My warm stockings aren't going to help much this time according to the weather forecasters. They keep saying that 2005 winter will be one of the toughest with harsh cold winds. Well, I certainly need to get my scarfs washed, fireplace fixed, and double my wine stock in the house cellar. I love winter, especially the lowest temperatures, my mood gets so much better during this season. It is just perfect for having pasta dishes, fondue, boiled pinhão (pine nuts), hot chocolate, and staying in bed watching psycho-thrillers under blankets and holding a glass of a fine pinot noir.
I know, I know, I know that this may sound strange since Brazil is a tropical country and blah blah blah... Most of my acquaintances from here think I am mad just because I enjoy getting the thrills from winter. I collect only nice memories during this season - no one can ever explain this. Let me illustrate what I am saying by telling you about my own experience of seeing "snow" for the very first time. That snowy landscape made my mind spin.
That was in Chicago in January 2000. I had left an airplane at the O'Hare Airport before taking another domestic flight heading south of the USA. The pilot welcomed the foreigners by announcing the local temperature: -35°C. I had exact one hour and a half for the connection: including passing through the INS and customs, and reaching the right gate for the new flight.
Chicago Airport is huge and there there is this breathtaking 'horizontal escalator' (don't know the right name of that) with dazzling lights all over the places and psychodelic tunes that one can listen to while riding on that, and most of the walls are glass made... In short, I needed to go across that area on that sorta "escalator" in order to find the monorail station. I felt like being part of a sci-fi movie of the 70's (Star Trek-like). In less than 5 minutes I was there, standing at the station. I turned around waiting the monorail and that is what I saw: snow flakes falling gloomily covering cars and turning everything that could have been seen plain white.
The monorail crosses the entire airport parking lot which is outdoors. The station I was supposed to get off was only fifteen minutes ride. As I had over one hour to get through the connection, I decided to stay in the wagon and stare constinuously at those cars covered by that white fluffy snow. My deep wish was to be able to leave the O'Hare Airport and walk on the city sidewalks, and play with it. The so-called harshness of a strong winter was never felt by me. On the other hand, that view caught my attention so bad that I felt like not moving at all from the shuttle. I kept there going back and forth, passing by the station I was supposed to get off two, three, four times. My mind got astonished by the beauty of that whiteness.
My one-and-a-half-hour interval to switch airplanes, all of a sudden, turned into a snap of fingers. I had no wristwatch on me so I asked the time from a gentleman sitting next to me. He kindly answered and my reaction went: "Oh my goodness! What am I gonna do now?" My next flight was going to take off within ten minutes... No, no, no, I did not miss that flight. I ran. I ran for my life. I ran like a fat kid would do if he were caught red-handed at a candy store. I ran. I truly ran. I ran but I did not break a sweat - another good thing from winter.