Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport - Liege Monteiro
Getting personal

Jobim by Verinha Ottoni©

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro at the "new" airport Antonio Carlos Jobim, named after the great Brazilian musician. I remembered a few years ago, when he was playing in Rome, I was drunk and I called his hotel and sang for him over the telephone: " Os desafinados tambem tem um coracao", my best interpretation so far, believe it or not, and one of the most memorable times of my life. Then in the evening we had dinner with him and his wife Ana and he was talking about the crazy woman who had called him that afternoon, not knowing that I was the culprit.We stayed completely silent. He had always thought I was strange. I worked on a film about Brazilian music directed by Gianni Amico with Jobim and Vinicus de Moraes composing in front of us This was one the most emotional moments of my entire life!!!

My first night in Rio I had dinner in the apartment of Lucy Gadella Pillar which has photos of her beautiful daughters Denise and Patricia with Ciro ( the two latter are "the flavours of the months"). Lea Millon, the sister of Lucy and one of my best friends, was there. She has been helping me a lot - more of a sister than a friend! Also Denise' husband and his brother, Lea and her son Sergio (that after took me back home). Suely brought me a box of delicious biscuits. Lucy has a very good cook, Genny who has worked for her for more than 30 years. She made my favourite dish "galinha ao molho pardo", chicken in black sauce, made from the blood of the chicken. Lucy got all the Brazilian sweets to please me. I felt very loved!!!!

The next day I got on a plane to Belo Horizonte to discover that all my problems were caused by a mistake on the computer that had not printed my birth certificate complete, so when I urgently asked my best friend Maria Elly who is a lawyer to get this certificate which she sent to me.And the reason why the Brazilian Consulate in London had not accepted it was because it was incomplete. I asked who was going to pay for all the expense involved in coming to Brazil to get this certificate but I received no apology or anything. Maria Elly made everything easy and nice for me, even paying for everything, including a delicious lunch with my beautiful half-brother Mario Lucio. We have the same Lucio (a) because my father loved his aunt Tia Lucia, sister of my grandfather Xenofontes. I found it amusing how the Brazilians tend to name people after famous historical, mythical characters. My grandfather, was the son of Virginia, the great grandmother of all of us!!! In the evening I went to meet my half-sister Grecia and her beautiful daughter, my niece, Marcella. I looked at all the photos since the time she was born and now I know everything about her. D. Lourdes my father's wife was there reminding the past!!! It was very nice to see all of them!!!They are so darlings!!!But I felt guilty because I missed Mario Lucio's daughter, Mariana.Sorry Baby!!!

Then back to Rio I went to Maria Jose, Theresinha and their mother D.Maria who have considered me one of the family for nearly all my life. As my mother was a single mother I lived with them when I needed to, and their mother went to the kitchen and made me a cangica, all this at the age of 80 and having had a stroke!!!Lezinha did a wonderful lunch for me and even peeled a mango for me.She also packed fruits for me to take home - I was very much the emigrant even in Brazil!!! As I was leaving they said:"when are you coming back to live with us??? We miss you!!! Come back, we are praying for you to come back." It was here that I met my new nephews Joao Paulo (named after the Pope), and Luiza; very darling little babies.

Next morning I went to my other family; to D.Hilda's house, the mother of Simone de Alburqueque Sa,who has just had two grandchildren. D.Hilda is also the mother of Yvonne: I was the bridesmaid at her wedding with her sister Simone and their cousin Elvirinha, at her wedding to Flavio at another beautiful baroque church in Lagoa Rodrigues de Freitas, in Rio de Janeiro, (they have the furniture shop VELHA BAHIA). Yvonne and Flavio have two sons, Rodrigo and Ricardo Perroni, Ricardo wrote the film "How to be single in Rio de Janeiro" and has just finished a trip from Alaska to Patagonia by motorcycle and is writing a book about this experience. When we were teenagers Simone and I studies at the same school and I spent all my holidays with Simone in Salvador,Bahia guest of her aunt D.Elita e Abnezer. I remember I played Capoeira for many years???? WE WERE AHEAD OF OUR TIME!!! In Salvador I ran away with fire in my mouth,many times because I was an exhibitionist and stupid in thinking I could cope with the terrible chilli peppers of Bahia!!!

Simone and I talked about every aspect of our lives, and we talked very much about our socialite friend Liege Monteiro. In the '60s Simone, Liege and I looked very much alike - young, slim, beautiful and always together. We went everywhere together - cultural and social events, also to the beach; believe it or not we were Left Wing but now we lost our belief, and Liege Monteiro is a "champagne socialist" as they call them in England. Our group also include Bigode, Alexandre Meyer, Angelo a poet, and Liege's sister Liane and they are all in the film business. Liege today is very famous in Brazil, a public relation officer. On Sunday 11.6.2000 she gave an interview in the newspaper "O Dia" saying she is impressed with the number of people who ask her to promote them:(I definite need her) definitely not Left Wing!!
Simone's father had a house in the country where we spent the weekends horse-riding and hunting. I do not remember this but there are the photos!!?? They are also my family as I spent my entire life with them including Christmas - in those days. We were very close, having memorable time, even the first cigarette together!!!

I left Simone's house and went to Norma Benguell's flat in Lagoa Rodrigues de Freitas and I took her the CD she requested from London where she was singing.

