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Category Archives: O jeito Brasiliero

Check your underwear

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I had to laugh when I read this news article.

Brazilian underwear to come with health warnings after 12 years of debate

Just like the cigarette packages here that comes with warnings, your underwear will also come with warnings.  You think they’ll be as … um graphic as the cigarette packaging?

So check your underwear packaging, because if you buy it in Brazil it’s going to remind you to get those mammograms or check for prostate cancer, and if you are a woman your underwear will remind you of the importance of condoms in preventing cervical cancer (seriously the zillion other reasons why condoms should be used were not important? And why are only woman’s underwear targeted?).

What’s hilarious (or sad) is that 12 years of government money was wasted on this bill.  The Brazilian government could have been looking at sooo many other important issues, but they spent their time on this one.  I also agree with the manufacturers, it will cost more for them to implement, and those costs will be passed along to the end user.  So next time you ask why things are so expensive here in Brazil, well here’s yet another reason.



The Jeito of Water

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So there have been some public workers in front of our house for the past few days.  2 days ago we got a call and a flyer noting that the water would be turned off for a full day and a half. In the US this would be unthinkable, because if the water is off.. the WATER IS OFF.  In fact growing up on the island of Hawaii, all I learned in elementary school was how to make conserve water posters for the state art competition (seriously don’t ask me what else I learned). So I’m already pretty paranoid about using a lot of water and being wasteful… your neighbors would turn you in if you watered your lawn on a “non water day.”

Here in Brazil though, most houses have a backup water supply on the roof. So we were all set.  It was more, please use a little water and don’t do the wash. My husband (and I’m sure most of the other tenants here) would have gone nuts without the morning shower if the water was truly off.  Today, exactly at 10am, my husband insisted I start the load of wash, he insisted he didn’t see any of the men at work, and the water should now be on for us.  I was hesitant, in fact this whole time I’ve been trying to conserve as much water as possible, fearful that all of the other people won’t be able to flush their toilets.  Hubby and nanny have not been as fearful, they’ve got the true jeito going on.

So today, as my load is running we get a call, “Hey water’s not on yet, water is really being used a lot and we only have half a tank of water left and it’s going fast.”  OH CRAP! My load of wash just took down the building! I knew it, I should have waited longer till I got an all clear sign, I’m a horrible wasteful American.  These are the thoughts streaming through my naive little head.

My husband and maid laugh. Turns out she (super plugged into the building gossip this one) heard the building maid or something and the Portero talking about how everyone in the building was acting like everything was normal the entire time and using a ton of water.  He wasn’t singling me out, he was just calling everyone to let them know.

So moral is, everyone is in it for themselves.  Get your water while you can, because if you don’t use it someone else will.

Patents, inventions, and crazy priests…

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Thank’s to this comment I read this article, and was amazed, wow this Priest was a pioneer in radio!

 Not sure if the comment was meant as sarcasm, but I really do love learning new things.  And I do think that countries tend to skew their history.  It was the one thing I remember most from high school, my World Geography/History teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She made us copy notes off of these giant sheets of paper, and we didn’t have a text book. She insisted that text books are rewritten by the views of the writers themselves, and didn’t want us to just have the “Anglo-Euro world view”. World history wasn’t just the European world. I wrote papers on great Chinese and Japanese “heroes”  and studied the tribal history of African tribes.  It’s probably the one class I remember from high school, years later.  It has also helped immensely with Jeopardy 😉

To the meat of this blog though. I thought there was real hope with this. I really had fun researching this, and learning all about the radio. I love Wikipedia like everyone, but let’s be fair, anyone can comment on it. This is why I usually try to double check the facts elsewhere.  Was this priest an inventor of radio?! Why have I not heard of him!

So the facts. I know Tesla was one of those radio guys (from various sci-fi shows I have watched, sad I know…sigh). And Marconi is a familiar name. I figured I should read up on these guys first.  Just that alone was fascinating.  The US Patent office, based on money and self interest, gave Marconi and then took away a patent for radio.  Because in the end Tesla had patented it first, just didn’t have as many connections.  You can read about that on  It was pretty interesting (and short reading).

But the main thing I got from this, is that there were slews of people before them, messing around with various ways of transmitting sound.  These two (namely Marconi) made money and isn’t that the way life is sometimes. It’s not what you invent, but what you invent that is marketable.

So what did this priest invent?

Well this is what:

So let’s be fair. Graham Bell in 1880 patetented a device called the photophone- a phone that didn’t require wires just “light beams”.. pretty cool, and this is the tech that’s used for fiberoptics today.

Robert Landell de Moura it seems used the same theories, but it was different enough that the US Patent office granted him a patent for his wireless phone. He also used light waves. I’m not geeky enough to see the difference between Bell’s and his.

