Monday, February 2, 2009


Me, Mark and Monica are now all back in the states. but we still wanna say THANKS!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quente. . . .Calor. . . Hawt

As my Irish friends would say, "Jaysus" it's hot! Last night was a broken night of sleep and the only word that kept repeating in my head was "Quente. . . Quente. . . Quen-chie. . ..Ken-chi" (wasn't that last one some guy I knew in high school?) Anyway, quente means hot. But so does calor. Whatever it is, it is HOT!

When I came down here to Brazil, I thought I was going to hit up some big time summer! But I've been here since November and I've been surprised at how similar to SF this weather is -- overcast, percipitation, except warmer (mas quente!) by about 20 degress Farenheit.

But this weekend, almost 3 weeks after the First Day of Summer (Dec. 21 -- obvi!), summer finally came to Sao Paulo! And last night, quente quente quente. Like an egg fried on the calcada (sidewalk). Like my brain today after waking up at 4am from the heat. . .quente. ..quente. Hmmmmm fried eggs, scrambled eggs. . . I miss that. The only time I've seen it here, is in a sandwich -- it's called an Americano.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thumbs Up!

Igor's Moma Pic

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reveillon 20009 Praia da Rosa

This is me on new years with my new best friends Carlos and Decio (their girlfriends are missing from the pic), with whom I spent a week in Praia da Rosa, Santa Catarina state. Before coming to Brazil, my Brazilian friend Cynthia, who now lives in San Francisco, prepped me for a Brazilian New Year's celebration:

" You need to throw flowers to Yemanjá. She is a vain goddess, and people in Brazil might throw perfumes and soap in the Atlantic ocean, but roses should be just fine. You should also dress in white and buy new underwear. Choose a color to activate whatever you want in 2009, red for passion, pink for love, green for health, yellow for money or blue for peace. Then you dance at least for the first five hours of the year. The whole country will be doing it. It will be your best new year's ever!! "

Some good advice! Thanks to Cynthia I brought my white Marilyn-Monroe-inspired halter dress and wore lots of gold and shiny accesories (not a stretch for me.) I didn't get the new underwear and I forgot about the flowers, but around 11:30 me and the whole galera (gang, sounds like 'peanut gallery', doesn't it? I love it.) made the pilgrimage to the beach. Everyone was dressed in white, which I know should be festive, but to me it reminded me of what I've heard about the Mormon Church, and so to be honest it kinda freaked me, like I had died or was taking part in a big baptism or something. But these chicks don't look like their going to church:

So once we got to the beach it was packed, we couldn't move, and we were getting soaked by falling Vodka-Red-Bulls and whatever other drinks people were throwing up into the air. Pretty soon, I noticed my feet were wet, and I looked down and realized that we had reached the ocean -- but there were so many people we couldnt even see it!

After this we went back to the poussada, or pension, where we were staying to put our drinks back and get ready for the party! We went to the club we had been to all 5 nights we were there, Mar del Rosa, and listened to some pretty awesome DJs. There was even a duo who sang in real life -- awesome:


That's me on the left, the Gringa in every Samba club who stands out like a sore thumb. That dude on the right is every Brazilian guy who tries to convince me that they can teach me 200 years of samba in the spam of one three minute bossa nova song. pssssshhhhawwww! This one guy kept trying to tell me, "Calma! Calma!" oh sheesh!

I doubt that I will ever consegui (succeed) in dancing samba. I am definitely ok with that. Trying to speak PT is hard enough.

Going going. .. back back. . . to Rio Rio

This post is big time dedicated to my peeps Casey and Pablo who are one of my favorite young married couples. About six months ago, they made the dream a reality: they quit their jobs and picked up to travel the world. A few okaces they visited were Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia (where Pablo, who is Mexican, was mistaken for biggest Indonesian in the world!). I was luckily enough to catch them in Rio during their South American leg of the trip.
Thumbs up to that!

So since I spent 3 days in Rio before with Marité, I was obviously an expert. Where should we go? Obviously back to Rio Scenarium! (This is us at Rio Scenarium. The backdrop gives a good idea of the theatrical feel of the place.)

