Sunday, December 26, 2010

Suck Our Dirty Feet Brazil

While reading a fellow blogger's post, I discovered that on the Stats page, us bloggers can see what type of keywords our readers type in to get to our blogs. I was intrigued by this, and decided to check out my list of reader's keywords.

Unsurprisingly, my blog is very popular for those looking for info on Albino Roaches. Although I didn't think it important before, I should probably clear up now that Albino Roaches (in the technical sense) do not exist. In reality, an "albino" roach is actually a normal roach that has recently molted its dark brown layer. Equally gross in my opinion.

What was a little surprising though, was that readers searching "suck our dirty feet 5brazil" are directed to my blog. Google has taken it upon themselves to make a mash-up of my completely PG blog posts, while manipulating them in a way to make my blog the first thing that comes up when "suck our dirty feet 5brazil" is typed into the search bar.

Check it out: "at a night club at 5 am, changed into our bathing suits....I should justify the dirty feet by saying I had spent all night...but it was important to Namo so I sucked it up."

Hmmm I'm going to keep an eye on this statistic...I don't know how proud I feel about "safadinha", "suck our dirty feet" and "albino roaches" being so closely related to my blog.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where Am I?

Switching between two different countries can get a little confusing. Not only do you have to remember which language to speak, but you have to remember the different rules, social norms and appropriate style.
I've had a couple slip-ups since being home that can only be explained by the super-cool/douchey excuse "Sorry, I've been living abroad".

The first offence was taking a phone call while at a bar and stepping out with my drink. People were literally gawking at me as I absent-mindedly strolled around, chatting on the phone and sipping on my beer. A kind old gentlemen was nice enough to grumble as he walked by "damn kids, think they can drink anywhere these days"...oops!

A reoccurring problem I have is the hissing at people at the mall. You know, the Brazilian "ss-ss", short for "licensa" ('excuse me'). It's become such an ingrained habit that I just walk around the crowded shops ss-ssing anyone I brush up against. Turns out hissing works better than "excuse me" when you're in a hurry.

I just signed up for the gym here in my small town in southern California, and I have found myself stressing about my gym attire. I mean, I will surely leave the hoop earrings, swirly shorts, and tube socks in my suitcase, ready for the return trip to Brazil...but the push up sports bra may be a go.

Finally, possibly one of my biggest problems since returning to California is the cheek kiss. Yes, I accidentally kissed an old high school friend on the cheek (whom of which I probably have never even touched in the 10 years I have known him). I know that a hug is appropriate for old friends, but do we really just shake hands with people we are just meeting? It seems so formal and (dare I say it?) cold.

What do you guys and gals struggle adapting back to when you travel home for the holidays?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is That Really Necessary?

When it comes to job creation, you have really got to give it up to Brazil. I mean, people get seriously creative down there (how depressing, I have to say "there" now...). There are the people who weave through traffic like its nothing, juggling or selling sodas to cars stuck in traffic.

Then there was the entrepreneur who capitalized on the dreadful bathroom situation during Carnival. Carnival is generally a time when people lower their standards in terms of appropriate/discrete public urination. Which is scary considering I've seen men sit on a curb, whip it out, and discretely (read: incredibly obviously) pee in the gutter. And this is on a normal day. Imagine how graphic it gets when the streets are filled with hoards of bebados!

Anyways, this genius Brazilian man decided to construct a cardboard stall around an open manhole. He then charged ladies 1 real to enter the makeshift stall to squat over a manhole to xixi. If that sounds discus ting to you, you have probably never celebrated gets MUCH worse, like digging a tiny hole in the sand and pretending like you are sitting back and enjoying the ocean view

But, when it comes to creative jobs, the roller-guri takes the cake! At the Zona Norte shopping mall, it is difficult enough trying to navigate the hoards of shoppers (and 2 hour old babies...its like they are popping them out in the parking lot before getting their holiday shopping done). Well, someone at the mall finally had enough and decided that the only obvious way to make life easier on the mall janitors was to give them roller blades.

So, a note to all Zona Norte Shoppers: keep your head up, because the speed skater/janitor may be protected from head to toe (we are talkin helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, gloves...) but they have no concern for your safety when trash collecting at 90mph. It's a serious job folks!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crazy Gringo Culture Shock

I'm officially in California! I had planned on trying to get together and actually meet all of you Rio ex-pats before leaving (so I no longer have to refer to you as my "internet friends"), but you know what they say: Time flies when you're having fun in denial about leaving and don't even notice it's time until you're sitting on an airplane surrounded by obnoxious, sun-burnt Americans.

The goodbye was hard, and I can't even begin to imagine how often the airport staff has to wait on weepy american girls saying bye to their sexy brazilian "boyfriends"...the whole thing felt sort of silly and cliche, which made it a little easier. Anyways, if we've made it 6 months apart, 3 months should be half as hard, right?

I hate flying because not only do I always feel sick to my stomach, but I ALWAYS get placed next to the crazies. Well, this flight was no different. While waiting for my flight, I had the pleasure of listening to a gringo who "vacays in Copacabana because its the only place where the prostitutes are hot" giving advice to a Swedish man about the best time to visit Las Vegas. Apparently it's Valentines Day because all of the boyfriend-less women are depressed (of course) and go to Vegas to drink their sorrows away, lowering their standards enough to hook up with ogres. He ended up in the seat behind me.

