Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Bilingual Children

My 4 yr old, the Chatterbox, has declared his love for the Portuguese language. I initially thought that it was a good thing seeing that he had left his "native" language and has favored English since 3.

Well times are a changing because he also declared that he does not want to speak English anymore. It was adorable to see him assert himself like that. But like a true Mother looking out for his best interest, I became the first woman to stomp on his dreams.

At least I was kind enough to explain. I told him that he would forget his English. I reminded him that Grandma and Poppi, as well as Uncles Pat, Terry, and Jeremy do not speak Portuguese. He relented but was positive that he would not forget English. It is such a simple language. I think all my past English students felt a tickle up their spines at that very moment.

His reasoning was that Portuguese has MUCH better words! It is so much more fun to speak in Portuguese. I really can appreciate that. Portuguese is a very colorful language. I'm also glad that him and his Brother won't have my late in life experience in learning this "colorful" language. You see, Portuguese has a lot of great words, conjugations, and expressions. It is especially fun to talk shit with. Of course, to learn it in your 20s makes it less fun and more of a bitch.

Actually, more like being bitch slapped by some evil bitch. Yes, that was my first impression of the language. Thankfully we have gotten to know each other better, gone out for a couple of drinks, enjoyed a few bases, and now are on speaking terms.

Of course, we must remember, this is Portuguese. That Ho could turn on me at any moment! I'm starting to understand why Chatterbox is throwing her a bone.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
Link up your post below.
Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Doing it Again! *sigh*

I'm doing it again. I'm allowing myself to befriend other foreigners. Not an issue, right? Well yes, it is an issue.

You see, 85% of the time these foreigners leave. They stay for 6 months, 1 year, maybe 3 and then they bail.

Initially it was great just to meet some people who spoke my language. Later, I was the one left behind.  So I decided to go Brazilian all the way! Brazilian friends and that is it!

Of course we foreigners are attracted to each other like white on rice and I managed to find some who actually live here. Finding other foreigners who didn't have a Brazilian expiration date was awesome to say the least. Of course, times are changing and the temporary expats are moving in like locus. Push came to shove and I ended up entering into an expat group. I blame the blog. The blog was the key to the world of Alice (expats) in Wonderland (moving to Brazil). I got emails, made contacts, and ended up in an expat Facebook group.

The thing is, I like these expats! The ones I have met are pretty damn awesome. Many of them move around all the freaking time. They are like nomads with a company credit card. I dig their worldly experience and open minds. I even dig the newbies, their questions, and their willingness to head out on a foreign adventure.

But they will leave. Their storm will soon form and take them away. I, however, will stay here and watch the sand settle. It sucks.

Of course, I've never been one to learn a lesson the first time around, just ask my Mother. I suppose I'd rather meet and miss cool people than not meet them at all.

So off I go back into the land of the traveling foreigner. Although I think I shall put a map up this time around. While the person may not be here, I could still have a little pin representing them and whatever city they originated in. That, my friends, would be quite interesting to see. 

Rio de Janeiro 2016

You have to hand it to them, they really sold Rio de Janeiro! 

What do you think?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Happy Friday from Cléo Pires!  

And a hell of a happy Friday from Raphael Sander!

Rachel and the Electric Kettle

Bear and the Kettle having a Moment

One visit my Mom brought me an electric kettle as a gift. She had mentioned it, very excitedly, before she arrived. I was going to love it, or that's what she told me!

Personally I had thought 'what the hell kind of gift is that?!' Of all things you could bring me from the US you are bringing me an electric kettle?! Sure, it was great for Mom as she drinks as much tea as about 3 Brits a day. Myself, I just boil water for cooking. I would have preferred an electric kettle sized amount of licorice, thank you very much.

Of course I wasn't going to tell her that. She had already bought it. Hell, at least Mom would be using it when she was here visiting. So when she arrived I unpacked it and plugged it in. It was cute to say the least and was much more practical for boiling water for coffee. Yes, I had to boil my own water for coffee since, at the time, I didn't use a coffee maker. We made coffee the Brazilian way (aka. impractically and inefficiently).

But just as the tides my opinion changed. I'm totally sold now! Seriously! I use that bad boy daily. I don't even boil water on the stove anymore. 1 minute and I have my boiled water for steaming veggies or cooking pasta! Hell, I even boil my water in it before making Brazilian rice. It takes at least 15 minutes off the cooking time!

I love that kettle so much that I'm blogging about it without even getting a free one! My question is though, how did Mother know I would fall for it? Is it because it's just that good or because I have already turned into her and will not admit it to myself? And if the latter is true, does the fact that Mr Rants has stayed with me make him a kinky bastard?

As for you people out there in Internet land, what is the one unlikely appliance you have fallen in love with?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Have a Job

I am getting kind of tired of working Mothers asking me what my plans are. They look at me like I'm a Freshman in University dragging her feet when it comes to choosing a major. Maybe it's just in Brazil, where the vast majority of Mothers are working. I can't say for the states since I'm not there but it's starting to get annoying.

