Thursday, 19 December 2013

Cupcakes in São Paulo

A little propaganda for cupcakes: essential purchase if you are here in São Paulo for Christmas week (or really anytime of the year)... and check out the new website too!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

“Gringo Moments” in Brazil - Competition

We would like to hear about your best/funniest "Gringo moment” in Brazil. The best entry will win an Apple iPad mini (16GB, Wi-Fi, White). Deadline for entries is Dec. 24 and winner will be announced Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 2013). Prize must be collected in Sao Paulo. Runner up stories will be published on the website and also in a book planned for next year.

You can see full details and application form at the following link:

Read some of our best entries so far at the following links:

Thanks, Team

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Mish-mash tips for São Paulo

I always have my blog in the back of my mind, thinking of things I need to write down and share. If only I could send these telepathically to my blog, and have them write themselves. But instead I find myself procrastinating from work and writing a mish-mash of subjects for this post....

Must-have apps for living in São Paulo

99 Taxis, Easy Taxi
I've already blogged about these taxi apps as they have been a life changer for me. I've always been a taxi girl - living in big cities meant that getting a license was just an unnecessary challenge. It allows you to send out a message to all the taxi drivers closeby that you are in need, and within 30 seconds or less, one will confirm that they are on their way to pick you up. It cuts out any language problems (having to repeat your address in portuguese is now a thing of the past), and you can track them as they come on their way. For those of you who are security conscious (99.9% of us), you don't have to trawl the streets looking for one - it will turn up at your front door, plus you have the driver's license plate and phone number.

Now that I live in the (relative) "suburbs" of Sao Paulo with 2 children and a cupcake delivery business I need to drive. I blogged about getting my license and my traumatic first week of driving (slight bump to a police car outside my house). But other than accidents the other major concern of driving (and living happily) in São Paulo is the traffic. I do everything I can to avoid but now Waze helps me through 9/10 of these journeys. It's a community based navigation app so other users can share how fast they are moving, accidents, police, blitzs (not that these should be avoided since drinking and driving just makes you a bloody idiot!!)... but it takes you through the best possible route, using shortcuts, backroads. Life changer.

Lulu vs Tubby
Relationships here in Brazil could not be more passionate and exciting. Lulu is an app where women can rate men (the app uses Facebook profiles). It's a platform for women to share this information outside of just their friendship group. As you can imagine, it's caused a few relationship issues and even one Brazilian guy is suing Lulu for invasion of privacy! But it didn't take long for the the fake version called Tubby to come out for men to rate women...The inventors of this fake app said they were trying teach women a lesson "People are not objects, and the intimacy of a relationship, bad as it may have been, should not be exposed in this form".

FIFA World Cup 2014

The Schedule
The draw took place on Friday and people finally know what teams are playing in the matches they got tickets for, if you managed to be one of the lucky ticket-buyer winners. They still have yet to confirm officially that match days are public holidays, but unofficially it's a given.

I've heard that most of the hotels are booked up already. The Hyatt it taking in FIFA and Coca-Cola, I heard that the Fasano sold it's last room (minimum stay one month) back in May for R400,000... so if you are looking for somewhere to stay  in São Paulo aside from friends, for reasonable prices, check out Sampa Housing or Airbnb, and I know a few expats who are leaving town for the World Cup and have empty apartments for rent.

Favourite foods

Indian food in São Paulo
Deepali and Vijay opened Samosa & Co a year ago. We just went to their one year anniversary and ate curry and naan for free - yes, in São Paulo!! If you are desperate for a curry it is worth the journey over to Vila Mariana (note they also deliver). They are the one indian restaurant which stays true to Indian food, and those fresh naans are as good as one being baked off the street in Mumbai.

Sichuan food in São Paulo
My friend is going to kill me for publishing this secret. Are you a fan of those tongue-numbing peppercorns from Sichuan? Dinastia Ritz, Rua Galvão Bueno 560. Helpful if you have a Mandarin-speaking chinese friend to order.

Chef Tatiana Cardoso
Chef Tatiana is famous for her vegetarian restaurant Moinho de Pedra but it's little known that she caters one Sunday a month from her house in Embu. The space is beautiful, and you really feel like you are out of São Paulo. Natural com Arte. R120 + tax includes 3 course meal and drinks. You need to book in advance.

