate a bialy, many slivers of lox, and chocolate-covered macaroons, washed down with champagne...

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Scenes from my Chelsea life: grey clouds gathering (like today), watching 'Seabiscuit' on DVD, via Netflix, and a rambunctious kid pirouetting in his green shirt. It is what it is...

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Donna

I spent yesterday afternoon at a lovely birthday party in Park Slope with Donna and her partner Karen. Very nice change of pace, I love Park Slope, and among the guests were some highly creative people and a precocious six year old (well, 5 11/12 years actually) that reminded me oddly of Little Aaron with his crew cut. I brought my Cybershot camera, it was fun to be 'snapping' again, and I wandered through the Chelsea streets later that day taking all sorts of curious shots...

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Your Next Stop

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