You don't see me asking them when they plan to start raising their children 95% of the time. I like to think that they are working to give the entire family a better life. Honestly though, the kids rarely notice the new car or how good their "top of the line" school is.

Yes, I'm lucky to have the opportunity to stay at home with my kids but it is not without sacrifice. First off, I'm staying home with the kids. My personal gratification at the job comes in the form of cuddles, kids not crapping on the floor, and getting a vegetable in a mouth without vomit following. It's not a pretty job but it's a job I take a hell of a lot of pride in.

I had kids to have kids. I went to college so my children would have an educated person raising them. A waste of a hell of a lot of money? Not so much. It is one job where it's somewhat useful to have a psychology degree, even if it's just a bachelors.

And I know I am damn lucky! Mr. Rant busts his ass to make sure that we can manage me at home, and sometimes (most times) it is just that, managing.

Yet I still get the deer in headlights syndrome when asked about my career, or lack there of. It's as if I'm unprepared for a test and my answers are not satisfactory. Well, I have my answer for you right here!

I don't know because right now is not about me. I have children and when I did that things became about them. For them stability is knowing that lunch is at noon everyday. Mom sits with us at the table and we talk about what we'll do at school that afternoon (in Rio anyway). You take them to soccer practice 3 times a week not because you have to but because your little people want you to see when they finally make that important pass.

It is your job to be inconvenienced. When your 4 year old will not stop talking, while annoying, it means that it's important to him that you hear what he has to say. It is important for you to hear it and you want to be the one he tells it to.

It comes down to one thing: No one puts a band-aid on like Mom and I am sure as hell going to be here to do it! Don't worry, I know how lucky I am every single time I peel those little tabs off. Maybe the questioning ones need to also realize it.

Japanese band Y-no Finds Brazil

Japanese band Y-no found their Brazilian within and busts out a song called "Querido meu Amor." Personally, I'm digging it.

There official site:

Flamengo, the Kool-aid of Brazilian Soccer

You have to love Brazilian's enthusiasm when it comes to soccer. I mean they really get into it. So it's not surprising that you know when there's a game on regardless of looking at a tv. These guys yell when the ref scratches his ass, don't even make me try to explain the reaction when a team misses (or gets) a goal.

Of course you can amplify all this by about 245% when Flamengo is playing. Practically everyone, foreigners and Brazilians alike, are drinking the red and black Kool-aid.

I myself married into a Botafogo family, which has nothing to do with anything. I just like to point it out when I'm being an individualist like the other thousands of Botafogo followers.

Point is, I don't enjoy it when Mr. Rant is screaming for his team but that's one thing. Hearing the entire neighborhood screaming is another. Add to it that it's almost midnight... That does not make a happy Ranter!

Oh well, it's the way of the culture and you have got to love people with passion. I suppose you could say that soccer this society's opium... and beer, and meat, and oxygen, and maybe even sex. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Old School Rio de Janeiro

 First tunnel in Copacabana

Pao de Acucar and it's box of death (at least that's what it looks like to me) 

 Copacabana beach

 Sao Luiz theater in Largo do Machado. It's still there!

Very old photo of Copacabana!

Downtown Rio de Janeiro

Wordless Wednesday: TV Morrinho

For more information on the Morrinho project check out: (english)

or the official site:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10 Ways to Tell Your Children are American

After receiving good feedback on my 10 Ways to Tell Your Children are Brazilian post, I decided to take a reader's recommendation and write one for Americans. Don't worry, I'll be nice. 

1. They know how to use the microwave by 3 years old.

2. They are fed, bathed, and ready for their bedtime routine by 6:30pm.

3. A PB&J is one meal you can always get in them.

4. They've been to Disneyland at least 2 times already and own all of the memorabilia.

5. Target is their happiest place on Earth.

6. They are taking Ritalin, Prozac, and Allegra.

7. They play Wii for exercise.

8. Your baby, toddler, and preschooler are all on a routine, as well as you.

9. Their DVD collection has past rivaling yours and now encompasses then entire entertainment center.

10. When you say their cousin is coming over to play you have to explain what a cousin is.  

UFC Rio to Sell Additional Tickets!

Today more than 1,000 people will get the chance to go watch Silva and Okami beat the crap out of each other at UFC Rio (or UFC 134) on August 27th.

Starting at 11:30pm Brazilian time, will be exclusively selling these "golden" tickets.

After the first round of tickets to this much anticipated event sold out in the time it takes Gisele Bundchen to flip that famous hair and pose (aka 74 minutes), organizers decided to throw Brazilian fans a bone.

So it's not cheap but maybe the baby Ranters can skip a few months of private school so Mommy can go see the big strong men make each other bleed.