Next to me was a lovely Australian couple. And when I say "lovely", I actually mean "incredibly rude AND smelly". They fought the whole time....with me because I wouldn't give up my isle seat and move to the window. I'm sorry but I saved that seat 1 month ahead of time and your husband's flatulence does not make me any more eager to be trapped in the window seat.

The real "cereja no bolo" was the long-haired, eye liner-wearing, blue velvet jacket-sporting American who challenged a poor brazilian man to a duel. The seat belt light was turned off once we landed, and two brazilian men tried to rush to the front to get off the plane before the huge line of overhead luggage people formed. Well, "velvet jacket" didn't like that. He stepped in front and said, "If you wanna get by, TOUGH GUY, you gotta go through me". The Brazilian apologized and told the man he would wait.

That didn't work, "velvet jacket" was ready for a fight! Of course, he made sure to mention that he was too classy to fight in front of women and children, and that they should both "walk like gentlemen until baggage claim" where the duel was set to occur just after sun-down. The next 20 minutes was excruciating while everyone was stuck in line; velvet jacket just inches from the poor brazilian man's face, staring! Every now and then he mumbled "tough guy" and "you better be ready to go hard". It was creepily sexual, and everyone was staring and stifling laughter.

As expected, "velvet jacket" was nowhere to be found at baggage claim.

P.S. There is no picture included in this post because I am writing on a Mac computer and I can't figure anything out. Macs are a weird dichotomy of being made as simple as possible for children and computer-tards, and being incredibly difficult to figure out. It's almost like your IQ has to be below a certain number to understand how to use one...
Sorry if anyone is offended by that...but you know its true!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Até logo, Brasil!

Ahhhhh, so I have officially ignored my blog for about a week. It was 50% because I wanted to spend every last second with my Namo before being shipped off to Gringolândia, and 50% because I'm not sure what direction to take my Brazil blog in while I'm living in California.

Anyhoo, a week of adventure (read: going to the mall and watching movies) means a week's worth of stories. And living at my parents' house for the first time in 4 years, and no Namo to distract me, means I will have lots of blogging time. Stay tuned, it's sure to be melodramatic because i'm already DROWING in saudades and I haven't even made it to the airport.

Wish me luck, I hate flying like I hate sharks.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So a couple days ago I wrote a "Translators Beware" post about an employer who never paid me for a completed translation. A few amazing bloggers, Rachel and "Ray", helped out by reposting it on their sites.

Well, either the three angry blog posts coming up on her google search, or my many angry emails did the trick, and I have been paid. I have decided to take down my post because there is really no way for me to know whether or not it is true that she "didn't receive any of my past emails".

Thanks for the support either way! Freelance jobs can be stressful!

Monday, December 6, 2010


If you have never watched the program Pânico on television here, it is definitely a must see. It has all the ridiculousness of a Latin American day time program (ie. girls dancing around in bathing suits) and a bunch of hilarious skits. My favorite is “The Imposter”. They have a cast member who manages to sneak his way into high profile events without tickets or passes of any kind. Of the ones I have seen: the final world cup game in south Africa (he actually got close enough to the players to talk to them…no ticket), Paul McCartney concert, and the house where the Twilight Saga movie was being filmed (he got Kristen Stuart in her Calcinhas, and left garlic on Robert Pattinson’s bed).

This show is very close to my heart, because I was on it. Well, I cant be sure I was on it, but I was for sure filmed on Copacabana beach. It was my second week or so in Rio, my understanding of Portuguese was limited and I was very vulnerable. My friends and I stumbled out of a night club at 5am, ate some açai, changed into our bathing suits and went to the beach.

It all happened so quickly. One minute I was lying on the beach enjoying the sun with my friends, the next minute everyone was gone and I had cameras in my face and two men wearing T-shirts with women’s bodies on them and fake teeth were asking me questions. It went a little something like this:

Pânico: Você é prima de mecânico?
Me: ....what...
Pânico: Choo ehhh speaky engish?
Me: Yes
Pâncio: You are de cousã of mechanic, no?
Me: No
Pânico: Then why are your feet so dirty?
Me: .....
Pânico: Bate! (hand held in the air)
Me: (going for a high five)
Pânico: Peitinho! (going for a nipple pinch)
Me: (face slap)
Pânico: (going for a kiss)
Me: (another face slap)

Probably not my best interview. Now is when I should try to justify the dirty feet by saying I had spent all night in a grimy night club, but I shouldn't lie, I've been given the Native American name "Little Black Foot" because my feet are always dirty.

If you understand Portuguese, or want to test your skills, check out this interview. It is very long, but really really funny! The guy being interviewed is (a cutie!) the guy that plays Freddy Mercury Prateado on Pânico (Eduardo Sterblitch), and he gets Jô Soares a little drunky!

Here is the link!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

God, is that you?

I have never been religious, and probably never will be. The extent of my religious endeavours is limited to sunday school as a child (when my brother and I sat on the church balcony and counted how many old ladies with poofy white hair we could see), and reading The Bible For Dummies in highschool to avoid reading the real thing.

But something happened this weekend that has made me start to wonder...

Late late late Saturday night, a friend of my Namo's invited us out to celebrate his birthday. I was tired (as always) after writing about a million pages for work, but it was important to my Namo so I sucked it up. It was one of those crazy electronic parties, in Barra...the kind were you have to dance your life away until sunrise...not for the mildly enthused.

That's when God stepped in.

Before we left, my Namo had to stop to withdraw some money, but no matter how hard he tried, every attempt failed.

1) While trying to withdraw money from the first bank, all of the alarms went off and the machines shut down.....weird....

