I went to the steps with a friend and her sister visiting from the states a couple weeks ago, and it proved that every experience in Rio is a little different. I take guests to Centro all the time, and do many of the same things over and over again, but there is always something slightly different and new, this time was not exception!
Selaron let us work on his masterpiece with him!
As you can see, he kept a close eye on us to make sure it was just right! What a character he is!
It seems as though there are deals to be had everywhere online these days. The newest thing I've gotten onto is Groupon back home (cities in Canada and the US) and Peixe Urbano in Brazil. Each are sites offering great deals (usually discounted by more than 50%) for gift certificates for products, services, etc. Today's deal in Rio is 80% off salon services at Werner's in Barra. Today's Calgary deal is 50% off of ice cream or ice cream cakes at Marble Slab Creamery. Pretty sweet!
So far I have bought some photobooks to help me get motivated as I am so behind on organizing my photos! Also some snowboard tuneups for Christmas gifts. Haven't bought anything from Peixe Urbano yet but I look forward to it! Check it out. I also recommend doing this for awhile before TRAVELING to these cities - could find some sweet deals!
It really amazes me how much traffic I get just for the shoe posts...
Well, I have a few things to make the shoe people happy today. If you don't care about shoes, you probably don't want to read this post, consider yourself warned.
First, a shot of the storefront of the Andrea Puglia store, the prices are pretty nice!
Next, some VERY cute Tory Burch knockoff shoes for KIDS - which I found at the always-cute kids shoe store Pé de Dragão,web site here, located in Shopping Leblon (Note that the Ipanema location recently closed down). When I was in Canada, we were out one day with a family friend and I was wearing my Tory Burch flats, the Canadoca was quite intrigued with the gold medallions on them, the friend kept saying "she needs her own pair"... well, looks like she'll get them now!
Ok speaking of Tory Burch shoes, they are made in Brazil, but I commented to a friend last week that despite this fact, I hadn't ever seen Tory Burch flats sold anywhere here in Brazil. Maybe department stores in Sao Paulo or something, but I have not seen them in Rio. Well, except for at Manufact, a very nice shoe store that has some knockoffs that are likely made at the same factory or something...
Anyway my friend told me that she had found Tory Burch shoes online here in Brazil from a site called Sapato Online - click here to link - where you can often find designer shoes heavily discounted before they even hit the states (a couple seasons ahead of schedule, folks). Bags too. You're welcome. Don't forget that your friend DRL sent you...
Back to matching mom and kid shoes - yes there was a time I thought this was cheesy but now I am all about the matching bathing suits and shoes. So far I am drawing the line there. Maybe jewellery would be cute too.... focus, DRL.
New store in Ipanema has GORGEOUS matching mom and little-girl shoes. The store? Patricia Veiga, Ipanema 444, Loja 128. Web site here, but so far there is nothing on it so my terrible bb photos will have to suffice. Canadoca's feet are still slightly too small for these which bodes well for us finishing the year on budget ;)
First thing's first. Who can tell me what kind of little critter this is that I spotted at Casa Cor last weekend?
Kind of like a big chipmunk but a small tail - anyway!
What the heck is Casa Cor? It's basically a huge showhome of living spaces both outdoor and indoor put together by a range of designers, plus restaurants and a few stores. Held in the Palacete Modesto Leal in Laranjeiras - gorgeous. Info on the residence itself can be found here.
We went last Sunday, quite a nice little outing which we concluded with Chinese food at the Chinese Cultural Center in Tijuca.
If you've been - what was your favorite space or decorative feature? Mine was the striped wall when you come upstairs with the variety of photos on it. I found a photo of it online, which made me happy since I decided to play by the rules for once and obey the no photos please policy... I want to recreate something like that when we settle eventually.
Mr. DRL liked the ambiance of the large blue living space on the first floor with the big windows. We both also liked the framed TV set in the upstairs living room. We both liked how many of the living spaces included desk spaces which were both functional and inclusive to the room yet not a focal point. My desk would definitely have to get tidier to be included in such a space ;)
Go check it out for yourself! It's a big gorgeous mansion in Laranjeiras, all decked out.On the 13th, many of the featured pieces will be sold....
Runs: until October 13, every day with the exception of October 11th.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-10. Sunday, 10-8.
Location: Rua das Laranjeiras, 304 - Laranjeiras.
Tix: At the door. Tues-Friday, R$30 Weekends & Holidays, R$35
As of September 1st, in Brazil it is now mandatory for babies and children up to 7 years old traveling in private passenger vehicles to be strapped into carseats. Previously use of carseats was simply a recommendation. It seems that taxis and buses are exempt.