Here are the sections and prices:

Octógono Premier - R$ 1.600,00 (inteira) / R$ 800,00 (meia)
Cadeira Premier - R$ 1.600,00 (inteira) / R$ 800,00 (meia)
Cadeira Especial - R$ 1.000,00 (inteira) / R$ 500,00 (meia)
Arquibancada Central - R$ 450,00 (inteira) / R$ 225,00 (meia)
Arquibancada - R$ 450,00 (inteira) / R$ 225,00 (meia)
Portadores de Necessidades Especiais - R$ 137,50
Portadores de Necessidades Especiais Premier - R$ 800

There are a limited number of tickets available in each seating category so get your mouse clicking finger ready! Keep in mind that you are limited to 4 tickets per CPF and only 1 meia-entrada.

Now if only these tickets included an interview with Anderson Silva... That would make this blogger a very happy girl!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amazon Rainforest: Brazil's Wild West

I'm extremely worried about the Amazon Rainforest. It's such a cliche, I know. The little American blogger living in Rio de Janeiro is so worried about the Amazon Rainforest that she's blogging her feelings about it. Big freaking deal. So what if I am concerned. So what if living in Brazil has given me a view of the true extend of the destruction, the extent people will go to in order to continuing destroying it, and the utter lack of control the government has over it.

The thing is, it's all kinds of scary shit up there. Going into Amazon Rainforest activism isn't like cuddling with orphaned pandas. You are going up against a cracked out Western type place with very evil sheriffs and highly corrupt cowboys.

And you know all that stuff we learned in our sheltered American city high schools about how we really must save the Amazon now? They were being light about the situation. We needed to save it yesterday. Actually, we needed to save it in the 80s.

Farmers of all kinds are taking the Amazon out like a hairy teenager waxes her back. There's no hesitation and very little interference by responsible parties.

Thankfully the government of Brazil is putting limits and protecting this irreplaceable Rainforest. Of course that doesn't count when they are making money off of it or not enforcing the laws at all. Let's not even go into the murders of the people who make it their mission to protect this sacred place and the people it truly belongs to.

Alright, let's do go into that. Amazon Rainforest Activists are murdered in cold blood. Their murderers run free. Their deaths are left as a warning to other big-hearted people who may think about coming and challenging the mafia of the Amazon.

But the truth is that the Amazon Rainforest is the wild west of Brazil. It is immense and difficult to patrol. For a country that struggles with blatant crime and corruption in it's capital and biggest cities, the Amazon is almost out of reach. To protect this international treasure Brazil needs the help of Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. You try organizing that tea party!

Regardless, innocent people have been murdered there, I don't care if it is the wild west! This wild west happens to be in a country that is developed enough to not only host the World Cup but also the Olympics. Do not let those activists die in vain!

And if the US government is all about helping patrol the world, why not pull out of the freaking wars and send the troops down here. Put them in the Amazon. Fight for it as you do oil. If we are going to preach saving it in our schools, shouldn't we at least do our part? 

In Brazil Family is all Relative

This weekend my son met his 4th cousin. Of course, per Brazilian law, he was referred to as just a cousin, not 2nd twice removed or anything fun like that. That's probably why I didn't even know that the "cousin" visiting was actually a second cousin and the aunt (his Mother) not the sister but the cousin of my Mother-in-law.

This has only confirmed for me that if you have been to 2 family lunches and talk to a one of the family members on the phone once a year, you are a cousin by Brazilian genealogy.

So why I am at all surprised that we are invited to... take a breath and prepare for this one... the late Grandmother's boyfriend's daughter's boyfriend's son's wedding.

That, my good friends, is just awesomeness in it's purest form!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Weight

Today I read Fadra's Stream of Conscientiousness post and it hit a cord. It was about feeling fat, gaining weight, and what that means to us individually. Actually, she felt the need to defend her fatness.

In her defense she is petite and gaining 10 pounds to her is one thing, to me it's another. I am not petite. I am quite tall as a matter of fact. I can gain 10 pounds gracefully to all those around me. To me I see it in my ass, stomach, and everywhere else we women see our weight gain.

But that isn't my point. My point is that I am 20 pounds over my "ideal" weight. That translates to my pre-babies weight. I put a lot of weight on with both boys and can't naturally return to the weight of my early 20s without a rigorous diet and exercise.

I actually tried to do those two thing. I even kept a food diary. I felt the need to be what I was. The thing is, I'm nowhere close to what I was physically, mentally, or emotionally. Why should my weight be the same thing?

For me it came down to what is attractive. I thought I was more attractive before. I mean, someone once told me I was model sexy. Of course a close friend also told me I was near scary skinny. I guess perception is a big key.

Something simple happened though one evening with friends. I ran into an old Brazilian friend who I used to hang out with pre-kiddos. I made a comment about the changed body. She replied without thinking "You had no body then." Of course she back peddled and I stopped her. I didn't have a body. I was a hanger for clothing.

I am skinny. It's the genetic gene pool that I am swimming in. I will never fill in a cleavage shirt. I can't pull off booty shorts as no matter what weight I gain I have no freaking booty. And I will always be taller than half of the Brazilian male population that is older than me. There just isn't much I can do about that.

