I desperately need to work on my Portuguese. I went to see Cats last week in Portuguese - a humbling experience considering I've been here two and a half years. I know that generally one does not catch every single word of a musical even in their native language, but in my opinion the amount I understood was rather pitiful.
So, I will resume lessons. I will watch more Portuguese TV and movies. I might even start on a novella!
There are two Brazilian films in particular which are making headlines back home:
Lula, Son of Brazil, was sent in as Brazil's entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign-Language film category. This was a controversial entry, as it has not been a well-received film. The nominees will be announced January 20th.
Wasteland - a film festival darling, documentary about a landfill outside of Rio - click here to learn more.
Expat Daily News put out an article recently on cinema from South America, check it out here.
What are your favorite Brazilian movies and programs?
Just another day in the life, people, another day in the life...
- Your child get completely traumatized by a kid in a (very realistic looking, I'll admit) spiderman costume at the park. Yet, said child wasn't fazed by the gunfire you could hear in the distance a few minutes earlier. Yes, that would be my Canadoca, this morning.
- It takes a quarter of the useful life of a passport to get an appointment to renew said passport.(Canadoca's first Brazilian passport was only good for one year; our appointment to submit our documents to renew it is almost THREE MONTHS away). Don't ask, just be sure to make your renewal appointment early. Around the time you receive the child's passport in the first place is probably best. ;) Currently they are not even accepting bookings at two of the four locations in the city, they are so backed up. Lovely.
- Child receives ELITE status card in the mail from airline, along with several tickets for alcoholic beverages on board. They must figure momma will need a drink (or that we might need to make some friends at some point on the long flight)... either that or they figure if she has some wine, she'll sleep better on the flight?
- Warnings of potential FOOD SHORTAGES in Brazil, along with Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, Nigeria, the Philippines. Click here for more on that...
- More dollars raised to fund Brazil oil - HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA (HRTP3.BR) raised more than $1.5 billion in a share offer last week, right on the heels of Petrobras' financing last month, which was the world's largest ever, at $25 billion. Brazil is still seen as being hot hot hot.
- In case you were up last night wondering about how social media is penetrating the Brazilian market... Orkut is still the most popular social networking site here, then Windows Live, then Facebook (though it is growing rapidly), then Twitter. More here.
Halloween is not the most popular holiday here. Despite the fact that kids LOVE to dress up here in costumes (and do so for any and every occasion, not to mention many non-occasions), and that sugar and candy don't seem to have any sort of limitations. Hmmm maybe they just don't need a special day for Halloween when every day is halloween if any random Tuesday you can be found running around in a batman suit eating chocolate bars...
"Halloween e Satanismo" signs are out everywhere, reminding good Brazilians that Brazil is a Christian country and Halloween is badddd news.
If - despite this effective propaganda - you are in Rio de Janeiro, looking for something to do for Halloween, the American Society is organizing events for both children and adults on Saturday October 30th. Web site here for more info.
Some things I've picked up - for which I'll be forever grateful...
- The value of well-designed closets. They've figured it, as I've mentioned before in a prior post. The Canadoca actually has a play area in my closet! No, you do not need to call social services, the closet is just that sweet.
- The importance of fibre in the diet. Feijoada, fruit, acai, quinoa, say no more.
- Essential oral hygiene. After-meal teeth brushing parties in the office bathrooms and dental floss in public washrooms. I have mentioned the Canadoca's brazilianness in her food choices but forgot to mention until now her absolute obsession with brushing her teeth. "Teeth" is also one of her favorite words of the moment...
- Smaller swimsuit bottoms somehow actually seem to make your butt look better/smaller. Funny how that works...
