Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mixing Business With Brazil...

1st Day's Sunrise in Macae, Brazil

Evening Sets over Macae's Broadwalk

Early morning, before the Sun shows up

Early Morning Sunshine on the South Atlantic

The Southeast Side of Macae

But my trip wasn't all sunrises and sunsets ... Divisional Office in Brazil

We head out to the drillship late Friday morning
Bob tells me about Macae's port, which is a little over 100 years old. I enjoyed the scenery and the ride - a little reminiscent of my Coast Guard days.

A what? A personnel basket hoisted high overhead by a crane is the only way onboard.

My first ride in a personnel basket, but no worries... always looking for an adventure!

We take a tour

Behind the Bridge of the ship lies the control room... six thrusters dynamically position the ship during drilling operations - the ultimate in station-keeping - making it capable of drilling in over 7,000 feet of water.

A steady hand. Deep in the hull - the engine room - Bob and Elton walk past the ship's original engine as I shoot. I love this shot - the shutter holds itself wideopen to capture the natural lighting, which is of course very dark. The camera captures the seeminly whispy human images in front of it. How ghostly... how I held my hands so steady is beyond belief!

By the look on Elton's face, they must be discussing business. We enjoy lunchtime in the ship's galley - very good food!

The real reason we're there... Elton shows the Materials Coordinator how to use the new SAP system that's now onboard all of our fleet

We head back to shore

I get in the last shot of the drillship


* * *

But then the weekend... what's a girl to do? Saturday afternoon, we were invited to join Israel's friends and family for food and fun.

Our very gracious hosts, Israel, our Brazilian colleague, and Helena, his lovely wife. Helena is an EXCELLENT cook! Wish you could have been there.

Removed from the rain and wind pounding down on Houston, we can't help but enjoy our hosts and their company.

But we kept a close eye on Hurricane Ike all day... how could we not?

Man, I was one white "gringa" among the dark skinned Brazilian beauties!

* * *

We leave Macae a few days later and head for Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, in my estimation, tops as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I will believe so until I see otherwise.

The cable car to and from the top of Sugar Loaf

Corcovado in the backgroud... a picture shot from Sugar Loaf. (007 fans know the infamous landmark, Sugar Loaf, from "Moonraker")

* * *

Shots of Rio from Sugar Loaf (below)

One of the last shots of the day... Copacabana Beach lies behind me

* * *

Thank you, LORD, for being so kind and gracious to me - You continue to give me the desires of my heart. Bless Your Holy Name!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricane Ike: My Family and Friends Are Safe

Hurricane Ike
(Photo by NASA)

I can't believe the biggest Hurricane to hit Houston in over one hundred years hit while I was away from home.

Galveston, Texas after devestating hurricane that killed more than 8,000 in 1900

(ABC News)

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, business had me in Brazil. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there to take care of my own home and my kitty, Beauregard.

My friend, Lynette, and her husband, Bob, were so very gracious... Lynette packed up and picked up Beauregard before Ike hit to take him into their home. Thankfully, Beauregard did not have to ride out the storm alone nor did he have to endure being in an apartment without ventilation in the wake of the Ike. Many thanks, Lynette and Bob!

Furthermore, I was not there to ensure there was not any water entrusion in my home. My friend, Tom, however, went out of his way to run by my apartment to survey for damage - none to report - thank you so much, Tom! Hugs and kisses!

My grandbabies and daughter-in-law were safe in northern Texas, near the Oklahoma boarder. My son was in Houston but stayed at his friend's home to ride out Ike. Please, pray for my son and his family, though. They have certainly lost the new vehicle they bought last March to Ike's storm surge, winds, and rain along the Louisiana coast. Last week, the car broke-down somewhere along Hwy 82, about 20 to 25 miles east of Port Arthur, Texas, when Josh was driving to Cameron, Louisiana, to catch the crewboat going out to the offshore drilling rig on which he works. Josh did not have enough money to get his car towed and fixed until he got paid this past Friday. But obviously, Hurricane Ike altered Josh's plans to get the car to a garage to get it fixed. Please pray for them... pray God will give them wisdom and bless them beyond their expectations! They are very young and inexperienced... and now, they have to deal with an insurance claim in trying to recoup the loss. Josh and Collette really need two cars since Josh drives 8 to 12 hours round trip every two weeks to work and Collette has two babies to raise by herself while Josh is offshore for two weeks of every month.

The only fortunate thing about being in Brazil right now is that I am sitting in an air conditioned hotel room that has a beautiful veiw of the Atlantic ocean.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers for my family and friends... thank you!!!! From all reports, my loved-ones are safe. Even though Josh and Collette lost their new vehicle, they are safe and sound... and that's all that counts! Thank you, LORD God, for your lovingkindness!