Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santos Majestic

Here's a very well-done time lapse video of Santos. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Bathroom

I made a comment on Facebook last year about this crazy bathroom that I encountered.  It's the women's bathroom at the restaurant Van Gogh here in Santos, and I've never seen a bathroom like it before, nor do I anticipate seeing one like it ever again.

It's our favorite place to eat pizza, and their other food is good, too.  But it's worth the trip just to see the bathroom.  (Women's only. Otto, Andy, and Sam tell me the men's room isn't the same.)   When we were there last, I remembered to take my camera so you could see it, too.

This is outside of the stall where the sinks are.

This is INSIDE the stall. Never will you experience so many angles of yourself, ahem, "using the facilities".  Oh, and no smoking, by the way.

And apparently because people have had problems finding the door to get out, they've installed these helpful arrows on the floor pointing the way to the exit.

It's really something to behold.  The pictures don't do it justice!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Straight No Chaser

This 12 Days of Christmas performance is from 1998 so it's a bit dated, but still great.... 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All in a day's excitement...

While talking to my friend Nicole on the phone today from the States (New Orleans, specifically) on the internet phone line, my Brasilian home line rang, so Nicole got to hear my Portuguese in action for a brief conversation.  After I hung up, she commented that I had a GREAT accent!!  I must say I was proud to show off some of my new language skills to a friend from home.  But the more I thought about our conversation this evening, the more I laughed.  Here's what transpired, loosly translated, as I'm still not sure what exact phrases were used:

Me: (Alo?) Hello?
Lady: Good Afternoon (Boa Tarde). This is the dry cleaners (lavandaria). We're having a promotion   and we want to send you an email (OR we want to add you to our email list. Something like that.)
Me:  I left my pants (calças) there? So I have pants there still?  (I think my mind immediately jumped to pants because all I ever take over there are Otto's work pants.)

[Interjection: I'm laughing so hard as I write this that tears are falling.  Sam, my 8 year- old walks in and asks why I'm laughing so hard.  I explain to him the conversations, and he busts a gut laughing at the comment "You have a GREAT accent!" He is ALWAYS correcting my pronunciation, phrasing, verb conjugation, you name it. Laughing hysterically only at this. Thank you, Son.  Go brush your teeth - it's bedtime!!]

Lady: (Silence) Ummm...
Me: No, I don't have any pants there! (Thinking to myself, I've picked all of them up!)
Lady: No. We're having a promotion and wanted to have your email.
Me: Yes, you're having a promotion, and... OH!  You want my email?!
Lady: Yes!! Your email!
Me: Oh, it's OJ.... (then I blank out on how to say the letter J (!), and really want to end the conversation at this point so I can get back to Nicole.)  Can I just come to the store and write it down for you?
Lady: Sure, no problem!
Me: Great! (Ótimo!) (Tchau!) Bye!
Lady: Tchau!

Okay, so it was a little messy.  This isn't unlike most of my phone calls. There are occasional calls where I know exactly what's going on and respond appropriately.

But at least I know I can impress my friends. :o)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


One of the things I love here in Santos are the sidewalks.  This pattern is the most common, and I think it's called Rio, because they have this design all over Rio de Janeiro as well.

Here's another design in front of the nearby tennis club.   

Here's the wave "Rio" pattern again, but made with pre-fabricated tiles.

Here's an all-white stone look, which looks kinda plain...

until you put it in front of an all-white modern-looking house!  Que chique, né?

Another pattern made with tiles.

Here's our next-door neighbor's which I've always though was bem legal!  And there are many others around; these were just taken when I was out running an errand. 

You'll find plain 'ole concrete sidewalks around, too, but these stone and tile sidewalks are just as common.  So pretty.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mostra Cultural 2012

Andy and Sam had their Mostra Cultural at school today.  A day of presentations, plays, demonstrations, and artwork displays. 

This year the 3rd grade classes put on a play based on a book they read after winter break. 

Sam played the King of the Vitamins!



Just over a year ago my kids knew no Portuguese!

Andy's class had a presentation based on alternative methods of alternative health therapies, such as massage, color/chromo therapy, and tai chi. 

