We hold the July 4th Celebration on various days because the Ambassador and others must attend various celebrations around the country. We held ours in Brasilia yesterday. I had nothing to do with the planning or implementation, so I think that I can say with some credibly that the planning and implementation were superb.
My future colleagues also prepared a poster exhibit showing photos from all the visits by American presidents to Brazil. Almost all the presidents of the twentieth century visited Brazil. The first was Theodore Roosevelt. He was no longer president at the time. He visited the Amazon rainforest (then called jungles) along with the Brazilian explorer and anthropologist Cândido Rondon, for whom the Brazilian state of Rondônia is named. Together the explored the “River of Doubt” now named the Rio Roosevelt, so both men contributed their names to the wild land. I didn’t know many people at the party. Next year I will. The most interesting discussion I had was with an old guy who had been an engineer in the construction of Brasilia, more than fifty years ago. It was really barren then and the big lake was just a marshy river. The old guy told me about the time when Eisenhower came to help inaugurate the new city and the U.S. Embassy here. That was also recorded on our poster show, but it was interesting to get the story from someone who could speak of it from living memory.
We had all sorts of interesting food, including little hamburgers, about the size of a silver dollar, and fries and little pepperoni pizzas. I stayed away from the booze (we are working at these things) and drank a lot of Guarana. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a sweet drink available mostly in Brazil. It is a precursor to some of the energy drinks. It is supposed to give you more vigor and I suppose it does, but no more than a Coca-Cola or a cup of coffee. It tastes good and kind of looks like beer in the twilight.
We had two bands playing. The first was a kind of rock band. The lead singer seemed to think he should channel Jethro Tull except with a harmonica; it was interesting, but not really my sort of music. We also had the Brazilian Marine Band. They played patriotic music, including the American & Brazilian national anthems as well as a lot of Sousa music. I liked this much better.
The Ambassador gave a good speech in Portuguese and English followed by recorded remarks by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. After that came the fireworks, while the Marine Band played the “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “The Thunderer” & “Semper Fideles”.
You can see the various pictures. They are very high resolution, since I didn’t shrink them because of the darker exposures. Click on them to look at the whole picture at a bigger size. I think they are very good and all taken with my little camera. Ain’t technology wonderful?
It was a great celebration. I am looking forward to the weekend when I can explore Brasilia a little more. Unfortunately, I have to wait for the technician to come and install my cable and Internet. I have a “window” of 12pm – 6pm on Saturday. It is a bit of a problem, but I will be really happy to have internet access at home.