Thursday, 8 December 2011

Viva a Tacos!!

I've had one of those really productive days in Sao Paulo, shock horror. I'm ignoring the fact I've sat in traffic for 2 hours of it because I've managed to accomplish quite alot...

8am We went to Federal Police in Lapa to apply for Olivia's passport. After our headache last year with our visas I begged tim to use an agent and it ended up being a pretty pleasant visit as far as visits there go. I will do a separate posting on the Brazilian passport process when we actually have it in our hands..

10am Next admin was mine and Sophie's third Hep B vaccinations. We went to Clinivac next to Hosp Sao Luiz this time as it was more convenient. I use to take Sophie to Cedipi but only because it was one
block away from where we use to live in Jardins. It's smaller but has a much cuter play area for kids - though I would just recommend going to which ever one is more convenient.

12pm One month appointment with my doctor before she goes on holiday. Everything is back to normal so don't have to go back and see her again until I'm pregnant again....

1pm Lunch at Hecho en Mexico, a taqueria in itaim that has just opened (rua renato paes de barros, 538).  Since I'm not pregnant anymore I can't really blame cravings but I did go with a pregnant friend... . Unfortunately no fish tacos but we had chicken ones, and rice and beans which were all pretty tasty. It was also really cheap by sao paulo standards; when we got the bill I thought they had divided it for us already but it was only r45 for the two of us. Will someone go and check out the margaritas for me while I can't drink?!?!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

iphone in Brazil

All I want for Christmas is an iphone!!

1. all my friends that live overseas have one (yes, i'm a sucker for peer pressure)
2. they look pretty
3. essential breastfeeding app
4. sophie has claimed the ipad, ipod and other phones

But I just can't bring myself to pay the extortionate fees / contracts for one here. I see lots of Brazilians walking around with their iphone, tapping away a message in a coffee shop (so much for not flaunting one's wealth...) and I think - how the hell can they afford one?!?!!

I'm waiting in vain that Tim has ordered one for my sister to bring over from HK, and we have some friends who have cut their pay-as-you-go sim cards to fit.... I'll let you know on the 26th December whether I'm a new iphone owner or whether I'll be languishing in Sao Paulo iphone-less...

Do you remember that the iPhone 4 8GB was supposed to be a cheaper model, launched alongside the iPhone 4S? Well, it seems that Brazilian operators didn’t pay attention to Tim Cook... read rest of article here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Moving house

It occurred to me the other day that we have not had our ‘own’ apartment / house to live in since we left London in December 2009. We’ve been travelling, staying with family and friends, hotels, house rentals, sub-lets (a 2 month sublet in Moema, an 8 month sublet in Vila Madalena, a friend’s house for a month over Xma  and most recently a 10 month temporary lease in Jardins). It is SO nice to finally have our own place with our furniture which has been in storage since March. 

We had been looking for a place pretty much all this year. Earlier this year we looked at places to buy and reform but the currency is too strong, and at the same Tim was offered a stake in his company so we put the money into that and decided to look for rentals. The place we were staying in was pretty convenient – we had a rolling month lease on a 3 bedroom apartment in Jardins, so we didn’t feel the pressure to get somewhere straight away. Tim hated the commute but since having a car at least it was in his own space, even if he was stuck in some awful traffic jam. We had the idea of moving before Olivia was born but the house hunting was disheartening.

We started looking before our Europe trip in August and found a couple of places but firstly, real estate agents were SO slow in responding and secondly the market is pretty depressing – big ugly houses that are our of our budget. We also needed to organise house insurance. This isn’t a problem for most people as their companies will organise this on their behalf but Tim is (will be) a partner in his firm and doesn’t draw a big salary so it turned out to be a pain for us. We found a house we liked literally driving around the neighbourhood we wanted. The owner let us have a few visits and we thought we were in but it turned out she was just using us to put pressure on the first couple.  We found another house we really liked walking distance to his office on a private road, and in our budget but the real estate agent (who turned out to be the owner as well) only returned calls after Tim had left a couple of dozen messages, and insisted that we had to be approved by one particular insurance company which we just couldn’t get. I think he either didn’t want to rent (he wanted to sell it as well) and/or didn’t like dealing with gringoes.

