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Archive for January, 2010

Black ice is that thin sheet of solidly frozen rain that refracts no light and so is invisible adhered to the road.

It also seems a fitting enough title for the photo above, which I took from my canoe on Ann Arbor’s Huron River earlier this month, below Barton dam, where the spillway had kept half a mile of the river from freezing completely over.

Black Ice is also the predictably cheesy name of the album behind which AC/DC was touring Dec. 6 when I saw them in Buenos Aires’ Estadia River Plate with 70,000 amped-up Argentinians. You have got to see this video. Check out the floor scene about a minute in. That’s where I was.

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I spent pretty much all of December, the 3rd through the 27th, out of Ann Arbor. I was traveling in South America for the first time under the auspices of the University of Michigan’s Knight-Wallace Fellowship, and then spent four days in Atlanta with my sister and her family for Christmas. The picture above is Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, a little over a week ago. Today in Ann Arbor the high was 20. I was glad to be gone, and I’m glad to be home.

First we went to Buenos Aires, Argentina for six days, where we met with the president of the state bank, talked with Argentina’s first female Supreme Court judge, visited the mothers of the disappeared of the dirty war of 1977, saw a tango performance, went to a local soccer match, met with the editors of Clarin, the city’s largest newspaper, rode horses and swam on an estancia dude ranch, saw AC/DC rock a crowd of 70,000 on the third night of a three-night stand in the River Plate soccer stadium, and consumed enough beef and red wine to choke a herd of horses, among other pleasing educations and diversions.

Then we went to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where we met with directors of the city’s largest private and public hospitals, lunched with the editors of the major daily, went to the beach for a day, ate dinner with locally posted foreign correspondents at the exclusive jockey club, had lunch at a local samba school, held seminars with academic historians, toured the black history museum, saw the Sao Paulo symphony orchestra play Mahler’s 5th Symphony in a refurbished Danish Modern-meets-Greek Revival hall that previously housed both a train station and a dictator’s interrogation staff, and waited outside for a cab under the watchful eye of a crowd of crack addicts.

When that was over I spent another two days in Paraty, a 16th-century Portuguese colonial town on the coast, and another three nights in Rio de Janeiro, where I took the trolly to the top of the Sugarloaf, hang-glided onto a beach, saw a massive Carnival rehearsal in the Sambadrome, drank several gallons of caipirinhas, and took a cool picture of Jesus. That is not photoshopped.

It’s been pretty fantastic. I took a lot of pictures. Some Argentina and Brazil pics are posted HERE.

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