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Category Archives: Sao Paulo

Go Corinthianos

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Or actually shut the #$#@ up! Seriously, please, I’ve got kids ūüėČ ¬†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.


Seen around the neighborhood

Just some random sightings of late, that I found interesting.

I just thought this was¬†hilarious, and I have to wonder if the owners of this house are not Asian, it just screams I’m Japanese.


So in Sao Paulo, one of the interesting things about the Brazilian neighborhoods is that the houses are all smack up against the sidewalk and each other. ¬†In the poorer neighborhoods, you can tell they have NO ROOM whatsoever, as you will find people hanging clothing in the middle of the median between trees, or from their windows, or my particular favorite, across the street on the metal church fence (ahem). ¬†So needless to say, they don’t really have backyards. ¬†I’ve seen kids playing soccer in the green grass along the freeways. Driving to fast to take photos. I was able to take a photo of some neighborhood volleyball. The net is probably used for Soccer Volleyball ¬†“Futev√īlei”, but I thought it somewhat creative.

And last but not least.. a shopping mall sighting. We’re 2km from Shopping Morumbi, and I saw this lovely lovely doll of Kate Middelton. She must be SOOO flattered, it is her wedding doll after all. ¬†Then again, maybe that’s a doll that’s supposed to be a man in drag??

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.

Our 6th anniversary!

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My husband has it stacked.¬† Mother’s day, our anniversary, and our first son’s birthday, all pretty much one day after the next.¬† So there is no forgetting all the pampering I deserve. Our anniversary was on the 6th… so this post comes a bit late.¬† He came home from work, I got off a few hours early, and we were planning to go to dinner. That is until we realized that by living in Brooklin-Paulista we are surrounded by freeways (kinda like when we lived in downtown LA).¬† However, unlike living in downtown LA, there isn’t a plethora of trendy restaurants to hit up at night.¬† No those are all in Moema and Itaim Bibi.¬†¬†Not to totally slam our area, there are places to eat… just not anything we felt was anniversary worthy.¬† We thought we would wait out the traffic, but google maps kept telling us all freeways were black (i.e. deadlocked not moving, good luck).¬† To be fair, it was ONLY 9pm… yeah traffic really really sucks in Sao Paulo. You’ve heard the city has their very own fleet of Helicopter taxis right??

So we thought we’d try the sushi place up the block from us,¬†Sushi Kazoku.¬† I REALLY REALLY REALLY love sushi, and it’s been almost 6 months since I have partaken, and I’m not even pregnant. It’s almost bordering on a crime at this point.¬† So the husband, in a true act of love offered to go for sushi. This is an act of love as he had just gone for a sushi¬†lunch.¬† Even better, they had Rodizio sushi (sushi buffet), and while the hubby had eaten just that for lunch, he figured he could order a small roll, and watch me be the gluttonous pig he married. Yum.¬† For the record the white fish with lime was disgusting. gag.

Ok, so I’m not going to say the fish was buttery, yummy Little Tokyo or real Tokyo goodness. But it wasn’t old and smelly, it wasn’t bad at all.¬†¬†¬† The orange ball of salmon is a salmon roll, wrapped in salmon instead of nori.¬† Like their meat, they lay on their fish think here too. No skimmping here.¬† I think it was like ~R$50ish for the buffet, and I was so stuffed I couldn’t finish the plate they brought out. I felt kind of bad.¬† Seriously though, they are CRAZY here.¬† The waiter asked me what I wanted, and I said a salmon hand roll and some tuna.¬† Well this is a BRAZILIAN sushi handroll, not a Japanese version.¬† See the thing was bigger than the ice cream cones at McDonalds!

Hubby ordered the standard.. spicy tuna, which included green onions, but not the normal mayo you find in the US versions of it. He rather liked it, and didn’t let me try one. So I can’t speak of it myself.¬† But as you can see here, it does look delicious.

And that was our ever so exciting anniversary in Sao Paulo.  Nothing too romantic, nothing over the top cheesy, just us spending some time together enjoying each others company thousands of miles from what we called home and loving every minute of it.

Quicky Post

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Did you know that in Brazil oranges are green? Yep… that’s right GREEN.¬† There are, it seems, various varieties, but they’re all still green. Some are sour and some are sweet (doce.. important word when shopping for fruit).¬† And when I say sweet, I mean take that citrus fruit and rub it on your open wound and not flinch sweet. Yummmy…. I wasn’t that big of an orange fan until I moved here.¬† Now the guy at the feira throws in free limes for me.

grafite ea pichaçã

When I first landed in Brasil at GRU, the taxi driver drove us through the center of Sao Paulo and into Campo Belo. ¬†When I first posted that Brasil is similar to Hawaii and Europe, I mainly mean the beach cities, the climate, or the upper class neighborhoods. ¬†Lower class neighborhoods are much more akin to the neighborhoods you find in LA. ¬†Bars on the windows, out croppings of¬†graffiti, and hordes of citizens walking to their various destinations. ¬†So for the most part, I’m not too taken aback. ¬†Sure, if I had moved from Wyoming or a nice city like Dallas, Brasil would have been a cultural shock. ¬†But I lived in downtown LA and went to church right in the middle of Korea Town. ¬†Shifts in culture, cityscapes, and safety of zones changed from one street to the next – turning right off of 7th to the Flower District takes ¬†you to Moskatel and the Flower Mart, turning left takes you into a street so crowded with bums you can’t drive down it without feeling like you should shower. ¬†Brasil’s subtle changes are exactly the same. ¬†I hear Rio is much worse, and my husband swears if we go to Rio we will not ever “explore” but always have a very specific route we follow and only go to exactly the place we are planning– no wrong turns. ¬†It’s not quite as rough here in his mind, but there are definitely areas you don’t drive at night.