Mallory Ferland Gastronomy & Photography
Chef, photographer and blogger, Mallory is catering private dinners here with food that you can't find in town - beautiful cakes, cakepops and toffee apples, Vietnamese canapés (she catered our SP Night Connect: Indochine edition at Tofiq House) -  basically she can do anything you feel "saudades" for. Look at this beautiful cake!!

Useful Facebook pages

2nd Hand Sale : Majority expat members selling second-hand goods.

Saving in Sao Paulo : Sharing tips on how to save in São Paulo

SP Household Help WANTED: Recommended empregadas, babas, drivers and also advice.

Foreigners in Brazil : How to get what and where in Brazil

SP Mummies Club : for pregnant ladies and mummies in São Paulo

Brazil Bloggers: a forum for bloggers who blog about Brazil

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Expat friends

As an ex-Hong Konger this is one of my favourite blogs to follow but I felt this was apt to share in the light of "networking" here in São Paulo. Don't get sucked in to hanging out with people you would never hang out with in another life time. Everyone will be much happier!*

This cantomeme is titled "When another expat wants to be friends just because"... p.s. i'm more likely to fall in the category of Guy no. 1, I like to try and make friends with everyone I meet but not just because their expats!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Brazil: Incubators vs Accelerators?

Are you an entrepreneur? What is an accelerator? Are you about to quit your job and start your own business? Be inspired!

GIRLS ON IT presents
Fireside Chat with Luisa Ribeiro, Managing Partner at Papaya Ventures
We will be discussing:
  • Women and entrepreneurship
  • Understanding the differences between incubators vs. accelerators
  • Her thoughts on the current state of the Brazilian startup eco-system
  • What are some of the key industries to start businesses
...among other topics.

Luisa is one of the top leaders in accelerators here in Brazil. She has been recognized as one of the 2013 Young Global Leaders (YGL) by the World Economic Forum and Rising Talent, and will bring a wealth of information in her "fireside chat" with Robyn Cohen. Robyn is a true entrepreneur bringing to the forefront Women in Business and Entrepreneurship from all over the world through her platform,

Monday, 9 September 2013

SP NIght Market - Anniversary Edition: Free Entry!

If you haven't had a chance to check out one of the SP Night Markets, this is your chance! They are celebrating their first birthday and giving free entry to everyone! It's on Saturday 21st September from 12 - 9pm at Escola São Paulo, Rua Augusta 2239. You will be able to try some of my cupcakes of course!

There are also going to be lectures, live music, thai food... the theme of this edition is LOVE SP!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

INC Dicas Launch Party "São Paulo Comes Alive"

The International Newcomer's Club was one of the first groups I joined, it is where I met some of my closest friends here in São Paulo and I feel very indebted to the ladies who vounteer their time to run this club. It is specifically for people who have just arrived in town and are looking to meet people, find out information and the one awesome thing you can buy is their "Dicas" / tips book. It has listed anything and everything you could possibly needs from dentists to schools, to restaurants and plumbers. Each company or service must be recommended by 2 different members to be included in the Dicas book.

Next Saturday they are having a party to launch the release of the next edition of the Dicas. See information below.

Dicas Launch Party

"São Paulo Comes Alive!"

On Saturday, September 14th, INC will celebrate the launch of the 11th edition of the Dicas city guide to São Paulo. Copies of the Dicas are spread throughout the city by our members, (relocation) companies and (international) schools. Congratulations in becoming an essential part of this handbook for newcomers to São Paulo and having your company or service recommended by one or more of our members! If you are curious to see the book, interested to buy it, or you'd like to join the party - send us an email!

We invite all newcomers, expats and others to join us at this party for a fun evening filled with food, drinks and caipirinhas, DJ performances, live music and décor… as if you are in the streets of São Paulo! And have a chance to win great prizes in the Charity Raffle while supporting the children at Vila Acalanto Orphanage.

Tickets can be bought via

When: Saturday, 14th of September, 20h00
Where: Esporte Clube Sírio, Av. Indianópolis 1192, Moema
Tickets: R$150
For more information:

Friday, 30 August 2013

SP Lovers ❤

At our last networking event I met a whole bunch of new people (new to me). Some had lived here for over 10 years, others barely 10 days and not all of them were "SP Lovers" but there were a few and I love when I make that connect. One of the newly arrived stood between two "SP Lovers", and he said at the end of our conversation* that he was so excited to meet us because he was already an "SP Lover" but had only met a handful of "SP Haters" so far. I know, I know, I'm being a little divisive and that really everyone exists on a spectrum here.. some days are great in this city, some are not so great. I'm a 99.9% SP Lover.