Looking online* is futile – most of the places advertised are probably gone already, don’t look like the photos or don’t have any photos. My favourite agency I liked to look at was AXPE but they were out of our budget. Agents / house owners will also negotiate with you based on who is paying for the rent – a common first question is ‘Is your company paying?’. Unfortunately for us / them, we were paying rent out of our own savings. If you can find a place direct with the owner you are looking at 15-20% cheaper than what is advertised through agencies.

Through a random cupcake contact (thanks Nicole and Myrna!) who had just seen a place in Butanta that was direct with the owner. Tim tried calling but there was no answer, but the next time we met up with my friend she texted the guy straight away and he replied saying it was still available. Tim went to see it, and took it straight away owing to earlier hesitations not getting us the very first place we liked. I didn’t want to get excited but surprisingly (shockingly!), Tim had the insurance (we were able to use a different company) and the rental contract signed within 2 weeks! It came at a price of fixing up the guttering, and we had to repaint and re-do the bathrooms ourselves but it balanced out net/net with the monthly rent. We moved in on the weekend and just waiting for NETS to turn up for the second time for internet (just prepping this blog while I wait) even though they were scheduled for 8am-12pm. Fastshop is the best place to buy electronics – our fridge was delivered at 6:30pm on Friday night, the washing machine on Tuesday night (even though it was scheduled for 8-12pm). We have a great painter, and electrician and tiling man if anyone needs recommendations and have been spending a lot of time at Leroy Merlin.

So Butanta is not exactly the area we were looking at but it’s only a 5 minute drive across the river to Pinheiros where Tim works. I don’t know the area well though I’ve seen a few American style strip malls. We are close to USP which is good for cycling, and Instituto Butanta which I have been meaning to visit (future blogs).  I figure my life has changed with 2 children now. I won’t be popping out to the shops or restaurants anytime soon, even if I lived in Jardins the pavements are barely made for one buggy let alone a double buggy. I just need to learn to drive, on the otherside of the road / car, to get around Sao Paulo. Wish me luck (and other people on the road more luck).

*Here is a list of property websites I used....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Giving birth in Sao Paulo...

Our little brasileira, Olivia Chian Yi Chamberlain, arrived on Thursday 3 November at 10:45pm at Sao Luiz hospital in Itaim. I know everyone’s birth experience is different – and this was certainly different from my first labour in London.

I went for my weekly checkup (2pm). Dra Fernanda couldn’t find any amniotic fluid and I was 4cm dilated already (maybe something to do with the ribs AND chilli cheese burger I had for lunch at Butcher’s Market – for another blog!). She told me not to rush but to call Tim, go home and get my things and head to the hospital. It was rush hour, and our rodizio so we had to jump in a cab who decided to take us the longest route but I wasn’t in pain so wasn’t too stressed (another thing to put on my to-do-list is how to complain in portuguese.. ). We arrived at the hospital at 5pm and I didn’t get into a room until 8:30pm!!! I had a minor flip-out at reception when she printed 100 pieces of paper that I had to sign with the wrong name* and then had to print them again...

First I had a checkup downstairs with a hospital doctor and then when I had finally signed all the documents they had someone to escort us upstairs. (A friend who gave birth the night before said that they had a 2.5 hour check-in and that was at midnight, so it seems to be the norm for natural births at least.) I had mentioned in my previous blog that I had picked Sao Luiz because of the natural birthing rooms. When the nurse came back in with a hospital gown I asked for the natural room, and she said this was it! The bathroom door slid open and there was a big bath, birthing balls and blue dim lights on the ceiling. They said I couldn’t give birth in the pool and they would be taking me out regularly to monitor me, which I already knew. I was 6.5cm by the time I got checked again at 8:30pm. They put the fetal heart monitor on and I waited for Tim to come back down, who had been sent straight to the room to drop all my stuff off.

I got into the pool with my saline drip. They also gave me glucose later for energy. My first labour (in London) I had tried to hypnobirth but Sophie didn’t come out in the pool and ended up being a vontouse delivery. I hadn’t had time this pregnancy to practice my hypnobirthing but it came back to me in the pool; the water was really hot and my visualisation was drinking an ice cold beer! My doctor arrived, and I got out of the pool again so she could check me. I was at 8.5 and the contractions were really fast and strong and I decided I wanted the anaesthetist. I had said earlier in the day I would decide during the labour and didn’t want the anaesthetist there waiting during the labour and would just use a hospital one, but it turned out she lived really closeby so she came in straight away.

