Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil V

The day begun extremely well...I woke up and saw some miniature monkeys playing in the trees outside my window.
"Oooooooohhhhh....monkeys, monkeys......OH MY GOD...there be mini monkeys in them trees there!!!"
"There are NO monkeys in the city, woman!"; The Husband rolled his eyes.
"Babe, I'm telling you...there are monkeys there."
I swiftly grabbed some bananas and hurried downstairs.
"Monkey, monkey!!! Come here. I got some bananas for you!!! Come!"; I called.
Surprisingly, 3 mini monkeys casually came over and started eating banana out of my hand. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to put them in my pocket and run. They would be my babies and I would be their human mom.
The idyllic scene was interrupted by a passer-by: "Do you have monkeys in Spain?"; he asked in all seriousness.
"Spain??? I'm from England, bruv. We have monkeys in a zoo."
"Not on the street?"; he continued.
"What about birds?"
"Well, we have birds. But not colourful ones. Just...y'know...pigeons...also known as flying rats."
"Oh."; he said, undoubtedly feeling sorry for the lack of colourful fauna in England, and continued on his merry way.
I then stopped in a neighbourhood cafe.
For a coffee, obvz.
"Would you like some "Crazy Nigga" cake to go with your coffee?"; asked the lady.
I nearly spluttered my coffee all over the coffee shop: "I'm what??? What cake???"
"Crazy Nigga cake!! Freshly made today!"; she was offering me what looked like a chocolate cake covered in chocolate sprinkles, adding helpfully: "It's a traditional Brazilian cake."
"And it's called Crazy Nigga?"; I was incredulous.
"Yes."; she said beaming from ear to ear: "It's delicious!"
"Ummmm....I'll have a slice. Thank you."
Political correctness clearly hasn't made it to Brazil. The cake, indeed, was delicious, but they really should rethink the name.
Straight after my daily coffee and cake fix, I turned to my husband and announced with a serious face: "I need feathers and fruit in my hair."
"You what?????"
"Feathers and fruit!"; I said matter of factly.
"What's wrong with you woman? I'm pretty sure you didn't exhibit any signs of madness when I maried you."
"Well, it's carnival tomorrow, remember? We bought tickets.  And even though I won't be parading around naked covered in strategically placed glitter, I figure I could at least have some feathers and fruit on my head. Also....ummmm...I found this cool shop on internet that sells stuff like that."
"You can pluck the chicken and glue some fruits from supermarket. It'll be the same."; he laughed.
I rolled my eyes and put my foot down: "No!!! I need these accessories. I came ALL THIS WAY and now you want me to be FEATHERLESS for carnival!!!! It's unheard of!!! You're mentally torturing me."
He gave in.
I walked in a small atelier selling wacky headgear and started perusing. 
Straight after me, a breathless Brazilian girl run in shouting: "Have you got anything Carmen Mirandaaaa?????"
She plonked a big plastic fruit basket on her head and admired herself in the mirror.
Not to be outglittered and outfruited by Brazilians, I reached for the nearest plastic, glittery fruit headpiece too.
"Are you taking the piss???"; proclaimed The Husband.
"Erm..."; I dropped the fruit basket and picked up a rose crown a la Frida Kahlo.
"It's still too much. Where on earth are you gonna wear this once the Carnival is over, eh??"; he said.
"Erm...Mexican themed parties...?"; I answered.
"Oh yeah. Because London is full of those, right?"
I bought the crown anyway.
Now if anyone knows any Mexican parties coming up in London, holla!
I wore:
Blouse: Zara (similar here )
Rose crown: Can Can Acessorios
Shorts: French Connection (similar here )
Shoes: Whistles (similar here )
Bracelet: Ottoman Hands (similar here )

Linking up with: Travel Tuesday

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil IV

"Let's go to Santos!"; suggested The Husband.
"What do they have there?". I was eyeing him up suspiciously. 
"They have Santos football club and Pele museum"; he beamed.
" about NO." I wasn't having any of it.
"They also have the beach." He clearly saved his winning card for last.
I perked up: "Beach? Let's go. When are we leaving? I can pack in half an hour flat!!!"
 We arrived to Santos. The city was charming, but the sea was a murky grey colour and fringed with even greyer sand.
"Bleedin Nora, man!!! This is not a beach. It's dirtier than Blackpool beach after 200 hen and stag parties stampede through it." To say I was disappointed was an understatement.
"Erm...they also have a coffee exchange museum and an antique tram that takes you through the city." The Husband was quickly doing some damage limitations.
It worked.
I sampled the coffee (and always have to have a cake) at the city's coffee exchange and took a delighful little tram ride. We also visited Botanical gardens, saw some massive guinea pigs and spied a few interesting birds.