Which brings me back to my original thought.

As we drove from GRU we drove through the city center. ¬†This was probably the most foreign experience I have had in Brasil. ¬†I really felt like I was in another world. ¬†A post¬†apocalyptic¬†world ruled by children. ¬†The buildings’ architecture is¬†beautiful, and you can tell Sao Paulo was once a very beautiful city. ¬†But overtime, urban sprawl I am sure occurred, the wealthy moved further out and the poorer moved in to the buildings and they were no longer maintained. ¬†The buildings are covered in¬†graffiti, but not just your normal graffiti, “tagging” graffiti from bottom of buildings to the top.

In Brasil this style is referred to¬†picha√ß√£ “pitching” and you can’t read it. ¬†It’s not just sloppy “tagging” slang and writing, it is a whole different language, a¬†hieroglyphic . ¬†According to Wikipedia the ¬†look of the¬†picha√ß√£ changes from Sao Paulo to Rio. ¬†Now grafite is something completely different in Brasil. ¬†It is seen as an art form, and you can find it throughout the city. ¬†I haven’t had a chance to snap any photos of anything beautiful just yet however.

The parking problem

I blame today on me. ¬†I really should have known better. ¬†We lived in LA for over 5 years; I know my husband hates ¬†trying to find parking and hates having to pay outrageous rates to park in a lot. ¬†But I casually offered up a visit to the Mercado Municipal and Liberdade today, as I didn’t have it in me this week to go out of the city. ¬†So we packed up the wee one, sat through the Sao Paulo traffic and arrived downtown. ¬†I was finally taken out of the pristine world I live in here in Brooklin-Paulista (aka the apartment I rarely leave). ¬†We passed the homeless that are simply homeless as they are too poor to afford a home, watched little boys pick lice out of their barely 20 year old mother;s hair, and passed by larger groups of the drugged-out, sketchy bums one usually thinks of when picturing a Brazilian bum.

Yes our Garmin kept telling us all kinds of crazy directions as we drove mindlessly in circles.  All street parking we found was for old people or loading.  We thought we found a spot as the street was lined with cars, but when my husband asked one of the roving ticket guys he told us that he was ticketing the whole line up. The parking garages charged from R$10 to R$15 for the first hour, and around R$6 РR$8 for each additional.  The husband was going to have none of that.

We never got out of the car. This is a downtown city, why would I think it would be any different than downtown LA!

So, I convinced the husband that Liberdade may be better.

To paint a picture of Liberdade

For those of you who have been to LA, picture LA’s China Town. ¬†Not the China Town in Hawaii, that’s a place worth visiting, but LA’s China Town. ¬†A bit rundown, covered in city soot, with stores packed with overly ethnic crap. ¬†The stores were full of useless chochkees, mostly from China, not Japan. ¬†In fact, I have seen many of these items on the import from china websites I like to buy my stocking stuffers from. ¬†There was a Marukai market, but the husband ushered me past muttering that “We are in Brazil, stop trying to cook Japanese food.” ¬†I tried to point out that me cooking Japanese food would be very Brazilian, especially in Sao Paulo, but I think he was really saying that he wants to eat Picanha and Feijoada daily.

The street fair is supposed to be large on Sunday, but there were a lot of booths out today as well. ¬†I wasn’t that impressed or drawn to anything in particular. ¬†Think Venice beach, a lot of random stuff that someone has made, but that you really don’t need.

As the husband was still a bit irritated that we hadn’t just taken the train up, he had to pay (R$10 for the first hour, and R$3 thereafter) to park, fight with the Garmin, and that we never did go to Mercado Municpal, I thought a good old fashion Japanese bakery would cheer him up. ¬†It was more like a good old fashion Brazilasian bakery, but hey close enough right?! Itiriki Bakery. ¬†We decided to split a roll with crusted swiss cheese and sun dried tomatoes. ¬†It was perfectly savory, and crisp, and very delicious.

We purchased a chunk of Ma√ßa Bolo (apple cake) to try. ¬†The cake part was good, the apple topping was bitter and salty. ¬†A P√£o de Dulce de Leite, a large “pan” rolled in powdered milk and filled with approximately half a can of ¬†dulce de leite (it beat my husband and he was done after 3 bites). ¬†I insisted on eating something Japanese, and bought the Morango Daifuku (Strawberry bean filled mochi).

The daifuku was very good, crammed with azuki beans and a sweet strawberry center. ¬†I’ve never had a strawberry filled daifuku before, so it was a nice surprise.

After cramming all of the delicious food in my mouth, and liking my milk covered fingers, I realized that all of the proper Brazilian women were holding the bread with their napkins.  OOPS!  Overall, I~m not a fan of Liberdade, but I think when I finally make it to the Mercado Municipal I may like it.