I was 9cm when I had the epidural. I know that in the UK you wouldn’t be allowed the epi this late in the labour, but hey, this is Brazil! I pushed for about half an hour and Olivia arrived at 10:45pm. Compared to my natural, no drugs labour in London this was almost enjoyable. I felt so much more in control because there was no pain. We also did a very Brazilian thing and booked the webcam and Tim sent all our family the link (thank god the link actually didn’t work) and the video guy for the last 15 minutes of labour, who I would’ve punched if I had been in any type of pain...  It was actually comical and surreal at the same time. I’m not sure I ever want to watch it but we figured if it’s that bad then we can just burn it! Another very Brazilian thing; my Dra said that she would do some ‘plastic surgery’ down there because since I had the epi, why not? I won’t go into any graphic details but she told me she made everything look better down there. Lucky Tim!

Olivia was put straight on me and I got to breastfeed her before they took her away to the bercario. They wheeled me upstairs to my room and Tim stayed the night though it turned out to be a mistake. Olivia was in the bercario for the first half of the night, and someone came in every hour to either give me medicine, check my drip, just check, and the best was a 5am wakeup call for a shower!

I had a pretty decent room which was spacious and had lots of light. I also had a small balcony for that fresh SP air and beautiful view... Breakfast, lunch and dinner were edible, and Tim was given an accompaniant meal which turned out to be Sophie’s lunch or dinner. They are very particular about security – you’re not allowed to take the baby out of the room as I find out when I was told off for going to visit a friend who was just next door. A nurse will come and take the baby away for tests 2-3 times a day which I really appreciated. I was an emotional wreck watching Sophie have her heel prick test, and her vaccines. Tim was given a special wristband which allowed him in and out of the maternity ward.

My cupcake-partner-in-crime, Nicole, baked some beautiful pure vanilla cupcakes as lembrancinhas*. Tim’s colleagues and our Brazilian friends were the first to visit in the first 24 hours, and other friends over the following days. The Brazilians would say it’s much easier to have all your visitors in the first 3 days while you’re in the hospital as you don’t have to serve people tea and biscuits, and they don’t stay for very long. I would agree; the nurses at Sao Luiz were great, and I got a lot of sleep in those first 3 days knowing we were about to move house the next weekend...

We were given the all clear by the paediatrician on Sunday morning to go home and check out took less than an hour. Olivia’s BCG was done at the hospital by Clinivac for R70 which we opted for instead of going to the clinic once we left the hospital. The registry was also available at the hospital which we did on Friday since they were closed on Sat and Sun and neither of us have the appetite for queuing in government buildings. The only paperwork they required were our identity documents (our RNE’s or passports) and our original marriage certificate which did not have to be translated, consularised and notarised (thank god, because we unfortunately didn’t get that document back during the RNE process). The next step is getting her her Brazilian passport and our permanent residency***- we were sent a list of paperwork required, let’s just say we might put it off for a few more weeks.

We were escorted downstairs by a nurse who carried Olivia herself before handing her ceremoniously over to me to take home. I use to be confused why Brazilians would move back to Brazil to have babies rather than stay in the UK or even the US.... as my Dra would say - ‘It’s a much more beautiful process for everyone.’

*Your name has to be correct as the baby wears a name band with your name on it and the nurse will ask you what your name is to make sure that she is giving the right baby to the right person.
**Lembrancinhas are gifts that you give when people come visit, come to your party / wedding / event etc. I’ve heard of some lembrancinhas being as extravagant as Tiffany boxes.... Yeah, I’d like to know those people too!
*** Brazil gives permanent residency to parents who give birth to a baby here in Brazil. I don’t know of many other countries who do the same.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

2nd Hand Sale

I miss my ebay, gumtree and craigslist here. Mercadolibre is not the same! The INC runs a facebook page where the members are quite active and they have set up a separate facebook page for selling second-hand goods here in Sao Paulo. Once they get it up and running will definitely be worth logging on and having a look. There are always expats leaving, children sales etc.