Here's the thing though, I don't care anymore. At this point, I almost feel sorry for the younger group. You see, when you get past 30s and meet a slightly (slightly) more mature crowd, body starts to even out with other qualities. That and womanliness isn't such a bad thing.

So for now I will enjoy my more open hips, fuller legs, and softer stomach. I look like a healthy woman who has brought life into this world. Call me an old lady romantic but I can't think of anything sexier! If you can, thank goodness you aren't the person I'm sharing my bed with!

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
Link up your post below.
Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

News Wrap up: Brazil and Rio de Janeiro

Am I living in a Brazil consumer bubble that's just waiting to pop?!:

Kenya kicking some ass at Military games in Rio de Janeiro:

Zico admitted to Hospital in Rio de Janiero:

Rio Offers Chance to Strike (World Cup News):

Rio Surf Club to help Favela kids:

Rio de Janeiro manhole problems are now internationally known... oops:

Brazil Sports Minister pinky swears that 12 World Cup stadiums will be done by 2013. I suggest starting:

Suspects in the murder of Husband and Wife activists in Brazil named:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Trip to the Country

We had an abnormally wonderful treat this week as Mr. Rant actually took 2 days off of work and took all of us out to the country! My MIL has never been happier to have her house invaded by us for an almost full 4 days.

We made this trip especially fabulous by bringing second cousins visiting from France with their son. Chatterbox was in 4 yr old heaven sharing his special place with his 3rd or 4th cousin removed, whatever Mr. Rant's 2nd cousin's child would be to our son. I'm sure Ray, Gritty Poet, or Jim will know the answer to that riddle.

Anyway, I'm taking a break from the madness as a Botafogo game (plus ipads and Ben 10) are humoring the masses.

It's been an awesome trip and I will sadly be heading back into the city tomorrow. I will say though, I was great to get away and show my children that pideons aren't in fact birds, trees don't only grow in parks, and that you can actually go for a walk without running into other people.

All and all, this weekend was a homerun!

*Please note that I can not spell check as the site and computer are refusing to leave their Portuguese bubble. I am not, therefore, responsible for misspellings, my 4th grade teacher is. Please take all issues up with Mrs. McKee.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday! (Made in Brazil edition)

This hotness has been brought to you by Made in Brazil

This Friday is going to be a little different and totally one-sided. Oh yes, this Hot Brazilians for your Friday is dedicated to Hot Brazilian MEN!

This video brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes. Joy for obvious reasons and sadness because my eyes melted right out of their sockets. Hey, you can't win them all. 

I have to give a shout out to the site and magazine Made in Brazil! This is their video. Seriously, they are the home to everything hot and male in this country! I don't even know how they manage interview these guys but it's probably a good thing I do not have that kind of access. Can we say sexual harassment lawsuit much?

I also have to give a shout out to Jim at Qualidade da Vida. He is the man that introduced me to this eye-widening site. I don't think I'll ever be the same! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

10 ways to Tell Your Children are Brazilian

1. By 2 years old they either say their team is Flamengo or they say that Flamengo is bad.

2. They willingly wear sweaters when it's 60 degrees outside.

3. They correct the Portuguese of foreigners.

4. They yell at the TV during a game with the same ease as the adults.

5. You can't manage to get them to bed before 10pm.

6. You can't manage to wake them up before 8am.

7. They give the entire 300 family members a kiss on the cheek at the family lunch without a second thought.

8. They have their park posse, their school posse, and quite possibly their beach posse.

9. Lojas Americanas is their happiest place on Earth.

10. Pão de Queijo is their breakfast of champions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not: Something Rio de Janeiro Should Learn

I'm thinking about adding a few thousand to the price of my apartment now that it technically has a view of water. Sure, it's actually a broken pipe that has been spilling gallons upon gallons of water out onto the sidewalk, down the street, and down the drain since Saturday but still counts!

Obviously though, it's no big deal to be losing a ridiculously large amount of good drinking water. It's not like there are people around the world who would be laying on the ground with a straw just to get a sip. Noooo, not at all. 

And thank goodness we residents of Rio de Janeiro pay an enormous amount of taxes to the city so that they can be prompt about fixing important things. 

I mean hell, if sewage is allowed to leak all over the streets occasionally, why not fresh water too? Maybe it's actually a cheap government program that aims to clean the streets without using any sort of man power. 

Seriously though, I walk by and I think of Haiti and how freaking wasteful this is. 

Get your shit together Rio de Janeiro! Turn off the freaking water to my building if you have to! I'm sure one of my lovely readers will let me stay with them, right guys? 

Wordless Wednesday: Art Exhibit

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Separate and Still NOT Equal

Photo from Brazilian Film Domesticas

I am surprised by how many people consider the lack of a maid's bathroom a deal breaker. Our apartment doesn't have one. We took it out to make our kitchen larger and chose to instead keep the good sized maid's room. I'll tell you this, many of those in the market for a 3 bedroom are not pleased.

And I don't get it! It's so separate but equal kind of crap. I have two other full bathrooms in my apartment. There is no shortage of places to drop the kids off at the pool. I felt it was excessive to keep a bathroom just for my maid. Who is she Madonna?