So most of you living in the city will be have discovered the 99Taxis app. It's available on your smartphone and you don't have to talk to anyone to get a taxi. It sends a message to taxistas in the area, and one of them will accept your request and you can follow their route until they arrive. It's the most popular as it's free for taxistas as well so all of them are on it, and you have get a much faster response. I imagine it will be one of the most popular apps for "no-speak-português tourists during the World Cup. Another one of my favourites, especially when my Portuguese was not so great on the phone, is Rádio Táxi Vermelho e Branco where you can actually type in your reservation online (Faça sua reseva). I'm using it right now to book a taxi for tomorrow morning!!

BTW, put Saturday 21st September in your diary. SP Lovers will be celebrating the first anniversary of SP Night Market at Escola São Paulo and showcasing some of the favourite and best in this city! (and it's going to be FREE entry!)

*We were talking about how much we love to use the metro here, seriously! I like taxi's and the metro - whatever is going to get me somewhere fastest!! 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Perspective = Happiness + Gratefulness

A friend sent this "Happiness" talk as I'm an avid TED viewer and I think it's a lovely talk for putting "happiness" in perspective. I write this sitting in hospital with my 1.5 year old who had surgery yesterday. She had a splinter in her finger which got infected, and as we were getting read to come to the hospital yesterday morning split a cup of hot coffee on her foot. Thankfully that was just secondary but since we had a plastic surgeon (everyone has to have one here in Brazil) he multi-tasked while she went under. We are here for a week (I joke about Brazilians being excessive in everything, including medication but when it comes to your own child it's hard to argue) while she goes through her course of antibiotics.

With perspective I'm also very grateful. I have good friends here in Sao Paulo; who are bringing me lunch and wine!;  I have a fantastic empregada who is packing and cooking for the week and helping my husband look after my other daughter; the Brazilian doctors are over-cautious and protective but when it comes to my child I'm not complaining either!

I have to say the one thing I was happy for was the level of my portuguese. Being able to communicate with the doctors, nurses and know what exactly was going on gave me some peace of mind. I didn't have to rely on calling a Brazilian friend (which I would've had to do in my first year here in Brazil). If you need any motivation to learn Portuguese, this is it!!

That's her finger wrapped in bottom corner

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Having a few beers with in Sao Paulo

If you moved to Brazil 3 years ago, or even 10 years ago or just started to be a "ƒã" of the idea of moving to this country, would've been the first site to check out. We used it extensively to find out information about moving here, visas, tips etc as most of the contributors on the discussion board were old timers and super helpful. In 2013, there are so many companies and blogs that provide similar services but we (SP Night Market) wanted to pay homage to the first of them all! Next Wednesday will be having a few beers at Cervejaria Nacional, a time to meet new friends, put faces to familiar names and share experiences about Brazil, which the majority of now call home!

THE official HAPPY HOUR with!

Wednesday 21st August, 19h
R10 RSVP/ R20 Door 
*includes 'welcome' beer courtesy of Cervejaria Nacional
Sign up on FB event page or email is Brazil‘s longest running portal for the foreign community, set up back in January 2000.

Traveling to, or living in, a new country can be a big challenge. What you’ll need most is reliable information, and in Brazil’s case, lots of it. was created to provide a one-stop source of information for foreigners in Brazil. Through our very active Discussion Forums you can exchange tips, share gripes, find friends and hopefully make your time in Brazil more pleasurable.

We have devoted a lot of time and effort to the site, so we hope you enjoy it and keep coming back. Above all, we hope you make the most of your time in Brazil.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Lost in translation

I have Bill Murray moments on a daily basis here. My Portuguese is relatively good now. I can hold an entire dinner conversation, talk on the phone, deal with bureaucracy, watch novelas and joke around with my Brazilian friends for the most part. 

Last week I was getting my manicure done with another friend, and they offered us a coffee and asked how I wanted it. So I said "Preto e forte como meu homem", and then it was just awkward because I had to explain (only after I remembered I'm supposed to say "Negro" and not "Preto" / stop with the direct translation!!). My friend almost died laughing watching the looks on their faces which I was trying to explain that I like my coffee like my man, though my husband is more "Branco e fraco"... still no laughter. 

Today it was trying to explain what a "guilty pleasure" is. I have just taught my Brazilian assistant that it's a "prazer" to be "culpada". Does this only happen to me??

Monday, 5 August 2013

Looking for a vet in Sao Paulo?