Our little brasileira arrived last week but will post next week, once we have moved house this weekend. Nothing like doing it all in the same week!!

Hi folks,
I would like to inform you about our Facebook group called 2ndSALE_the group and 2ndSALE page.
We've created it as a virtual garage sale, a place to post all your good stuff you need to sell or you don't want it anymore.
We've worked with INC doing the bazaars and now we have this private group where we have friends from INC and non-INC members, who are having fun posting. We are trying to make 2nd stuff popular cause in Brazil this is a cultural issue. Now with all the sustainableprograms and recycling work maybe people will start to pay more attention on great opportunities like this! :)
Feel free to invite your close friends to participate too. Most people are Sao Paulo based so it makes easier to sell and buy being here. but it does not stop anything. If you are not in Facebook you can send us your stuff with light pictures and contact info and we can post it for you.
We have an e-mail  if you want to ask about the sales or send us more info & etc please feel free.
our best,
2ndSALE team.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Awkward conversation

The grandmother of the family next door passed away last week.

So I bumped into the father earlier last week in the lift and said 'muitas desculpas' (even though probably - ok definitely - wrong, I thought he would understand the sentiment). I think he was as confused as I was so  we talked about the weather instead. The next day I had a portuguese class so I asked my teacher what was the correct form to pass on our condolences...

So 2 days later as I was leaving I saw the parents standing out at the main gate. I had to hide behind a pillar to remember what to say before I walked past.

Me: Ola, bom dia. Sinto muito.
Her: Obrigada.
Awkward silence for about 15 seconds as I nod my head in sympathy...
Me: Ok, ciao
Her: Ciao.
... and eventually continue walking.

I'm SO good at this stuff in english but in portuguese... next time i'm just going to hide until they walk by!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011


So I've been treated to some pretty good food this weekend! Last night we went to Aizome which Tim had been just recommended as the best japanese restaurant in Sao Paulo. It's only 3 blocks from where we are living so thought we we would take a visiting friend there for dinner las night. We decided last minute so had Sophie with us but she was good the night before sleeping in her buggy and we were hoping for the best again!

Aizome is a little hidden gem - you would never expect it to be there, just off Brigadeiro Luis Antonio... We hadn't booked so we sat at the bar which I enjoy; I love watching the chef preparing the food, particularly a cuisine like sushi; it's like watching an artist paint. He was using chopsticks to place tiny little flowers or a thumbelina-sized portion of seasoning on some delicately (and generously) cut pieces of fresh fish. Sophie fell asleep on her second walk that Tim took her for, thank god!

They only have a desgustacao menu available at R180 per person (our final bill was R220 per person with wine and drinks) and I have to say the food was absolutely exceptional. The scallop was the highlight along with the chocolate souffle. The portions were small but there were quite a few of them and the entire meal was perfectly sized; I didn't feel like a beached whale trying to get off my chair, usually how I feel when I go for rodizio sushi here!

I haven't tried all the japanese restaurants in town so I'm not sure I can give it 'best japanese' label - but it was pretty damn good! Highly recommend!

Korean BBQ restaurant

Forget Bom Retiro! We were recommended Lua Palace in Vila Mariana / Paraiso which is a Korean BBQ restaurant. It's open from 6 - 9:30pm so make sure you get there at least by 9pm. The floors and walls are tiled, possibly the ceiling as well - I forgot to check - the only purpose I can think of is for easy cleaning... certainly not for decor!

The bulgogi was as good as I've had and we were with friends who had lived in Seoul for a couple of years and can testify to the authenticity. Ontop of all the meat we also made it through extra servings of kimchi, korean pancakes, bibambap. We did stay until 11pm on Friday night and weren't rushed out, though next time will make sure to get there for 6pm to make the most of available eating time! We had 3 hungry guys and 2 pregnant ladies = R75 each.

Lua Palace
Avenida Armando Ferrentini, 182

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

More dumplings

I was recommended another restaurants in Liberdade for dumplings so I went today to pick up 100 dumplings to put in the freezer - basically for backup when I have the baby. I'm not sure if they will last the next few days. I got 80 pork ones and 30 veggie ones which are amazing. I pan fried and steamed a mix of them.

