Monday, 30 January 2012

Boerewors and Biltong

For all you South Africans and lovers of all things South Africans...

Bertus will make-to-order all the sausages and biltong you could ever want and deliver them to your door. He also makes the most incredible spicy chutney (recipe based on Mrs Balls) to go along with his sausages. Our freezer always has some sausages as they are a staple in our 'churrascos'!

Drop him an email: Bertus Burger <>

Sunday, 29 January 2012

For vegetarians: Banana Verde

I am definitely NOT a vegetarian but I'm open to trying new things, like having an entire meal with no tasty morsels of meat in... I know it's hard to trust someone who doesn't eat meat but for the few vegetarian friends I have, it's testament to their characters : )

Yesterday we went to Banana Verde in Vila Madalana (corner of Rua Harmonia and Rua Madalena) as we had one of these vegetarian friends in our midst. It was seriously delicious. The dishes were really creative (not to scary and new-age). There was a buffet salad bar which included a delicious pumpkin soup, and then you had a choice of a main, plus dessert (a banana-chocolate torte). The set-lunch was r41 which is pretty standard in that part of town and I would happily pay it again to eat platefuls of couscous, bulgur wheat and cauliflower.

There is also a photography exhibition throughout Vila Madalena. There are displays in various restaurants and shops (mainly along Aspicuelta). Definitely worth a stroll when the weather is good like today! It's on until feb 13th.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Samba School - Get in the spirit!!

Last year we joined the school Tom Jobim at the Sambadrome dressed as 'British Railway Workers' and danced (not sure if we could really call it dancing...) for about 4 hours straight! This year, the idea of dancing all night and then having a toddler and a baby to look after all day  is not so appealing... we have booked a trip to Colombia to visit some friends but are only flying on the Monday (carnival starts on Friday 17th) as the prices for flights were extortionate. So in the lead-up to Carnival this year I really want to experience some of the samba schools instead, where the real parties apparently are. The INC has just put out it's invite to Vai-Vai on Sunday 29th (I've copied it below) but I think we'll go and find one in Vila Madalena to check out one Sunday night. 

INC Invite....

It takes blood, sweat and tears – plus lots of fun, partying and high spirits – to create the amazing spectacle that is Carnival at the Sambódromo. Even better than the main event, for many, are the lively parties that comprise the samba school rehearsals, which take place all over the city in the weeks and months leading up to Carnival. They're a chance for the participants to learn the song (enredo) for that year's parade, for the drummers to get in step, for the dancers to crank up the heat, and for the neighbourhood in general to start celebrating.

The basics Don't let the term 'rehearsal' confuse you – a samba school rehearsal is as much a party as a chance for the school to practice its song and its moves. Everyone's welcome – get involved if you know some samba steps, or just enjoy the party. They can be crowded, sometimes slightly chaotic events so take care to work out how you're getting home beforehand, and leave valuables at home.

With a mostly outdoor practice site squeezed between high-rises in Bixiga, 82-year-old Vai-Vai is arguably the city’s best-known samba school. Last year’s Carnival champs, they hope to maintain the title at the Sambódromo this year with a theme honouring women. 

Come with a group of INC members to enjoy the cadence of the drums, watch beautiful people doing the samba, taste flavorful food, get a preview of this year's costumes for Carnaval and shop for Vai-Vai souvenirs. 

Admission: R$20 per person in cash at the door. 
Address: R. São Vicente, 276 - Bela Vista, São Paulo, 01314-010, Brazil

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Lollapalooza Brazil

We did Lollapalooza Chicago 2005 and it was brilliant! Just read that Lollapalooza is coming here to Sao Paulo for Easter weekend (7-8 April) and will be hosted at the Jockey Club. I'm so excited to act like a - well to act like someone who's not a responsible parent!!!

I think the tickets are pretty reasonable (!!) by Sao Paulo standards, r500 for the weekend and some of my favourite bands are coming! Foo Fighters, MGMT, Band of Horses, Friendly Fires...  I haven't been to any concerts or gigs here yet. I always hear about them last minute and they are really expensive. I know that Groupon does some good last minute tickets and I've also been told that it's worth just turning up to buy tickets from the touts outside the stadium but with babysitters to organise in advance it's never something I can be spontaneous about.

Florence and the Machine are here this week too... maybe I'll do some planning this weekend (so I can afford to be spontaneous)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Football and Beer

My first job out of university was organising football (soccer) tournaments all throughout Asia. I love sports, sports marketing and event planning so the two 'relatively' major world-class tournaments in the world that are coming here to Brazil are something I love to keep tabs on. The lack of organisation, facilities, stadiums are almost laughable but I think the Brazilians will still pull it off....

FIFA is insisting on the sale of beer at the stadiums and within their exclusively controlled zones. But the Brazilians are holding out as beer is not in sold in stadiums at football games. It was banned in 2003 as a way to try and combat violence between rival fans. Apparently it hasn't made much of a difference as fans will drink earlier and heavily before the game (not unlike some areas in the UK!).

But these big tournaments are controlled more so by the sponsors than people who are running it for the love of the game.. slightly hypocritical to be pushing beer drinking when they should be encouraging healthy-living... (I also question their relationship with McDonalds who sponsor all their youth tournaments..). The World Cup is sponsored by Budweiser, bad American beer, so no one is really going to drink it anyways... It will be interesting to see what their compromise is as I know FIFA will not budge since Budweiser has already paid them silly money to sell beer. 