- Stand by your woman. After reading about this, I might need to Brazilianize my hubby a bit in this department! I bet there's not a couple in the world who hasn't had an argument about how one did not properly stand up for the other some awkward social or family situation. Well, maybe not this couple... What's am I talking about? It seems as though two US air marshals arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio recently. Why? She was reportedly intoxicated, unruly, and trying to break into the galley looking to score more booze. Before we judge, let's remember it's a 10 hr flight from anywhere in the states ;) I guess I SHOULD mention that she assaulted and, um, bit one of them. She happened to be on the same Houston-Rio Continental connection that I normally take.... now why can't anything as interesting as this happen when I'm on board! Like I said - a 10 hr flight - could use some entertainment! She has her husband not only just give someone a piece of his mind upon her arrival in Rio, but ARREST the air marshals for assault, took their passports and everything! They ended up FLEEING the country (and the bogus charges). So, fellas, let this be yet another lesson to you from the Brazilians - next time your wife asks you to speak up for her when your mother throws her a rotten dig, just do it, and remember it's not as though she asked you to initiate an international relations crisis on her behalf. I get that this guy may have taken Honor Thy Wife a bit over the top.... But who wants to argue with a biter? You can read more about this incident here.
There is a Brazilian expression that Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) has been known to share:
If you’re smart, you learn from your mistakes, but if you’re a genius, you learn from other people’s mistakes.
Last night Mr. DRL, some friends and I went to see the Black Eyed Peas here in Rio. It was exceptionally good. Rained a bit, but it almost made it better for some reason...
I've always known that the Black Eyed Peas loved Rio but will.i.am especially won over the crowd when he declared his intentions to buy a house in Rio next year and live here (in response, Mr. DRL yelled: "Buddy, you can't afford it! True in most cases, but I think will.i.am can likely swing it. )
The guy does love Brazil. He cheered for Brazil in the world cup, and says Jorge Ben Jor is his favorite artist of all time, and last night JBJ performed with the Black Eyed Peas on stage, which was fantastic.
Some recent Brazil related will.i.am tweets:
- I'm hungry I want fejuada... :) brasil is my favorite place on the planet...
- Wow...jorge ben jor performed with us on stage in rio :) "wow" another dream came true :)
A couple of weeks ago, Mr. DRL, the Canadoca and I headed up to Porto de Galinhas, just outside of Recife, for a week's vacation.
We're not really go-to-a-resort-on-the-beach-for-a-week travelers. But we loved it. Mr. DRL really needed a break from work. The Canadoca and I had spent more than a month away in Canada, so some family time was just what we needed.
After doing some research, we ended up booking in at Ocapora. It's quite a big resort with several pools and a nice beachfront, the breakfast there was fantastic.
We initially wanted to stay at the Summerville Resort or The Village, but both were fully booked (we only booked about 10 days before leaving). If you are really looking to celebrate/splurge check out Nannai resort as well, it looks amazing, (as it should, for R$800 per night).
We wanted to stay somewhere where we could put the Canadoca to bed and go outside and hang out close by. Ocapora has little waterfront bungalows which were perfect.
Porto de Galinhas is known for its coral reefs and tidal pools which form when the tide goes out; it's really quite amazing. The sea is so calm when the tide is out, perfect for little kids to play. Educational for older kids as well. Such a family-friendly destination - highchairs in every restaurant, cabbies with carseats, it was perfect for us.
There were flowers for the Canadoca to pick for her lucky mama!
The Canadoca loved running around on the beach at dusk...
The natural pools were the highlight of the trip for sure... this first set is right out front of Ocapora at low tide in the sand. So perfect for the Canadoca to play independently in the warm, clear water.
A few yards down the beach from the resort there was a huge set of pools at low tide, amazing for viewing and swimming with sea life...
There were two restaurants we loved in Porto de Galinhas - Beijupira (which also has a location in Olinda) and Domingo's. Here are some photos from Domingo's....
Just doing a little reading while Mr. DRL works late AGAIN... and thought I'd share...
This is an issue near and dear to my heart as I have a severe nut allergy. Canada's Globe & Mail published an article about a campaign by Canadian magazine Allergic Living to reduce the risk of a peanut-caused anaphylactic reaction on board an aircraft. Also... about how insane it is that peanuts are still served on planes. Can you imagine a worse place to have an anaphylactic reaction? I think it might ruin a few people's day... is it really so important to have those peanuts?
As much as I try not to bash Continental airlines, being that I depend on them to bring us and our loved ones to and from Rio, last time I flew with them, honey nut chex were the ONLY option available for breakfast. Nao e legal! Suddenly have a craving?