But many Cariocas do not approve, and I'm not just talking about the older ones. Families with small children have openly expressed their dissatisfaction in our decision. It has been discussed to the extend that I have started pointing out that our maid's room is large enough to have a small bathroom put in. That way it will feel extra prison like.

Ok, I don't say the last part.

Honestly though, it's starting to piss me off! These women are clean enough to cook for the family and feed the children but heaven forbid if they shower in the main bathroom?! Oh my Goodness, the insanity! And if anyone tries to say it's a convenience thing or that maids prefer it, just bite me. That is total bullshit. It's not like there's a line of impatient family members forming in my hall because my maid has decided today is her day to wax in my bathroom.

It's a freaking bathroom! Get over it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Brazilian Marriage

Marriage in Brazil is an interesting thing. No, I'm not saying we are exchanging partners down here or anything like that, except that is exactly what is happening.

For a Catholic country, the new generation is surprisingly open to separating from spouses and trying to find new ones. Of course, that's if they are officially spouses in the first place. As I explained to a foreigner friend, Brazilians (at least Cariocas) feel no pressure to marry. Living together is marriage enough.

These observations of mine were confirmed in the latest issue of Istoé. Apparently the number of marriages in Brazil has gone up 28%, separations have increased by 43%s and the total number of remarriages has doubled  from 65,000 to 136,000 between the years 2000 and 2009.

So down here we are breaking up, making out, and remarrying! It kind of suits the culture, don't you think? I will say it's better than the old days of just cheating on your wife/husband. Of course the Sex Motel industry may be feeling it. Who am I kidding? If there is anything a Brazilian loves more than falling in love, it's having sex!

And that is exactly what it is. Brazilians love to fall in love (and have sex). Even the Playboys who are just trying to get laid get a kick out of that special someone who keeps them guessing. If that happens, they just may take the plunge and move in with them. Should that work out, they could quite possibly marry them after a few years. Or not.

Many of my closest Brazilian friends wear the rings but don't have the papers. Not to mention that quite of few of them are on their second or third "marriages." I say "marriages" because most of them weren't actually married but just living together. Down here people don't play semantics with relationships. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and lives with you then you are married to the freaking duck.

What do you think? Is living with someone the same thing as marriage? Should separations and remarrying be so socially acceptable?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Motherhood?: Stream of Consciousness Sunday

You know, I'm not one to blog all the time about being a Mom. I try to keep this blog my place away from Motherhood. It's not that I don't love every minute of it because I do. It's just that it can be emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. Even Moms need a break.

I felt that way this weekend but not because of my kids. It was all circumstantial. Things just went downhill from the cancellation of my kids going to my in-laws (random decision by Mr. Rant and I) to my husband getting stuck in São Paulo and me having to take the kids to the blogger meet up. 

Funny enough, none of that was a big deal. The deal was that I was feeling my role a little too much. The thing about being a Stay at Home Mom and wife is that your needs (the fun frivolous ones) get pushed to the bottom. Your daily job is take care of the needs of others, frivolous or not. It's a hard role not to get sucked into.

I am lucky that I get to stay at home with my kids. I love being the one taking care of them. I also love being able to take care of Mr. Rant after a long day at work. I think it makes a huge difference to have someone home full time. 

I have moment though with the whole Mother identity. I have my days that I just want to be Rachel, not the go to guy of the house. 

Sometimes Just Rachel would be pretty damn nice. 



  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking.
  • Publish it
  • Link back to Fadra

Saturday, July 16, 2011

News Wrap up: Brazil and Rio de Janeiro

UK student's body found: BBC

This article has HORRIBLE English but the manhole news is true: Manholes Poses Threats to Lives in Rio

Chavez chooses Cuba over Brazil for his second stage of treatment: Businessweek

WWII Submarine found off the coast of Brazil: Washington Post

Merger issues between Groupe Casino and their Brazilian partner: Who cares?

Brazil Prosecutor charges 3 for 2007 plane crash!! Hell yeah!: Washington Post

Brazil gets new transport minister: Reuters

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stripped in Rio de Janeiro

People want to settle in Rio de Janeiro. They come here with a plan to live a good life and work a fun job. That is entirely possible in this city. I actually have friends with a flexible enough work schedule that they get two half days a week and work until 11pm other days when they like to go out at midnight.

What people don't talk about is the living part. It is not easy to make a home here. While us foreigners mock cultures where people live with their parents until they are 30, we have no idea how it is. That truth came to me the very first tiny apartment Mr. Rant and I looked at. We were looking to buy.

The tiny part wasn't shocking. I was prepared for that. I wasn't prepared for a place that was totally stripped. When I stay stripped I mean not even a place to screw in a light bulb.

You see, stuff is expensive here. People take cabinets, light fixtures, and even outlet covers. Don't even hope to find a place with a oven!