The ticket prices are also still to be determined and it will be interesting to see how high they set them. If they take Sao Paulo prices into consideration it will exclude the majority of the people and, in my opinion, defeat the purpose of having a Brazilian World Cup.

Read the BBC article here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Instituto Butantan

We have been going a little stir-crazy being stuck inside with all this rain. Rain or rain, I had to get out of the house and decided to explore Instituto Butantan which is literally on my doorstep. "Butanta, where the f88k is that!", is what most people ask.... We now live on the otherside of the river from Pinheiros / Parque Vila Lobos. The bonus is that we live in a house now and Tim is literally 6 minutes away from work. It's not the prettiest area but we are slowly getting to know it.

Instituto Butantan is the snake venom farm! It's been around for awhile and it sits on the site of an old factory. There are 3 parts to the museum - adults are R6 and kids under 7 are free. There is the Museu Biologico which is filled with snakes, spiders and lizards. Sophie couldn't decide if she was scared or happy - two words she used quite liberally - but I want to take her back regularly, as long as she is more happy than scared! The Museu Historico has old equipment and machinery that they use to use - I like antiques so it was my cup of tea. There were also monkeys but they were all in steel cages and I believe all for testing. We had randomly just watched a Law & Order episode on monkeys being used for testing... if you don't like that sort of thing dont' go and see the monkeys. Didn't make it into the Museu Biologico but we'll go and check it out the next time.

Please don't be expecting the Science Museum in London or the Natural History in NY but if you have nothing else to do this weekend it's definitely worth an hour visit, and there's a small cafe you can stop off for a strong brazilian espresso...

For those of you with children they have activities for 4 year olds up all next week

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

I'm single!

I went to 'open my signature / abrir a firma' at the local cartorio so they could authenticate my signature on several documents for our permanent visa application.

Man with very hairy mole on arm : What is your status?
Me: Huh?
Man w/HMOA: Are you married or single?
Me: Married.
Man w/HMOA: Did you get married in Brazil or outside?
Me: Is my husband here in Brazil? yes
Man w/HMOA: No, did you get married here in Brazil?
Me: Ahh no, outside
Man w/HMOA: Ahh you are single! haha
Me: nervous laughter, thinking why is it funny that i'm single!!

*note this was all in portuguese, and this is my interpretation of our conversation. It was a particularly large and very hairy mole. I think he uses it as some distraction when he's asking trick test questions about whether you are married or single.

**Bring everyone form of ID you can think of, plus proof of residence. Also bring a baby or child to get priority and jump to the front of the queue, borrow your friend's child - or if not, a good book to read.

***Find your local cartorio here. Make sure you find one that is most convenient as you will get to know it well, or if your office motoboy will get to know it well.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Teachers needed

Tots and Teens are looking for teachers to start in Feb. If you know of anyone looking please pass on the message.

I am looking for teachers preferably with experience for year one/two and also a teacher for a group of teenagers.  Please have them send their CVs to

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Brazilian passport for Brazilian-born children

We just booked flights to visit Sophie's best friend, Hannah, who has recently moved to Bogota, over carnival week in feb so we thought we might as well get Olivia's Brazilian passport as well. She is also entitled to a NZ and British passport and I tried to get my head around the paperwork before xmas and it wasn't going to happen.

NZ passport: I had to renew mine before we applied for the permanent visas so I thought it would be easy to send her application in too. I luckily was meeting up with a kiwi friend who could sign the witness declaration for me and olivia. She also needed to apply for her NZ citizenship by descent but this form needs to be notarized by a kiwi with a particular profession- i.e teacher, lawyer etc. I tried the consul-general too but he couldn't do it. We would also need to send my passport in with her application which has my Brazilian visa in - I don't trust the postal system (I've even heard of couriers losing passports!) and I'm not willing to let my Brazilian visa out of sight after the emotional and physical torment we went to get it in the first place! so Olivia will have to wait to become a kiwi until our next visit there.

UK passport: You can apply for a UK birth certificate at the consulate in rio but both parents passports are required. You don't need a uk birth certificate to get the passport so we are leaving it for now as again, don't want to lose sight of our visas.  Uk passport applications are only processes through washington so you have to send your application there but you don't have to send your passports along. They obviously have lost a few in the past, shock horror. we will send her application in after we have got our protocole for our pr. We also really need it as we are planning a trip to the US in April and don't want to go thought the pain of getting a us visa for her Brazilian passport.

Brazilian passport: we fortunately had friends that recently did it. You need to get an appointment at the policia federal and apparently the next available ones are in April! We ended up using our agent who charged us r350 for the application and her fee. She managed to get us an appointment in 2 days as cancellations come up online and she can reserve on the spot. Having a baby always helps with the queues there too incase you're thinking of not taking your baby with you. Renata met us outside and took us through the process. It took half an hour max - I can say it was almost a pleasant experience! The passport was ready in one week!

I can highly recommend our agent Renata who is also processing our permanent visas for us. She speaks very good English and is super efficient.

RENATA LATERZA Consultancy and Relocation
Tel / Fax: +55 11 5055-9750

Authorisation form to give consent for passport for a minor (to be signed by the parent who will not be present at the application, and signature needs to be authenticated at cartirio - see note below)