I want to highly recommend George (our labrador's) vet here in São Paulo. Luciana makes home visits (R150) for any issues you have. She's been to do general visits for George, vaccines, leg and joint problems etc. She also can prescribe holistic medicine for animals so if you are interested she can also give you a holistic prescription or a "normal" one, or both.

Luciana Leite Ribeiro dos Santos
Vet For Pet- Atendimento Veterinário Domiciliar

It's a vicious circle!

I believe in being positive, and that creating positive energy brings you good things in life and when you put out negative energy into the universe, it comes straight back at you.

I hired an Assistant for my cupcake business a few months ago who I like alot and is really clued-on. I think she has great energy and is also very keen to learn. Today she didn't turn up for work, and after several missed phone calls from me, texted me back 2 hours later to tell me she had to go to a "Forum" as she had a problem with a cheque she had been issued. I was so mad, and it's a Monday morning as well, so I spent all morning formulating in Portuguese what I was going to say. I'm a pretty confrontational person (I found out after I left Asia my ex-colleagues use to call me Chairman Mao... ) but it's hard to be angry in Portuguese: all the words I know are happy ones! Otímo! Incrivél! Que bom! Que coisa! Adorei!!

I think she was pretty horrified (Are Brazilians ever angry in the office?). I told her I was her boss, not her friend. She should run her errands outside of work hours. I hate last minute changes, and I really hate being angry. I just don't understand why she would decide to tell me 2 hours after the fact rather than last Friday afternoon when she found out. She doesn't know either.

SO a giant cockroach paid me a visit tonight. I've posted before how much I hate them, they bring me to tears (and a pack of cigarettes.....). My two daughters watched me disintegrate, crying, this evening as I ran after this cockroach and emptied an entire can of spray. They laughed and clapped with glee as it curled up and died. Nice.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Meet the new Canadian Consul General, Mr Stéphane Larue

This event was postponed and will now be on Wednesday 31st July at O GastroArte, Itaim. 

I've blogged about the Canadian International Society before. I volunteered on the Board when I first arrived (commonwealth link, and they just accept everyone!). They support one of my favourite charities here, Casa dos Idosos, managed by Irma Natalina. They take the elderly off the street, or people that can't look after themselves anymore and don't have family,  and into the home and look after them. I have a real soft spot for old people. We're all going to be old one day! They have bed space for about 70 elderly (idosos), men and women. The CIS hosts events to raise money for various basic needs from bedsheets, to health care to the simple things in life, like soap.

SP Night Connect is organising an event with CIS next Wednesday 19th June, a chance to meet the new Consul General of Canada, Mr Stéphane Larue. All proceeds go to CIS charities including Casa dos Idosos. Find out more information and purchase here. Canadians and Canadian-lovers are all welcome!!

Finally - our RNE cards!!

It was a good day today. The sun is back this week, the girls started school and I picked up our RNE cards 20 months after Olivia was born, 17.5 months after our first application submission...

They expire in September 2021!! The fact that I do not have to process paperwork to live here in Brazil for another 8 years is an amazing feeling!! A friend was just telling me about a fire in their rom while they were on holiday and they didn't care for their ipads, phones or clothes - their passport with a Brazilian visa that took months, if not a year, was what overtook their panic. They willingly risked their lives for!! I think I would run into a burning building for this RNE Permanent ID card...

Thank you Renata!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 has got it wrong! Definitely not 91 F today..

Children Activity in São Paulo: Maratona Infantil

We were one of 3 expat families playing in Vila Nova praçinha this morning, being tut-tutted by all the dog walkers, and grannies walking around. I know it's cold but we all come from countries with very cold months and it's not in our mindset to stay locked up inside when the temperature drops. The kids were bundled up and ran around in circles, drank hot chocolate and ate pao de queijos!

When you first arrive you think there is nothing for your children to do here in São Paulo apart from Parque Ibirapuera and hang out in shopping malls. We discovered Maratona Infantil, a free children's programme run by Museu da Imagem e do Som in Jardin Europa. We were lunching (though according to our Brazilian friends, we were "brunching" even though it was 3pm in the afternoon) at Chez Mis one of my favourite restaurants in town and there was a circus performance, popcorn lady, clowns and just lots of open space for kids

Apparently it's once a month and they have a whole day programmed for children and it's FREE! So we sat and drank our jugs of sangria, while one of us swapped in and out with the kids outside.

The next ones are on 25 August and 22 September (anniversary edition).