All that sightseeing made us ravenous so we opted for a pizza.
Brazilians love to big up their pizza saying it's best in the world so naturally I had to sample these delights.
That's not to say I  wasn't sceptical. Everyone knows that the best pizza  comes from Italy. End of. Amen.
I was right. The pizza that arrived was swimming in oil and imitation cheese.
"Good Lord, no! I can't be eating this abomination. I think it's time to get out of here."
With that we made a swift exit from town, just stopping to fill the car with gas.
This being Brazil, of course, you do not leave your car to do anything yourself, oh no.
One of many gas attendants will do everything for you. We were the only car in the gas station and there were about 20 attendants.
I compared that with England where the norm is one...possibly two workers per petrol station.
I could only conclude that Brazil is clearly a country where they love to keep people in employment. Even if those people have fuck all to do. 

I wore:
Sunglasses: Whistles (similar here )
Top: Zara (similar here )
Shorts: French Connection (similar here )
Hat: Accessorize (similar here )
Sandals: Birkenstock (here )
Rings: Dogeared; Kris Nations (similar here )
Bracelets: from Israel; Ottoman Hands (similar here )

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil III

"Oh, look...the world famous Brazilian carnival is on. We obviously need to go and see that. It's in EVERY bucket list you will ever read. We NEED to go!"; I instructed The Husband.
He had no choice but to agree.

In typical Brazilian fashion buying tickets online was not an option with foreign bank cards. We had to physically go and buy them from the venue. Why make it easy for foreign visitors when you can make it difficult? 
The journey involved taking the bus,  underground and finally a mini bus to the other side of town where Sambodromo (stadium built specially for carnival and samba schools parade ) was located. 

The underground was light and airy and somewhat superior in design to the London one. 
Other than regular seats, there were also priority seats....the usual...preggo ladies, disabled people, elderly people favourite, obese people.  Obese people's seat was quite a bit wider than your regular seat and to sit in it you had to have an mbi of at least 40. I wondered who checks if your mbi is just so. I couldn't help thinking the fat seat is a novel idea, but also that maybe, just maybe they can also go easy on them Kentucky Fried Chickens.

Since all the regular seats were taken, I sat in one of the priority seats.
Not for long!
At the next station the door opened, the people started pushing and shoving and a semi-old dude started yelling at me before he even entered the carriage: "Yo, yo, yo.....I want that seat. Can I have it? It's a priority." Like a young, lithe gazelle he swiftly and expertly manoeuvred towards me and I had no choice but to get up. 
I was gonna get up anyway, but I wasn't quite prepared for all the yelling, shoving and demands for the priority seat. I perceived later that this behaviour was the norm in Brazil. So unlike London where, even if you're in later stages of pregnancy, you will stoically stand on your feet, just casually shooting occasional evils towards the person pretending to be asleep in the priority seat. You will never, ever, under no circumstance ask for the aforementioned seat, not even if your life depended on it.
After what seemed like an eternity, we made it to station where Sambodromo was located. 
It was a bustling station teeming with people.
With the corner of my eye I spied some Gringos. 
(Brazilians helpfully call every foreigner gringo. Unless you're Asian. Then they will call you Japa even if you happen to be Chinese or Korean.)
The gringos I spied where miles away, but I could still tell they're foreigners. I don't quite know what it was that set my gringo radar off...maybe their general sweaty disposition in a hot, tropical climate or the shoes that were just a smidgen better than those that the rest of the crowd at the station were sporting. 
"Do I look like a gringo?"; I asked The Husband.
Without hesitation and all a bit too quickly for my liking he said: "Yes!"
"What???? WHY???? I don't want to look like a gringo!!!"
"But you're pale."; he said unflinching.
"What????? But I went to two sunbed sessions prior to coming here. This is me looking TANNED!"
 We continued walking to Sambodromo in silence.
 Tickets for carnival varied in price.
"I'm getting the front row tickets. I don't want regular seats."; I announced.
"Sweetie, I'm sure you can see just as well from the balcony seats. Maybe even better."; The Husband was worried for his wallet. 
Considering that the tickets cost the equivalent of a 2-3 days worth of top festival extravaganza  back in the UK, I could hardly blame him.
Still..."No. I want FRONT ROW seats. This is a once in a lifetime kind of event. I didn't come all this way to sit with Joe Bloggs at the back. Uh-hum. No Sir. Just No."
We bought front row tickets.
This better be worth it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil II

