Introducing: Eat Rio Galleries!

Notice anything different about the site today? I’ll give you a clue – I’ve re-shuffled the main menu a little. See it? That’s right, I’ve added a “Galleries” link as the last item on the menu bar.

I don’t want to get too autobiographical on you, but a little bit of background wouldn’t hurt would it? I bought my first camera when I was 7 – it cost 20p from a school fair and was very old and beaten up. Ever since I’ve loved taking photos and although I don’t really know what I’m doing, I really enjoy having a go.


Living in Rio has made me a little obsessive about having a camera with me at all times – you just never know when something interesting, beautiful or noteworthy might come along. One day it’s a crazy girl doing the most expert hair twirling I’ve ever seen, the next day I stumble upon a cool Asian food shop.

So instead of just storing all these photos on my computer at home, I thought it might be nice to group the best ones together into themed galleries.

Currently there are 3 galleries (Multiplicity, The Beach, Cristo Redentor), but I will be adding many more when I find the time to work through my archive. One rather boring note: if you click on the first image while the top menu bar is visible, you may find that it (the menu bar) gets in the way. To avoid this just scroll down a little before you click on the first image.

The best things about Rio Carnival 2012

OK, I don’t want to overdo this whole carnival thing – my last non-carnival related post was more than 10 days ago! But can you stand just one more post on the subject? I’ve been looking over my carnival photos and thinking back over the event as a whole and I thought it might be nice to summarise what made this year’s carnival so great.

The Weather

OK, I’m British and therefore more than a little obsessed with the weather, but for me this made a real difference. Last year it rained quite a bit and although I told myself at the time that it was good because it stopped us all getting overheated, I never really believed it in my heart of hearts. This year we had unbroken sunshine all the way through, and you could really sense the lift it gave everyone.

Dancing, drinking, chatting to strangers and generally getting down. It just works better when the sun is out.


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8 line brag

Anyone object to a little bragging? C’mon, indulge me: those of you who follow the Eat Rio Facebook page will already know that yesterday’s post was picked up by the news! Australian news site, NineMSN, have an article on their World News page which is basically a cut down version of yesterday’s post! As I speak we are the fourth most popular item on the entire site – exciting right?


Whatever Gillard - you may "get things done", but we invaded an airport! Think about it - I know who I'd vote for...


Two things stem from all this – firstly I’d like to welcome any new visitors that may have popped over from NineMSN – g’day. Secondly, now that I’m famous (yes, I said ‘famous’ – my name is mentioned four times in the article) I’d appreciate a little more respect from my regular readers – all four of you.

OK, that’s enough bragging for now – a proper post will follow shortly.

My best ever carnival experience.

Hi everyone! Well, what an extraordinary week. It dawned on me quite early on that trying to combine carnival with blogging would end up in a sub-optimal carnival experience for me, and a sub-optimal blog reading experience for you. Better to just concentrate on having as much fun as possible for a few days and then tell you all about it afterwards. Let’s think of it as intensive research shall we?

Some of the blocos have great names. This one, which started at the top of a steep hill in Catete, was called "Desce Mas Não Sobe" (Goes down but doesn't go up). Of course WE had to go up to get to the start...


This past week flew past in a blur of music, drinking, dancing and general carnival fun. Each carnival day (in fact each bloco) has its own personality – different music and locations, different mixes of friends, chance encounters – all these things contribute different highlights (and the occasional low-point – more on this another day).  Well this year, one specific moment stood out, and I’ve been dying to tell you all about it!


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Carnival Songs: Vou Festejar

One of the things I like most about carnival in Rio, is how inclusive it is. There is no entrance fee for any of the blocos, the beer is cheap, you don’t have to wear a fancy costume and there are no complicated dance moves that you need to learn. In short, even a clueless gringo like me can show up and have a great time.


Chapeuzinho Vermelho (Little Red Riding Hood) and friends having fun. A guy on a fire truck was spraying the crowd with water when I took this shot, causing the autofocus on my point-and-click to go AWOL. I quite like the effect.


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Top 5 tips for Carnival costume

Having had a little time to think about it, I realised that the one thing I didn’t do in yesterday’s post is differentiate between blocos and the main procession thing that everyone thinks of when they hear “Carnival in Rio”. The big procession thing is called Desfile das Escolas de Samba (Procession of the Samba Schools). It’s the thing you see on the news each year, held in the Sambadrome – a big long street, lined with masses of tiered seating:


The main procession, as seen here in the film Rio


I haven’t been to this thing – tickets are really expensive and to be honest, I’m not that keen. Don’t get me wrong, it looks spectacular and I definitely want to see it one day, but just sitting there watching from the side seems a bit passive, you know? Maybe I’ll go in a few years when I’m older and richer.

So if you’re not at the Sambadrome, you should be at a bloco, and if you’re at a bloco then you should have an outfit!

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What’s a ‘Bloco’ and what should I expect?

Hooray! Carnaval (that’s the Portuguese spelling) season is well and truly under way! I’ve been posting up a few photos from the bloco I went to last Sunday on the Eat Rio Facebook page, but I think it’s time I said a little more about this quintessentially Brazilian festival.

Timoneiras da Viola - the bloco I visited last Sunday. It was great!


The main days of Carnaval are from Friday to Tuesday – the exact date changes each year. This year it will run from 17th-21st February (check out the dates for future years here). I say “main days” because Carnaval actually kicked off weeks ago!

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Racial Makeup

Brazil – a melting pot, not a salad.

This post follows on from my previous post in which I waffled about that Suárez/Evra incident and then waffled some more on the subject of language related to race in Brazil. Now I want to continue in my Belgian breakfast-style discussion by telling you a little more about some things I’ve noticed in relation to race here in Brazil.

The races in Brazil have mixed far more thoroughly than in Britain. Six months ago I attended a big get together of my mother-in-law’s family. There must have been at least 100 people there and I was struck by the variation in skin colour and features – there were some very black people, some very white people and every colour in between.

Figures from the 2010 census indicating the distribution of race (people were asked how they would describe themselves). Amarela, "yellow" in portuguese, is a term for people of East Asian origin apparently; Parda is a mix that covered both Morena and Mulata; Indígena means indigenous (Amerindian).

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Race, language and the word ‘negro’ in Brazil.

I’ve been wanting to write something about race in Brazil for a while. There have been quite a few things floating around in my head on the subject because there are so many differences between the UK and Brazil: history, population demographics, language and attitudes. So, it’s been on my ‘To Do’ list for a while and then recent events in England made me think again about the situation here in Brazil.

Left, Patrice Evra for Manchester United; Right, Luis Suárez for Liverpool.

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Language pitfalls. So many language pitfalls.

Ah Portuguese! It’s a constant source of both frustration and fascination. Lindsey put it very nicely in a recent post:

“It’s what will paralyze you on your weaker days, and give you the biggest sense of accomplishment on your strong ones.”

So true. The simplest victories will put a spring in my step for the whole day – the failures can make me feel utterly defeated. Mistakes and misunderstandings are common and occasionally your mistake will cause everyone to fall about laughing. In such situations they say that it’s better to laugh along with everyone but I find it difficult not to scowl. Sometimes I throw in a little sulking as well for good measure.

And the pitfalls are many. First of all there are gender issues – I will describe this using one of my famous animations. Those of you who speak Portuguese should be able to work this one out just from the imagery:

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