Police in Rio began issuing fines on September 8th.
Those who disobey the rules will receive a fine of R $ 191.54 and seven points in the driver's license, plus the seizure of the vehicle until the deficiency is remedied.The new rule was initially to begin to be enforced in June, but was postponed because the seats themselves were in short supply. As it is, there are currently 3 month waiting lists at some stores to buy the seats. So, I am guessing that you could probably sell a carseat for a pretty penny here in Brazil these days! Especially considering they are about 4 x the price of the ones back home as it is!
One article I read estimated that previously just 32% of mothers in Brazil were using carseats to transport babies.
I'm putting this up tonight as there's a good chance there will be a rainy Sunday this very weekend!
Rio's Theatro Municipal recenty underwent a large-scale restoration and the results are quite stunning. The official web site can be found here.
Now, for the best Sunday deal in Rio - at 11:00 am every Sunday, you can enjoy a performance at the Theatro Municipal for the big expense of ONE REAL per ticket. You heard it here, people. (And to give credit where credit is due, I heard about it from seasoned-Rio-expat and "scener" as I've dubbed her, T.)
To my visitors who came before I knew about this - sorry! Now I guess you'll have to come back ;)
I think I certainly should! In fact, I'm strongly considering it. Click here to link to the full story from the Gringo Times but the gist of it is that Lagoa's Casa do Saber is launching a ‘Brazil For Beginners’ course. It runs evenings, starting October 14th, and will cover subjects such as . I'm sure it will be R$360 well spent. Click here for the course page on Casa do Saber's site.
I have some dandy blog posts up my sleeve, coming soon, as soon as I get a chance, I promise. Until then, maybe someone can help me out? Can anyone recommend a good place to stay in Olinda or Recife? Restaurants and must-see recommendations are welcome too!
As spotted by a friend of mine up at the kiosk above the end of Leblon beach. Apparently she was posing for her boyfriend who had a very simple point+shoot camera. I might feel bad about posting this, but let's face it anyone posing like this in public was just begging for this kind of attention!
I even get a kick out of how Brazilians pose in photos. This sex-kitten pose in front of a natural type surrounding presents a wonderful example. I've also been told that pretty much every Brazilian family has a photo somewhere in the house of the whole clan doing a thumb's up in front of important viewpoints/structures/landmarks. Such as, you know, Disney's Magic Kingdom.
No wonder everyone's doing it, it starts at the top, people, it starts at the top.
Just bought tickets to a couple of upcoming concerts in Rio de Janeiro... you'll never guess which ones! Here is a bit of a listing of what is coming up. ~ By the way ~ as an aside, I gave/repeated BAD information recently - Lady Gaga is NOT in fact scheduled to come here in November. This is not the first time that it was falsely reported that she was coming here - some sick freak likes to play with our emotions! I apologize if I got you all excited for nothing.
September 25 - Chicago + America
October 8 - Dave Matthews Band
October 15 - Greenday
October 24 - Black Eyed Peas
Tickets for all can be purchased on the LivePass or HSBC websites.
The Governor of Rio de Janeiro lives in our neighbourhood. There's a lot of security on his street. I figure it's probably pretty safe, even though most of the time the police in the car parked outside his building are sleeping. Every morning, a motorcade accompanies him to, well, wherever Governors go I guess. How do I know this? Sometimes I am lucky enough to witness the spectacle - and I mean spectacle - that is his motocade. Let's just say they put on a show, even if there's no traffic or apparent reason. (My dad, a former RCMP officer who did motorcades saw it once when he was visiting and thought it was wild. I think his exact words were "those guys are idiots"... ) Other days, I just see them loitering outside the governor's apartment. Often the entire team is there, heavily armed, dressed in camo, engines running, talking frantically on their radios as though they are to blast off to the moon at any moment when I pass by for my morning run or am taking the Canadoca to the park. More often than not, they are still there doing exactly the same thing when I return. Maybe the governor likes to sleep in?
In my mind, I have often wondered what these rapid-fire intense conversations on the radio are about. Certainly they may be discussing routes and traffic patterns. Or, maybe there's someone watching the governor's every move and reporting: "The governor is brushing his teeth! STAT!" So, they all fire up their engines. Then - oh - breaking the continuity of the morning - his mother calls. It'll be another 10 minutes, guys... Stand down.
The Canadoca is sure showing her personality lately. She's quite funny (I always say she's "smart like Daddy, fun like Mommy!") and VERY determined to do what she wants to do. On this trip I've been told by numerous family friends that she is bossy (some have come right out and said those words, others more diplomatically - haha). I saw a shirt that said "I'm not Bossy, I just know what you should be doing!" Might have to get it for her...
