Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here are a few of my favorite things

Because I can sometimes seem like a negative Nelly, I wanted to post on a few of my favorite things about living in Rio de Janeiro.

1.  How Cariocas can chill. Only in Rio could you have a brunch that goes until 4pm where your childless friends spend the entire afternoon watching Cinderella with your kids and playing Uno, while simultaneously chatting amongst themselves. These guys chill so well they sometimes seem comatose.  A trip to Rio de Janeiro should be mandatory for type A personalities.

2.  The food. I've said it before and I'll say it again, who knew black beans and rice could be so damn good. Don't worry, after a while your bowels get used to the fiber and the gas subsides.  We're still waiting for that at our house but fingers are crossed.

3.  You can take your kids anywhere and everywhere and they can, gasp, act like kids. You will not be shunned if your kids scream or drop something on the floor. You will, however, be given a series of dirty looks if you do not let the table next to yours give your kids some of their fries while you are waiting for your order.

4.  The beach.  For starters, they are beautiful, all 300 + we have here.  Add in that you don't have to bring anything (city beaches anyway) and I'm a happy camper. I'm talking no cooler with snacks, no beach chairs unless you want to, and the seriously lazy don't even have to bring sunscreen although you'll pay out the nose. You can buy it all there! 

5.  Coconut water. Sir, could you please bust out a machete and whack open a stupidly cold coconut for me? Two straw and R$3 later = heaven!

6.  Chopps. I really do love cold Brazilian draft beer. Even more, I love getting together with friends to drink it. For the serious chopp lovers, you can also bring your kids. Oh yes, it is ok to bring your kids to a bar, even at 1030pm. I have yet to get to that point in my Brazilian-ness and I don't think I will, but it's always nice to have the option.  I do, however, drink beer at birthday parties, the beach, and bbqs.

7. The activities.  Rio de Janeiro is like a book of 1001 outdoor activities to do on the 359 sunny days a year. Hike, climb, swim, run, ride bikes, bird watch, waterfall hunt, or just sit on a beach chair at one of the many beaches. We really do have it all. 

8. Movies.  Cariocas love their movies, both foreign and local. There are festivals on top of the already well represented movie theater industry.  Now I just need to get a babysitter so my husband and I can start going again!

9. The culture. There's always some new exhibit somewhere, a dance performance, or a play (adult and children's). It's very cutting edge here and you will see some amazingly good stuff and total crap, all of which are pretty entertaining.  Hell, a friend of mine went to a play that wasn't even a play. They paid R$30 to go into and wait to see a play that was never going to happen. A kind of psychological experiment if you will.  So it's a grab bag and you never quite know what you are going to get.

10. The people. People here are so helpful and kind.  They are so helpful that strangers have no problem telling you that your kid is going to die of strep throat just because you gave them cold water.  And they will chase after you, 2 city blocks, to give you back the shoe that your kid kicked off.  That's caring with a capital I know how expensive shoes are and you were going to be pissed when you got home.

11. Destinations. Want to get away for the weekend? There's Buzios, Paraty, Ilha Grande, Visconde de Maua,Teresopolis, Petropolis, Cabo Frio, etc etc and so on and so forth. We have country, "mountains", beaches, and islands.  It's all beautiful and you can go cheap or expensive or rich and obnoxious. 

It comes down to Rio de Janeiro being a truly unique place.  Smiles, sunshine, live music, large asses, street food, and beans on the side. I'll take one please.


  1. A coconut water for 3 reais ? That's theft ! I used to find very expensive when it was 2,50 reais... And I think I miss a lot more Itatiaia, Paraty and Buzios than all the rest.
    P.S.: Psst ! I do not think you sometimes sound like a negative Nelly. Like any ohter big city Rio is a difficult one: expensive, unpredictable, has intense traffic, huge distances, social contrasts and all the problems we know. So do not repress yourself about writing the negative aspects and bad experiencies. Self censorhip is a very akward thing. Keep the pen ball rolling and the creative juices flowing !

  2. Agua de Coco in Niteroi is just R$2. But I understand the Rio price hike.

    Cities - I love cities. There is so much to do that is FREE.

    And of all the cities in the world, duh! -- Rio is at the top of the list! Lucky us!

  3. It's now R$3 in Zona Sul. Bummer, yes.

  4. So sad... in Macae some places charge R$3.30 just because they know you won't have the change and they can possibly end up with extra cash. I make sure to have exact change and most of the time try to avoid giving them any business.