What I do know is he was a priest, and sadly like most priests ahead of their time… and into science he was viewed and labeled a crazy heretic.  But at least he can proudly know that he now sits with the others religion labeled crazy, like Leonardo da Vinci right? 🙂  Moura really truly believed this was ground breaking science, that people would use it to talk to each other during interplanetary travel.  I’ve gotta say, he definitely got it right.  Had he been well connected like Marconi, or just a known scientist like Tesla he really may have gotten somewhere.  Unfortunately, he didn’t, and now he’s just another name in the books of people dabbling in transmitting sound.. like the Kentucky farmer Nathan Stubblefield.  It seems he was also the first person, by about 6 months to transmit the human voice.  So way to go Padre Moura… sorry you haven’t gotten more recognition.

I guess it just goes to show you, knowledge is only as good as what you do with it.

Look both ways… twice

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Some people really hate this about Sao Paulo… err Brazil in general.  You can’t cross the street and expect the cars to stop.  Pedestrians do not have the right away here.  I have a super cute adorable little ball of fofo- “cute” so people usually stop  out of courtesy.   In fact some nice old lady helped me carry groceries home the other day.  See aren’t Brazilian’s nice.

Well that is of course until they get behind the wheel.  They go flying through intersections.  If you are the pedestrian you had better look both ways and make sure there are no cars coming.  And if you see a motoboy, don’t even think about trying to beat him to the other side of the crosswalk, because he will get there first. AND he will definitely not stop.

I like this, no more lame pedestrians jumping into the cross walk making you stop and miss the next light.  Yeah, I suck, oh well.

So with that introduction to the laws of crossing the street in Brazil. I found this little site funny.  A crossing guard.

See how the guy is holding a VERY long pole with a STOP flag on the tip of it? Yep that’s right, even crossing guards here know better than to stand in the center of a crosswalk with a shiny orange vest and a stop sign.  They’re not taking any chances with their lives either.

A vist to the States

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I had to head up to Beverly Hills… and as I have a kid, I had to take him with me. Since this trip was not paid for by my husband’s company this time, I didn’t have the luxury of traveling with an extra seat… just me, the baby carrier, and the wild little monkey.  Oh how I missed my beautiful, lovely Sao Paulo.  Yes, that’s right, after a week in LA, I wanted to come home.

The trip to LA, wasn’t too bad.  I was lucky enough to have a bulk head seat, so I laid down a quilt and down went my son.  The mid-flight turbuelence  required that I pick him up and that did not sit well.  But seriously, bulkheads are the way to travel.  The trip back, I also got a bulkhead seat, and no turbuelence, and he slept like a dream.  But you don’t care about the ease of bulk head seats do you right?

So let’s see, all of the things I love and hate about America.

  1. Chicago has those new sanitary toilets that automatically change a plastic liner and those were pretty cool.  LAX is a big, ugly, dirty mess and doesn’t have any such pretty toilets, so -1 LA

Am I lame because I took a photo of it?

  1. United Airlines flight attendedants were pretty rude about letting me on the plane when boarding all of the mediallion/business class passengers.  Whatever happened to letting women with children on first.  I even explained that I was traveling alone, had a really heavy backpack, and was suffering from a case of food poisoning– still no go… in fact no-go rather rudely – 1 America – 10 United
  2. The lack of a culture who appreciate babies – 1 LA + 10 Brazil The old gma on the plane from LAX was so cold to my son, and I could hear her grumbling to her husband about how annoyed she was we blocked the “natural light” from the window whenever I breastfed him. My son cried for the first time ever on a plane -repeatedly.  The super nice Brasilian woman on the way home, smiled and made my son laugh and he was a dream. Shoot, even the German director who we flew up with from Sao Paulo was nicer than this old lady…and he’s a guy! She just gave that “I don’t like that you have a kid” vibe and my son was very perplexed by it.
  3. All the freaking stop signs in Beverly Hills -1 for each one of those things LA
  4. The lame LA driver who honked at me because I was turning left.  If you have such a problem with left turns, then get rid of them like Brasil has – 1 LA
  5. All the stupid people who want to turn left and make me have to try and guess if I should be in the right or left lane – 1 LA (irony I know)
  6. Cheap baby stuff, peanut butter, maple syrup, and BestBuy +10 LA
  7. The parking ticket I got in Beverly Hills for parking at 2am … so you know Beverly Hills is a no parking anywhere at night zone.. even if there aren’t any signs. I would give LA another minus, but Sao Paulo’s no parking signs aren’t much better. Zero
  8. LA Drivers, who think they’re good, but all have their knickers in a bunch – 1 LA Even if everyone says Sao Paulo drivers are crazy, they are just some how all at the same standard, no slow-poke, crazy drivers here.  If you are flying through the intersection, you offer a courtesy honk.  There’s no doubt should I stop for that pedestrian… they have to watch for you. There’s no doubt, will this car try and squeeze in even though I have the right away… they know you have the right away, there’s no false niceties here in Brasil. And I like it that way!
  9. I totally forgot how fancy the cars are here in LA.  I guess I’d gotten used to the fleet of grey hatchbacks in Sao Paulo that I was finally awed by the fleet of porches and mercedes. +1 LA
  10. My husband was in Brasil -1000 LA

