Monthly Archive: September 2011

Sep 30

The Bread Man Returns!

In my post The Bread Man Alarm Clock, I told you about a guy who walks up my street each morning with a big basket of bread on his back, calling out to let everyone know that he is coming. ‘The Bread Man’ unknowingly acts as my alarm clock each morning, letting me know it’s time to get up.

Well, at the end of that post I promised than interview which never appeared. Having had a quick chat with him, I had planned to do some proper Q&A the next morning. But then the next morning there was no Bread Man, no alarm clock, no interview (and I was late for work!). The days turned into weeks and I started to wonder if he’d gone for good.

Well, I’m happy to be able to report that a couple of days ago his familiar cry once again echoed off the cobblestones (paralelepípedos) of our street and woke me from my slumber. And so I jumped out of bed, grabbed my camera and a notepad, and rushed downstairs to interrogate interview him. Here’s how it went (I have translated and paraphrased his responses):

Evaldo, AKA The Bread Man.

 

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Sep 26

On your feet – I’m obese!

The transport system in London is not renowned for being spacious, airy or comfortable. Neither is it known for being efficient, punctual or good value for money. It’s not all bad - I wish Rio’s subway network was as extensive as London’s – but it’s a constant source of complaint and discussion for Londoners.

London buses can get a little crowded

One perennial discussion centres on giving up your seat. If you travel between 8-10 in the morning or 5-7 in the evening you will have to stand most days. So when you manage to grab yourself a seat it can feel pretty good! Then you see a frail old guy, or a mother holding a child and you hop up to offer your seat right? …Right?!

Well yes, I think most of us do and (let’s be honest) we give ourselves a little mental pat on the back for being ‘a good person’ when we do it. In fact I find that it rather brightens my day, feeling that I’ve done something amazing for a helpless stranger in distress (keeping this little scene in my head allows me to really go to town on transforming myself into an urban transport hero).

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Sep 21

Cloudmen and Firebirds

People who followed my travels through Latin America back in 2009 and 2010 may remember I am a little graffiti obsessed. Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Valparaíso (Chile) were particularly rich hunting grounds and I had a great time wandering around these cities, snapping away.

I guess this has been a habit of mine for a while – when I lived in London I was based in the East End which is also a good place to see great street art (There’s a lot of work by Banksy, Eine and a bunch of other people I don’t know - just because I like it, doesn’t mean I’m super-knowledgeable right?!).

I spotted this one in the San Telmo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.

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Sep 16

Plugging hell…

I’ve never really understood the science behind electricity. When I hear the word Resistance I think of French freedom fighters, Voltage is an Olympic event that requires a pole, Amps say “Marshall” on the front.

Huh?

 

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Sep 14

THAT is not lunch!

I remember a guy from New Zealand once telling me about a rather disconcerting experience he had whilst living in Japan. He was walking down the street, munching on a sandwich, when he started to get an uncomfortable feeling, almost like he was being watched. Whenever he looked up at the people passing in the opposite direction, they would avert their eyes, but he continued to get an uneasy feeling that he was doing something wrong. Was that a hint of disgust he detected in their eyes? 


Turns out it was. I’ve never been to Japan (so correct me if this is way off), but the Kiwi in question told me that he later discovered that to the Japanese, the idea of someone eating as they walk down the street is really disgusting. 

Eating on public transport – surely a step too far for most people?

 

Well I have started to feel something not dissimilar here in Rio. I’m not talking so much about eating as you walk down the street, but my issue is still lunch related.

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Sep 09

How Brazilians Barbecue

A few weeks ago I celebrated my second birthday in Brazil. If that grammatically lackadaisical statement leaves you in any doubt, I’m not 2 years old – I’ve had thirty-five birthdays in total, the last two of which were spent in Brazil. The first was spent drinking massively over-priced (but oooh so good) European beers in Ipanema; the second was spent having a churrasco [shu-HASH-co] (barbecue) with friends on what they refer to as our laje.

Churrasco na laje – precarious but fun! Note, this is someone else’s laje! Ours has a better health and safety rating… (Image: Edmir Silvestre)

 

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Sep 08

Anaesthetic Soup – Tacacá

As part of a project to review the best restaurants in Rio, I have been eating a lot of food from the North of Brazil recently (when I say ‘the North’, I am essentially referring to the states of Amazonas and Pará).  

Amazonas and Pará are the two largest states in Brazil, covering 2.8 million square kilometres (if this area was a country it would be the 8th largest in the world).

 

Although these states comprise 32% of Brazil’s total area, they contain just 5.6% of the population, being largely covered by the Amazon rainforest. By virtue of it’s size and inaccessibility, this huge tract of rainforest still holds an air of mystery – it is home to 67 uncontacted tribes, as well as countless animal and plant species that have not yet been discovered/described by science.

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Sep 02

The Bread Man Alarm Clock

As I mentioned in a previous post, my first eight months in Rio were spent living in my mother-in-law’s house in Alto Gávea, a wealthy neighbourhood in Rio’s Zona Sul. Although nearby Baixo Gávea can get quite rowdy (especially on Thursday and Sunday nights) the area around my mother-in-law’s house is more residential and tends to be quite peaceful. 

So I got a shock when we moved to Santa Teresa – my ears were bombarded by a myriad of different noises. There are the sounds of concerts which pump up from nearby Lapa; on Sundays we hear Baile Funk [BUY-lee funk] parties from the nearby Morro do Santo Amaro favela; on my way home from work I pass the International Foundation of Angolan Capoeira and often hear their lovely music and singing. 



Outside my window I hear the tiny monkeys that squeal to each other as they run along the telephone lines in the street. 

 

These tiny monkeys, micos, scamper along the cables, constantly calling to each other with squeals so high-pitched they are only just audible.


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