Friday, 5 February 2016

Watercolors Of Brazil VII




"I need to go to the beach", I announced to my husband.
"We've been.", said he, undoubtedly thinking of  the very inadequate beaches of Santos.
"PROPER beach!!!", I quipped: "I'm off to Paraty. You're coming with."
"I can't.", protested Husband.
"Suit yourself. I'm going."
 Buying the tickets to Paraty online proved to be a challenge to say the least so I trekked across the city to buy them in person. 
"1 ticket to Paraty", I demanded.
"Single?", asked the ticket dude.
I pondered for a bit. It would be nice to stay in paradise forever. Then again, my cats would miss me.
"No, return.", I answered and handed over R$58.  That's 10 quid to you and me.
The process of buying the ticket and choosing the seat took around 25 minutes.  
If that was England, a queue that formed behind me would be orderly, but silently and inwardly raging. 
 The bus ticket said "CONV". I took that to mean conventional...ie. no air con which in turn means it will be boiling hot inside. I dressed accordingly which meant not many clothes and certainly no layers. 
Alas, somehow, in Brazilian wisdom, "CONV" meant executive class and air con was set on Antarctica so Brazilians can enjoy the sensation of wearing thermal sweaters in the bus.
 Boarding the bus was a formal affair. Like checking in and boarding the plane, but MORE formal. Intercity Brazilian travel was clearly serious business.
Just before the bus arrives, several uniformed functionaries show up at the gate, set up an official  looking speaker podium, painstakingly check all the tickets and documents, ask for a signature (here, here and here), check all the bags and other important business.
The bus itself was lovely. Better than anything we have in Europe. Big and comfortable seats that recline almost completely horizontal and plenty of room. Which is just as well as the journey turned out to be a journey from hell...
  P.S.
Yes, I'm aware I have been absent from the blog for quite a while and that I'm just picking up where I left off. However, Brazil photos and stories are too good not to share. Once I finish that I will explain myself. :)
  

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil VI



"Honey, what time does the Carnival start?"; I asked.
"11."
"In the morning?"; I was hopeful.
"No, night."
"WHAT???? Well, what time does it finish????"
"7am."
"Are you kidding me? I'm never going to survive that. My days of all night raves and such are well and truly over. I think I'm gonna stay in and have a cup of tea instead."
"Ah, no, you won't! You made me buy front row seats at an inflated price so now you will be going to that Carnival come rain or shine. NO cups of tea for you, Madame. Get a move on."; The Husband put his foot down.

 

We arrived at the Sambodromo.
"Here are our superior seats!"; I said and plonked my bottom at the front.
Some Brazilians had other ideas, however. The minute the parade started, and fueled by alcohol, they started pushing, shoving and elbowing their way to the front, generally ignoring the allocated seating and going as far as to stand right in front of my seat completely obscuring my view.
I wasn't having any of it. If they could be rude, hey, I'll give as good as I get: "Yo, yo, yo!!! You can't just barge in and stand in front of me. See this chair? MINE. Space in front of the chair? Also MINE! And, no, you can't stand ON my chair when I momentarily leave it, so jog on, lady!"
Once I took care of the seat jumpers, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Carnival was worth every penny.
And even though I managed to survive until 7am, I didn't manage to outfeather the Brazilians. :D


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.
"NO."
"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 sorry...you wh...you 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.
"Erm...how 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 cake...you 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 )

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