Ok here is something that is very nice-to-have especially here in Rio where highchairs are scarce in some cases and rickety in others...
This thing is amazing. Soooo great for traveling and small enough to just stow in a stroller. I have used it with regular old fashioned highchairs that lack straps, with a combination of chair + booster seat, very versatile, very handy, very washable!
Though it's not far from where I live, I visited the market at Cobal for the very first time last week. Amazing! Many hard-to-fin items and gourmet treats. I'll let the photos do most of the talking...
Gorgeous (albeit a bit pricey) flowers...
Amazing looking treats...
Which can be found here:
Now I know it has been keeping you up at night, folks... wondering where to buy sour cream in Rio? Look no further than Delly Gil at Cobal...
I'm actually not a huge tattoo fan - for myself - I think they suit others just fine in many cases! But I have been noticing them more and more lately. Really liked this one (but won't be getting one anytime soon!)
JW Marriott (NYSE: MAR) in Copacabana has been sold to Host Hotels & Resorts Ltd (NYSE: HST), but Marriott will continue to operate the property under a long-term agreement. I guess I'm not the only one commenting on the barriers to entry in the Brazilian marketplace, here's a quote from the release: "Host was able to acquire the fee-simple interest in an extremely high-barrier to entry location in a market which is experiencing exponential growth,” said Gregory Rumpel, executive vice president for Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in Miami." click here to read more.
Last week when I was away there were several incidents of roadblocks being setup for people to be robbed... word travels fast and the San Francisco Chronicle just put out a piece in its Travel Alerts section noting that thieves have been particularly brazen as of late. More here.
The New York Times put out a piece about househunting in Brazil here.
I frequently hear from readers looking for opportunities to, well, basically do what we're doing, work for a multinational here in Brazil. Coming soon to Brazil, SNC Lavalin, the Canadian engineering firm, which just struck up a partnership with Brazilian company Alusa. Click here for more details.
Anyone else receive requests for "Christmas lists" already? As a person who loves buying unique gifts for people, I don't really get the whole "send me a list of what you want for Christmas" thing... I mean, maybe if you have no idea what to get me, maybe we should just skip the whole have-to-get-you-something-cause-it's-Christmas thing. It becomes a bit meaningless - my standard response is... Ummm an itunes gift card?
Rather than this obligatory gift giving, I would much rather have a situation where approximately once a year we exchange spontaneous gifts because something was spotted that was just perfect for one another.... but enough about that!
Back to the point of this post - something that I definitely will NOT be putting on my Christmas wish list this year - but had to share with you, regardless - the "Ipanema" collection by Louis Vuitton. It's not new but for some reason I received an alert about it this morning. The price tag is obviously ridiculous (US$400 for a beach towel?) Check out this image I borrowed from an I love Louis Vuitton blog.
By the way nothing about this says Ipanema to me.
PS the reason I found this was because of this blogger, who sums up how I really feel about this...
PPS yes there is a Louis Vuitton store here in Rio, in Ipanema, no less! Rua Garcia D'Ávila, 114
How to spot the Brazilian on your flight? Besides how close they are standing to the luggage carousel (see my rant on this from a year ago) after the flight of course?
The answer is: look at their feet! I think that flying might be the most impractical time to wear heels (carrying luggage, swelling from altitude, long days, lots of walking), but not everyone agrees! Within about three minutes I captured the following photos at the airport the other day:
This woman even had a BABY! Extra points for coordination - I don't even like to hold the Canadoca wearing heels at the HOUSE let alone while trying to juggle luggage...
Ok, maybe I understand this last one. It's important for your shoes to match your bag AND carry-on.
Brazilian by birth, and by tummy too I think. The Canadoca loves the spoils of Brazil. Carne, acai, fruit, did I mention rice & beans?
The acai is the funniest though. At breakfast she tells me she's all done, then I offer acai, suddenly she has room for an entire additional BOWL... and yes I think it is probably the messiest food in existance.