Their portuguese isn't great, mine is bad. My chinese is awful (I really can't hold more than 1.5 languages in my head at one time) and their english is non-existent but I got the message across!!

Restaurante Jardim Meio Hectare  (半𠺖園 )
Rua Thomas Gonzaga, 65

Pregnant in Sao Paulo

This year has gone so quickly that I've realised that I haven't posted about being pregnant here in Sao Paulo! I am already at 38 weeks... my first daughter arrived at 38 weeks + 2 days... but I'm hoping daughter no.2 will be arriving in 2-3 weeks more time. I have too much to do!

I will be giving birth in Sao Luiz hospital (Itaim) which has 2 natural birthing rooms, which I didn't get to see on tour* as it's in the restricted zone. I also visited Einstein (Morumbi) where the toilets I visited in the visitors area left much to be desired, particularly from what is commonly stated in SP as the best hospital in South America... and Promatre (Paulista), a maternity-only hospital where the guide asked what the little boy's name was (Sophie) and made me cry (it was just one of those hormonal, emotional, pregnant days...).

A few interesting things I learnt on my hospital tours:
- a c-section is generally the same price as a natural birth;
- there is a viewing window for family and friends to watch the entire birth (seriously!);
- you can have as many visitors in the first few days as you would like (common question on tour)
- you can leave your baby in the bercario all day or night (another common question on tour)
-  you can take your camera into surgery and allocate one of the nurses to take photos for you.

Another few things I've learnt about having a baby here:
- the majority of people here know what they are having from week 12 and have usually named the child as well.. we are still working on it, maybe even a Brazilian name since she will be Brazilian! But people are horrified when I tell them that she still doesn't have a name....;
- we also have to prepare an elaborate name sign for the hospital room door so everyone knows her name, usually these are 3-D castles with gold plated names... we have a blackboard and some chalk...;
- there are special colours that the baby (and mother) have to wear on the first 3 days of its life. I've yet to find out what day 1 and 2 are for a girl but it HAS to be red on the third day; the day she leaves the hospital, and i've even heard with a babygro made out of their father's favourite (read: most expensive) shirt;
- it's common to have as many visitors in the first 3 days (I've just realised that this is why c-sections are more common - you can make sure your hair, nails and make up are done so you look fabulous minutes after you've given birth), possibly even people you have never met!
- you have to give these visitors a gift - or a 'lembrancinha'. Everyone visiting us will be getting a cupcake!
- if you have other children it is customary for visitors to bring them a gift as well so they don't feel left out;
- Brazilians love pregnant women and children (unless you are crossing the road...) but generally you are ushered to the front of the queue in shops, supermarkets, post office, airport!

Einstein Hospital - To schedule the visit you need to call to 2151-1233 and contact the AGENDAMENTO department or email who speaks English.
Sao Luiz Hospital - Solange Porcino is my contact there. She doesn't speak English but has been really helpful. Tel/Fax 11 3040-9100 - Unidade Itaim,
ProMatre - You can email

Monday, 17 October 2011

Brazil Makes It's Own Manhattan..

NY Times article on Sao Paulo this weekend...

But I think the comments are definitely worth reading.... how do they find one person to interview who reflects such a small percentage of this city's population?? This population live in a very small, isolated bubble in this city which I think has so much to offer -  you're missing out if you feel it's too dangerous to walk to the restaurant on your corner! Life here doesn't have to be just about bodyguards, bullet-proof cars and hanging in shopping malls...

Free children's books from Itau

Banco Itau are sending free books to children - you just have to register on their site here.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Awesome curry delivery in Sao Paulo

We have had curries from Sabores da India a few times already and they are excellent, as good as a curry you'll find in India or in the UK! Exactly what you need on a rainy Sunday night in Sao Paulo.... 