Of course things are changing now. Life is getting a bit easier. People actually now rent with some appliances. By the way, some appliances (aka. a Fridge and oven) classify as a furnished apartment to some rental agencies.

So when you come as a foreigner and feel totally ripped off with your place in Ipanema realize that you were only somewhat ripped off. It is not even worth bothering to try to "save" some of that money unless you are here long enough to use that fridge you bought and make some friends who are willing to buy it when you leave.

All that being said, I've been here for over 5 years now and have amassed enough crap to over-fill my place. Rio de Janeiro seems to come down to grit, staying power, and determination. If you have any of those you are golden!

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Hello Reynaldo Gianecchini! While he is not that famous, mainly getting noticed down here by dating a much older (and more famous) woman, he is still hot enough for Friday!

Morena Baccarin was born in Rio de Janeiro, believe it or not. While she was raised in New York and is a Native English Speaker, she still has that born in Rio hotness!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rio de Janeiro has a Zoo!

"Mommy is the lion dead?!" They seriously asked!

Yes, it is true! We have a zoo here in Rio and I went to it today with the kiddos. I had been putting it off due to the discrepancies in reviews. On one hand people say it's a depressing place because the animals are not adequately taken care of. On the other hand people say that it's a great place to take the kids.

It was time for me to go see for myself. My review you ask? It's both! The entrance is very cute and you immediately walk into a lovely walkway lined with monkeys and birds. I'll tell you this, the place does not lack in monkeys or birds! Hell, you could say the same thing about turtles, snakes, and crocodiles.

But it is also depressing. While there are cute trees and well kept benches all over the place, the larger animals have a pathetic box of a habitat. It's just cruel. Personally, I'd be suicidal if I were one of them. Not to mention that they currently have a lot of empty habitats. Why they don't just knock down a wall and give a tiger some room, I have no clue. My kids were quite disappointed with all the empty "animal spots".

However, all and all I do think it's worth a visit. For starters, it's practically free to get in. R$6 for an adult and R$3 for a child over 3 or 4 or something like that. That is during the week though. The prices do go up a bit on weekends. They really should take note from the San Diego zoo and hike up the prices! That and get sponsors, there's a reason why it's world famous (the money to make it that way).

Anyway, the zoo is relatively close to zona sul, a great place to walk around with the kids, and close to an awesome park. I say check it out, unless you are from San Diego. If that is the case, stay away.

Here's the Rio Zoo site where you can find more information:

Independence is Killing Me

I am so frustrated this morning I could just bite someone, and not in the sexy way. It's day 4 of my kids' winter vacation and I am wishing I were more Brazilian.

A Brazilian Mother who just returned after 20 yrs in Canada made a comment to me last week that it's impossible to be independent in Rio de Janeiro when you have children. That has been the biggest adaptation issue for them.

You know what, she is right. You end up suffering because of your independence and, at the same time, can't totally depend on someone unless you are paying them (even then it can be a bit questionable).

So school is out for a full 3 weeks, my only source of childcare, and while this is not that big of a deal the tasks are piling up. Between caring for 2 highly active boys, I have to hand hang laundry and make full meals. Come on, I can't get away with snacks and crap for 3 weeks straight! I also have the grocery store and other errands, all to do with two kids.

I know it shouldn't be that much of a bitch, but it is. The stores alone are a pain to get through with a stroller or two kids walking. Heaven forbid someone with a wheelchair down here doesn't have a maid to do the shopping at the neighborhood store!

It's just exhausting. I am having full days with no, and by no I mean zero, down time. Add to it that my darling Mr. Rant has decided to go back to physical therapy for his calf and scheduled his appointments at 8am. That means he is taking the car and disappearing at 745 and only returning at 8 at night. Party foul!

Oh well, my maid comes today! I am thanking all that is holy for that one! It means no basic clean up and no home cooking for me! Now I just need to collect 3 stool samples from the little one, convince the big one that a seriously bad stubbed toe does not mean he can not go out to play, and manage to get a glass of water somewhere in the middle.

At the very least, I am having some serious bonding time with the kiddos and my stomach has never looked flatter! Sitting down is totally overrated!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Posting at Stay at Home Babe!

I am honored to say that I was asked to guest post over at Stay at Home Babe today! The Babe is off getting papers for her younger, something I totally understand dealing with.

So you should head over there for some over-sharing. Yes, I am once again over-sharing. Would you have it any other way?

Go check me out!: Oral and Anal in Rio

Wordless Wednesday: Pedra Portuguesa

Rio de Janeiro sidewalks are known around the world. Watch the men who make them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who Needs Disney When you Have Favelas

Who needs Disneyland when you have a favela? At least that is how Dilma feels.

Apparently the government of Brazil has announced their plans to turn the Complexo do Alemao Favela into a tourist destination. I totally had this one called the moment I posted the video about the cable cars! Not wanting to be a total pessimistic biotch, I didn't say anything at the time. It did, however, seem doubtful that the government would drop millions and billions on something just to improve their citizens' commute. Dude, this is Rio! It's the same deal as the elevator/tower in Ipanema. It does improve the quality of life for residents but also makes for a unique tourist attraction.

