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 aksed 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

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Watercolors Of Brazil I

"I need to go to Sao Paulo.",  announced The Husband.
"Awesome. I'm coming with.", I counter-announced.

The day of departure arrived. One hour before I was due to leave my house for the airport I still didn't begin to pack my suitcase.
"Can you please at least attempt to pack? We will miss the flight. What's wrong with you?", asked The Husband.
"I don't know where to start. It's overwhelming."
The Husband rolled his eyes and told me in no uncertain terms that he's going to Brazil with or without me.
"Fine! I'll pack.", I said and placed the first pair of shoes into a massive suitcase.

Naturally, when we finally rocked up to the airport, our check in was closed.
The Husband was looking  at me murderously. Me? I was just grateful that he didn't have any weaponry on him in that particular moment. 
"What do you mean...the check in is closed?",  I asked the airport worker.
"It's closed. You're late."
"TRAFFIC!!! Traffic was really bad.", I begun to lie.
"OK. But you better run!!!", the airport worker bestowed his mercy upon us.
"We also reserved the seats..." I begun, but he stopped me in my tracks..."We gave your seats away. COS YOU WERE LATE!"

 We were stuck with dreaded middle seats.  On a 12 hour flight. 
"Ya, excuse me....I would like to BUY an extra legroom seat.", I asked an air hostess.
"Nah. No can do. You need to do that at the check in or online.", said the air hostess.
"But the check in was closed!!! And the extra legroom seats are empty. Please!", I was desperate.
I wanted to simultaneously scream and punch the air hostess in the face, but I was worried that I would be escorted off the plane and consequently appear in Daily Mail under headline of  "Neurotic bitch from hell air rage passenger punches air hostess!" so I admitted defeat and shuffled back to my seat.
After the jolly 12 hours of me trying to contort my 5'8'' large frame in a variety of awkward positions into a seat meant for midgets we finally arrived to Sao Paulo.
"Yes! We're here! Let's go!! Brazil....lalalalalalalala...lalalalalalalala...Brazil....Brazil...Braziiiiiiil"...I sung. 
Husband just rolled his eyes and started walking ahead so no one can associate him with the crazy lady...aka me.
As I stepped off the plane looking for a non existing exit sign, I noticed a man pointing towards an exit instead.
"Well, that's one way to create employment" I thought to myself and hurried towards the immigration and customs.
Customs decided to single us out for extra control. Big signs were declaring that no foreign plants are allowed to be brought into Brazil.
As an avid watcher of "Nothing To Declare ", I panicked: "Are muffins plant material????", I asked The Husband.
"Are you mental?" he rolled his eyes.
As it turned out muffins were not a plant material and we were allowed into the country.
Sao Paulo was rainy and grey.
"Great. What's the point of leaving London when the weather is just the same on the other side of the world.", I thought.
Actually, it was perfect day for indoor activities...such as eating...and shopping.
"Let's get some money out.", I said.
Little did I know that I will have a minor nervous breakdown trying to find a cash machine that will deem me worthy enough to take my foreign card and cough up some money.
The 1056th machine I tried seemed to be able to cope with foreign cards.
"Yes!!! Money!!!", I announced.
I then looked left, then right, then left, then right again, then left, then behind....
"What ARE you doing???", asked, by now exasperated, Husband.
"Why, only scanning for potential robbers."
He rolled his eyes and pointed to a heavily armed security guard.
I took the money out.
"Let's hit the shops and restaurants!" 
First things first!

I wore:
T-shirt: POP Cph (similar here )
Jeans: Mango (here on sale )
Sandals: Schutz (similar here )
Name necklace: oNecklace 

Linking up with Visible Monday

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Statement Coat

Still in coats, but those of a lighter, transitional kinda weather variety. Yes!

I wore:
Coat: Studio 4 (here on sale )
Sweater: ASOS (here on sale )
Jeans: Mango  (here on sale )
Clutch: Accessorize  (similar here )
Shoes: Whistles (similar here )
Bracelet: Gorjana (similar here )

Nails: OPI "Tickle My France-y" (here )

Linking up with: Throwback Thursday & What I Wore

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