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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Grand Love Affair

I am sorry Norm.  I love you but...

It all started two nights ago.  Another hot humid evening in Belem, you could see the steam rising from the pavement as the tropical rains subsided and left the thick moist air that was almost too dense to breath.  After another long day at the office, I quietly nodded off in the backseat and only rose when I felt the jolt of the emergency break and heard doors opening.  I stepped out into what appeared to be a botanical garden.  Surrounded by tropical trees and flowers, I spun around and found my self face to face with my new boo (do people still say boo?).  Now it wasn't love at first site per say, but an enticing beginning to what proved to be a long passionate end.

The building was made of dark, thick, Brazilian wood.  A large stair case wound you around, forcing you to it's doors.  Calling my name.  With further observation, the bottom floor appeared to be a museum of some sorts.  Small boats, carts, and art typical to the Para region.  As I took my final stair, I was high enough over the tree tops to see the Amazon river slowly drifting by.  As the moon shown and the stars lit the sky, how could love not be in the air.

I entered the restaurant.  It took my breath away for the first but not the last time tonight.  The high ceilings, and grandious room was perfect.  In the center a glass floor overlooking the museum and long pieces of bark from different Amazonian trees hung for everyone to admire.  I felt like I was in a painting.  As we sat down for dinner the white linens with wicker chairs made me feel right at home, my Brazilian home.

As all old black and white love movies go, there was foreplay, love, and a cigarette...for the interest in time, I will skip the foreplay.  Advised by the waiter, we each ordered the "chef's special."  The chef's smooth and sultry voice as he requested us not to eat the complimentary bread and explained our first course lit an excitement  within me.  Each course paired with each different cocktail, I embarked on this road.  There was no turning back.  Course one, a light pumpkin soup, course two a small salad with a grilled squid. Consecutively, courses three, four, and five only continued to lure me towards this sinful lust and excite my pallet with each new sea creature perfectly prepared, seasoned, and presented.  Each course being accompanied by the chef.  It wasn't until after the sixth and seventh that I thought I would be lost forever.  To enter and never leave.  How does one continue to live life normally after knowing this exists.  But it was the eighth course...a white fillet crusted in Brazilian nuts, laying on a seafood rossoto, with the light touch of jamboo oil drizzled perfectly over top.  And I caved.  Licking my plate clean, I sighed with relief knowing I had given in.  I was captured.  Lured into this heaven by the aromas and tastes of a four hour love affair.  We sat and sipped our port, no words could be exchanged.  It was the lit cigarette.  I knew it was over.  Far too soon.

But it is better to have loved and eaten, than never to have eaten at all.  So until next time my love, I will suffer eating bland and tasteless food.  But I need only close my eyes and I am right back there with you...white fish, squid, soup, salmon, shrimp, jamboo...like it was only moments ago...

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