On a separate note, only slightly related. Our flight from Brasil and on to LA was filled with Germany’s Next Top Model cycle 6 contestants.  You know how they say babies like perfect faces…it’s true. My son seriously stared them down.   Then again, my kid likes women 😉 On the flight from Chicago to LA I actually got an empty seat next to me, but again we were on the flight with models, and the one next to us was bringing back a head dress.  They had done their shoot for Carnival in Brasil, and she said she just bought it and wasn’t the winner.  I guess the winner got to ride one of the floats and wear the whole outfit.  It hasn’t aired yet, so I couldn’t see who it was.  She just slept the whole time, and my son may or may not have broken off a few beads.  The model across the isle was much nicer, and kept smiling and my son… why couldn’t she have sat next to me? All she had was a book!  Hope she wins, just for her being the nicer one, without the big headdress 😉

Beverly Hills Parking Tip

I stayed at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. It’s one of those boutique hotels.  All modern and trendy (the crib was completely made of metal… yeah clink, clink, clink is what I heard as the little beaver chipped away at the metal rails) and recently renovated.  Recent renovations means your room smells like new carpet, paint and resin.  Parking was $30 a night, so I opted to park on the street. I was usually out of the hotel by 6 am, and not home till after 11pm anyway.  However, as I mentioned above, if you park between 2am and 5am, you will get a ticket. I managed to avoid a ticket the first night, because it turns out the Avalon hotel is right on the border of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.  My first night, I had parked down Beverly between Pico and Olympic.  I didn’t get a ticket, as I guess I was on the “Los Angeles” side of Beverly (the street signs turn blue, and don’t have “Beverly Hills” on them).  So that’s my tip, if you don’t mind walking a block.

Also don’t eat at Houston’s in Century City… I got food poisoning something wicked there… the worst sickness of my life ever.  My little sister had to pack my luggage for me. I paid the baggage claim guy at LAX (who by the way was not so subtle with his “If you take care of me, I’ll take care of you”) to check me in at the counter, got LAX security to let me in the front of the line, and chugged Pedialyte and ate my son’s teething biscuits.

**Update** The LA County Health Department called me (I reported the food poisoning, because I’m like that okay?!) to report that they inspected Houston’s and they failed the inspection on the handling of their primerib meat… so yeah, it was totally their fault.

Sodium much?

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I will admit, I am not much of a salt eater. It bloats me. As I have a modicum of pride, I won’t be posting any photos from my pregnancy…but yeah it bloats me.

It is no surprise that Brazil is offering free Blood Pressure medicine now.

A. Because Dilma is a socialist and

B. Because the Brazilians love themselves some salt.

Last year the Consumerist posted an article that was so ojeito Brasileiro… “have more sex, help your blood pressure go down!” Yes, their health Minister recommended more excercise and specifically called out sex as an option.  Maybe this is what is keeping the entire nation from keeling over from a heart attack.  Seriously though, these people like their salt. BBQ (churrasco) is notoriously salted. Feijoada is best made with not just pigs feet and ham hocks, but heavily salted pig meat. Every meal I make results in “Frank the Brazilian” re-salting the plate heavily (this is after I have against my better judgement already heaped on what I thought to be an unhealthy portion of the stuff). But most importantly (ahem), McDonalds (and pretty much all other burgers I have tried) are super salty. At first I thought my lack of McyDs consumption had made me forget how bad the burgers tasted. But while the meat tasted as poor as always, I know it wasn’t  this salty in the U.S. . . .just good ole American nasty.

So for a country known for their passion, and for making out on the street.  . . maybe it’s helping them cope with their massive amount of sodium intake… maybe.

I miss low salt…but when in Rome…


Tan lines and all

It is Carnival prep time.  Due to an unfortunately badly timed work trip, I must leave Brasil during Carnival.  My husband thinks this is fate, who needs a wife during Carnival 😉  I swear he’s more Brasilian than American.

Photo from South America Traveling.

With all of the prep for Carnival, we watched  Caldeirão do Huck as they auditioned their samba dancers for Musa Rio Carnival.  My husband will tell everyone we were taking in some Carnival culture as I will be out-of-town and not get to see it.  I am pretty sure he was taking in all of the naked Brasilian butt.  That’s the main feature of the samba dancer’s outfit… not the glitter, or the feathers.. or the jewels… or heavy makeup, no it’s the butt for sure.  The outfits were all different, from the standard “Carnival” outfit you think of, to a more elaborate glitter covered, bejewelled parrot looking thing.  My husband just leaned over to try to tell me that he thinks the reason they are all barely dressed is so that we can experience the true beauty of how difficult the dance is…. ahem, my eyes are rolling.

If you would like to watch some of the Musa Rio Carnival auditions you can see it here:

This one isn’t the one we were watching, the one we were watching actually had a girl lose a little of her top.  Of course this is Brazil, so they just left it in the show.  In fact, during Carnival a totally bare chested woman is not unheard of, so there goes my prudish notions of what is and is not appropriate to see in public.

I also pointed out how one of the girls had very obvious bikini lines, and how it was silly that she didn’t try and get rid of her tan lines of if she was going to be a samba dancer.  Oh, nope, I was wrong again.  The husband again pointed out that it’s very sexy to see the tan lines.  I he really right? Are tan lines sexy?