And that's all well and good. I'm all about the co-scratching of backs. Anything to get the government to actually take care of its people. What I did think was a bit ridiculous was that it took potential tour groups to get new houses, new schools, and family clinic built. Hey, at least it's there. From what Dilma says, she's doing this for the community as a means to improve their lives.

While I don't buy that 100%, I'll accept it as it will improve their lives.  Maybe the next stop could be improving public education and the availability of it as a whole. I guarantee that if you scratch that back you'll get a whole body massage in return!

What do you think, is it wrong to sell an entire community as a tourist attraction?

News Wrap up: Brazil and Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's New Plan to Beat Poverty: The Telegram

Rio de Janeiro Aims to Become World's Capital for Gay Tourism: Guardian

Brazil Fights with the Real and US dollar: Bloomberg

Gol to buy Webjet: Businessweek

Brazil's Captain Wants more Commitment from his teammates at Copa America: USA Today

Brazil, One of the Best Countries to Retire Abroad?:

Sarah Waldron targets Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Marathon: BBC

Save the Date: the 16th of July

It's Brazil Expat Blogger Meet up time. Per the Brazilian way, everyone is welcome! You do not need to be a blogger :)

For More info head over to Jim's blog Qualidade da Vida.

July 16th, be there or be square!

Monday, July 11, 2011

60,000 Murders in Rio de Janeiro

New Years in Rio: Yes those are people

Rio de Janeiro has 60,000 unsolved murders from the past 10 years. This for North Americans and Europeans is SHOCKING! That's why I wasn't surprised by this article saying that we need some CSI down here. Fair enough.

What did annoy me was this little comment:

"Why is this a big deal? Other than the fact it’s more than slightly disturbing that tens of thousands are being killed by the drug cartels that control the impoverished city, Rio is set to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016...They’re going to need an army to handle millions of unsuspecting drunk tourists there to enjoy the events"

My initial reaction was that the writer had never heard of Carnival before. But, thankfully, he did mention that we successfully hold the massive party each year. Of course he had to mention:

"However this year 129 people were killed in over 2,000 car accidents in the first three days of the weeklong party. And that’s an event that happens every year. Now imagine the insanity of having the World Cup in Brazil"

Now as someone who actually lives here, let me explain a few little things. First off, Brazil has the highest rate of car accident deaths in the Americas. Car accidents claim over 35,000 lives a year in this country. Many roads suck and the drivers on them suck more. Not to mention that most cars are not kept up to the care that they should be and people don't wear seat belts. Don't like this fact, don't drive or take a cab. We do have an excellent metro system for the gringo safe areas. 

As for the safety, unless Athletes decide to change careers and start smuggling drugs and/or living near the dealers, they will be fine. If tourists do not attempt to screw with the government or make enemies with the police, they will be fine.  And if someone decides to go try to score some coke or party where they think "locals" party, it's at your own risk. 

Rio de Janeiro as a city is quite separated by socio-economic class. Even the neighborhoods within zones are divided. It is highly unlikely that something will happen to the tourists or athletes. While disorganized, there is nothing Cariocas like more than a good sporting event or a party. 

Just go to New Years on Copacabana beach with the other 3 million people and see how peaceful it is. Well, not peaceful but not violent. My first and lasting impression of New Years in Copacabana was that if it were in the US there'd be drunken fights, police beatings, and someone would have gotten shot. Here people know how to be in close quarters with a gazillion other people without getting offended that someone accidently gave them a flat-tire. I'm actually concerned with the unwanted fights drunken Gringos will cause. 

Besides all this, the politics behind murder in Rio de Janeiro is something no foreigner can truly understand without a long period of time living here. This is such a uniquely crazy ass place that you can't even begin to get it. That being said, I do not walk the streets thinking I'm going to get murdered. It just doesn't go down like that, at least not in my neighborhood. 

And FYI, it may be the cops/government/corruption and not the drug cartels controlling the city and killing the people. For many down here, the jury is still out on that one. 

Brazilians & Love for Children

Let's be honest, kids are freaking annoying. All kids! This goes double if you haven't actually birthed/raised any. Kids have an amazing way of slowly increasing your tolerance for the intolerable. It's practically an art form.

That is why I'm always so impressed by my childless Brazilian friends. They actually adore other people's children! Really! Even kids of people they don't know. That last one is a huge kicker for me. Maybe it's just my friends but in my country the real love for a child comes with a relationship of some sort with a parent.

In Brazil, apparently, you just have to be a miniature. They love you no matter who you belong to, maybe even in spite of it.

So take our Brazilian friends, they practically smother my children with adoration and love. The patience, interest, and adorable love of them is enough to stop my heart in amazement. Any one of my non-parent Brazilian friends come over to play with my children. They'll talk to me once the kiddos are in bed. I mean, they pause in the middle of the sentence to answer a question like a seasoned Mom of 3.

