catching up

I’ve started several posts this week, but run out of time to complete them, so I’ll just combine a few things into a week-in-review sort of thing.

Firstly, I finally figured out what these are:


They look like a cross between a sea creature and a mouse. But they’re “maxixi,” which is kind of like a short, fat, very seedy, slightly bitter Brazilian cucumber.

First you scrape off all the bumps and cut off the tails


Then I chopped them up and mixed them with red onion, tomato, and added a little rice vinegar, and served them on salad with hummus and pita bread.


Oh, and hearts of palm, of course. I’m eating them in/on everything here.

I performed a recital last Wednesday with a saxophonist. She’s working on editing the video into individual clips to put on youtube, so I’ll post a link as soon as they’re up.

Yesterday a friend took us on an extended tour of Brasilia and some of its surroundings.

We started with a 100km drive to the Iquitira park to see the waterfall.

We hiked through the woods and stood in the waterfall rain, and then walked back and bathed in a lovely river pool. It was sublime. On the way back we stopped at the park’s lanchenette, which consisted of an elaborate buffet with LOTS of wonderful vegan options, live music, and some quati ruffling through the garbage bins.

Sorry about the exposure on the above pictures; the camera was set for a completely different kind of light, and I had to act fast before they ran off…

Next we drove through a very interesting town, founded by people of an unusual religion, who were parading through the town in elaborately sequins-ed gowns with tulle veils, and the men in vests as part of a regularly-recurring ritual. I didn’t take pictures, so as not to be disrespectful.

Next we drove to the “new” TV tower to see the whole Federal District, which was unfortunately closed for maintenance (the TV tower, that is, not the DF, although given the current political climate, that might not be a completely terrible idea). We did get some lovely pictures from the ridge.


Note the tower poking up to the clouds, as the next pictures are from us standing halfway up or so this “old” TV tower. The water is Lago Paranoá.


The two white arches are Ponte JK, the bridge named after Juscelino Kubitschek, who was the president of Brasil when Brasilia was conceived of, planned, and built.


The “new” TV tower

Next we drove back into Brasilia, and went up in the old TV tower.


I do heart Brasilia.


The fountain (turned off as we ascended in the elevator, due to the water shortages) and the esplanade in the distance (the cross road is the Eixo Rodoviaria). The dome buildings and the “H” are the congressional buildings.


The JK bridge from a little bit closer


Almost in the middle you can see a gray line/smudge ascending into the clouds; this is the new TV tower.


The convention center (straight ahead) and the National Stadium (on the right).

Next we visited the Church of Dom Bosco, which we call the Blue Church. You’ll see why.


Every wall looked like this; there was purple in the corners.


Not sure why this is so blurry except maybe my phone was overwhelmed by the 7,000+ glass balls involved in making this chandelier.

Lastly we drove to “Pontão”, a beautiful recreational area along the south side of Lago Paranoá. I believe I’ve posted some pictures from here before, but here are a couple more, in case you’re not tired of beautiful sunset-over-water scenes.

Today I’m going to make traditional north-eastern-Brazil tapioca (not the pudding), and to try to turn this:


into mandioca pudding.

I’ll post pictures if it turns out…



  1. Are the “TV towers” just that, for transmission of TV signals, or are they something else entirely or in part? The reason I ask is that you seemed to go up onto or into them, something you’d never do on a TV tower here. I enjoyed all these photos and no, I never tire of sunset over water pics. You offer a nice blend of the scenery pared with “what is everyday life like” photos/descriptions. Savor your final few weeks there.


    1. I believe the new one is for transmission of TV signals, but they’re built for sightseeing as well. Perhaps JoJo will have more information…

      It’s gone by so quickly! 😦


  2. OMG!!! The waterfall is incredible! Love the city views too. Roads are well designed. There are few cars. Brazil is that lucky or roads are empty because of the weekend?
    P.S. Even though the salad looks yummy I would not try those spiky mice 🙂


    1. It’s Sunday. The traffic 8-10 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. every weekday is pretty dense. And the maxixi were quite good, albeit a little bitter. Next time I would leave them salted for a half hour or so before making the rest of the salad to draw out more of the bitterness.


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