2) The 24 hour ATM ran out of money right after the person before us finished....double weird...

3) Card #1 of my Namo's had stopped working that day and he had no idea why.

4) Namo had saved card #2's pin number in his phone. His phone stopped working that night so he removed the sim card. Once he put it back in, the pin number was erased.

5) After 1 hour (literally) of walking around Zona Sul, we didn't find a single bank that was open or working for him to withdraw money.

He gave up and we went home to eat chocolate and watch a movie. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a slight relief, but I did feel bad for my discouraged Namo. When things like this happen, it makes me wonder if there was some reason we were not supposed to go that night.

P.S. The picture. How come when I type "God" into the google search bar, this is the first picture that comes up? I went through 3 pages without finding anything "God-like". Apparently "God of War" trumps the man upstairs.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Awww que fofinho!

I think my page needs a little “cute factor” after all of the mutant roach pictures and I’m gonna talk about filhotes. When it comes to pets, I have a slightly traumatic past. Let’s go through the obituaries:

Mickey (cat) – Scratched my cornea as a child , major jealousy issues
Sunshine (bird) – Heart Attack (cat scared her…no joke. This may be a good time to mention that I creeped the shit out of my parents after this death. My forced Sunday school and 4th grade owl pellet lesson plan led to me digging up dead Sunshine multiple times to see if her body went to heaven/to play with her bones. I haven’t grown into a serial killer yet, but then again, I am only 22.)

…back to the obituaries…

Nameless (Guinea Pig) – Decapitation (Sister’s Shar-pei ripped it off)
Milky Way (Cat) – Stomach Tumor (her nickname was “fatass”)
Rambo (Shih-tzu) – Squished by a car on the 4th of July
Cricket (Shih-tzu #2 and Rambo replacement) – Secretly sold by my parents while I was on vacation for a few days. (I hung up on multiple “crazy” people asking about the ad for a puppy in the newspaper before I put 2 and 2 together.)

Then there’s my little Gatinha. She is still alive and well, but probably because she is living with her other mommy. Nonetheless, I feel she deserves an introduction, and with Danielle showing off her Gatinha, I had to give mine some spotlight!

Needless to say, I’m not jumping right into getting my dream puppy, A PUG. Then again, I’ve already lived through eyepatches, heart failure, decapitation, cancer, squishing and betrayal, how much worse could it get?

Luckily for me, I have a saint of a Sogra. It's every child's dream (except my Namo's) to have a parent who impulsively brings home puppies on a regular basis, and that is exactly what she does. When I first met my Namo about 2 years ago, his mom had 2 cats and 1 dog. Now there are 2 cats and 3 dogs!

Meet Luna. She was the ex's dog, but Namo won the custody battle. She has an underbite (the dog, not the ex).

Meet Madonna (or "Safadinha" as she is often called).

And the newest addition, Baby Suzy. She is like a squeaky toy, you squeeze her and she pees, but I still love her!

We won't discuss the two cats, because I have a theory about cats and their connection with the dead, and these two cats are seriously channeling some evil spirits!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Speaking of Roaches...


Before you start judging me, I'm not a filthy bum. I clean. Not often. But too often for this to happen.

Bring on the nightmares...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mirtes' Indoor-Outdoor

First things first, if you have no idea who Mirtes' is, get acquainted.

For an evangelical, Mirtes was sure good at making her home a living hell. It still boggles my mind how someone living in a tropical city would not have doors. There was a front door, of course, but there was no door leading to the outdoor kitchen (yes, $2000 reais a month to cook camping-style), and no door leading to the outdoor bedroom/bathroom.

Not to mention, the wandering refrigerator. It is a well-known fact that middle-aged Brazilian women have an irresistable urge for non-stop rearranging. There is a ceramic donkey at my Sogra's house that pops up in the oddest of places. I play "Cadê o burro" every time I visit her house.

But, the refrigerator, really? One day it was in the living room, the next day the indoor kitchen, the next day the outdoor kitchen, until she finally ended up hoarding it on the outdoor veranda and locking the door so we couldn't eat. Luckily, it was carnaval and a bottle of warm cachaça was enough to sustain us.
No doors in Rio de Janeiro means waking up to cockroaches skittering around your room. It became clear very quickly that these illusive roaches had special training from years of wacked-out Mirtes chasing them around in her calcinhas (the sight alone could kill a colony of roaches).

Without a doubt, there was a new cockroach for everyday we lived at Mirtes' Indoor-Outdoor. Yes, we named the house. We also named the roaches: Bush, Hitler, Jim get the idea.

Killing the roaches became an art. Since there were two of us living the in the room, there was a chaser/smasher and a scooper/disposer. After a botched smashing attempt, my PTSD made me eligible for permanent scooper duty, for that I was thankful.

I so desperatly wish I could turn back time and put my scooper duty to good use, carrying on my legacy of going away gifts for my homestay families. A roach bag would have suited Mirtes perfectly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I see London, I see France

After reading Linds' post about where to tinkle while out and about in Rio de Janeiro, I remembered an amazing bathroom that I had the pleasure of peeing in while grabbing a drink with my boyfriend.

In Flamengo there is a Devassa bar on the corner of Rua Senador Vergueiro and Rua Marqûes de Abrantes. I can't speak for the men's bathroom, but the girls bathroom was FREAKY!

I was just sitting there, on the pot peeing, when the bathroom door opened and a girl came in. It was then that I realized I could see her...from inside my stall!!! It wasn't until she started making kissy faces at her self WHILE STARING RIGHT AT ME WITH MY PANTS AROUND MY ANKLES, that I realized she was looking in a mirror.