In the afternoon I made some telephone calls. I loved to talk to my very best friend Joice Joppert Leal. She is a specialist in modern Brazilian design and work in Sao Paulo in the Federation of Industry. She is wonderful - so inspiring, positive and always ready to help me as when I lost my house in Rome she called me and wanted to help me. It is in these times of difficulty that you appreciate your best friends. I loved to talk to her. Our friendship began in the '70s in Milan when she was expecting her first child Diego Paiva by her first husband, the cartoonist Miguel Paiva. I did hope Diego,also know as Alain Delon,would marry my daughter Francesca but he wasn't in love with her. What a pity!!!Joice is the only friend of mine who invited me to be godmother to one of her children.

I also spoke on the 'phone to Joel Barcellos (actor-director) who said he was finishing his film and going to Italy to promote it. I do love Joel, we have been friends for more than 35 years. We talked,gossips for half-hour about Cannes - he actually called me from there. I was very impressed!!!

Then Elisa and her husband Abdias do Nascimento told me,also on the 'phone whilst I was in Brazil that they just returned from South Africa where he Abdias was lecturing at a conference (he is a influential Afro-Brazilian). They were very excited about the tennis-player 'GUGA' who is a big "hero" at the moment because he has won the 'Roland Garros' in Paris.
When I called Rosinha M. Penna at the time Guga was winning she refused to talk to me!!!???

I then went to my cousin Virginia's house in Urca. The taxi-driver could not find the house but I enjoyed the ride and the magnificent views over the Baia de Guanabara the Sugar Loaf mountain and the statue of Christ on the opposite mountain. When I finally arrived at the house, ( I was 10 hours later) but I was given hugs by all my cousins. They had a huge table full of the most delicious Brazilian sweets. June is a special celebration of St John with fireworks, cangica sweets and fire-propelled balloons, which have a habit of burning out when coming down, usually over the shanty towns so the Government has asked then to refrain from doing this but they take non notice. Helena, sister-in-law of Virginia took us to pray in front of the beautiful Baroque saint: Sao Antonio, because the following day was St Antonio's Day. When you want to get married you pray to St Antonio so they prayed for me - that I would find a husband!!?My cousins were joking with me and I said "one thing about me, I am very well-travelled". So Elsinha that is much travelled then me said "stop showing of".

The daughter of Virginia, Maria Beatriz, who has two beautiful children Fernanda and Renato that played with the fireworks, took me to Leblon to meet my best friend Marina - Oh Dear, I meant DR Marina Andrade Lima. I love to be with Marina - she is much younger than me and we laugh all the time. We were supposed to have dinner with Ricardo Perroni. They had met at my house in Rome in the '80s and at that time they taught me to dance the "CHICKEN DANCE" - what a time!!! Marina is a very beautiful blonde with green eyes which she hopes will encourage her future husband Ricardo(joke), and I plan to be a witness as they met in my house. Marina and I got drunk talking over old and new memories and had the most delicious Caipirinha de cachaca with some Bahiana food. Anyway if she doesn't marry Ricardo I will arrange for her to marry my cousin Antonio Carlos - I am the best match-maker in Brazil!!!

Monday was my last day in Brazil. I tried to finish sorting out my documents, but I did not manage. On Monday morning when I was in the centre of Rio de Janeiro in BNDES bank I came across Paulinho Sodre, economist, who I met in London in September last year when he was with my friend Patricia Saldanha Marinho. We went to the Royal Academy for Van Dyck exhibition and we had tea at Fortnum and Maison. He is a brilliant man. She is a gifted architect. They were "an item". I had a wonderful quickly afternoon with them in London. He is also a friend of my cousin Gustavo Franco.

Then I had an appointment with my very favourite cousin.She invited me to be a guest in her house,very sweet. She is always wonderful to me and my daughter. At the moment she is living in the house of her son Marco Aurelio, as she is having her house redecorated. I arrived by taxi and Marco's wife Patricia was leaving the house. She told me Eugenia was waiting for me and that the taxi need not wait because darling cousin Eugenia had put her car and driver at my disposal for the rest of my stay in Brazil and take me to the airport: what a wonderful help to me, such a kind thought. Eugenia is first wife of Marcello Alencar, the former Mayor and Governor of Rio de Janeiro. Eugenia looked gorgeous and with all her charm and sweetness she came out of the house and went to the car and said to her driver "please look after my cousin and take her everywhere she needs to go". I said "Oh my God - that is what I need: family hugs, to be someone,to feel loved. Really, everyone was so wonderful to me. When I left Eugenia's house in the car I wad accompanied by Dalva, another cousin, then she took from her bag a gold ring - I was very touched. She accompanied me everywhere in the car whilst I was seeing to various business matters and, finally, to the airport. There was cousin Elsinha and Virginia to see me off and Elsinha gave me a pair of earrings and a necklace. They had been waiting four hours for me there, as I was so late - I didn't know where to put my face!!! I really don't know how to say thank you to everybody - they were so kind to me as always!!!!!!!

My late arrival at the airport was due to traffic congestion in Rio de Janeiro caused by a gangster holding up a bus and holding a gun to the heads of passengers. What a pity such a beautiful city has such a violent side.

When I was going to Brazil I e-mailed all my friends including my future husband (him of the bushy eyebrows;how I love to pull them!!!). My e-mail has crashed, my telephone number in Brazil was wrong and I will never know if he tried to reach me, because I invited him to come to the wedding. WHAT A CHANCE HE MISSED!!!!


Copyrights @ Verinha Ottoni. All rights reserved