My musings…

Archive for March, 2010

Brazil, Asparagus and Pork

Well the rest of the Brazil trip was full of logistical issues (none of which were my fault, thankfully), but we all came out mostly unscathed, with just a few hundred bug bites to show for our work!

We were supposed to do an overflight and spend 2 nights in the Surui territory checking out the deforestation and gathering some data. There were problems with the pilot on the first day, however, so we had to wait until the next day. The first group went up in the Cessna (3 seater + pilot) and we were going to go up once they came back. About 1 1/2 hours into their flight, a storm came out of nowhere. Everything was clear and sunny and then it started to POUR and it was so windy that the palm tree behind the hotel was bent at a 70* angle. We could only pray that they were safe in the plane.

About an hour later, we finally received a call from them that they had landed at the farm of someone north of the Surui territory where there happened to be an airstrip. The pilot managed to land the plane safely there, but they weren’t able to call because they didn’t have cell phone service and the landlines at the farm had been knocked out.

After they returned to the hotel, we were finally off to the Surui territory. We spent the night in the same village that we visited last year when we were there. We slept outside in hammocks, but it was not necessarily what one would have expected. We had almost all of the modern conveniences that one needs and some extras, too, including a television, refrigerator, stove… It was also a little strange because no one really came to great us or say anything to us. At 3:30am I was woken up by a rooster crowing, but around 5am one of the community members started singing. I wish I could have recorded it, but he was too far away to get a good quality recording, but it was soooo soothing to wake up to.

After breakfast, we headed out to some other parts that I hadn’t previously visited. It was pretty shocking to see the extent of deforestation that has taken place along the 3km that we walked. It was pretty obvious because there are no longer any large trees (except for Brazil nut) in the area where we walked. No mahogany or any other valuable species.

We also visited a community that I hadn’t visited before which was pretty cool. Then we had some lunch, returned to the city, took a quick dip in the pool and spent the next 3 days in airplanes.

The last two weeks have been kind of crappy. It has been nice to be home, but I have been super sick. The full weekend that I was home, I spent practically the whole time on the couch. I still have a pretty strong cough first thing in the morning, around 11:30 am (weird, I know) and when I lay down at night. Hopefully it goes away soon.

One of the things I enjoy about being home is being able to cook again. Earlier this week, I found myself buying asparagus. Asparagus? Really? Well, it was on sale and I thought I’d give it another shot since it has been so long since I have eaten it. It was SUPER tender which probably helped a lot and I prepared it a little differently than Mom did when we were growing up.

handful of asparagus
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper

Break the asparagus into 3″ pieces. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, drop in the asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper. The asparagus should turn a richer shade of green, then it’s ready – super quick 6 minutes or so.

Turned out wonderfully. Elvis and I both enjoyed it. Elvis had never eaten asparagus before. The first night, he wasn’t too sure, but the second night, he decided he likes it more than green beans. Good. 😛 (Yes, we ate it two nights in a row because the bunch you get in the grocery store is too much for 2 people.

Last night I made some saucepan barbecue pork. Also delicious and super easy.

~1 lb pork (any cut works)
3/4 c. ketchup
3/4 c. water
2 T vinegar
1 T worcestershire sauce
black pepper
ground chili pepper

Mix all ingredients except for the pork together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Sear pork in a frying pan, add to sauce mix. Allow to simmer for ~30 minutes or until the pork is done.

The original recipe called for adding salt and brown sugar. I don’t think either one is necessary.

I am heading off to Brazil again tomorrow – this time to Manaus. It should be an interesting trip. I won’t have internet access for 4 days, which I wouldn’t mind so much except that I won’t be able to talk to Elvis until next Friday! I shouldn’t be travelling again until the end of May (except for a few trips to PA), so I am definitely looking forward to coming home (already!).