Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello 'hollywood'

My bull rider loving cousin of the west coast informed me about a very good looking Paulista in the championship bull riding competition this weekend in Las Vegas. So I wanted to cheer him on and dutifully agree that yes Mel hes quite the hottie! While hes becoming one of my special interests he listed his as soccer, team roping and surfing. A true Brasileiro.

Good Luck Guilherme Marchi nicknamed "Hollywood." Ill make sure my televisão is turned on for your show... Im a guna file this one under nourishment... =)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The way the DR. should be

With almost a year under our belt, I finally decided to take a few friend's recommendations and get a doctor. And this is not your average stethoscope trotting white coat wearing man of the infirmary, this guy is Pele´s medicó! Boo-ya sickness and health my knees are going to shine like a hall-of-fame national hero!

Our first consultation was akin to meeting up with an old friend at their house. His office is in one of those big beautiful old coffee planation houses on Avenida Brasil and minus the secretaries at the entrance I climbed the granite stairs to the second floor and went straight into his comfy office. In true brazilian fashion I was offered coffee, water  and fresh squeezed juice.  He greeted me wearing jeans, loafers and a t-shirt and we got to business while he ate some lunch.

What I loved most about the experience was the lack of paperwork involved. He had his computer set up with an online form that we filled out together. He went through family history and basically every part of the body head to toe asking about issues and problems past and current. He also gave me a nice lecture about eating right and living a stress free life.  Happy minds = Healthy minds and I was advised to get to the beach and relax as often as possible. I'll take that prescription any day! He was also plugging his book, which talks a lot about mind over matter of which below there is a photo with Pele and his little health bible. After our 2.5+ hour chat we went to another room in his office for the checkup. From eyes to toes to ekg's and blood draws he tested for anything and everything. I came with allergy questions and left feeling like if anything was wrong well beyond my recent aversion to the pollution, he would get to the bottom of it.

Before going in for the blood draw I noticed my name on a list with just about everything checked off. Strange, but he reminded me it was standard procedure. 31 viles of blood later I practically fainted in the lounge chair. I wish I was kidding but this guy tested for EVERYTHING. I guess that is normal? I just kept telling myself if the guy apparently treats a world phenomenon he knows what he's doing so I am awaiting the file cabinet of results.

In sum, I am impressed and happy to finally have a doc here. Its those little big things that help with adapting in a new place. It is quite common in Brazil for the doctor to give you their email, home and cell phone numbers to be available at your disposal. During our almost 4 hour appointment he was answering many a text message from his clients... over 5000 of them. Clients that is but I would imagine over the course of a flu season he hears from all of them. Most of the time he can even cure common illnesses over the phone and then send a motoboy to fetch your prescription at any hour of the day, any day of the week. Super bonus!  It wasn't a cheap consultation but the follow up is included and the subsequent appointments (so long as they aren't more ekgs or other ex-rays etc.) are covered by insurance. For all the american copays I've shelled out over the years its nice to finally see a doctor!

Pele with my doctor's new book

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pay your bills even if you cant!

So here I am at a cafe downtown with internet for the first time since Wednesday and the last time till probably next week at least for my personal computer.

Why? Because NET, our internet, tv and phone provider cut off our services.

Why? Because we were 10 days late on paying our bill. Yes only 10 days!!

Why? Because the post office decided to go on strike for about 30 days causing complete mayhem for mail delivery.

So we got our bill late in the mail and past its "due date."

If the bill is past its due date, you can no longer pay it online or at the bank which is how most people pay their bills. You (or the bank) enter in this very long code of 60 or so numbers at the bottom of your bill directly into your online bank account and it finds it and pays it. Its actually a nice little system if were automatic. But, the code doesn't work if it is after a certain "due date." We (stupidly) assumed we would be getting our next bill very soon since the last one was so late and just pay both on top of a late fee that sadly wasn't our fault but inevitable. Instead, NET cut us off which probably took 3.5 seconds. Guess how long it takes to turn back on? 4 BUSINESS DAYS once the money transferred pops up in their account which also can sometimes take DAYS. So here we are. (Yes I know we can set up automatic bill-pay we just ran into problems before attempting to do so and its a bit more complicated than it sounds).

I will tell you, the world doesn't fall apart when you lose internet and tv but it does remind at least us, how dependent we have become.  I work in a design office and when the power goes out, as it randomly does sometimes, everyone goes into panic mode. "But how do we work now? we must go home!" Perhaps considering we are all some type of architect, we could... I don't know DRAW??? But on paper? With a pencil?

Ahh life...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Supporting at-risk youth in Rocinha Favela

Fellow blogger Jim, at Qualidade de Vida is helping with efforts to raise money for at-risk youth in the Rocinha Favela.

Please check out their progress and ideas here on his blog and consider even a small donation, it can go a long way!