Andy talked about positive and negative energy and the effects they can have on your well-being, health, attitude, etc.... And later in the presentation he and a few classmates gave hand massages to some lucky parent volunteers in the audience. They also brought in a gentlemen who gave everyone a live Tai Chi demonstration. (This wasn't his spiel in its entirety, but all that Blogger would let me upload.)

All the kids did a really great job.  Especially MINE!  ;o)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Buenos Aires

Finally getting up the rest of the pictures from our July trip!

After we checked into our hotel in Buenos Aires, we went for a walk. These big gates led to a courtyard area that included a restaurant and some type of Polish society, among other things.

The next day we explored some more and happened upon this museum that was underneath La Casa Rosada (their White House, but it's pink). Much of the museum had the walls from the older city in tact. 

This was a guard in the traditional Argentinian uniform.  I think he was there for photo ops, but also to keep an eye on the stuff.

This was a painting of Juan and Eva Peron hanging on the wall, with the dress she was wearing in the painting displayed close by. Pretty dress; pretty lady!

After touring the museum we exited the building and walked around to see the front of La Casa Rosada.  

Here were a few building on the other side of the square. I really liked the architecture around the city.

On another day our walking passed these REALLY BIG DOORS!  I think it was the armory.

This was taken on a day that we visited the Recoleta neighborhood.  Very nice above ground cemeteries. This shot was taken from the second floor of the very nice mall.

And this was the park nearby the cemetery, church, children's museum, another shopping area, lots of restaurants, and many other things.

A professional dog-walker?  We had never seen so many dogs being walked at once!

And, of course while we were there we took in tango show!  I don't remember if I forgot to take pictures, didn't feel like it, or wasn't allowed.  But I did get a shot of the outside!  It was a great show, but I would like to see one of the other shows (there are several) if we ever make it back!

A swim on our last evening there. The hotel pool was outside on the roof and heated, thankfully, because it was cold outside.

This was me in my winter coat, in the reflection of the gym that was adjacent to the pool, but inside.  Super-zoom lens activated!

The sunset was beautiful from the roof.

Thanks, Buenos Aires!  Hope to see you again some day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beautiful few days for a bike ride....

Sunday afternoon Otto and Andy went out for their first official bike ride since we've been here. Yesterday the weather was even nicer so Sam, Andy, and I went for our first bike ride together. There is a very nice bicycle path that runs the length of the beach in Santos, and several that are popping up in other areas of the city.  (Av. Ana Costa has one for anyone familiar with Santos.)

Sam had all-day school today, so Andy and I went for a ride just by ourselves this morning. I didn't take the camera along, as one of the things we learned yesterday is that the official bike path is not necessarily for lollygaggers. People are using it as a serious means of transportation, so get on, get to it, and stop looking around!!  At times this was difficult with the 7-year-old. We decided after yesterday that getting  on the surrounding concreted areas may be better, then at times hop onto the bike path only when we couldn't continue on any other way. This morning Andy and I were on the path quite a bit, but it was easier with just me and the older kid, and it wasn't as busy today. 

We live about in the center of the beach (a few blocks away), near Canal 3, so yesterday the three of us rode west to the Emissario (near Canal 1), and today Andy and I traveled east towards the aquarium and Ponte da Praia (near Canal 6).  Neither day did I take my camera because I wanted to ride, not stop and take pictures.  But I got to personally see a couple of statues that I had seen on the internet, but didn't quite know where they were.  Here are two, both images are from this webpage.

I really like this statue of a surfer with the water spraying on him like he's really surfing!

I also like this one very much, which is near the one above, of Osmar Gonçalves who was apparently a pioneer of surfing here in Brazil. Imagine, if you will, me riding around and around and around and around this statue. After a while the boys got tired of going around, but I continued a bit longer, mainly because I didn't have to worry about hitting anyone (there were lots of people out, as is the norm on a pretty afternoon) and the view was nice. :o)

And please visit the link above to see lots of other neat statues along the beach and around town. The credits below each of the photos seem to be different, so thanks to all the people that took the images, whoever they are!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saco cheio

I've been meaning to write a post about this for almost a year! I'm such a procrastinator sometimes.