Museu da Imagem e do Som
Av Europa, 158, JD Europa
T 11-2117 4777 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Preparing yourself for expat life

So you're giving up your life and moving to some far flung, exotic city/town/country that you've only ever been to on a site visit with your partners company? You are the more important person of the couple / family that the company is going to be transferring. They know who they have hired / transferred IS  but what they don't have is control over you and how you feel.

In all my moves as an expat I've met some great people moving around. Moving around all the time you will soon learn that the most important person in your life is your partner / family. I have seen great couples go through some of their most testing times as expats. Some of them were even on their 3rd or 4th move but the happiness of both persons is important to how much everyone enjoys their time as an expat.

I think one of the hardest things (well for me) was giving up my career. When I was younger I had my life all planned out, I knew what career and industry I wanted to be in, I loved working in my first company and thought I would be there forever. The ideal move is that if both of you can move to new jobs! The hardest thing is when one of you is asked to move it leaves the partner  having to either quit a great job, careers, potential promotions. If you've just had a baby, then you're leaving your close network of friends and family.

Here are some tips on coping, and I would even suggest this for companies or people moving anywhere solo.

1. Forget the site visit. Instead book a visit 4-6 months after you move away. The excitement of being in a new location is dying off and some things might still be a complete struggle (i.e. you're still stuck in your hotel room and your things haven't arrived).
2. Make local friends. This is part and parcel of your experience living abroad - learning a new culture. Make friends with your colleagues, language teacher, neighbours!
3. Make expat friends. These are people that are likely to be some of your closest friends for life. You make strong connections very fast; share your deepest, darkest secrets (after a few caipirinhas!)  Your friends you make in your new home are so important to your experience. Put yourself on the line. I was the shyest person until I became an expat... Check out
3. (Try to) Learn the language. A great way to meet local friends and it can keep small problems relatively small and not so stressful. 
4. Pay for extra luggage if you need when you first move down. Bring any food, essential beauty products, medication that you can't really live without. Though in time you'll soon learn that you actually can live without...
5. Skype is the best invention for everyone living far away from family and friends.
6. Your holiday time ends up being spent on visiting friends and family but make sure to travel your new country too! Get to know and fall in love with it (I hope!). 
7. Know that it's not forever. If you really hate it you can always go home-home. 

It's like giving birth, nothing can prepare you for it!! But aside from the short list I have given above, I think the most important thing was being prepared for hard times. Even though I had moved around, the hardest move was moving after my partner and giving up my independency - particularly my financial independence, which was pretty small in the first place. I had a (an expat friend) before this BIG move tell me about what she felt, her down days, her feeling lonely even though she was talking about her 3rd move. She was also one of the most gregarious, outgoing Aussies I know! It's not easy for anyone. So arrive in your new home knowing that it's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it when you feel like you are at home (away from home). For some people it takes 6 months, other it takes 2 years and others the realisation is only when you return to your original home. Good luck! 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Insider Guide to São Paulo

CNN has just published their Insider Guide to São Paulo which includes one of our start-ups, SP Night Market. We're very proud to be included alongside some top names like Daslu and Hotel Unique!

CNN Insider Guide to Sao Paulo

Just to add to some of our newly found favourite "secret" spots in town:

Picnic Gastronomia - an oasis in a sea of well, São Paulo. We hosted our last SP Night Connect event here and the food is based around Brazilian country home cooking. Everyone misses a little of mama's cooking. What blew me away was Chef Julia's tapioca starter. I would never choose to eat tapioca, it reminds me of (what I imagine to be) snot BUT she has created a amazing little square of tapioca, covered in sesame seeds and served with a sweet chilli sauce. They also have WIFI.

São Roque - Valley of Wines. I had no idea that there were wineries in São Paulo! About an hour drive into the countryside (just past Embu) is a Roteiro de Vinhos which houses a dozen or so local wineries and restaurants. A great day trip (though don't expect too much of the wine...) for the family but go out of season. June and July are peak season for travelling into the interior.

I love to online shop. I like being efficient. Sonoma - Vinho e Gastronomia have an ever changing selection of delicious, heavily discounted wines. You order online and the wine is delivered in 2 days, if not in 1!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Girls on IT : Women + Entrepreneurship

The next in the series of Girls on IT* evenings bring us here in Sao Paulo,  "Jogo de Damas" founder Deb Xavier. She's going to be talking about her life, and in that process, how Jogo de Damas came about. There will also be a chance for everyone to debate + discuss current examples + issues within the realm of women + entrepreneurs. This is open to women and men!