They need 3-4 hours for 4 people, or 12 hours notice for a bigger party.Their contact details are 85569779 / 32537671,

  • VEG SAMOSAS: R$ 1.75/unit
  • CHICKEN SAMOSAS: R$ 2.50/unit   
  • DHOKLA: (Gram flour, curd, Mustard seed & curry leaves prepared by process of fermenting and cooking on vapors).R$ 40/kg and a kilo will have 55 pieces
  • CHICKEN TIKKA: (boneless chicken marinated in curd and spices) R$ 50/kg and a kilo would have 40 pieces
  • VEG PAKODA: ( Assorted Vegetables deep-fried with Gram flour coating) R$ 0.50/ unit
  • KACHORI: (Puffed Bread stuffed with green peas) R$1.70/ unit

All Snacks are accompanied and one or two type of  INDIAN CHUTNEY’S, Tamarind+ Dates Chutney, Coriander + Coconut chutney,& Mint + Coriander Chutney…………..
Main course:
BIRYANI a Royal dish of the Nizams and the Nawabs, this dish originate in Persia and recently after giving the perfection is served in Sao Paulo by Chef Deepali.

Biryani is prepared with various kinds of meats (i.e. Lamb, Chicken Beef) it’s cooked with Basmati Rice special long grain with aromatic flavor. The Biryani recipe is one of the time consuming preparation in our menu. The meat is marinated with curd and Spices for more than 4 hr and same is cooked for 2:30 hours on slow fire.

Ingredients & Spices like Cardamom Cinnamon Cumminseed Cloves Ginger Garlic Green Chillies Fried Onion & Coriander Leaves give the royal flavor to this dish.
  • PRAWN BIRYANI R$ 80/kg

** Per kg of Biryani is sufficient for 5 guests...
Curry Preparation. Curry are prepared from various sauces based such as Onion, Tomato, Cashew Nut paste and few one are coconut and Cream based. Blended with special spices
Meat Currys (Chicken and Lamb):
  • CHICKEN CURRY: R$ 45/kg
  • MUTTON CURRY: R$ 65/kg
  • CHICKEN KORMA: R$ 50/kg
  • BUTTER CHICKEN: R$ 50/kg
  • ROGHAN GHOST : R$ 65/kg
  • KEEMA MATAR: R$ 65/kg ( Minced Meat with Green pea)

Vegetarian Curry’s:
  • VEGETABLE CURRY: (assorted vegetables cooked in onion and tomato sauces along with special spices) R$ 40 /kg
  • PANEER KOFTA: (Cottage Chess prepared in Caju Paste with various special spices.) R$ 45 /kg
  • PANEER MASALA: (Cottage Chess cooked in onion & tomato sauces) R$ 45 /kg
  • BUTTER PANNER: (cottages marinated in yogurt and spices & cooked in Butter) R$ 50 /kg

  • ROTIS: (Handmade bread of Integral Wheat flour, salt and water) R$ 1.50 /kg
  • PARATHAS:         (Handmade bread of Integral Wheat flour, salt egg & Toasted in Butter.)  R$ 2.50 /unit
  • STUFF PARATHAS:  (Integral wheat flour, bread stuffed of various filling either it could be Potato, Cauliflower or Cabbage Toasted in Butter) R$ 5/ unit  

Very tempting and mouth watering after a sumptuous meal is always incomplete without sweet dish so chose any one to two of this below.
  • GULAB JAMUN: (Milk Balls soaked in Sugar Syrup) R$ 35 /kg have 25 units.
  • GAJJAR KA HALWA: (Carrot cooked in condense milk, topped with dry fruits)   R$ 35 /kg
  • RAS MALAI: (ricotta cheese, saffron, cardamom blanched almonds green pistachios) R$ 45 /kg
  • SHRIKHAND: (Sweet Golden Yogurt, prepared with nutmeg saffron chopped green pistachios) R$ 45 /kg

Thanking you

Deepali Bavaskar

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Clocks change tonight!

Remember to change your clocks tonight!! NZ vs Australia at 6am in the morning!!,horario-de-verao-comeca-neste-domingo,785460,0.htm

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Cirque d'Alegria - CIS Major Fundraiser

The CIS Gala Night, Cirque d`Alegria, is just around the corner on October 22nd! This is CIS’s most important fundraising event and includes live music, a circus performance from Arena de Artes, raffle, silent auction and more! Contact to reserve your tickets. 