When we first moved here, Otto was smitten with expressions he was hearing at work involving the scrotum. You know, the male ball sack, or is it a ball sac?  In either case, in Brazil it is a saco (probably partly slang; I'm sure there is a more scientific name).  And both men and women alike use these expressions, sometimes with hand motions.  I've yet to use it myself, but I think I'm on the verge. Here are a few examples:

saco cheio = literally, full sack.  It means to be fed up with something. Sometimes this is emphasized with the hands cupping around the scrotum area indicating a very full sack.

puxar saco =  literally to pull sack.  This means someone is being a kiss-ass, yes-man, suck-up, or as my European and Russian History teacher used to say, a sycophant.

inxar saco = literally an inflamed or swollen sack, but is used to indicate that someone is being a pain in the ass or is bothersome.

Brasilian readers, are there other saco expressions that I could add to our repertoire? 

Pardon me while I go practice in the mirror.  :o)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Delícia! And my inspiration for the day...

Delícia is one of my favorite words here. Most commonly it describes a beautiful day. According to the dictionary delightful would be the literal translation, but I think I like it so much because it sounds a lot like delicious. You could describe a day as delightful in English, but if you described it as delicious, how great a day would THAT be?!

And I'm finally getting used to the word shopping as a noun. The word shopping has been adopted into the Brazilian lexicon to mean mall

Let's go shopping at the mall. = Vamos fazer compras no shopping.  Where no does not mean no, but is a contraction of em + o (in+the or at+the).  Also tricky!

In an unrelated story, I was sitting in a waiting room this afternoon when out of the doctor's office came an elderly woman accompanied by another lady, presumably her daughter. Her back was so bent over as she walked that the top half of her body was nearly at a 90° angle with the lower half of her body. After a few moments of waiting to speak to the receptionist, she started chatting it up with another lady that she recognized in the room. And I mean CHATTING it up, with such a jolly, clear, opposite-of-frail voice! Their conversation was peppered with laughter. I was looking at my book, but read nothing as I focused on her words and tried to figure out what she was saying. (I didn't have much luck there, but she did sound like she may have been from Rio once upon a time based on her accent.) And I couldn't help but smile; in fact I was a little sad when she walked out the door. After she left, the woman she was talking to told me the woman was 86 years old and still did almost everything for herself (at least that's what I think she said). With her back bent the way it was, I imagine it must be pretty difficult to do things herself. But you wouldn't know it by the tone of her voice. The way she was carrying on she made ME feel old - I'm 38!

Friday, August 10, 2012

San Martin de los Andes

Our first stop in Argentina was San Martin de los Andes.  Otto has really been missing the skiing since moving from Canada, so we had to find a ski hill ASAP!!  :o)  The resort closest to us was Chapelco. The view was beautiful, but unfortunately the snow wasn't very good.  So we only got a wee taste of skiing/snowboarding; not what we were hoping for. Oh well, sometimes you get a lot of powder, and sometimes you don't. :/

Still, the town itself was very nice!  Many delicious restaurants to try and tea/coffee/chocolate shops in which to indulge in something sweet. On this evening we went to a fondue restaurant. The boys really liked it. Otto's eyes are closed in this shot, but it was the only one I had with Andy.

You can see the owners in the background reading the paper, waiting for more patrons to arrive. We ate on the early side each night, arriving at restaurants around 7:30pm, but generally people ate around 8:30 or 9pm.

This morning was took a stroll by Lago Lacar. 

Walking around town, we saw this unusual tree several times. 

One day we took a boat ride to Quila Quina.

Nice countryside to hike around, complete with seemingly wild horses roaming about.

We found a very pretty waterfall.

Mist rising up from the falls.

Another spot for another nice photo.

The walk back.

One day we checked out the playground in the town center.

They LOVED this wheel-chair accessible swing!

I took this photo shortly after take-off from San Martin on the way to Buenos Aires.  I was sitting on the other side of the plane, but the people across the row had their window open and the zoom lens on my little pocket camera is powerful! I'm not sure about the name of this peak.

More to come....