Deb Xavier is an entrepreneur and Chief Inspiration Officer at Jogo de Damas - a project for female empowerment, professional development and promotion of women entrepreneurship. Deb has lived in Dublin and New York and is passionate about gender, economy, business, communication, technology and cats. She is also the proud mother of Tathiana, a entrepreneur wanna-be."

Chef Julia Pimenta de Carvalho from Picnic Gastronomia  will delight us with a culinary journey of Traditional Brazilian "Country" style cooking during the evening.
You can purchase your tickets online here.

*Girls On It is a global media platform focused on Promoting, Inspiring and Educating aspiring female executives and entrepreneurs in all industries. Our goal is to bring the global community of women and girls together, by highlighting and acknowledging the individuals, organizations, and companies that support them.

I had to go to Tim today to sort out my phone for various reasons and I can only show you via this youtube clip exactly how I felt (without using lots of offensive words and gestures). It makes me happy that Brazilians who speak Portuguese (the same language as the Central Atendimento of Tim) have exactly the same problems!!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Specifically about transport

A friend that use to live here, is an avid transport geek... She has been following the protests keenly from overseas. Her blog focuses on public transport in sp, what she use to work with here.

I am currently travelling and it has been interesting to follow from the outside, the news that is available, what other people think - that I'm escaping the violence with my family - and I have to explain otherwise. I know that it sounds so naive, but it really is amazing to see what the 'power of the people' can do. In a country, (and many others, if not everywhere, is the same) where it is all about what family you were born into, what school you went to, who you know, what job you have, where you live.... To be able to cancel that all out by being just a mass of people who are staying strong in their beliefs, and being persistent, voting with (literally) their feet and getting a chance to speak and negotiate with the higher echelons of this government is amazing.What fairer election is there?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Not just about 20 centavos

*the bus tariff has been dropped back down to R3

I'm sad and excited for this adopted country of mine. I'm excited that people have been propelled into action, calling for the right to be heard. I can hear helicopters circling - almost like a normal day - but I know that thousands of people have joined together to march this evening.  I'm sad because some Brazilians still don't understand. I was speaking to someone on the street today and she said that the protests are ridiculous, it's only 20 centavos and all these people want to do is to cause problems and fight. It's not just about 20 centavos.

I'm sad for myself because I live in such a happy little bubble. The first that I knew something was happening last week is because my maid couldn't come into work. This week I'm sitting here blogging and talking about my feelings.  These are not new issues. They are issues we have discussed many times over dinner tables (with both Braziilans and expats) and the consensus has always been, "It's just the way life is here, it's Brazilian culture, there is no way to change anything...." Well I'm wrong again, this is all about to change.  #changebrazil

This is going on right now! Over 30,000 people are on Faria Lima.

An emotional post on facebook: Moro proximo a Rebouças e Rua Teodoro Sampaio e encontrei centenas de jovens descendo em direção ao Largo da Batata muitos com flores nas mã emocionei..senti orgulho...isto aí Jovens voces tem todo o meu apoio o Futuro pertence a voces...APOIO TOTALMENTE!

In English, I live close to Rebouças and Teodoro sampaio and saw 100's of teenagers descending in the direction of Largo da Batata with lots of flowers in their hands - made me emotional, felt proud - these are the young that have all my support and the future is all yours - totally support!

Check out this for a summary of what's going on here:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Apartment available for rent

A friend is looking to rent out his apartment in Itaim.

Details here
Email Karl directly here

20 centavos

Posted by a fb friend today and she's covered pretty much what I wanted to say, plus she's a public transport expert...

At last an article that touches upon the actual issue of how poor public transport is in much of São Paulo, rather than just sensationalising some of the violence seen in protests against the 20 centavo fare increase. 

20 centavos may not seem like much, but this is a city where many of the poorest residents already spend more than a third of their scarce income on public transport - for the privilege of standing up for hours on buses which are poor quality, unreliable and way overfull.

Research by the LSE Urban Age showed that the combination of São Paulo's low quality public transport and peripheralisation of poor communities compounds existing economic and social exclusion, even worse than cities with comparable income inequalities. If the city is going to increase the fares, it needs to radically rethink the services it is offering.

And meantime, the brutalised culture of the riot police also needs to be 2011 I watched riot police storm, teargas and shoot at a small peaceful protest on SP's Avenida Paulista...a violent response to this kind of oppression of democracy is not surprising, but sadly distorts the messages we get from the media about the real issues at stake.