Rio Sex Comedy

An interesting find on itunes, this movie is in portuguese and english with subtitles. Basically it talks about the lives of a few expatriates in Rio and their various quests for "social justice and personal pleasure." A french woman is working on an anthropologic quest to find out if maids wish for a better life by studying home help. Then an ambassador goes missing in the favelas by his own accord (he ran away to hide) and is found by an american favela tour guide. So from there the audience gets a little tour of the Rocinha Favela, one of the more famous communities in South America. The third story revolved around the pulsing world of plastic surgery where regardless of wealth, people are equal in how they feel about themselves.

This movie does a good job showing realities of Brazil and what life is like in a culture that is very class stratified. The idea of what a favela means comes up several times, the dweller defining pride in where they live, an amazonian tribe too good for life in a "slum," and a wealthy american enjoying his escape there and wondering what he can do to help. It is full of satire and comedy and I encourage you to check it out sometime...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Outside dining

Pe de Manga

For those that love feel of a deck, patio or view, here is my ever evolving list of favorite outdoor spots in the city.

1. Pe de Manga : actually listed in the book, 1000 things to do before you die and I agree its awesome!

now no longer in order of preference

2. Due Cuochi Cucina on the roof at Shopping Cidade Jardim : very small area to eat outside but a nice view beyond the electrical fields

3. Tanger : they have a wonderful front porch dining area

4. Capim Santo : lovely lovely gravel backyard

5. Unique Hotel : classic spot everyone has to go once (or a million times), small bites and pizza only, on the pool deck though

6. Figueira Rubaiyat : The famous fig tree that stretches throughout the restaurant space is fun for people watching but I think a bit overrated

7. O Pote do Rei : our new favorite spot in Pinheiros, seating in the back is also under a lovely tree outside

8. The ever special Sao Bento boteco establishment on Aspicuelta : kinda like eating outside, again open air but really fun. If you find its too crowded there just about every bar on both sides of the street is the same type of feel...

9. Esch Cafe : Cigar bar but they have great food and a front outside dining space

10. Santa Gula : is sorta outside/inside but a really cool entrance and has funky artsy appeal 

11. N'o Cafe : you will find us here just about every weekend taking in the sunshine and a great breakfast

12. Deli Paris : next door to N'o Cafe and if we aren't there we are here for their all you can eat buffet that is okay but its nice to sit on the sidewalk and people watch! 

13. Arturito : Threw this one in even though it isn't exactly outside except for a sliver in the back but its so fabulous its one of our favorites and if you haven't been you should! You can still get a little sunshine in along the bench in the back right side so technically there is a piece of an open roof. Call ahead as it is very difficult to get a reservation here. 

14. Famiglia Mancini : apparently has a great little outdoor space but I have yet to go! 

I had some problems making this post a dedicated page and lost pieces of it so it will just be a post for the time being. I am sure there are quite a few restaurant spots I am missing so please feel free to add to the list...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I just want to work out!!!

My gripe list is short. Well sometimes I might be lying, but outside of traffic nightmares and pollution I seem to be meshing okay to the brazilian style of life living. However when it comes to the gym I am hard pressed to think the transition will ever happen.

Most brazilian gyms (mine and those of friends) have the so called 'professor," which is a quasi personal trainer. My gym is decent sized so depending on the hour we usually have between 1-3 to pace the floor eager to assist you in reaching your fitness goals. At first I thought, great a free trainer (even though you definately pay for it and you can't opt out) that can help motivate me through the boredom I get after about 45 minutes. But that isn't realllllly what they do. They should be called gym buddies. Can't find a friend to chat next to you on the elliptical? Never fear, your professor is here! They chat and chat and chat and this chatting has no barriers. Like when you are the ground doing abs, running on the treadmill or really just looking to be fully engaged with your ipod and magazine obviously not in the mood to giggle and gossip, they happily come over to interrupt with curiosity to know exactly what you are thinking, what you did last weekend and what you plan on doing this coming weekend. Okay, so its great portuguese practice but at this point there is still a lot of pictionary going on when the words are coming. So with me there is usually a lot of standing and watching, but RIGHT NEXT TO ME, waiting for one of us to understand what the other is trying to say.

But brazilians love this attention and know no different. I even try to follow the greeting rules when I arrive, kisses on the cheeks to the 'professor(s)' and the long drawn out 'how are you' which always goes a little something like this: "Hey, how are you? Great, how are you? Great! Thats great! Im so glad everything is great for you? Yes and I am so glad everything is great for you too! Great! Great, ok see you soon (more like in 5 min). Great!!!" But then I like to retreat to the treadmill and be left alone.

Ohh no I didn't. I didn't just attempt to ignore the professors as they make their rounds to make sure everyone is STILL GREAT. Like today for example, I tried so hard to just do a quick walk in, work out and go and I was stopped as I tried to quickly hurry out, if everything was ok? I looked sad? I looked upset? What is the matter? NO, I am not upset, just in a hurry to beat this storm and get to the grocery store. Ohhhhh ok so "how are you? Great! How are you? Great! How was your weekend? What did you do?..........ETC

AARRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG leave me alone, I just want to work out!!!!!

Here ends rant.