Raffle ticket holders do not need to attend the Gala Night to win. There are many raffle prizes to be won, including a round-trip airfare to Canada, courtesy of Air Canada. There are limited tickets so buy them before we sell out!!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Rugby World Cup in Sao Paulo

Thought I would pay him tribute even though he's not in the WC anymore... 
*OK, so maybe not a Kiwi-England final....

Unfortunately for us here in Sao Paulo the Rugby World Cup games are in the middle of the night. A Kiwi-England Final will be the one I'll pull myself out of bed for (more so to dress Sophie up her in her All Blacks top and wind Tim up!)..

The Quarter-Finals are starting this weekend and Tim has been in a panic as he can't get his VPN to work for tonight's game. I had forgotten about Hotspot Shield *as it stopped working on us a few months ago but I just downloaded it again and hey presto! We've borrowed a friends Sky login so he'll be able to wake up right before the games tonight (wales v ireland at 2am and england v france at 4:30am).

If you are up for actually staying out, or going out at 1am to catch the games, O'Malley's is showing the games live, though god knows what state everyone else will be there who have been drinking there all night!

*Actually he's had to buy another VPN as Hotspot Shield thinks it's in the US so we still can't access skysports

** Some clearer instructions if you are desperate to watch the game but want to just roll out of bed in the middle of the night. Sign up for PureVPN (at least an hour before KO as it takes time for the system to register you) and make sure that when you connect you are connecting to a UK server. Then watch the games live or highlights first thing in the morning on ITV (though they give away the score at the top of the highlight package...)

Monday, 3 October 2011

A to-do-list for your Empregada in Portuguese

The INC runs a facebook group which is pretty handy when you are looking for something, or need some advice from other expats. Here's a list that was just posted of things for your empregada to do. I'll post a blog on all the paperwork we've done for our baba in the near future as there are lots of rules / laws to make sure you abide by!

Cleaning Checklist – Lista de Limpeza

*** This is list was created by Erica Winter and it is based on a list found on Martha Stewart's website.  It's been adapted for Brazil and translated.  Please feel free to use it. ***
Daily – Diário
□ Make Beds – Fazer as camas
□ Manage Clutter – Guardar objetos, brinquedos e roupa
□ Clean as You Cook – Limpa enquanto cozinha
□ Sweep & Mop Floors – Varrer e passar pano no chão
□ Empty trash bins – Esvaziar latas de lixo

Three Per Week – Tres Vezes por Semana
□ Clean bathrooms – limpar banheiros
□ Vacuum floors – Passar aspirador nos tapetes (muito cuidado com as franjas dos tapetes persas)
□ Dust surfaces, furniture, objects, & light fixtures – Tirar pó de todos os objetos, lustres & usar lustra moveis onde for madeira

Weekly - Semanal
□ Change bath mats, towels, & washcloths – Trocar toalhas & tapetes de chão
□ Empty trash and wipe the insides bins – Lavar latas de lixo
□ Wipe mirrors – limpar espelhos
□ Change sheets – Trocar a roupa de cama
□ Discard foods past prime – Limpar geladeira & tirar comida vencida
□ Wipe surfaces & kitchen cabinets– Limpar a cozinha inclusive dentro dos armários
□ Wipe the inside of the oven & toaster – Limpar forno & torradoreira
□ Dust the tops & spines of books, shelves – Tirar pó de livros e estantes
□ Wipe windows & glass surfaces – limpar vidros

Monthly – Por Mês
□ Wipe baseboards and moldings – limpar rodapés, cantos de parede e teto
□ Wipe insides of medicine cabinets – limpar dentro dos armários de åbanheiro
□ Launder duvet covers & mattress pads – lavar acolchoados, e protetores de colchões 
□ Dust shelves & storage bins – tirar pó dos armários de roupa
□ Discard food in the freezer past its prime – descongelar o freezer e tirar comida vencida 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Organic food delivered in Sao Paulo!

A friend has recommended Ponto Verde, an organic shop based in Santo Amaro who also deliver. They get organic milk and yoghurt, and a seasonal fruit and vegetable box each week. I like getting my f+v in my local feira but I'm definitely going to try out the milk and yoghurt this week.

