Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween isn't officially celebrated in Brazil, but you do find pockets here and there. There are several schools around that primarily teach English where many people send their children as an extra-curricular activity. And many times these schools will have a Halloween party because it's a fun was to celebrate the culture of some English-speaking countries. And one of Sam's classmate's mother happens to be the director of one such school and invited the boys to come to their Halloween party. Nice!

Since we don't have our stuff, and I hadn't seen many costume options around, face paints and a bag of red plastic vampire teeth that I bought at a store is what we had to work with. Oh, and an airplane blanket that served as Sam's cape. Sam went with the Dracula/vampire look. Andy said he was half Native-American, half vampire.

Waiting downstairs for our taxi to take us to the buffet.

Still waiting.

A buffet here is not just an all-you-can-eat joint. Typically it's a place to have a party, different buffets geared towards different age-groups. And the ones geared to kids also smell like fried food, as that is primarily what is offered. All types of drinks, too! And pipoca - popcorn.

One of the boys from Andy's grade was there, so they hung out for most of the night.

Dracula and his friends.

A little foosball.

Brotherly love while waiting in line. Sam is emphasizing/arguing about something while Andy adjusts his teeth.

Sam flipping on the trampoline...

and Andy.

This was by far the most popular ride of the night. I rode it once, which made me dizzy enough to last the whole evening. Typically I like rides that spin, but this one was a doozy!

So no trick-or-treating, but still a lot of fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We visited the fish market on Sunday at Ponta da Praia.

Everything is caught that morning, so it's fresh, fresh, fresh!!

Sam and a dead fish had a staring contest. I believe Sam blinked first.

I thought it felt like we were being watched....

Otto turned our spoils into a YUMMY paella.

Speaking of fresh, I love to shop at the feira (pronounced FEY-ra, and roll the r), which is the open-air market that comes to our neighborhood once a week. This is what our little table typically looks like when I return...

and then some!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Garbage collectors or Olympic track stars?

The garbage collectors here are AWESOME; they are truly a sight to behold. Here in Santos, for the most part, the trucks keep moving down the street as the guys run, FAST, weaving in and out of the sides of the street and throwing the bags in the back of the truck as they sprint around and up and over to pick up the next bag. The fellas that I have witnessed seem to have great pride in what they do, yell Bom Dia! as they run by, and are in SERIOUSLY great shape.

This clip was taken in a different part of Brazil (not sure where), and it really doesn't do justice to show how fast they run around here, but it gives you an idea.

This clip is a segment from a TV show, and if this isn't Santos, it's someplace that looks EXACTLY like it! Although the guy reporting isn't really a garbage collector (at least I don't think so), I've seen guys just like him running past me. The clip is long, but it gives you an idea of what Santos looks like, at least from a garbage truck perspective. And even if you don't speak Portuguese, it gives you a good idea of the fun personalities around here. They don't show much sprinting in this clip, but if you fast forward to 1:40 you'll see a bit of action.

And if you watch the whole thing, don't mind the large fluorescent light bulbs being thrown in the back of the truck. I guess they don't have hazardous waste collection spots here... yet.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Last week the school they held a mini-Olympics of sorts. It lasted for two days, and led up to Dia das crianças, Children's Day. This year Children's Day coincidentally landed on the same day as a religious holiday, so they had the day off school in addition to receiving gifts, a Children's Day tradition.

These are shots from the opening ceremonies of the mini-Olympics. (There were no closing ceremonies that I know of.) This was also the first school assembly that has taken place since we've been here.

Here was the procession of all the flags of the Brazilian states. You can read more about the 26 estados do Brasil here.

Here they sang the Brazilian National Anthem. You can hear what it sounds like and see some beautiful Brazilian sights on this clip. (The kiddos don't know the words yet, but Sam was just humming along with the melody as we watched this!)

And here was the school flag as the students sang the alma mater.

There was even a torch that a few students ran in with,

and then on to light the cauldron! Which in this case was filled with sparklers. :o)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sealed magazines and paper towels

When standing in line at the grocery store down here, you can't flip through the magazines.

They're sealed.

I'm not sure if the benefits of having a pristine magazine available for customers outweighs the possible sales due to people flipping through and getting hooked on an article or photo spread, then tossing it on the conveyor belt to buy because it's time to go.

Incidentally, isn't that an awesome piece of pop art in the center of their wall? I SO want to get one of those of me and Otto! Big bright Brazilian colors and symbols with US in the center! I think it would be a nice memento of our stay here. (Not that we're going anywhere - we just got here.) Plus, I think the very white walls that I'm surrounded by are starting to grate on my nerves. Our stuff STILL hasn't left Canada yet, in case anyone was wondering.

And does liking these paper towels make me a bad person?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ping Pong

So we still have the ballroom in our apartment. Not a huge room in which one waltzes, but an empty bedroom with several soft, springy balls where Andy and Sam can kick them at the walls, or more commonly, at each other.

We were walking around a different part of the city yesterday after their allergist appointment and passed by a small store that piqued our interest. As we browsed we came upon individually packaged ping pong paddles, each with a ball. They didn't have a price, but based on what I paid for everything, I think they were about $1.25 US each.

The "net" is comprised of three decks of cards, and four boxes of printer ink.

It's a bit more difficult on this smaller table, but still fun. We have grand plans for when our huge rectangular table actually makes it way down here.

Monday, October 3, 2011


One of the first words I learned here was chuva, pronounced shoo-va. Rain.

The first five days we were here, it was overcast and rainy.

Looks like we're in for a wet week. Or more. I think I need to buy another guarda-chuva.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brazilian Independence Day

Sam and I were able to catch the tail end of the Brazilian Independence Day parade a couple weeks ago.

Here was a military band performing Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by CCR.

Parade goers, after the parade.

We also thought it would be a good time to check out some of the street fare that we'd been seeing around. Primarily because we were hungry.

Sam's first churros. I had eaten these in California years ago, but these were thicker and hallow on the inside so they could be filled with either dulce de leche or chocolaty stuff. Then a bit of the gooey inside stuff was squirted on top as well, and sprinkles were added. He liked it.

Next up: pasteis. These can be filled with cheese, chicken, beef, shrimp, etc. They're kind of the Brazilian version of empanadas. Sam has cheese and I had chicken. And this was the SMALL.

After our tummies were full, we found a playground at the beach.

Some fellas kicking around the futebol.

A cathedral on our walk home. It wasn't open; Ill have to go back to see the inside.

Fun time!

Oi! or Oy!?

The way you say Hi! in Portuguese is Oi! This sounds exactly like Oy!, which is Yiddish and is an exclamation of exasperation or dismay. An expression that I use frequently, and it took a while not to think Crap! every time someone said hi to me or vice versa. I'm saying it, and hearing it, more as it should be in the Brazilian context now.

Another thing that sounded funny is their equivalent to Bye bye! Their Bye! is Tchau! (pronounced as Ciao! in Italian), and their Bye bye! is, logically, Tchau tchau! This sounded so hysterical to me and Andy and Sam the first time we heard it, that we busted a gut laughing right then and there. Not the politest thing to do when someone is merely trying to tell you bye, but it couldn't be helped. We're pretty much used to that now, too.

Little by little it's getting easier for me to communicate, both because I'm learning more of the language, but I think I'm also honing non-verbal skills. I think the fellows that work in our building relish when something needs to be communicated. Actually, I do, too! It's like a game - like Charades. We employ hand motions, sound effects, facial expressions, and by the end when we've successfully relayed our message, we've won! We've hit the jackpot! It's very satisfying.