After a full 24 hours of travel (woke up in Porto at 7:30am, fell into bed in Seattle at 8:30am Porto-time)yesterday (my unofficial 30th birthday), I am home. I have so many things to write about, pictures to post, etc., so I thought I’d work backwards. We’ll see how far I can get before I switch back to “current events!”
On Monday, my extra day in Porto, I shared an early birthday meal with CT & SH. They gave me a delicious bottle of 30-year Calem port, which we paired with hearty breads (one rather sawdusty, one so hearty it had chorizo in it), mild cheeses, salted cashews, and lots of chocolate. We had planned on just snacking, but ended up making it our main meal of the day. Or was the fresh green salad, vegetable pasta, boiled potatoes and grilled sea bass that we had at a restaurant on the river our main meal? Regardless, we never made it to the fancy place CT had in mind for my birthday dinner, the one with post-dinner cigars right there on the menu, ready to be enjoyed with your port. We’ll save that for our next trip.
I was able to get a little shopping in, too, just enough to say that I bought some souvenirs in Porto! A port sampler for Erik, some hand painted tiles for a few ladies, and a lovely embroidered shawl for me. My favorite souvenir from the trip, however, was a gift from some members of the chorus. I complimented on of them on the track jacket he was wearing, a brightly colored jacket that looked like it could have been worn by a Venezuelan Olympian, complete with “Venezuela” in big block letters on the back. Another choir member had a great scarf, again with the bright blue, yellow, and red of the Venezuelan flag. I think at some point, I said that I would love to have a scarf like that, and a few days later, another member came to me and said that he had a jacket for me! (Let that be a lesson to me: some people are so generous that they will take your passing comment as an opportunity to give you a gift! One must be careful not to take advantage of this…) I’ll post a picture of me in the jacket when I get home; it’s one of my favorite pictures from the trip, with me surrounded by members of the choir, me in the jacket and them dressed for the concert.
I will also post pictures (and a video, if I can figure out how to use uTube, or whatever that thing is) of the incredible jam sessions that started up at the airport if we were all in line too long. Guitars come out of their cases, every surface becomes a percussion instrument, and everyone sings. Talk about the way to handle a stressful situation! They all returned to Venezuela early Monday morning, after a fabulous closing-night party Sunday night. I imagine many of them didn’t sleep at all, but danced the night away and kept going until they slept on the plane. What joy. I can’t wait to see them again!
Ok, pictures on the way…