Monday, April 9, 2012

The number 24 thing that I love about Brazil........

The 24TH thing that I love about Brazil is it's Easter traditions. I think that I might be a sucker for anything that gets the family together around the dinner table. So on Easter Sunday this year I went to my "Sogros" or in-law's  house for lunch. (Here in Brazil they eat the big meals during lunch and have a smaller meal for dinner) We had roasted chicken with bacon, ham, and cheese that somehow, maybe even miraculously was stuffed and roasted inside the chicken.We also had nhoque gnocchi, which is actually an Italian dish but still delicious. My Sogra or mother-in-law made the nhoque with a spaghetti sauce and ground beef and Parmesan cheese. Then Brazilians have the traditional chocolate Easter egg. These eggs range in size and flavors. I will post a couple pictures for you to have an idea. But it's chocolate heaven for, well, anyone. So we had all of my wife's family there and it was a nice evening. I ate my fill, played with my two nephews one is, 5 and the other just turned 1. But it's not just Easter that I enjoyed, here in Brazil as you can see from post number 11 they take any chance they can get to have just another day off. So we also had good Friday off of work. My Easter weekend was a 3 day event. Which makes it even better that many people have the tradition of going down to the beach for the holiday. And when you live in a city of a million people it's nice to have the city to yourself, so to speak. Easter for me meant a break from traffic, work and stress. All around Easter was great, I ate a ton, spent time with family and got to relax. Is there anything better than that? So até logo e um abraço.

Just so you know, these eggs can cost anywhere from 10 reais to well over 100 reais. Note that in the fist two pictures the chocolate eggs weigh more than 3lbs.


Monday, April 2, 2012

The number 23 thing I love about Brazil.................

  The number 23 thing that I love about Brazil is Brazilian's genuine curiosity about different cultures. I have come to realize that no matter how long I live in Brazil, every time I meet someone new They will ask me the same questions. "Why Brazil?" "How did you learn do speak Portuguese?" "Don't you get homesick?" etc. etc. etc. But what I enjoy about meeting new people is not the fact that I am increasing my social network, but I enjoy that through their genuine curiosity about me, they make me feel welcome. 

  Unfortunately Brazilians still have a  lack of contact with Americans and people from other countries, unlike the US where when you hear someone speak a different language you go on like it is nothing new. Here in Brazil people love to hear you speak in English, they love to hear about you, they are an open people, and my tip of the day is, if you are in Brazil, don't be offended if they ask many personal questions, it's perfectly normal. My wife will agree with me on this one, Brazilians tend to not have any sort of filter when it comes to speaking their minds or asking personal questions, so don't be put off. The trick is to act Brazilian in a polite american way. So until next time, abraço.

Senhor Todo Vermelho

Monday, November 21, 2011

The number 22 thing that I love about Brazil is.................

In Portuguese as in all languages there are many words and expressions that don't translate, such as the word "Saudades" which roughly translates as Homesick. But it is much more than that. It is the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost. There is also a word which is generally not in use anymore but my wife still knows it. The word is "Cafuné" which is to tenderly run your fingers through someone's hair. I have also found that some expressions also don't work in Portuguese for cultural reasons, such as, "I can't dance," or "I have two left feet," or "I don't know this song.” I believe that Brazilian babies are born dancing the samba out of the womb. It is a truly incredible thing to see. Brazilians have a natural sense of rhythm. And somehow they know the words to every samba song, pagode song and carnival song. It is an amazing thing to see their percussion skills in practice. I haven’t really seen it here in São Paulo but when I was in the northeast during carnival there were tons of percussion bands and they would always find some public square to practice for a statewide competition. 

Take this band for example:

This is a style called "Batucada" which is extremely popular in Brazil and is growing in popularity throughout the world. 

Brazil is so unique when it comes to music and dance that there is no pinning down it's origins. It has a rich blend of at least 3 continents which have to come together to give us wonderful music, rhythms and dances. So, even though I can say I can't dance, just remember, if you are in Brazil, people just might not understand those words.

