Sunday, 17 March 2013

Women Changing Brazil Symposium

Organised by Barnard College, the Symposium will be hosted at the Grand Hyatt. Online registration has closed by you can still go in person at 10am.

Folha de Sao Paulo

My first claim to fame here in Sao Paulo! We were interviewed at the last SP Night Market by Folha de Sao Paulo, a weekend publication. The Sixth Edition of SPNM will be on Saturday April 13th from 2-7pm in Jardins, put it in your diary!

Check out the article online here.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

If you drink, then drive, you're a bloody idiot

If you were on the ciclofaixa today you would've heard of the 21 year old boy who was cycling to work at 5:30am this morning and hit by a drunk driver. The impact ripped the right arm of the cyclist and the driver sped off with the arm attached to the car still, which he then threw into a small stream. How many caipirinhas do you think he had last night to think that this was a good idea??

The new "lei seca" rules implemented in December seem harsh by Western standards but they don't seem to have stopped drink driving here in Sao Paulo. I know that many different parameters need to be put in place for accidents like this not to happen (better public transport, education, harsher penalties - i.e. go to jail no matter how rich you are, bike lanes). I think there's a great business model for a scooter service here so you can be driven home if you have a sip of wine with dinner. Who's up for it?


So the last 10 days hás been a true test of motherhood VS my sheer horror of all things creepy-crawly.
10 days ago I found a boil (furúnculo) on the back of my 1 year old’s head. I didn’t think much of it, maybe the heat (she gets allergies) with an ingrown hair. 2 days later there were two of them and they were really hard and red, and caused her lots of pain to touch.  The next day they burst with pus and it was gross!

So I decided to take her to a my new paediatrician the next day, if anything to get some cream to stave off any infection. I have all my doctor visits in portuguese, it forces me to learn new vocabulary and of course practice. I had to do a double take as I'm sure she said "mosca" / fly - a fly has laid an egg on my baby's head. The language and cultural barrier does help you tone down a reaction, or at least take a pause before you do react.  She said that there was no certainty so she would prescribe some antibiotic cream for the next couple of days, and wait and see. 

So wait and see I did, waiting for that little squiggly to poke it's head out. ugh. In the meantime I sought reassurance from all the Brazilians that this was common. If you live in the interior, on fazendas, surrounded by animals, "mosca da berne" is very common (do not google it if you are squeamish). They all just told me to take it out myself (no thanks) and they had lots of old tricks, like putting a chilli leaf over it to draw it out. 

On Day 10 there was still a lump even though it was generally getting better, and no sign of anything squiggly. I decided to take her to emergency just to double check. The first doctor thought it was most likely berne, but then the surgeon came in and said he couldn't see anything moving, and to only come back when there was actually a little larva moving around. It's not deadly and I personally prefer to wait and see rather than put my little baby girl under general, and have surgery.

Day 14 - it's definitely a furunculo thank god. After 10 days I was told the egg would've hatched and we would have seen her little friend by then.  So I'm writing this blog so if you have the unfortunate experience of thinking you might have berne, have a strong caipirinha and wait it out.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Rio tips

I've probably spent a total of 3 weeks in Rio but want to share the love.

Azumi - voted best sushi restaurant in Rio last year. Very traditional and not the same vibe as you will get in Sushi Leblon but the food was fantastic, and I say that even as my daughters were throwing soy sauce dishes around the room (= 2 big bottles of sake for the parents). Octopus carpaccio to-die-for, even stopped my one year old in her throwing frenzy. Introduced my husband to chawanmushi too.

Copacabana Palace Hotel - in my recent post about Rio vs Sampa I talk about how much I despise Copacabana. But this was a special treat. We were upgraded since we had 2 kids that would not fit in a standard room. It was a rainy weekend too, all the more better for hanging out in the bathtub. The service was generally good aside from the one evening I ordered buttered pasta for the girls and it took over an hour. We were given a couple of free g&t's. The non-Brazilian guests are a stark contrast to the staff and the locals outside the hotel. Try saying hello to a snobby 50 year old in the lift with your cute (?) little kid... feels like -50 C. Pool is not made for children but there is a secret pool on the 6th floor. It was in renovation the weekend we were staying so the only guests were some disease-ridden pigeons but definitely worth sneaking up to the next time you are around the block.

Porcao - I know this is really touristy but at the same time it's full of cariocas. And the third bonus is the kids playroom. Go a little earlier (around 12:30) to get a table right next to the kids room which is for 4 - 8 year olds but you can still the younger ones accompanied. My other favourite is brunch at Parque Laje (next to the Botanical Gardens), there is a giant pool which is so kid-friendly but it's such a beautiful setting that it's almost worth running after them.

Lagoa - we spent a cloudy afternoon at one of leisure areas around the Lagoon with the girls. There's a small play area, trampolines, popcorn, restaurants (the arabic one is supposed to be good but I've only had a drink here) and pedalos. Sophie of course chose the pink swan. Running / bike track all around the Lagoon as well if you're bored of looking at the beach.

