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Go Corinthianos

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Or actually shut the #$#@ up! Seriously, please, I’ve got kids ;)  Yesterday was the 4th of July, not really meaningful here in beautiful Sao Paulo. But it kind of felt like it last night, fireworks till midnight… thank you again Corinthianos.

Had I been in the US, we’d have been grilling hot dogs (they don’t grill hot dogs here, just sausages, hot dog grilling seems weird to them) and hamburgers, and eating potato salad.  Interestingly it’s been blue skies and sun the last few days here.  Plus the kids are all out of school, so they’ve been having water fights at our apartment complex (using the shower for the soccer court as a “pool”); it really feels like a US Summer.  It’s like Brasil is trying to woo me back.  And of course to top it all off last night was the BIG WIN for the Libertadores Cup (South American soccer cup).

Yes soccer fans  the Sao Paulo Corinthians came out on top (their first win ever).  I don’t even have to turn on the TV to know when a goal is scored (don’t worry it’s on, my husband wouldn’t have it any other way), the ENTIRE neighborhood explodes.  For the record we’re not Corinthian fans, but it’s still nice to know that Brasil won the cup.  When the Corinthians finally won, the horns, and screaming, and fireworks went off for at least an hour.  It was an all out party last night, I was afraid my two year old would wake up.  I literally had to sleep with the 3 month old on my chest, as he kept getting startled by the noise and fussing.  It was THAT loud.  But what else would you expect from Brasilians who know how to celebrate, and well the Corinthian fans do have a reputation, somewhat akin to Raider fans.

Portuguese Word of the day- Garoa

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So if you plug garoa into google translate it translates it as drizzling.  As a resident of Sao Paulo for the past year, I can tell you that is an incorrect translation.  Sao Paulo seems some days to be in a constant state of garoa.  Garoa isn’t just drizzling, it’s more like a constant mist.  It’s lighter than any drizzle I’ve ever felt. It reminds me of the water that would hit me as I would stand next to the showers at the beach… or that mist you get sprayed with when standing near a waterfall.  Drizzle it is not.

All I know for sure now though, is that I could NEVER live in Seattle.  I am not a fan of garoa, or the grey skies that accompany it.

child model

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Ok, I’m THAT parent. I think I have the cutest kid (kids now) in the world.  I say that slightly sarcastically, but I really do think my son is adorable, and has a good personality. He’s goofy, but generally a happy kid and not fussy or whiny.  For these reasons, my husband always said I should get him into modeling.  I never have, because I’m too lazy to look into it, and because I don’t really think it’s worth the money.  Let’s be honest, child modeling is really all about making sure that your kid’s cuteness is validated.

But the other day, as my kid sat eating a McDonald’s ice cream cone at Shopping Morumbi, a lady came up to me to give me her card for child modeling.   See look at those luscious lips. How could you not want him to be a model? ;)

My husband pointed out that the owner of the company didn’t look too chic or too credible, but I have her card, so if you want to do child modeling, here’s her info:

Typo’s Producoe Agencia de Modelos
www.typos.com.br

Rua Lamartine Babo, 113
Chac. Sto. Antonio
CEP 04714-050 – São Paulo – SP
(11) 5182-8683
(11) 5182-6811

Too bad we’re leaving next month, he could have been the next Giselle… only 2 and a boy…so now the real reason for this post, to share shamelessly photos of my kid.

Blue Steel

Lock up your daughters- the tough guy

Brazilian tanned

Ripping off the Electric Company

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So  we’ve been stealing electricity for the past year and a half.  When we first moved in we waited, and we waited, and we waited for the electricity bill to come, but it never did.  We rationalized, this is Brasil if we weren’t paying, they’d be certain to shut off our power immediately… someone was paying it.  Then we decided that maybe it was our landlord, part of the rent you know.

Well as we are moving out in a month, we got an email stating that our landlord would like our gas bill and electric bill for the last month, showing we were paid in full…. UH OH.. who has been paying our electric bills???

We headed down to the Electric Company (with baby in tow so we could take advantage of the preferential policy here in Brasil, bad I know) to work it out.  We were asked if we had electricity, as it turns out that they showed the electricity off since December 2010.  Yes that’s right folks, they’re sending someone out to read the meter from December 2010 (we moved in January 2011 ish).  We get to pay the amount, any guesses on what 18 months of electricity will cost us?  

We’re guessing R$7,000.

What’s the gossip??

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So the other day the building maid called our apartment asking for our baba.  When she came back upstairs she let me know that there was some VERY scandalous gossip going on in our building.. . a potential assault, and the night guard was going to be fired for it.

Norman Rockwell

The night guard it turns out tried to kiss our nanny one night, and grabbed her arm .  When trying to escape he ripped her shirt…. of course she remembers none of this.  I was amazed, how had something this scandalous come about, and why would my nanny be mentioned??

What really happened is she started her own little gossip chain.

Back in  the beginning of May, she was out walking and ignoring our Zelador who was calling her name.  So he grabbed her arm (some what roughly according to her).  She was so incensed that he would even touch her (she is prone to being dramatic), especially since she has a boyfriend. etc.. etc.. she complained to an empregada of the apartment of a friend of my son .  The empregada has a mother who also works in our building, and of course she shared the story with her mother.  From there I’m not sure, but a driver of another family heard it, and took it upon himself to tell the head of the building association’s president.

We of course just laughed at our nanny, and reminded her that she started the whole chain in motion.  Brazilians love their novelas, and it seems the staff in our building have lots of free time on their hands ;)

Don’t worry we made her clear it all up; no jobs lost.

Is the economy in Brazil weakening?

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Bloomberg published an article the other day on BRICs countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

The largest emerging markets, whose economies grew more than four-fold in the past decade, are making losers out of everyone from central bankers to Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) as their currencies post the biggest declines since at least 1998.