Até logo e um abraço.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Number 21 on the list of why I love Brazil is.....

Caldo de cana in Portuguese and in English its called Garapa. It is sugar cane juice. Supposedly its energetic which I don't agree with. Here it's very common to get a squeeze of lemon or even pineapple and mix with it. It is obtained from taking the sugar cane and peeling it and then generally people use hand cranked mills to crush the cane, draining the juice from it. It's best served with cold with ice.

Recently my wife introduced me to taking the cane and cutting it into chunks and then sucking the juice out and crushing it with your teeth. I was skeptical at first but then found that I liked it. Gotta keep an open mind. 

So after a long time of not writing I have decided to start blogging again. But this time I am going to take it kinda slow. Maybe 1 or 2 posts per week. If you guys like the post or the blog feel free to share it with your friends. Até logo e um abraço.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sorry about not posting yesterday but I didn't have access to a computer all day. So I am gonna try to post 2 things today.

The #20 thing that I love about Brazil is......
Barber shops. Here in Brazil we still use old school barber shops. None of this going to some hair salon where there are only women and gay guys to cut your hair. Although here in Brazil, all "Cabeleiros" or Barbers are suspect. But it is very nice to go to a place and have your hair cut while watching the game. Also the only kind of talk that goes on in the barber shop is about manly topics, such as the game, or some sort of politics. And if you want,  you can still get a quick shave with a straight edged razor.

The #21 thing that I love about Brazil is....
Airplane service in Brazil is topnotch. Stewards in Brazil are by far some of the most polite people that exist in the world. In the US service is cheap and most of the time the stewards who are serving you act like they get paid minimum wage, and don't show much patience with the people who are flying. On the other hand, in Brazil, Stewards are patient and will do whatever it takes to get you whatever you need. Oh and you can also get Guaraná on Brazilian flights. So if your flying to or from Brazil, thank your steward and then ask them for an ice cold guaraná and enjoy the service, because as soon as your back in the good ol US of A, you can kiss the service goodbye. Até logo e um abraço.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The #19 thing that I love about Brazil is.........

Festas de aniversario. Birthday parties in Brazil might be the coolest thing ever. Its funny that I am having to write about this but I recently read on another expat blog about how the person hated the parties here because this person thought there was too much candy and violent games.(Her child played a video game where he got to kill some zombies, it might be better if he never meets the Todovermelho family then. We aren't afraid to get a little rough) Parties here might be a little over the top though, but hey it only happens once every year. The family will usually decorate a table and wall with a theme, something along the preferences of the child. It is usually a theme regarding some superhero, barbie, Ben10 and etc. Then the family will usually invite around 100 children. If its a family that doesn't go to the same church as I do then usually and this it doesn't matter if this is a child's party, there will be alcohol. The party will start probably around 6 or 7pm. And will go until the wee hours of the night, or should I say morning? Now these parties are double edged swords mind you, if your not invited to your neighbor's party, make sure you have plans to simply leave the neighborhood for around the next 5 hours. Believe me, these parties are LOUD! But I guess that's what makes it so fun, people just let loose and have fun, even the happy birthday song in Portuguese is LOUD! But if you compare the English happy birthday song to the Portuguese birthday song the English one is too slow, almost depressing. Also, at these parties there is usually an infinite supply of brigadeiro, which is the best dessert ever invented. One of the best parts though is that gift giving at parties is not required, people usually buy a small gift, but it is not frowned upon if you show up with no gift ready to eat. So if you get a chance, be sure to experience this event, I promise you wont ever forget it. Até logo e um abraço.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The #18 thing that I love about Brazil is...