Those freaky freaks at devassa put a one-way mirror on their bathroom stall doors. When you are in the stall you can see everything happening outside in the bathroom, but when you are outside, you think it's just a mirror.

What was even more uncomfortable was seeing the girl later when she left the bar...we exchanged glances and I knew she had figured it out.

Burnin' Down the House

A giant billboard of a woman burning and the slogan "brinque com fogo" just two blocks from where a car was recently burnt on Siqueira Campos...slightly inappropriate given recent events, don't you think, Burn Energy Drinks? Of course, it was just a case of unfortunate timing. Kinda like when I was in the airport as the staff where taking down Tiger Woods' watch ads (right after "the scandal"). "It's the best watch I've ever owned, and you can trust me, I'm Tiger Woods) Ha!

Here are some other unfortunate advertisments!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Calling All Expats!!

So the dread has begun to sink in. It is a little over 2 weeks until I have to leave Brazil, my job, my crappy apartment and my beloved Namo. Last time I left Brazil I was heartbroken but I knew what I had to do and when I would be back. This time, on the other hand, I have no idea when I'll be returning.

What I really want to do is take a Portuguese class at a University here in Rio and get a student visa. I don't want to return on another tourist visa because I'll have to wait 6 months and I don't know if I can do that again.

I need advice. Anything. If you have any contacts/friends/students/whoever that have taken portuguese classes and gotten visas to live here in Brazil, I would love to get in contact with them and bate papo.

I've been looking into UFRJ and UERJ but the sites aren't updated, they don't return emails and they never answer their phones...go figure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mirtes - The Homophobic Hoarder - An Introduction

It's been a long time coming, but the thought of even trying to summarize Mirtes in a short blog post is extremely daunting, but here goes.

I left Esther the Nazi Pimp's House with enthusiasm and excitment because 'Gary' and I had just met a lovely Brazilian girl who just happened to have an open room in a beautiful apartment in Leblon and she wanted to rent it to us, for $400 reais a month! Only $400 reais a month and no Nazi slurs, smoke-scented panties, or man boobs!!!

Homeless for the weekend, Gary and I decided to head to Ilha Grande to pass the time before we could move into our new apartment. The weekend was amazing and we took some gorgeous photos.

Upon returning we got our first lesson in Brazilian's flakyness cultural understanding of casual commitments. Meaning, the Brazilian girl ditched us and I was left homeless. Literally, bags in the taxi and nowhere to go.

That's when Mirtes (Meer-chez) flew in and saved the day. The caring and selfless evangelical saint that she was, saw my desperity, and offered me a bedroom for the discounted price of $2,000 reais. I repeat, what a Saint!

Let's talk about the bedroom. The term "quarto" was really quite a stretch as I would have chosen "veranda" or "outdoor mosquito breeding ground with a crankable curtain-wall". She also took some liberty with the term "bathroom with hot shower", because all I saw was a hose sitting in the sun...

She assured us that rain wouldn't enter the room, but upon arriving home the next day to all of our precious belongings strewn about the house and a million fans on, it was clear that the veranda had flooded. My computer would have died had I not already killed it with a bottle of nail polish remover at the Nazi's house.

Mirtes had a few basic rules: no smoking, no drinking, no foul-mouths, no boys, no girls, no music, no unpure thoughts, NO GAYS! Did I mention we lived on Farme? We just nodded our heads and swore up and down that we were good evangelical girls. Well, needless to say it only took a few days for us to stumble in drunk at 3am in neon wigs and body paint for Mirtes to get suspicious...and that's when the hoarding began.

This post is already getting long and my brain is overflowing with ridiculous Mirtes stories, so I will save them for another post (or 10), such as:

-Mirtes sings about Cocaine
-Mirtes' panties in my bed
-Mirtes builds a cubicle in the living room
-Mirtes' Bible Bootcamp
-Mirtes' son's sex CD

and my personal favorite

-Mirtes gives the pedophile a key to our bedroom.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I could do that!

You know when you hear about a business/gadget/idea that someone came up with and is now making a few million dollars off of, and you just want to kick yourself in the face for not coming up with it first?

Facebook. Okay, I’m not delusional. Im fully aware that I never would have been able to come up with that or Napster, or the Internet…so go ahead and revel in your glory Mark Zuckerberg, Shawn Fanning and Al Gore (ha!)

But then there are those who make billions off of wigs and goggles for dogs, packaged plastic wishbones, and fake doctor's note templates for working professionals.

Last night, I met one of these lucky (smart) bastards. He had come up with the most genius business in Rio de Janeiro and he is about to make some DINHEIRÃO! It’s called Homedrink (or “omedrinky” if you´re Brazilian). They deliver any kind of alcohol from velho barreiro to grey goose, snacks (Pringles and cashews = $$$), and ice during Madrugada. Meaning, after all the stores are closed and everyone is too drunk to drive, these playboys save the day by swooping in on their motos with stupidly cold alcohol.

I can't tell you how many times I have woken up in the morning thinking “Thank GOD we didn’t get that second bottle of cachaça last night”. Now I'm screwed.

The more I think about it, the more genius it is. I mean, a business where you are almost guaranteed that your clients are drunk and making irresponsible financial decisions.

If you are interested in using them for your party or late night red wine binge, check them out here. Or check their twitter/facebook/orkut because apparently the site does not work. Amateur.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Say Whaaaaat???