Though we had fantastic weather for much of our trip, in the twenties and thirties, when we went to visit some friends of my mom's on the Shuswap lake in the interior of British Columbia last week, it was less than 20 degrees Celsius, so not what I would call a swimming day, even in Canada. The Canadoca did not agree. She dragged me down to the water's edge, then to wading depth, then finally when it became apparent to her that I was not interested in swimming, she simply sat down in the water in protest. So at that point I had to go in at least a little bit, to retrieve her and all... She didn't seem to care that I was wearing a coat or that it was windy or cold. In her defense, the lake was pretty warm.
If only the Brazilians could have seen us! No, she was not wearing socks ;)
No, really, it is. And in celebration of my birthday, if you have a kid, or know a kid, you should buy that kid some cute and really, I promise, not-annoying-at-all kids music, to support a good cause. I have mentioned the Pacing the Panic Room blog and the amazing pregnancy photography series that the author did for his wife and subsequently for others as well. Now I mostly stalk that blog to see photos of their gorgeous kids - baby Tessa and who is a little younger than the Canadoca, and stepson "LB". The author's stepson lives with Smith Magenis syndrome, and the album I referred to above is a charity album to raise money to benefit its research. Hooray it's my birthday just happens to be my favorite track (I also really like Always A Blue Sky). The potty song is always good for a laugh too.
I realize that I post a lot of stuff about getting deals and shopping. You may even think that I'm a shopaholic. I assure you I'm not. Shopping is just incredibly different here, and something that will take some getting used to, and if you are smart about it, you can prepare yourself a bit before moving here. Don't just take my word for it - Reuters recently did a piece on Brazilian shoppers buying things outside of Brazil, my favorite quote:
"Frenzied shopping is the norm for Brazilian tourists abroad, who face some of the world's highest prices at home thanks to heavy import taxes."
So, it's not just the expats.... click here to read more.
And PS - there is really nothing like the Duty Free (or DUFREE) when you live in Brazil. Doesn't matter how late we get in we don't seem to miss out on a duty free opportunity...
I really feel as though I have had the best of both worlds lately - a fun, interesting lifestyle in Brazil peppered with frequent trips back to North America for visits and amenities. It's been great. I know I'm lucky.
When I'm in Canada the things I appreciate most (besides the visiting) are the wide open spaces, fresh air, and feeling of purity. Here are some gorgeous shots I took while visiting relatives just outside of Vancouver that I thought I'd share.
(Yes, there are two shots of the Canadoca, one with her Nana, one of her getting a lacrosse lesson...)
Much has been written in the media lately about Rio being reinvented, particularly with the Olympics and World Cup coming. When I am asked about the current state of Rio I am always hesitant to answer. I realize that my answer is totally dependent on my experiences there, which are in no way representative of what is going on in the city as a whole. We've been in Rio for over two years. Touch wood, we have not had any "incidents" happen to us, a few near-misses, sure, but nothing major. My opinion of Rio's current security state is largely dependent on this continuing to be true.
I also realize that after living in the big city for as long as we have, we've become hardened to certain things, again, we are not objective.
Nevertheless, in true Brazilian fashion, I will still offer an opinion! I do think that Rio is changing for the better, and it is being cleaned up. I hear about less incidents of horrendous crime, the drive to the airport doesn't seem to scare my guests the same way it used to before the "walls" along the road went up, and I feel safer overall. Maybe it's the Polyanna in me, who knows.
Smithsonian magazine put out an interesting article on Rio's reinvention this month, check it out here. It talks about the opportunity Rio currently has to repair itself, and the hows and whos, shortcuts and challenges of getting Rio "there".
On the other hand, an interesting quote from a piece The Guardian put out on the recent gunfight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sao Conrado:
"We have been sharing in the illusion that Rio is entering another chapter, turning the page on the horror," he said. "But this shows that the pacification units are merely islands of excellence in an ocean of barbarity that is very much alive."
My only comment on this incident is that since living in Rio I have not heard of a single incident of a tourist being killed here, though I have heard of SEVERAL meeting such unfortunate fates in countries such as Mexico. Yet people seem to have no fear of going there, but Rio is terrifying to them. Strange. Apparently this incident was enough to scare off the stars of Twilight from filming in Rio!
Anyway! I think I have been sharing in the illusion, too. I have relaxed, about a lot of things. Or maybe just become lazy? Maybe I have changed.
What do you think? Is Rio getting safer? Has it changed?
I am getting really excited to get back to Rio, I miss Mr. DRL! Can't wait for our next datenight, I think I'll take him here, the newest spot on Epitacio Pessoa on the canal in Ipanema ... Anyone been?