The Hammock, Hammocks are not super popular here in the south of Brazil, although you may see them in homes that are farther outside the city, they are more popular in the northeast. It is very common for a home not to have a bed, rather every member of the family sleeps in a hammock. In the poorest areas of the northeast where there are no cemeteries it is common to carry the dead in a hammock to the place of burial. This practice inspired the painting "Enterro na Rede" by  Candido Portinari

For the two years that I lived in Ceará I slept in a hammock. I haven't slept better since. If anyone is interested here is the history behind the hammock. It's kinda interesting. Até logo e um abraço.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The #17 thing I love about Brazil is....

Guaraná. I think this post has been a long time coming. It should be higher up on this list but then again, this list is in noway in any particular order. Guaraná might be the best Soda Pop ever invented. It might even be on a higher level then Coca-Cola. Which if you know my family, it is taboo to put another soda pop on the same level as Coke. Guaraná is the official Soft Drink of Brazil. It's best if you drink it ice cold with an orange wedge to go with it. 
  Guaraná Antarctica was first sold in 1921 and their current sloganis É o que é. Which means, it is what it is. Guaraná is currently imported world wide and is a drink that everyone can appreciate. So if you are not in Brazil at the moment, find the nearest Brazilian store and buy yourself an ice cold Guaraná. Cheers! Até logo e um abraço.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thanks guys for all your support. Today I broke 1k views on the blog. The blog has been viewed now in many countries all over the world now, I think the total is now somewhere around 20 countries. Make sure that you post a link to this blog on your twitter, facebook, orkut and anyother social networking sites out there. I am trying to get the blog ranked so that it pops up on the google search engines. Thanks for your help.

                                                         Sincerely, Mr. Todovermelho
The #16 thing I love about Brazil is.....

Padarias. Padarias or bakeries in Brazil rock. If you leave early enough or if you are in a city that is way out in the boondocks it is easy to smell fresh bread coming out of the ovens. It's enough to make the mouth water. Besides selling bread they sell all sorts of really good pastries such as sonhos. A "sonho" (or a dream) is this wonderful dessert like a creme filled doughnut, but much better. They make my beloved coxinha and other types of "salgadinhos." The bakery has one pitfall though, its usually more expensive than most in-store bakeries. But if your in a pinch, the bakery will always have a bag of flour or sugar to sell, just at a price that has been marked up 400%. Still, I do love bakeries and the entire atmosphere of them. They are usually family owned and operated. They have been around since the oldest person in the neighborhood can remember. They usually are open from around 5 to 5:30am until around 11pm. For the most part they are ALWAYS packed with people wanting a breakfast of hot fresh bread with butter and hot chocolate or coffee. Around lunch they may have a few options like paulista virada which is a traditional plate in São Paulo that consists of rice, beans, french fries, beef and a fried egg. There are a few other variations, but those are the primary ingrediants. At night there is almost always a soccer game on the big tv at the front of the store and there are lots of men eating pizza, drinking and watching the game. On the weekends they sell roasted rotary chicken. Then to top all that off they almost always sell my beloved Guaraná. So if your in need of some food and you got nowhere to go, just remember, there is a padaria on almost every street corner in Brazil. And don't forget to call me up so I can get some good eats too. Até logo e um abraço.
                                                                         the "sonho"

Monday, June 27, 2011

The #15 thing that I love about Brazil is..........

O Abraço Brasileiro.(The Brazilian hug)

Growing up in the USA the only male people I hugged were my family. Hugging outside those parameters is generally not manly. On the other hand in Brazil there is the Abraço which is okay, it is not the same thing. For men to "Abraçar" or to hug other men its okay as long as there is hip separation. There might be an occasional belly bump or chest contact but it is okay to hug. You will also notice that at the end of my posts I always say "até logo e um abraço." Well that means see you later and a hug. It is totally okay and even polite for men to finish a phone conversation or an email and send a hug. Sometimes even us big fellows can be sentimental and we need a hug. In the US I wouldn't even dare admit that I got sentimental, my brothers would never let me hear the end of it. I once told my family that I wanted to start learning Kung Fu and they laughed at me. But here in Brazil we men can be more comfortable with our sexuality. I am not saying that we have to go join the gay parade or wear a speed-o to the beach,(I told my wife to put me outta my misery if I ever wore a speed-o) all I am saying is that it is more than okay to be hugged and to hug someone back. So if you're ever in Brazil, don't get all weirded out if someone tries to hug you. Até logo e um abraço.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The #14 thing that I love about Brazil is....