My newest dirty Brazilian Idioms, all of which mean brown noser/butt-kisser:

Lambe-cú - Butthole licker

Baba-ovo - Ball drooler

Puxa-saco - Sack puller

Hmmmm these all sound like the creative names that would come out of my 7 year old nephew's mouth before someone shoves a bar of soap down his throat.

Gentileza Gera Gentileza

For all of the gripe Rio gets about violence and pick-pocketing, I think its important that the world out there hears about how kind Cariocas are and how they are some of the most warm-hearted people I've had the pleasure of meeting.

The other day I broke open the piggy bank to purchase some much needed medicine. After stopping by the drogaria, I made my way to Mundial. If you have ever been to Mundial on a weekend, you know that it is a special kind of torture.

I have a theory about the "express line". DON'T USE IT! Usually it's more crowded than the normal line, and I think its the dunce corner for cashiers being punished. However, on this special day some snotty lady decided my 15 items or less EXCLUDED me from the normal line...

Not only was I in the back of the line, but I had the superb luck of getting a "caixa fechada" plaque placed on my cart. To any normal personal this reads "Line Closed-Back off"...but to the hoards of people who kept arriving behind me in line it meant "Please Cut in Front of Me to Cheat the System".

Needless to say, the day started a little lousy, but I went about my day running errands and stayed chipper. When I got home I realized that my medicine was missing. After a few exasperated minutes of crying by myself, I decided to stop feeling bad for myself, and venture back into the gloomy Rio rain to find my missing meds.

I retraced my steps and searched all through Mundial again. Finally I decided to go back to the drug store and see if they would sympathize and give me some more meds for free (I was desperate).

It turns out someone found my medicine on the ground in Mundial and took the time to see what pharmacy it was from. They walked with all of their groceries, through the rain (for 5 miles in 10 feet of snow blah blah blah) to return the medicine to the pharmacy and SAVE MY LIFE! Not literally…but close to it.

I don’t know many people would take the time to do something this selfless, but its not the first time something like this has happened to me in Rio. Thank you nameless Carioca who took 10 minutes out of your day to greatly improve mine!!! : )

Kindness Generates Kindness, people! Now I have to find something nice to do. Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Better Than Crack

To say that I’m addicted to coffee would be the understatement of the year. However, it is so not my fault. You see, I spent 3 years filtering coffee with a plastic cup and a paper towel, before moving up to a French press (que chique). Then I arrived at my work here in Rio where they have endless amounts of fresh, steaming hot Brazilian coffee every day! I just cant help myself, so I help myself to 2 cups of coffee and make it through days like this.

Turns out there was a slight confusion and I don’t know what an espresso machine is. Yeah that’s right, go ahead and hate, Ive been drinking 2 cups of espresso everyday for the past 6 months, I should probably be dead…don’t worry, I paid big. After this Halloween’s special treat, I had to cut back on the caffeine, and I felt it.


Thanks to my good friends Neosaldina and Chocolate, I made it out alive, and I have lived to tell my tragic story. Every 1 in 6,000,000,000 people do not know the difference between a coffee maker and an espresso machine…don’t be a statistic, get educated.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Your Ass Will Thank You

I tried to think of a flashy title that would get people to read this post, I figured a good curse word always does the trick. I came across a website that any ex-pat or avid traveler just NEEEEEEEDS to know about.

Seriously, this site just saved me from booking a 17 hour flight from Panama to California, in a seat that has less leg room, can't recline, is located directly under the AC, with a partial window and less cushioning than standard economy seats.

It's called SeatGuru, and it has now been added to my favorites bar. You can type in any airline and the aircraft number and it gives you a super detailed layout of the seating. It not only shows you what seats are near the wings/bathroom/emergency exits, but it highlights the worst/best/slightly bad seats on the aircraft.

It covers other details such as:
-movie screens/music channels
-seat cushioning
-temperature of certain areas
-leg room/width of seat
-partial window/full window
-reclining room

It totally sounds like I'm being paid to write this (feel free to reimburse me SeatGuru), but I am just so thankful that I don't have to spend 17 hours in a non-reclining seat. I seriously recommend using this site while reserving your seats online. Thanks to them, I get to spend my 17 hours (from hell) in a seat with extra leg room and a private movie screen.

For those of you who travel Business Class...I have nothing positive to say to you because my jealousy is debilitating.

*Insider's Tip* - If you can't reserve the seat you want when you purchase your ticket, check back on the website within 24 hours of your flight, that is when all the seats from cancellations and whatnot open up!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feelin A Lil' Fruity?

After Rachel's post about the candy hierarchy, I remembered a great little chart I had seen a while back. It was titled "Fuck Grapefruit" Whooaaaaaaaaaa sorry for the F-bomb, it's just me and a bottle of red wine tonight and I'm feeling a little wild, so wild in fact, I almost broke my jaw trying to rip the cork out the old fashioned way.

I digress...

I stole the photo from here. Super nerdy blog/site. My brain can't grasp 99.9% of the posts, but thanks to algebra and the fact that it includes drawings, I got this one figured out.

What I can't figure out is what the hell Mr. Orange is doing waaaaaay down there with Mr. Grapefruit!! I totally support grapefruit's position on the chart. In my home, my brother used to pee on the grapefruit amount of sugar can mask that its precious seedlings were borne of my brother's urine.

I know what all you Brazilians are wondering "Cadê o limão??" That's what I first thought when I saw the chart, but then I remembered how many hours I have spent in bed cursing that little devil and it's cohort Cachaça. All you two do is get me into trouble. You team up to look like a tastey mixed drink that I can't's only in the morning that I remember that Caipirinhas are 99% cachaça and 1% limão...

