Casas de Sucos – Juice Bars

Where I come from ‘Juice Bars’ conjure up images of weird, rich people sipping wheat-grass and beetroot juice. These joyless health obsessives have just come from an ayurvedic flotation tank session and are on their way to an organic coffee and yoghurt colonic. Here in Brazil I’m happy to say they have a very different feel to them.

Casas de Sucos are sprinkled all over Rio. They are basic and unpretentious – open to the street with huge and colourful displays of (real) fruit behind a simple stainless steel counter. Ordinary working people will prop themselves on a stool and have a freshly blended fruit juice and perhaps grab a snack before heading off to work.

A typical Rio juice bar


An average sized juice bar menu – I have seen some twice this size.

On my first visit to one of these juice bars I was taken aback by the size of the menu. There were more than 20 different fruit juices and half of them I had never heard of.

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Ônibus – the buses of Rio

I have been using buses to get around Rio since I moved here. I discovered early on that as well as being a good way to get to know the layout of Rio, they also provide a great way to get a feel for the inhabitants.

A typical Rio bus – you can see that this is an old photo as tickets are now R$2.75 (95p or $1.50ish)

Initially I was daunted by the fact that absolutely none of the drivers or ticket inspectors speak any English (at the time I had not started my Portuguese lessons). But it was simple enough to master – you simply stick your arm out when you see your bus coming, hop on and say hello to the driver, then give your money to the ticket inspector and find a seat. When you want to get off you pull the cord that runs along the ceiling and the driver will pull in at the next stop – not rocket science.

Feijão – beans!

[Whilst reading this entry you should listen to this topical tune from Chico Buarque]. 

When thinking about typical Brazilian food, the first thing that springs to mind is rice and beans. Here the name for beans is feijão [pronounced: fay-zhow] and they are eaten with almost every meal. If you come to Brazil and don’t like beans then you are going to end up hungry (in fact I found this to be true in most Latin American countries with the exception of Argentina where you can very happily live solely on the sublime steaks).  
Of course there are many different varieties of bean:
Here are some amazing coloured beans I saw in a market in Xela, Guatemala