Nap time. In Brazil its much more common to take naps, especially if you are in the Nordeste. I love this practice. Sunday afternoons are the best time to go lay down and take a nap. I mean it has been scientifically proven to be better for health to take a nap everyday. What could be more better than laying in a hammock on a warm day with a cool breeze blowing and you swinging gently underneath two coconut trees? So if its around 3pm on a weekend, please don`t call me. Bons sonhos, até logo e um abraço.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The #13 thing I love about Brasil is......
Farmácias (drugstores). They rock, if you have any ailment, chances are that the person behind the counter knows the cure. I trust them more than I trust real doctors. Just an example, the other day my eye (mind you this is my good eye) got really swollen, like I had gotten into a fight. So Since I hadn't gotten into any fights I thought well that's strange, I should go to the doctor. So when the doctor examined my eye she says, "well,  I don't see anything that calls my attention. Just use eye drops and have a nice day." I was like wait is that it. really? So then I went to the drugstore and the people were super helpful, they told me that it was probably because it hadn't rained in forever and that washing my eyes with Soro filiológico would probably cure it right up. So if you ever don't feel good in Brazil, go ahead and trust your lives to the Farmácia down on the street corner. Até logo e um abraço.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The #12 thing I love about Brazil is........

The Jardim Botânico of São Paulo Is a great park for everyone, except for pet lovers, since you can't bring your dog or cat. Why would you bring a cat to the jungle anyways? We went there yesterday for our day off of work, thanks to The catholic holiday Corpus Cristi. In a city like São Paulo this is a true treasure. Smog is a serious problem here and to have a park in the middle of the city that completely shuts out the outside world is literally a breath of fresh air. In the park it possible to have picnics and to walk the many trails that are available to you. You may even get the chance to see monkeys. I know I did. The park is very large and has many types of plants you can see, it has a few ponds to enjoy and is a great place for picture taking or just enjoying the outdoors. The type of people who go to the Jardim is also a definite plus. They are a calmer, and quieter crowd, No one speaks too loud or does anything that is not discreet. Since animals are not permitted on the grounds, you don`t have to worry about stepping in anything other monkey poop, which on the secluded trails there is a plenty. I was constantly reminded of the part in Madagascar where the monkey says to his friend, "Of course were our poo at him." So if you don`t want to drive for hours to find a great place to relax outside the city, then Jardim Botanico is the place to go. Até logo e um abraço.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The #11 thing I love about Brazil is....

The fact that there is a holiday for everything. Today is Corpus Cristi. We have the day off in São Paulo so I hope everyone has a good day off of work and has a safe day. Até logo e um abraço.

Sorry about this post being pretty weak but I have had a busy day. Tomorrow's post will be "massa". I promise.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The #10 thing that I love about Brazil is......