I'm renaming this photo "Fuck limão"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Roller Pack

So Ive already discussed the Brazilian man’s work pack, and now its time for the Brazilian woman’s Roller-pack which led to an important self realization.

In elementary school/junior high, I was the bitch. And by “bitch” I don’t mean the popular girl who makes out with boys and makes fun of girls…I mean the bitch’s little bitch. I constantly had to prove that I was cool so they wouldn’t realize that I wasn’t

Unfortunately, my mom had other plans for me. These plans included roller backpacks, hairy legs, braces and panty lines.

Thongs were strictly forbidden, braces were strictly enforced, legs could only be shaved to the knee and the roller backpack was “convenient and cute”. Needless to say, my mission of being accepted was DENIED!

Fast forward 10 years or so and I finally get it. I was meant to be Brazilian! The only place in the world where a grown woman with long golden leg hairs, a roller backpack, braces and panty lines could be sexy. I knew I loved this country!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Discovering the Bay of December

Alright so I’m really starting to question why we trusted these so called “world explorers” of the 15th and 16th centuries…

First there is Columbus. Everyone who’s anyone (in the US) knows this man. We all learned the little rhyme in elementary school:

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
he had three ships, he left from Spain,
till something went a lil ‘tarded in his brain.
Maybe it was cabin fever,
Or a bottle or two of rum,
But he confused the Bahamas for India,
Yes, he really was THAT dumb.

Then there is Pedro Alvares Cabral. This fine gentleman “discovered” Brazil while en route to India as well. (Does anybody else agree that we should just dump a big pot of glow in the dark paint over India, and stop all this confusion once and for all?)

Two years after Cabral rolled in, Gaspar de Lemos was floating down a "river" we like to call the Atlantic Ocean, when he spotted land. In a belligerent portrayal of typical explorer prowess, he deemed the land “Rio de Janeiro” because it was clearly located along a river, and it was January 1st.

I wonder if any Carioca has ever stopped to realize that their beloved Rio de Janeiro could easily have been Baia de Dezembro. Think about it, Lemos was clearly hammered. If Lemos wasn’t such a belligerent alchy maybe they would have shown up a day early and maybe (just maybe) he would have realized he was in the ocean.

Bemvindo à Baia de Dezembro, gente!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shout Out!

I would like to formally thank whoever decided to play “Get Low” on a loop for four hours in my office today. You made me realize that Yes, it could be worse.

And although I am grateful that you have finally acknowledged that I am the translator, I do not want to take part in your debate about what “sweat drip down my balls” means…

A shout out Haiku about my life’s achievements:

Nearly bilingual,
With a linguistics degree,
Translate “sweaty balls”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Carioca ™

How to become a true Carioca Woman:

1. Permanent Tan lines – teachers have em, doctors have em, newscasters have em, infants have em, hell…even porn stars have em!

2. Heals – a pair for work, a pair for the movie theater, a pair for the night clubs, a pair for the grocery store, and a pair for your dear old 90 year old grandma with a broken hip.

3. Gastro-Gluteus Relocation Surgery – Consult with your doctor about this controversial new surgery where you can get your stomach surgically relocated to your ass. The more beans, salgados, pastels, coxinhas, pão de queijo, and esfihas you eat, the better! It’s drastic but there is no other way.

4. Learn Your Diminutives because everything is legalzinho, fofinho, pequenininho, engraçadinho and rapidinho.

5. Scar Yourself! No matter how convincingly you apply steps 1-4, you will never pass the Carioca da Gema test without full commitment to step 5. That little crater scar on the fleshy part of the upper arm is like the government’s way of keeping track of the natural born citizens. Even if you marry in, you will never be a true Carioca without the crater scar. Bring out the branding iron!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Homestay 1: Esther the Nazi Pimp

When I first came to Brazil it was through the exchange program at my University. My school here in Brazil (PUC) set me up with a family where I only had to pay $400 reais to rent a room. Unfortunately, there were and still are some MAJOR flaws with the whole home stay situation (such as, absolutely no criteria other than “must have ceiling fan” and no feedback from past students who have stayed there). As luck would have it, I ended up with a bunch of Nazis…literally.

Esther, my home stay mom, was about 50 years old and waited on her husband hand and foot. She forced me to bring bananas to school everyday, which I insisted I didn’t want (don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, but when the bruise to yellow ratio is 9:1, im not down). I hid the bananas in a purse in the corner of my room (the infamous “banana bag”) which later filled with a few million families of fruit flies and banana mush. I never threw it away.

Esther’s husband was about 150 years old and undoubtedly fled Nazi Germany after the war. He only wore boxers, spit on the ground (don’t worry, Esther mopped it up right away), and liked to smoke cigarettes in my room while I wasn’t home…there is no other reason my panty drawer would smell like lucky strikes! He called me Mary and my (girl) friend Gary. The first thing he said to me was “How are you going to shoot that monkey Obama while living in Brazil?”

Esther and her husband did not approve of my boyfriend. So Esther set me up on a blind date…without telling me. She woke me up at 6am, brought me to someone’s house, rung the doorbell, mumbled something, and left. I expected some nice old lady to invite me in for coffee and pão de queijo, but what I got was a shirtless 40 year old man with a scorpion tattoo on his breast...yes, breast. When he went to his room to put a shirt on I made a run for it. Fifteen flights of stairs. I packed up and left her house the next day.