And some more reading on CNN and on Folha de São Paulo and a fellow blogger here.

And another protest this afternoon organised on Facebook. Even if you can't join, you can show your support by putting a white towel in your window. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Speeding tickets in Sao Paulo

It took us 2 years to get our driving license sorted and when we finally did my husband found out that he had negative driving points. We thought that our speeding fines were just disappearing into thin air (we paid the fine but didn't realise we were losing points). It was all linked to my husband's CPF ...

So even though the roads are badly planned here, I'm sure they go out of their way to plan their speed traps. You don't even know you have a speeding ticket until you receive the notice in the post. It usually takes about a month as they have people that sit and watch videos of Sao Paulo streets all day long. If I had unlimited wine I could potentially do that... Watch out for speed cameras especially on the way to Guaraju. We've even be ticketed on our quiet street on a Sunday for parking infront of our house. 

If you want to keep track you need to go to and create a log in and you will see how many points you have. When you get a speeding ticket you have a finite period of time to transfer these points to someone else. On the first notice you receive you need to fill out the details of the person taking on the points, find a DETRAN office (you will see these dotted around the city). These are the guys that process any DETRAN documents, send a motoboy and return it to you. It cost me R20 at our local DETRAN / motoboy office. 

How to get a driving license in Sao Paulo

More exciting paperwork. We've been holding out on doing our driving licenses until we really, really had to (which was about 18 months ago, 6 months after entering Brazil with our work visas). I considered doing it myself but I've now got to a time in my life where spending unnecessary time in Policia Federal (or now Detran) is not worth it!

Paperwork required

- original driving license from your own country. This must be translated into Portuguese by a certified translator. Please check with your own Consulate to get their list of approved translators.
- original passport
- original RNE protocol
- original sincre
- original proof of residence under your name(kindly note that Detran only accepts as proof of residence bills of water, gas, IPTU or telephone issued up to 90 days before the date we are going to Detran) 
- Simple copy of the proof of residence above
- CPF 
- Simple copy of the CPFs above

Fill out the form here, and make an appointment with Detran and take all the documents listed above with you. Go upstairs to the first floor and you will find a window for Estrangeiros. When we arrived the lady would not accept my UK driving license because I had my new NZ passport which did not have my UK visa in. For a split second I almost cried (the last time was probably at Federal Police), but our agent decided to ignore it. She said that the person upstairs had no way of communicating with the people downstairs (and outside) who processed all your documents, so she just took off the note and threw it away and we continued the process. I would suggest you take all your passports, old and new, if you are in a similar situation.

After you process all your documents, have your photo taken, and your fingerprints you need to go and have your medical and psychological test done. You might think they would want to test your driving. The doctor will check your general health, that you can see, have arms and legs etc, all those essential things for driving. The psychological test  - just do it - don't complain. There are several companies around that do it without needing an appointment. 

It takes a week to process and you can pick up at Detran again. Make certified photocopies to carry around with you, it's not worth losing it!!

I really recommend Renata Laterza who has handled all our paperwork (after we finished our own work visas ourselves...). A good agent is worth every single penny!

RENATA LATERZA Consultancy & Relocation
Rua Texas, 886 - sala 2 - Brooklin
São Paulo - SP - CEP: 04557-001

Tel / Fax: +55 11 2691-8991 (São Paulo)
Cel: +55 11 9 8652-3000

Tel / Fax: +55 19 3397-9750 (Campinas)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Car for sale - Meriva 1.8 MAXX

I'm just in the middle of writing a blog about security and safety here in Sao Paulo. It's one of our (expat) primary concerns moving to Sao Paulo but life in this city does not have to be in a glass castle. You can live a relatively "normal' life if you choose. I've heard Brazilians advise newcomers to not even walk on the streets here...

Our rule here on safety is being inconspicuous. If you are walking on the street, dress down, don't wear your watch or jewellery, dont' speak english out loud, don't carry your iphone in your hand. The same goes for the car we drive, I put a few scratches on it whilst learning to drive in this city (I'm embarrassed to say the "accidents" were with non-moving objects) but I honestly can say I would feel safer in this car than a bullet-proofed Range Rover in this city.

For Sale:
Meriva 1.8 MAXX
91,000 KM, Black, two owners since new and in very good condition. New tyres recently fitted, as well as new shock absorbers and clutch. It is the favored car of Taxi drivers and probably the most 'low profile' vehicle to use in Sao Paulo. The bodywork is in very good shape, though the wheels have some scratches.