Chinelos or Flip Flops. Chinelos are great for almost any kind of atmosphere. They remind me of one of those real men of genius commercials where they sing about the jean shorts, they say "Casual enough for a BBQ, formal enough for a family reunion, your multi-dimensional creation handles both duties with ease (You just said doody!)." When I lived in Ceará Chinelos were ok for any kind of situation whether it was church, work or the beach. I will say this though, Chinelos are comfortable. And it is ok to wear your flip flops until they are so worn out that the rubber thing (in my home we used to call them thongs) starts coming out of the flip flop. Here they are super cheap, you can get a pair at any super market for around 10 to 20 Reais. Also the best part about flip flops is that in Brazil they are a great tool for spanking your children, ask any Brazilian adult and he has some memory of his mom or dad smacking his chinelo on the floor and then giving them a good swat on the behind with it. So chinelos, good for work, good for the beach, good for spanking children. Até logo e um abraço.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The #9 thing I love most about Brazil.........
The Mercado Municipal de São Paulo. This place is a place where some dreams can come true. Now Iknow that you either have to be an extreme fan of organic foods, Anthony Bourdain or Bologna to like this place. Yes you read that right, "Bologna". So that is where I will start. The Bologna sandwich should have it's own area code for the size of this thing and it should come with the surgeon general's warning label on this sucker. IT IS HUGE.
Should this be legal? I don't know but I sure hope that it stays legal. That is about 400 grams of bologna and some cheese all inside toasted french bread. After eating one of these things it might be best to fast for about a week.Seriously. This sandwich alone makes suffering through the São Paulo traffic and trying to find a parking place totally worth it. But this is not all the Mercado Municipal(MM) has to offer.

Having been established in 1933 the MM is a beautiful piece of architecture that all can admire. It is super organized inside where it is divided into streets. where you have plenty of stores that offer fresh fruit, meat or any kind of organic food you can think of. The MM was also one of Anthony Bourdain's stops on his show "No Reservations." If your hungry and you want to tour the real são paulo the Mercado Municipal is the way to go, plus you wont have to eat for another week.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The #8 thing I love about Brazil is...........

MPB or Musica Popular Brasileira. I love MPB for its unique style of music. Its not hard on the ears, its easy to listen to and the lyrics are always clean. MPB first hit the scene in Brazil during the 60's in an attempt to find a "national" music style. Elis Regina is considered as the artist who put MPB on the map. She sang songs like Águas de Março. The leading artists of MPB are Chico Buarque, Vinícius de Moraes, Edu Lobo and Gilberto Gil. Here are some great Oldies and new songs:

MPB favors a few instruments like the atabaque which is an african drum, the pandeiro which is a small hand drum with small symbols on it. MPB also favors the acoustic and electric guitar. MPB also borrows a little from Bossa Nova. So if you want to buy some Brazilian music that wont drive you crazy after 30 minutes, MPB is what you are looking for. Até logo e um abraço.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The #7 thing I love about Brazil is.........
Brazilian willingness to go out of their way to help you, whether your house has been flooded and needs to be cleaned or if you need directions somewhere. Brazilians have it in their nature to be helpful. I have friends who when he was travelling he asked for directions to a certain place and the person he asked was kind enough to stop what he was doing to lead them their, even though it was out of his way. Its great to know I have friends who are willing to go way out of their way just to help me out. I think its important to mention that I have had great help from a certain Brazilian friend here who has driven me across São Paulo a couple of times just to check on my visa or passport. He never asked for gas money and even when I went to give him the money for gas he still acted like it was no big deal. I am sure that everyone has heard stories about how dangerous it is in Rio de Janeiro but I can tell you, that there are more good people with great hearts then their are bad people. So if your in Brazil and your lost, go ahead and ask any person. If they don't know, they will try to find someone who does to help you. Até logo e um abraço.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The #6 thing I love about Brazil is..............
Pastel de feira or homemade deep fried pastries. I think that just about anything deep fried is good, If my parents had deep fried my vegetables as a kid I don't think their would have been any problem with me eating my greens. Anyways, Pastel de feira is a homemade pastry with various flavors, such as ground beef, chicken, cheese, calabreza(spicy sausage which they mince), The special though is well, special. It comes with ground beef, onion, cheese and an semi-cooked egg(which cooks inside the pastel when you fry it). The special with a Guaraná chaser and your good to go. Top it off that you get this at the local farmers market, which in and of itself is an interesting experience which will fall on this list at one point or another. Pastels are cheap, big and filling, and after you usually feel like the way you do when you eat at dicks drive-in. Is there anything more pleasant than that sick greasy feeling? I don't think so. The typical pastel is usually about 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide. and costs about 2-4 reais. If you really want to try REAL Brazilian food, you can't go wrong with Pastel de Feira, just be sure to give me a call so I can come along to. Até logo e um abraço.