You may be wondering what sort of acai I am feeding her, especially if you remember that I'm the super anal mom who didn't let her four month old baby eat cake. If not, click here for that story. What I do is buy the frozen plain acai from Zona Sul and mix it with the juice bar sweetened variety. You could avoid the sugar altogether by just mixing it with grape juice, banana, strawberry, or agave or something to sweeten it up (the pure stuff is pretty tart). I also mix in her vitamin drops, and am assured, as you can see below, that she takes in every drop....
There are three brands familiar to me back home that I have recently spotted in Brazil in unfamiliar settings: storefronts. Which brands? Clinique, Amway and Tupperware. Back home, Clinique is sold in department stores, not in its own stores. Unless something has changed since I moved.. Here, there is a Clinique store in Barra Shopping.
Amway is another brand sold here in its own stores. In Canada, it is sold under the Quixtar brand, generally out of people's homes but online more and more as time goes on, mostly because the word Amway is now synonomous with pyramid schemes.... anyhoo. Here in Rio, there is an Amway store on Rua Buenos Aires (loja 90 a) in Centro.
TUPPERWARE is the other brand normally sold out of homes, there is a Tupperware store across from Barra Shopping. Avenida das Americas 5001, Loja 106.
Bon Jovi is in Rio tonight. I am not. I've been gone all week, but I bet you couldn't tell! I had no idea that he was coming to Rio until after we'd booked our little getaway. When I heard, Mr. DRL was with me and immediately started laughing at what I assume must have been a look of devastation on my face. He asked if I would have changed our vacation plans if only I'd known. Well, not exactly, but... we were pretty flexible on which week to go away... yes I am an 80's girl at heart.
I have seen him before but if I found out that he played "keep the faith" while in Rio, I just might cry....
Gift Cards haven't totally caught on here in Brazil but I found some innovative gift-card-like packages at FNAC in Barra Shopping. They are put together by a company called A Vida e Bela. There are spa packages, hotel packages, leisure packages, hostel packages, adventure tourism packages - all at what I am assuming is a significant discount (the hotel package gives you a night's accomodation with breakfast for 2 people at your choice of 60 different hotels, for a whopping R$119).
The gift of choice - isn't that what everyone wants?
After taking my photo printing business to the super-expensive photo place in Shopping Leblon for the past 2+ years I thought I'd shop around a little bit before processing photos for thank you cards after mine & the Canadoca's jaunt to Canada. I found an amazing service that delivered to the apartment (in my case, within ONE day), for a third of the price of the other place. Plus shipping but let's face it, it's a rainy week, I could have easily spent that on cab fare going back and forth to Shopping Leblon. The web site uploaded the photos fairly quickly, it could be a bit more user friendly in terms of allowing more customization with the number of prints (what I ended up doing with those I needed multiples of is uploading them multiple times. Which was easy because of how quick the upload time was).
Here in Brazil, once determined pregnant, one can take a blood test to determine the sex of the fetus. From what I've been told, Brazil is one of the only countries in the world offering this sneak-peek. Ultrasound testing does not reveal the baby's sex conclusively as early on - generally this is done at 20 weeks, sometimes a smidge sooner (and sometimes inconclusively or WRONG), whereas this blood test is accurate, and can be performed as early as 6 weeks in. Early! To put this in perspective, when I was 6 weeks pregnant, I didn't know I was pregnant! I'd suspected I might be, and taken tests both in Argentina and Brazil, which were false-negatives.But I didn't even get conclusive tests to determine pregnancy until I was 7 weeks along.
Anyway! It costs R$400. It can be done. It is particularly handy if you are an expat, pregnant, planning a trip home in your first or second trimesters to shop.
Alternatively, if you are like I was and don't want to find out, prepare to be met with sympathy from Brazilians... what am I talking about? In my case more than one person assumed I was having a transgender baby when I told them I didn't know the sex of the baby. "You mean they couldn't tell? Nossa!"
Naming the baby after it's born? Unheard of! Most Brazilian babies are named before they're conceived, so it seems. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. Upon receiving the results of the baby gender blood test ;)
So many people have been telling me to do a post on tattoos - so here it is. You see a ton of wild tattoos in Rio. I am not sure if they truly are more common here or it's just that everyone shows more skin. Either way, I take photos of people's tattoos all the time, here are a few, will have to make an effort to post more...