While The Husband was going about his business, I decided to explore Sao Paulo neighbourhood we were staying at. That pretty much meant shops, restaurants and...nail salons. There were so many nail and beauty salons my only conclusion was that beauty in general and nails in particular are BIG business in Brazil. 
"Nails!!! R$20!!!", screamed posters in the windows.
I did a quick currency conversion in my head: "Blimey! That's only about £5. I think I'll do my nails every day!"

I entered the salon:"Ya, I'd like to do my nails, please."
"Of course. Pick a colour."; said the nail lady.
I picked the brightest, brashest, neon-est (yes, I know that's not a word....) colour I could find.
"This!! And could I please pay before you paint?"
"Of course"; she said and then proceeded to paint before taking payment anyway. Oh well, perhaps it was lost in translation.
"Do you want a cappuccino?", asked the nail lady.
"Yes!"; I was excited...I'll get nails AND a cappuccino for a fiver.
She brought what I can only describe as a SHOT of cappuccino. No Starbucks like massive cups here, oh no. This was the smallest cappuccino ever. With ton of sugar already added, of course (Brazilians like their coffee sweet and their sweets and cakes even sweeter). 
I downed it in one and looked at my hands. The whole process of prepping and painting the nails was completely different than in England. 
"Perhaps it's some kind of weird Brazilian nail art."; I thought to myself.
The end result was the same, however, and I left salon happy.
Feeling encouraged and emboldened by my very very bright nails I decided I should get some shoes to match too.
I spied a perfect pair in a nearby shop: "Do you have these in my size?"
"No....but we have size smaller!!", the sales boy beamed happily.
"Mmmmkaaayyy...I think I'm good, thanks. No need to bring size smaller."; Brazilian logic baffled me.
Eventually I settled on another pair, paid and went to grab the shopping bag with my new purchase from the counter.
The sales boy looked at me completely horrified: "No, Madame, no!!! I will WALK you to the door with your shopping. Let me....". With that he whipped the shopping bag out of my hands and making polite small talk walked me 3 metres to the shop front door where he ceremoniously handed me back my shopping.
Next stop bikini shop...
I perused rails upon rails of brightly coloured, small bikinis.
"Hmmmm....these are clearly for size 0 girls."; I thought.
"Erm...excuse you have this size...erm...for....erm...big boobage area?"; I held up a tiny, but very pretty bikini followed by a forlorn look down at my rather larger tittage to illustrate the point to the shop girl. Clearly, finding a bikini in Brazil is going to be a challenge.
Shop girl took one look at me and then said loudly and PROUDLY:" Yes, we have XL!!!"
Ground swallow me now. Am I really a size XL in Brazil???
She then took out a garment that clearly did say XL on it, but it would still struggle to cover even just your nipples. I looked at it horrified.
"No. Just no. I'm from England, bruv. We like our bikinis with a touch more coverage. Back AND front!!!"
With that I exited the shop and headed straight to the nearest patisserie. I might not have tits and ass  for a Brazilian bikini, but I will always have a space in my belly for more cake. :D
I wore: 
Top: Jaeger (similar here on sale )
Denim shorts: French Connection (similar here )
Espadrilles: Soludos (here )
Sunglasses: Whistles (similar here )
Bracelet: bought in Israel
Rings: Dogeared, Kris Nations (similar here and here )

Linking up with Throwback Thursday
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