A declining economy is something we hear a lot of on the news, with the US’s economy problems, and more and more countries in the EU facing economic difficulty, it was only a matter of time.  However Brazil has often be touted as an economy on the rise, the Olympics and the World Cup are coming.  Real Estate and businesses are growing, with lots of foreign investments, and the middle class growing.  Brazil was doing great.  When we moved here a year and a half ago, I read many an article on how expats were being brought to Brazil to help with all of this growth.

But it turns out Brazil is at the edge of it’s growth bubble. Yes, this is just an article, maybe Brazil is still growing strong.  But the article points out that investors are pulling out, and Brazil’s consumer default rate rose to the highest level since 2009.

A surge in bad loans in Brazil will weaken the real further, said Amit Rajpal, who manages global financial funds for London-based Marshall Wace LLP. The default rate on consumer debt rose to 7.6 percent in April, matching the highest level since December 2009, as lending growth slowed to 18 percent from a record 34 percent in September 2008, according to the central bank.

Coupled with the default rate, is the currency issue.  While US expats are cheering, with their dollar going further, this is actually causing issues across the board, as a weak Real is not good for businesses here.

Currencies from Brazil, Russia and India will probably decline at least 15 percent further by year-end, said Jen, the former head of global currency research at Morgan Stanley.

Not so scientific is an observation that it seems like a lot of expat “contracts” seem to be up, or are just leaving Brazil right.  When we arrived a year ago, we would have killed for people leaving so we could scoop up all of their belongings, but there weren’t as many as there seem to be now— but then again maybe we are just more in the loop!

Our Rio Trip– or lessons learned

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Last weekend we decided last minute to head to Rio.  Since we have kids, we thought we’d break up the drive and sleep in Paraty for the night.  We stayed at the Pousada Eclipse in Paraty, which is farthest from the town, and right off the freeway.  With free wi-fi, 2 beds, and a clean room for R$160 a night, I was fine with having to park in town.  So no photos of this VERY VERY beautiful city, as we basically drove in and thought we’d grab lunch… so I left the camera in the car.  Then we started to walk, as we didn’t realize that half the town is foot access/ cobble stone only. Of course this meant I had to stop and by Haviannas, as I was wearing heels, and you can’t walk these streets in anything but flats.

From Wikipedia– since I left the freaking camera in the car

Paraty is a MUST MUST MUST.  The streets are quaint, and all the restaurants looked great.  They have little cultural events all the time, as they need something to attract people.  When we were there it was a big dance showcase.  We didn’t go in, but in the jeito of Brasil, we passed off our squirmy 2 year old to the waiter (we ate at 7 so no one was in the restaurant), and he took him into the show across the street since he had access to it.  SOO wrong right? I would never do that in the US, but this is Brasil.  For R$30 we went on a buggy ride of the city, I recommend it, as you get a real quick look at all the shops etc, and then can decided where you want to go, versus walking the whole thing.  And you hear a bit of the history.  If we had actually planned to stay in Paraty, I would have loved to go on one of the many day trips on a boat, or taken a class at the cooking school they have there (classes in English too).  Paraty is known for the art/culture, and there were some unique shops and art galleries.  Alas, we were only “resting” here, and didn’t do much other than look and kick ourselves for not visiting sooner.

Sooo Rio… I have to say, it was nice to be somewhere warm instead of cold like Sao Paulo is right now.

taken prior to the “accident”

My initial observations on Rio, are the following:

  1. Architecture in Rio is older and more ornate, there are a lot more buildings and churches here to enjoy
  2. The graffiti style in Rio is different- first there is more art graffiti, second the tagging is more curvy than the spiky styles of Sao Paulo
  3. The beach fairs they have at night, probably have the best touristy chotchky crap I’ve seen yet, I actually wanted to buy a lot of it

So lessons learned on this trip:

  1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the camera battery before leaving the hotel room to Pao de Acucar– hubby pointed out each and every “photo moment” that I missed
  2. Check the weather at Corcovado before you go.  It seemed sunny until we got to the top
  3. Carry and extra shirt, and bring a second baby carrier- just in case you’re on top of a big mountain and your kid decides to kill both the Moby and your shirt.
  4. Set up a baby changing area on the counter in the bathroom, before you go to bed, so that when your kid poops at 4am, you don’t wake up the 2 year old too.
  5. Bring a point and shoot camera, not just your fancy Cannon, as your husband will expressly forbid it to be taken to just walk around Rio with. It’s the shark rule- it’s okay to swim in shark infested waters if everyone else is a target too (major tourist areas– not the beach)

We stayed at the Windsor Palace for R$360 for a King + twin.  It was a great deal for Rio, and the room and hotel was clean and 2 blocks from the beach.  They recommended a Churrascuria in Copacabana called the Palace for dinner.  I think it’s the first one I’ve gone to that I really really liked.  Again a list.

  1. The meat was delicious, AND varied, they had shrimp, squid, bbq pork ribs, and the best picanha I’ve had (better than Fogo de Chao)
  2. The appetizers on the table were good- garlic fried shrimp, onion rings, farofa
  3. There was a sushi bar, where you could order any roll you wanted or just slices of sashimi– and it was a welcome break from the usual meat fest
  4. The salad bar had a hot bar- paella, grilled salmon, pasta — again a nice change from just red meat
  5. For all of that the price was only R$70

The 2 year old was of course free, but he pounded down food like I’ve never seen him do before, he thought it was all delicious too.  He also polished off an entire cup of watermelon juice (which is just weird to type in English.  Suco de Melancia just seems right).

All in all, Rio was lovely, warm and I enjoyed our quick drop in, and right now as I snuggle my 2 month old to steal his body heat as Sao Paulo is cold as usual, I miss the sunny beaches.

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