Friday, 31 December 2010

Feliz Ano Novo!

New Year marks the start of the celebrations in Brazil that last until the end of Carnival (March 4th-8th). The streets of Sao Paulo have been emptied and everyone's heading to the beach to celebrate. The idea of sitting in traffic (we've heard of people leaving at 2am and taking 11 hours to get to a beach that, on a normal day, should only take 1.5 hours) with a screaming toddler terrifies us so we decided to travel for Christmas instead (when all the Brazilians stay at home with their families) and stay in the city this year. We have a kilo of file mignon and a bottle of cachaca to last us the evening. So is the life of one that has children!

The last New Years that we spent here in Brazil was in 2006 and we had arrived a few days earlier in Salvador. We booked ourselves into a local bar as we had been told how crazy busy it was going to be, had a few warm-up caprihinias (it only really takes me one to warm up!), tucked some money into socks or bras (anywhere a wandering hand might be noticed!) and headed out for the evening. The party on the street and beach was much more exciting than the inside of a bar so we left the comforts of the bar (for me this was access to a toilet) to go and get involved.

It was our first introduction to live music in Brazil and it was amazing. There was 4 days of music in Salvador and on that evening we saw some Brazilian greats, including Daniela Mercury. Entire families (and I'm taking 4-5 generations all dancing together) took it upon themselves to teach us estrangeiros to samba and we made some great friends for that evening.

The ancient African religion of Candomble is still highly regarded here in Brazil. Thousands will go to the beach today to pay homage to the Afro-Brazilian Goddess of the Sea, Lemanja. Candles and flowers are floated out to sea in the hope that she will answer people's hopes and wishes that are carried in these little boats. 

Also, everyone dresses in white out of tradition and it is considered to bring you good luck and peace in the New Year (so leave your little black dress at home). The evening will end with a series of fireworks at midnight which we hopefully will be able to see from our balcony. There is a big party on Avenida Paulista tonight starting at 10pm - if we've run out of cachaca we might pop Sophie in the buggy and head over to see the fireworks. If not, here's to good health, good times, good friends and making some fantastic memories here in Brazil in 2011!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Total SP guia

So I've been living in Sao Paulo for almost 8 months now and have just discovered Total SP!!

I found their guide book in Anna's bookshelf and read it front to back in one sitting. It's a great little guide for Sao Paulo - if you're moving here, or if you're just coming for a weekend visit (though you'd need more than a weekend to check out all their recommendations). I've already picked up 3 of them - a copy for ourselves (I think Anna would notice if we had stolen hers) and a couple as cute little presents.

I had to hunt them down - Livraria Cultura, supposedly the biggest bookshop in Brazil, didn't have a copy but I found them in a little boutique bookshop off Oscar Friere. The shopkeeper asked me if I knew the authors as he knew them personally himself. I like that they are a little more homegrown than your Lonely Planets or Rough Guides. All our weekends in Sao Paulo 2011 are already planned!

They also have an online guide with updates.


Bugger, have lost the house we wanted to buy. Does anyone want to sell their house in Alto de Pinheiros / Pinheiros?

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas weekend! Will post about our weekend later x

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Feliz Natal!

So we are finally back in Brazil, after a month of travelling to the Middle East, Hong Kong and Australia for weddings and Tim's work, with our visas and CPF intact! The last (..) bit of paperwork is Tim's 'carteira de trabalha' but we are finally able to start living live here in Sao Paulo.

Since the last post we have decided to buy a house. We found a house in Alto de Pinheiros which needs a lot of work done. We had to take some time to decide whether we are prepared for more bureaucratic headache.... and we decided yes, what better way to learn Portuguese even faster! Tim found an agent to take us around some of the houses in the area. We already decided we want to stay in Pinheiros to make Tim's commute much more bearable. At the moment we are house sitting in Jardins and it can take him upwards of 1.5 hours just one way (bearing in mind it is Christmas season here so traffic is even worse).

We were recommended a couple of architects by friends, one didn't bother to show up so that helped us make the choice. There is a bit of work to be done on the house and she estimates 4-6 months - which I'm translating as 1 - 2 years... see, I'm learning patience albeit slowly!!

Tim has hired a lawyer who has put the initial offer in for us so let's see where this takes us in 2011.

Sao Paulo has lots of Xmas lights and decorations up along Av Paulista and there is a light show in Parque Ibirapuera. We are starting our christmas traditions as a family in sunny Brazil - hunting down recipes for mulled wine, mince pies and christmas pudding which I have managed to make all from scratch has actually been quite satisfying. Apparently the supermarket Casa Santa Lucia has lots of imported stuff but not quite prepared to pay Rs $40 for a box of mince pies... 

It's common for most people to stay with families over Christmas (our nanny is having Xmas with her family - all 70 of them!) and everyone travels to the beach for New Years. We're going to do the opposite this year so we're not stuck in 10-12 hour traffic jams to get to the beach which is technically only an hour away... so we are planning on staying put in Brazil. No more flying! We are off to Paraty for Christmas weekend to have some family / beach time and probably chilling in Sao Paulo for New Years Eve. Will remember to take some pictures of us drinking mulled wine on the beach this weekend...

Merry Christmas, Feliz Natal and Happy Holidays to all!!