Get a babysitter in. Head to Lapa for some street drinking, market food (hot dogs and popcorn) and of course. We went to Santa Teresa in the hope of heading to either the recommended Aprazivel (Amazonian food with great views) or Tereze at Santa Teresa Hotel. We ended up at the library up the stairs (you can see it up from the bus stop) where there was live samba music, tall beers for R6 and entry was only R5. It was one of the nights when I'm reminded about how much I love being here in Brazil.

Found a new restaurant called Rústico, climb up the stairs past the closed café to an alfresco dining área surrounded by trees looking beautiful with uplights. Food was ok but think the ambience certainly made up for it (don’t order the warmed brie starter, what was I thinking?).

The tram up to Santa Teresa hás been closed due to some horrible accidents which caused the deaths of more than 6 tourists. You can jump in a cab day or night; during the day I would walk back down via Selaron’s stairs but at night it can be a pain to get a taxi if you are there quite late. Keep it in mind!

Bar Astor in São Paulo is one of my favourite places for a late night file mignon sandwich and one of their speciality caiprinhas. I say “specialty” only because I ask them to make me something special and surprise me! It’s sister restaurant opened in Rio a few years ago which is close to beachfront as you can get on Ipanema (across the road). Try and get there before 12:30 to get a table on the front pátio. Boullaibaise might not be what you are feeling like on a steamy hot Sunday but once you’ve cooled off with a couple of chopps, worth every centavo.

This is all without even going to see Jesus, Sugarloaf or just hanging out at the beach all day.

More secret tips on Rio from a fellow blogger

Monday, 4 March 2013

Rio vs Sampa

I hadn't been to Rio in almost 2 years until this weekend just gone. It's such a fab city to go visit and we always wonder about how life would be in the beautiful city. We stayed in Copacabana for the first time. I've always thought the beach is dirtier, it's full of tourists and the water is too rough for kids. It is. So where would you choose to live in Rio?

I would love the opinion of someone who has actually lived in Rio and Sampa. Seriously,where is better?

Here are some things I was thinking about:

Yes for Rio - living that close to the beach is a dream! Everyone is running, cycling, swimming, surfing, playing volleyball at all times of the day. Rio 1, Sampa 0

No for Rio - does it sound wrong when I say that Rio is SO much dirtier than Sampa? I had cockroaches attacking me left, right, center! Rio 1, Sampa 1

Yes for Sampa - people get things done here (relative of course). The service is atrocious in Rio. I know everyone is on holiday there but what about the people who live there, how do you pay the bills? A friend said that the taxis in Rio don't like to work when it's raining as the traffic gets really bad - duh! If you arrive at SDU and it's raining, brave the weather to get one from the parking lot. They just might wake up from their nap and take you where you need to go. Rio 1, Sampa 2

No for Rio - you think traffic is bad in Sampa? It took us half an hour from copa to cnr of ipanema on a sunday at noon. There's no shortcuts unless you take a helicopter. Rio 1, Sampa 3

Yes for Rio - Jesus lives there. (That's for you Mum!) Rio 2, Sampa 3

Yes for Rio - Samba is everywhere. The juice places are on every corner and everyone walks around in their sunga (is that a pro or con??) or bikini. I like that rich or poor, cariocas all wear havaianas and carry a plastic bag to the beach. Rio 3, Sampa 3

Yes for Sampa - Food / Supermarkets. There is an incredible variety of restaurants in SP compared to Rio. I obviously have not spent enough time to try every single restaurant in Rio but from what I've seen there is alot more food innovation in SP. There are very nice supermarkets in SP ... though one might argue, why would you need to buy R30 peanut butter when you can just have another agua de coco on the beach... though home comforts are important to people so I'll give this one to SP.  Rio 3, Sampa 4

Yes for Rio - you get a whole lot of sunshine. My friend was complaining about that one very hot week and he had to stay inside next to his aircon. I would still take too hot over constant rain and it still looks pretty when you look out your window. Rio 4, Sampa 4

Yes for Rio - visitors always want to go to Rio, they don't want to come to Sao Paulo! So if you have family and friends that come to visit you, you HAVE to take them to Rio (or at least somewhere to the beach). Everyone thinks I live in Rio. Rio 5, Sampa 4

Maybe because of my bias for Sao Paulo they are pretty close in this competition. For all it's fabulous'ness I think I would still struggle to uproot my life here, right now to move to Rio unless we had a clear cut reason (i.e. work). Plus my buttercream frosting would just melt in that Rio sunshine. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

SP Night Market - 5th Edition

SP Night Market is back this Wednesday 6th March! We have a fabulous new Brazilian vegetarian chef PLUS a new private chef is in town. Of course Sophie & Theo's cupcakes will also be on sale! Come and check out the market and meet some new friends.

Entry is R20 per person, includes a welcome drink from Del Cocktail and live music from Prato Principal!

See you all there xx