Pablo and Casey are great to travel with. First off, they're so used to it, that they have no qualms about not/doing the touristy thing. See Cristo Redentor? Sure, if there's time (there was time, but too many coulds (noblado), so we had to abandon that one. Getting ripped off from cabbies? Oh, well, what can you do about that? At the end of the day, it's only $10, and you can always make it up by asking for the disconto touristico wherever you go. (Nice one, Pablo!) Hungry and really don't know what's safe and reasobably priced. Fuck it, let's go to McDonald's and get a quarter pounder with cheese --> that's where all the locals are eating anyway, wearing their Levi's and Converse! OMG! I love hanging with these peeps!

Pablo also did this super cool thing. About a year ago he got really into weight lifting. He's in the middle of "getting huge" and this trip wasn't going to get in the way -- it turned out to be an awesome opportunity to continue doing it. So in every remote rural village Pablo would use as much sign language as he could to find places that he could pump iron. This hobby was an awesome way for Pablo and Casey to see the "real" communities they were visiting before the tourist sheen. Pablo took pictures of all this and is going to start a website documenting the random outhouses and back rooms where the bench press was located from Phuket to Kuala Lampur (Reserving this space here to plug the website in the future, Pablo.) Hats off, to you, brotha! This is me trying to show Pablo my guns at another Samba club, Democraticus in Lapa, Rio:

This is democraticus:

And this is the lobby of Democraticus, real pretty, right?:

Falla Portugues? sou uma gringa

This whole idea of being a Gringa totally escaped me for about the first six weeks I was here. I thought that was like a Mexico vs US thing, but apparently all South American countries use the term. My good friend André often told me there was no way I could pass for a Brasileira, and I would protest that ANYONE can be Brazilian so why couldn't I? He would try and be tactful and say it's because I have Irish ancestry and there aren't a lot of Irish influence. (And I'd try to explain that I saw Fitzcarraldo, and try to prove there were some Spuds in South America, but it's not worth it.

After hanging out with Mark and Monica, I realize I'm a super-gringa, and that's what André was trying to say. While people look similar to me here, it's not like I have twins everywhere (the way that Maggie and Erica and I at home could all pass for sisters.) As my good French friend Antoine always tells me, I have "such an American face." Well, I guess it's good that I dont try to hide it! I guess this explains why me and Marite stood out so much at the Samba club in Rio!

Anyway, in Brazil, the term is extremely general and can refer to anyone that is not foreign. Our friend Helio's wife is from Japan and she too is considered a gringa. That's toally fine. Talita's fiance is Argentian, and even he is a gringo1

At the end of the day, I dont really care. I like being the weird foreign kid, and having license to be myself, explore this country, and given a certain level of lee-way and understanding, cause I just don't understand how this place works.

And I also really, really love the silence. I so often am surrounded by conversations that I just cant grasp. I might pick up on a theme or words here of there, but the nuances that can so distract me over hearing a conversation on Muni back in San Francisco, I dont hear her. My perspective is different. I just look at everyone here from the perspective of how their actions fit into the bigger picture of this country. I hope I have that when I go back.

Be a good Brasileira, get your nails done, sweetie

(written after returned to SF, Feb 8, 2009.) So one of things that made me fall quickly in love with Sampa was realizing that it was not only socially acceptable to get your nails done once a week, but it was almost expected. This is surprising cause for most Americans, we only get our nails done for special occasions -- before Prom, weddings, big dinners, etc. And it's definitely not required, just a treat. But after I got my first manicure (and realized it was extremely affordable.) I noticed that most of the Brazilians I saw had beautiful manicures -- moms, daughters, aunts, grandmas, every one had beautiful nails and beautiful colors. Deep reds. Bright Reds (Gabriela). Rich dark browns. Solid strong whites (which I never would be brave enough to get myself, but I realized when you were this color at the beach, it makes you look more bronzeada than you actually are.)

As mundance as this may be, this is my pattern with my nails. I have nice strong nails, but they are even stronger after I cut them. So in the US, I usually let my nails grow until they are too long, and then if I have time I will go and get my preferred French manicure. If I don't have time, I just cut them and start again. So in Brazil, I was getting my nails done every 10 days. SO I've kept my nails long for 3 months now. They were so long that I had to get one last French manicure here in the states before I cut them for good.

Manicures are also a great conversation starter with Brasileiras (the same way soccer is a good topic to ask Brasileiros about.)