There is also an organic food market in Perdizes on the weekend if you are looking to potter around.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Banking in Brazil

*An update from our Bank Manager in HSBC Brazil

Global View limits are:

Per day: US$ 2.950,00
Per Month: US$ 15.000,00

Always choose American dollars currency because that's GV currency.
If you choose to do a wire transfer in R$, GV will exchange it into dollars twice and you will lose money this transaction. 

So for those of you who have opened a bank account in brazil you have bled the same sweat and tears... We spent the first 8 months here drawing cash from our HK account each day - max withdrawal of R1000 meant lots of pre-planning when rent day, Juliete's payday etc were all due. We couldn't even start to apply for an account until we had other paperwork in place (CPF, RNE, rental agreement)

We were already knew we we would be going with HSBC since we already have accounts in Hong Kong,  UK and US but it does you no favours (so much for being the World's Bank...... I'm about to take this comment back in few paragraphs).  The paperwork we had to endure - no different from your Visa, CPF, RNE, renting an apartment, renting a pousada, having a baby - was painful but we got it altogether and had been recommended a manager at HSBC here who spoke English.

We had been pre-warned that our first set of bank cards would go missing as the bank could ONLY send it to the residential address and the delivery had to be signed for but you would be given no forewarning of when it would arrive - it could arrive in 1 week, 1 month or 6 months. We asked the Bank Manager if we could change the delivery address to Tim's office but he said it was standard procedure - we would only be able to change it once the cards were sent back to them. So instead we got a note from our Bank Manager (the same one) saying the cards had been returned and would we like to pick them up from him or have them sent to another address. Super efficient huh!

But the reason why I still LOVE HSBC is for things like this - HSBC Global View. Again, as most of you know - bringing money into Brazil is a complete pain in the a**!! I believe you can bring in up to R15k every 2 weeks that will stay under the radar - any amounts larger than this would have to got through the mandatory banking system here, and who knows how long your money could be stuck. I think our last major transfer took about 6 weeks to come through and that wasn't including all the paperwork needed before.

Another side note on this money stuff here is how to write cheques in Brazil. I was given an example when I first arrived but thought I would never use so threw it away - cheques are so old school where I'm from - but here they are not! I've slowly been learning how to write cheques. 

1. No name needed - just the amount
2. Write the amount on top right with a hash symbol on eitherside, e.g. #R400.00#
3. If you are writing 'Um' as your first number put an 'H' infront so it reads as 'Hum' and no one can add a few other numbers..
4. Use a capital letter for your first number e.g. Quatrocentos, Cinco, etc
5. cross twice on top left so the person has to deposit it into their account and can't just cash it
6. Any other tips?

Bus to Guarulhos Airport

We just had one of my sister's friends from NZ staying who has been backpacking around South America and it was such a pain working out how she was going to get to the airport. Major international airports will usually have a few public options, which are not necessarily the most efficient, but certainly a cheaper option than taking a taxi into the city. Take the F train to JFK, the bus from Port Authority to Newark, the Heathrow express or the tube in London, and of course my beloved, super-efficient Airport Express in Hong Kong but in Sao Paulo there is no easy way to do this unless you want to spend R100 minimum on a taxi. Hello SP people - what are you planning on doing for the World Cup!!

We found a website about the airport bus but it seemed to be pretty useless as it just had a generic pick up point (i.e. Paulista/Augusta - but which corner?) and a mention of a hotel circuit - but which hotels?!? I really didn't want Steph wandering around at 5:30am trying to find the right corner or hotel!

Our favourite Brazilian family, from Boteca da Cesinah on our old Rua Delfina (who btw, got a cute write-up in Time Out Sao Paulo), told us that she could pick the bus up from the Renaissance Hotel on Al Santos, but it was to late for us to call the company to confirm; the Hotel was taking no responsibility. First bus was leaving at 5:50am so Tim woke up early this morning to drive Steph there.  I haven't heard from her since so I'm guessing she made her flight!! Safe travels Steph! x

*apparently there is also a free airport transfer from Guarulhos to Congonhas Airport which takes about an hour, and then you could take a taxi from there which would be a slightly cheaper than taking a taxi all the way from Guarulhos - but I guess only worth it if you have a few hours to spare, and feeling pretty perky after your long-haul flight here.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New English pub opening tonight!

Rua Tucambira, 163, Pinheiros