In retrospect, I think my banana bag was the perfect going away gift. Like a classier version of a flaming bag of shit on the front porch.

It you can believe it, home stay #2 was even worse. Stay tuned for "Mirtes - the homophobic hoarder".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Legalize It?

I was born in the small hippie town of Ojai - pronounced "O-Hi" - but more commonly referred to as "So-High". Get it? Get the weed joke? Yeah. Then I moved to the slightly bigger hippie town of Santa Cruz. Up until about a year ago, the only jewelry I owned was hemp and my laundry room was themed Bob Marley.

Living in California, you kind of forget that weed/pot/marijuana/reefer/whatever you wanna call it, is actually illegal. Then to top it off, living in a city where weed is declared lowest priority by the police (meaning, J-walking is more illegal than smoking pot), Prop. 19 doesn't seem like too far of a stretch.

Needless to say, I'm a little shocked it didn't pass. For those of you who don't know, Prop 19 was a proposal that was voted on in November's election that would allow adults (21+) to grow and consume marijuana legally (up to an ounce).

The upside: The government could tax weed, bringing in tons of much needed money for education, health care, and what not. In addition, our prisons would not be full of young adults who were arrested for non-violent drug related crimes involving marijuana.

The downside: long lines at cold stone, lice outbreaks, statewide birkenstock shortage. In other words: POT HEADS EVERYWHERE BAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Either way, with Prop. 19 or without, Californians are going to continue to "burn one down", it's just a matter of whether or not the goverment wants to profit from it.

*Disclaimer: I realize that the pot situation in California is wildly different from Rio. No comparison.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ballsy Move, Brazil!

So in the fight for presidency, it looks as though Prof. Umbridge (if you are not a Harry Potter fanatic like me, this is probably lost on you) beat out Mr. Burns in yesterday's election. Honestly, I think she might have been the cop out vote because of her ties to Lula.

The interesting thing about Brazil is that voting is mandatory. From what I understand of it, you must vote in order to get some sort of stamp or receipt that goes in your 'carteira de trabalho', and you cannot work without this stamp. In addition, you have to pay a fine if you don't vote. (correct me if i'm wrong)

When I first heard of mandatory voting, I thought "what a great way to get everybody involved and passionate about elections". I was wrong and idealistic. Everybody does not get passionate, they feel obliged and bitter. Well, not everyone of course. It is just a little scary to know that people who know nothing about the candidates, show up on election day, choose at random and leave. At least they have the option of "undecided" on the ballot.

So whether or not Dilma winning the presidency is going to be good for Brazil is only something we will know in time, but it is surely a victory in the sense that Brazil has its first woman president. That's right USA, BRAZIL HAS ITS FIRST WOMEN PRESIDENT, take notes. (This is in no way me pushing for Palin, no way).

So despite the fact that Dilma has "evil vibes in her expression" (as its been said), lets hope this 'filha do Brasil' can do right by her country and keep the ball rolling. Afterall, she will be president during the World Cup and possibly the Olympics, that's some major financial decision making for a country that needs a politician intersted in something other than stuffing his or her own pockets.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Treats

Nothing says Halloween like waking up to a terrifying, deadly and tear-inducing bladder infection! Woohhoo! You see, when I was just a little mini-fetus in my mother's womb, I thought "Screw this, I don't want to be born a creepy Halloween baby, I'm coming out now". And so I did, on August 11th, 2 1/2 months shy of my Oct. 31st due date.

Since I can remember, Halloween has been SCREWING ME OVER as a little reminder that it was my fate to be born albino, with red eyes, zombie brains, and vampire teeth. So, thank you Halloween, for the little gift...a wonderful excuse to take painkillers and watch Dexter all day.

Keeping with the never-ending food theme of my blog, I thought I would do a little Brazil vs. USA Nancy's Favorite Candies competition.



Paçoca is what I would consider, the "Butterfinger"of Brazil. The insides of a Butterfinger are much harder than a Paçoca and less peanuty, but its the closest match I have found. Although I love me a good Paçoca anyday, I'm gonna have to go with Butterfinger on this one. There is nothing quite like that addictive flaky orange nougat!



This one is a tough one. Peanut Brittle, although not the yummiest of candies, is a very nostalgic candy for me. My mom loves it and we would always eat it together...meaning, I would buy it for her as a gift and then sneak into her room to steal peices. Pé de moleque on the other hand is an exciting new friend, with a cute name. I'm not sure the story behind the name which roughly translates to "boy's foot". Although this one is a hard choice, I think exciting new friend trumps klepto daughter's nostalgia. Pé de moleque it is!



So it was difficult finding a candy that we have in the US to even compare to the deliciousness of the Serenata de Amor. The best I could come up with would be a kinky hyrbid (trybrid?) between the smooth and creamy interior of a milky way, the crunch factor of a malted milk ball and the witty little surprise inside a fortune cookie. Either way, I think it is safe to say that the American Trybrid does not even come close to beating the Serenata de Amor.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Great Debate

Before jumping right in, I feel the need to clarify something. This is not a food blog. I just love food. Simple as that, moving on.

I would group Globo Biscoitos in the same category as Farofa, Caldo de Cana, and Brazilian hotdogs. There is nothing initially appetizing about eating sand with your beans, drinking a green frothy liquid made from crushing a giant stick, or diarreah in a bun with peas and french fries on top.

But there is something magical about these unique Brazilian treats that makes me love this country even more. Hell, if you're gonna put ketchup on your hotdog, why stop there? The more the better, right?