Thus it comes as no surprise that I fall in love with Brazil all over again every single time with meet up with these guys. This weekend was no exception. We had an amazing lunch at my place on Saturday, where I made shrimp dishes for the first time thank you very much! They were awesome, in case you were wondering. Sunday was spent playing a park in Lagoa and then a great long lunch (actually more like snacking, picking, and beer drinking for a couple of hours) at Bar Lagoa.

My childless friends didn't shoot even one dirty look my way the entire time at the restaurant, even when I let my kids sit under the table. (I don't care if it is dirty just as long as they are quiet). Actually, my friends joked with them while under the table! People, that's just how Brazilians roll. You have got to love that!

Have you ever noticed a difference in acceptance of children from one country to the next?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

News Wrap up: Brazil and Rio de Janeiro

Post-Game thoughts on Woman's USA vs Brazil game. Go USA!: Sports Illustrated

Brazilian Soccer Star Refuses Breathalyzer: USA Today

US Fishing Tour accused of Brazilian Child Sex Trips:

Ronaldinho Keeps Going even though he's Blowing: NY Times

Rio de Janeiro has a lot of unsolved murders. Tell me something I didn't already know: Herald online

Brazilian Swimmer fails drug test: Sports illustrated

Favelas feel UPP progress, in some areas: Rio Times online

UFC fights set for Rio: Couch fighter

The Old Man Dance Club - Stream of Consciousness Sunday

Me and a Sweater Guy

A cool thing about Rio is that they have nights where clubs play American 70s, 80s, and 90s music. They have playlists you'd never get in the states! Amazing stuff!

So when a friend called me to tell me about a club down the street from my house, I was 110% in. It was Friday, I had a long week, and Momma wanted to dance!

However, I was a bit confused when we arrived at the place. I was surrounded by men in Grandfather sweaters and grey hair. The further into the club we went, the older the average age got.

I didn't know? That was my friend's response when I asked her 'What the hell?'. That night, there, was for the "older" crowd. Oh and they aren't playing around with the term older. My estimate would have the mean age of around 62.

And it rocked! I felt like I was 18 again! You know what, in comparison to everyone else I was. There was no obnoxious man issue. In actuality, the men looked kind of sweetly confused by everything going on around them. I even saw one get pounced on by some woman.

When they did come talk to me, it was like being in a old school movie. There was no sarcasm or showing off. They were very flattering and gentlemanly, even if just ordering a drink next to you at the bar. I even had one tell me I must be a model. Maybe in your world Mr, but I'll accept the compliment just the same!

Of course it was past my bedtime by the time slow dancing hour came about. Yes, they stop the dance music at a certain point to put slow dancing songs on. Even though my dance card was empty that night, I didn't stop to try my luck. I'm a married woman. That and it's rude to tease a senior citizen.

Fadra's 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post.  Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
Link up your post below.
Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jeans Hell and a Camel Toe

While shopping for jeans/pants the other day I remembered my first high school boyfriend. Also Brazilian, he had an interesting style. Poor guy, the worst was a pair of whitish and stone washed jeans. 

Fast forward 12 yrs later and I am wearing a similar pair only hammer style. There is a simple explanation to my spontaneously random change in jeans style, there were no normal jeans! 

I went to so many stores on Wednesday that I was in Rachel shopping hell. I actually had a salesgirl pull out a pair of skinny jeans with zippers up the side of the leg. I know this is may be cool and new for some but I remember wearing them when I was 10 yrs old.  

The whole process just made me feel old! Sure, the stuff fit me, but I couldn't buy half of it. For starters, I'm now required to bend over in day to day life. While some may enjoy seeing me lose money all over the place (aka. show crack), I'm thinking it's not a classy thing to do at the park with your kids. 

And don't even get me started on the Brazilian camel toe! I guarantee that half the pants down here are made for that effect. Personally, I can't understand why the Brazilian girlie bits aren't running off in protest. Then again, maybe they prefer to live in two territories with a dividing wall much like East and West Germany. 

Basically, I had a lot of ass and vag suffocating pants to sift through before I could get to something that was comfortable, sexy, and made my butt look good. I think this time around I went a little far to the left on the anti-suffocation part. I mean, I could give birth in these jeans and continue on my way. 

I think Hammer jeans should be considered the new form of baby-wearing: Proven to be even more comforting than the heartbeat, carrying near the vag gives the infant the feeling that they never left the womb at all. 

Anyway, I had to settle for 2 out of three in the Brazilian jeans world. You can't win them all. Surprisingly though, I like these jeans more and more every time I wear them. Maybe I should stop bitching about random Brazilian jean styles and instead let them open my mind a bit. I can't always hop a plane back home to my lovely Sevens. 

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

This is Armando Babaioff. Born in Recife, this actor's family is originally from Uzbekistan. Seriously, Brazilian mixed with just about any other nationality makes for sexy people. I think we need to start a program where Brazilians travel and breed! 

Déborah Nascimento is downright gorgeous! She is also a Brazilian actress who has been on the American big screen in the move The Incredible Hulk.