Friday, June 17, 2011

#5 on my list of things I love about Brazil is.........
           Feijoada Paulista. Feijoada is a dish made of black beans and pieces of pork. In the old days and in the northeast they still eat the original stuff which is made from the left over parts of the pig, being the ears, feet, nose and tail. Now, I have had the pleasure of eating old school feijoada but, It's about as good as it sounds. Feijoada Paulista on the other hand is much more appetizing because they use the good parts of the pig and don't use those parts of the pig that you would rather not eat. feijoada is traditionally served with rice, and accompanied by chopped fried collard greens (couve mineira), lightly roasted coarse cassava flour (farofa) and peeled and sliced orange. Other common side dishes are boiled or deep-fried cassava, deep-fried bananas, and pork rinds (torresmo). A pot of hot pepper sauce is often provided on the side. It's a heavy meal and traditionally you have to take a nap for about 2 to 3 hours afterwards so make sure your not planning on running a marathon after having a hearty helping of feijoada. Here in São Paulo we usually have feijoada on wednesdays and saturdays. If your not at the rodizio eating beef until you drop then this is your next best option, até logo e um abraço

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is a link to the official website of ilha bela
#4 thing I love about Brazil is...

The litoral norte or the northeast cost of São Paulo. It is absolutely amazing that it is possible for a city as large as São Paulo to have beaches like these. I spent a week on these beaches for my honeymoon. Some of them you have to definitely take the road less traveled to get there. One of my favorites is call bora bora where we had to drive for 30 minutes on a little dirt road through the mata atlantica(Atlantic jungle) to get to the beach. The beach itself was almost deserted and the water was crystal clear. São Paulo has other beaches like Santos, Praia Grande and Guarujá but those are not the best beaches. In my clearly biased opinion I think that these beaches could easily compete for best beaches in Brazil. The Drive to get there is breathtaking, as you leave the city there is a distinct division or border, its almost as fast as you can snap your fingers you are surrounded by forest, clean air and mouth dropping scenery. If you ever visit São Paulo, it is imperative that you take a couple days out of your vacation to go to places like Ilha Bela, and the rest of the litoral norte. I will try and post some links about the litoral norte throughout the day for you. Até logo, e um abraço

Wednesday, June 15, 2011




Whats your guy's opinions? I vote Cajuina.
Guys, in case you didn't know, I live just outside of São Paulo, if your curious about the city, I found this website you might like.

Como surgiu o rodízio de churrasco (Villa Zanella) - Pgm Índice 41

#3 thing I love most about Brazil is......

Rodizio, One of the best inventions ever. Wikipedia defines rodizo as a style of restaurant service in Brazilian restaurants. One pays a fixed price and the waiters bring an offering of food to each customer at several times throughout the meal, until the customers signify that they have had enough. In churrascarias, servers come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of meat, most commonly local cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. There are other Rodízio style restaurants, for example serving pasta or pizza rodizio (where various pizzas are brought on trays). 

I love the fact that they describe it as the waiters bring you an offering, it kinda makes me feel kingly. So Rodizio is becoming well known now in the USA, almost everyone has been to one, but I can say I have been to Rodizios in the USA and I have visited Rodizios in at least 3 states of Brazil. Tips for a great Rodizio experience, If you are just wanting to try Brazilian food, go ahead and have a small helping of the buffet that is offered, otherwise Rodizio has one purpose, MEAT! You go to a Rodizio to eat beef, chicked and pork. They are usually expensive so make sure that you don't waist to much stomach space on rice and beans, something that is easy to make at home. Also, the one thing you cannot forget to try is guarana. Its a Brazilian soda pop that is a MUST. If you are really feeling crazy, ask for an orange wedge to be put in your guarana. So there it is my friends, Number 3 on the list, Rodizio. Até logo e um abraço