Globo Biscoitos look like that stale donut that you found under your couch, eaten from the inside out by all the termites, roaches, ants and critters running around (i'm not much of a cleaner). They cut the roof of your mouth and make you feel like you paid R$2.50 for a bag of air. But oh that air, is so so so sweet.

Globo Biscoitos come in two varieties, doce ou salgado, sweet or salty. Personally, I am a sweet girl, all the way! But I did buy the salty globo canga because I liked the colors more (shhh don't tell!)

When I woke up yesterday to the sun shining and sweat on my upper lip, I thought 'BEACH DAY'! Then my alarm told me 'WORK DAY'! I only work half days, so I spent my 4 hours at work planning my solo beach adventure. It would be my first opportunity since returning to Brazil to sit on the beach with my stupidly cold mate com limão (meia meia) and delicious globo doce.

Too bad for me, I got bogged down with a huge project and never made it to the beach. Oh well, there will be other days.

Globo Tips:

1) Face downwind while you eat them or the spiky little crumbs will stick all over your sweaty beach body.
2) Even though you can buy them in a Zona Norte grocery store for a fraction of the price, buy them on the beach. They are better (name brand!) and you get to support someone who works hard for their money (don't even get me started on grocery store cashiers...)

Which do you all prefer DOCE or SALGADO???

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Monolingual Translator?

I work part time at a travel and tourism company here in Rio as the in-house translator. Well, technically that is what I am supposed to do, but nobody there thinks they need a translator, soooo I get paid to drink coffee and doodle.

You see, my coworkers (read: patricinhas) think that 1 summer in Miama studying English trumps my 22 years and a bachelors degree in Linguistics. Totally makes sense right? No! And the strange thing is, it's not just my coworkers. It's my boss too.

Granted, all bosses have superiorty complexes because they are, well, superior to their employees. But, to tell your translator her translation is wrong because it doesn't sound right in does that make any sense?

I realize that "bancos do rio" doesn't make sense, and it should be "margin do rio"...but that does not mean that "banks of the river" has to be "margins of the river" in English. You see, they are two different languages.

At the end of the day, I don't care if her site looks unprofessional because she wants to use her craptastic English. I mean, who needs an in-house translator when your employees provide your site with glorious gems like these:

-"Cum drink a yum-yum in the hotel's slave quarters"
-"The church is filled with little negro angels"
-"The STD room has a contagious energy"

Yes, keep insisting your English is better than mine because those descriptions are F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!!!

And, to the B$%*& who was under the impression that the translator (me) wouldn't understand portuguese, and asked a coworker right in front of me if I was a lesbian: No, i'm not, but if I were, you wouldn't make the cut!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cadê meu Açaí?

I arrived in Brazil with the American perception of Açaí as the cure-all berry. After eating it every day for about a year, I started to recognize it for what it really was, a sugar-filled crack pipe that left me with 4 extra kilos and a root canal that cost me my life savings.

I was able to kick the habit upon arriving in the US, and the withdrawals weren’t too bad, but I did fear for the day I would return to Brazil. Would I wind up sleeping in the streets, selling strands of my precious blonde hair for Açaí money?

I am proud to say that I have only relapsed once since arriving here 5 months ago, and I could almost hear my teeth weeping. But why is it that I NEEDED Açaí on a daily basis the first time I was in Brazil, but I have almost no desire to eat it now? What was different about my daily life last year and now?


I always used to drink Açaí to cure my hangovers.

I should have known. I always create a placebo hangover cure. In the United States it was bagels because they “soak up the alcohol”. When I couldn’t get a bagel it was listening to shitty old Blink 182 songs because they “make me want to vomit for a whole other reason”. In Brazil it was Açaí because I’m a stupid American that thinks it “cures all”.

So alcohol is the gateway drug that led me into my downward spiral of sugar addiction and cavities. Don’t let it happen to you…drink responsibly.

Se for beber, não coma Açaí.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Calling all Mexicans!

Alright, the Mexican food situation in Rio is getting desperate. Can somebody please just drive their taco truck cross-country, through Colombia and down to Rio? I don’t have a car, I’ll give you my parking spot below my apartment. Okay, so I don’t have a parking spot, but I’ll buy you one!

Thanks to jims post about huevos rancheros I am drooling in my sleep while I dream of spicy black bean salsa and fajitas....mmmmmmmmm

I lived off of Mexican food growing up in Southern California. Food from the taco truck was pretty much all I could afford on my unemployed income (ie. change found under the couch)

It is a tough reality to accept that I cannot afford Mexican food in Rio, but its true. The few Mexican restaurants I have come across earn a measly 2-3 stars in my book and are severely, inappropriately, sinfully and devastatingly overpriced.

If I had had had to choose my favorite, it would be Mizu.

The only real reason I like it is because it is Rodizio (all you can eat) Mexican food and Sushi. Who thought of that combo, I have no idea, but the logo is great. The sushi is average/good, but the Mexican food is downright hilarious.

Here are my tips on how to read the menu if you ever decide to check it out:

Tostadas = Taquitos
Tortilla chips = Doritos (sometimes)
Nachos = Doritos covered in movie theater cheese
Burritos = skinny soft-shelled taquitos
Mashed Potatoes = Mashed Potatoes at a Mexican restaurant.

And the big-daddy 5-star winner:

French fry and Sausage Burrito!!!! Mmmmmm!

My desperation is evident in the fact that THIS is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Rio.

***Warning: Do not google Mexican food!!! You will regret it!!!***
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