Available for R$21,900 (FIPE valuation is R$ 22.599,00 Average Price of equivalent cars on Webmotors is R$ 23.495,76)

Please email

Sunday, 12 May 2013

SP Night Connect in partnership with Ávila Steakhouse

Two great networking events going on this week. 

On Tuesday, Girls On It Launch Event in partnership with Aceleratech starts at 7pm. Tickets are available here. A bilingual panel discussion on Women and Entrepreneurship. Girls On It (GOI) is a global media platform focused on promoting, inspiring, and educating female executives and entrepreneurs in all industries. Our mission is to bring the global community of women and girls together, by highlighting and acknowledging the individuals, organizations, and companies that support them. Men are welcome too!

On Wednesday, SP Night Connect 2 is hosted by Ávila Steakhouse. You will be "connected" with the right people; whether you are there to find a job, looking for new clients, business partners, investors. This will happen over a meat and wine pairing with a presentation from the Head Chef. If you havent been to Ávila Steakhouse yet, I can't recommend it highly enough - their house cut is just incredible and you can't find it at 348. I had an emotional (crying-because-I'm-so-happy) experience when I first ate it. Incredible.

Purchase your ticket at 

Stephanie Cirihal

I wrote last year about how important it is to come with an open mind when you move to Brazil, or to any city for that matter. Things are different, difficult and you are away from all things that you love and know. This is exhilirating for some and just awful for others.

I do have my down moments. Just yesterday I cried talking about how my parents won't get too see my daughters grow up - but it was shortlived, this is a choice I have made and I want to be here. For me, living life, living this adventure is what I choose.

I understand that this option to choose for others is not always available. I read Stephanie's brutally honest blog, and I love it not because I can understand but it helps ME to understand. To not be so flippant or arrogant when people struggle to love to live here, or just to live here. It's so easy to say to someone, just go home! (I think I wrote that in a different post...). She reposted an archived blog the other day on feeling at home where ever you are and how important it is to see agitation as a temporary state. 

If you are reading this blog because you are about to move to Sampa, I say do it. Are you going to hate it? Maybe. Will you survive? Of course. Will you regret it?....

Thursday, 25 April 2013

soul.set is celebrating 2 years this Sunday!

One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday afternoon here is head over to Lapa and hang out at soul.set. They are celebrating their 2 year anniversary this Sunday!

They're giving SP Night Social R5 discount / person! You can rsvp at

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

ANZAC Day Service & Commemorative Dinner

Last minute notice, tickets close today for the Anzac Day Service and Commemorative Dinner that is tomorrow evening, Thursday 25th April.

Dear Madam/Sir,

The Australian Consulate is briefly extending the deadline to register and pay for the Anzac Day Service and Commemorative Dinner that will be held this week on Thursday 25th April. If you had missed seeing the invitation before or haven’t had time to respond to it, now is the time to do so, before they have to close numbers for the event on Wednesday.

Information for the event is attached below. If you have already registered, why not pass the invitation to a New Zealand or Australian friend who may not yet know about it?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Essential reading: American Exbrat in Sao Paulo

My fellow blogger Ms Foxhole aka Born Again Brazilian has just published a book about moving to / living in Sao Paulo .. A great read for anyone moving here! Also great for those who are already living here, I laughed so much because it's all so true and every week you will have similar experiences. I was just living one particular experience (being asked for documents on a weekly basis instead of just being sent the list of required documents all at once). 

It's one thing learning about a new culture, but actually adapting to it is another. I don't know if the stress of being late for an appointment will ever go away (I absolutely hate being late), making plans last minute, doing things in not orderly fashion, or wearing a thong bikini will ever come naturally to me... 

Here's one of my favourite excerpts from the book:

"I had one of my Brazilian graduate business students explain it (process) to me this way.

Our American counterparts want us to follow a timeline of A, B, C, D and E, in that order, to get the project done. But we think B should go first, then we'll do A, then E and wrap it all up with C. Forget D all together. And the Americans get very upset.

That gave me an instant migraine." 

Thank god for caiprinhas that make those migraines go away!

Ms Foxhole will also be attending the SP Night Connect this Wednesday evening at PJ Clarkes. Come and meet her, have a few drinks (and buffalo wings and nachos, mmm!) give her great reviews of her book, share SP experiences (if you've already been living here for awhile) or learn from her experiences (if you've just moved here). 

Buy her book for kindle here.

Check our her Facebook page here.