Ipanema Flash Dance

The things I see on my way to work! Nowadays my route takes me through Praça General Osorio in Ipanema. This large square is located close to the border with Copacabana and is the last stop on the Metro. At this point I transfer from the Metro onto a bus and on most mornings I’m in a big rush.

This morning was typical – I was walking double-fast speed, weaving in and out of my fellow travellers who were casually strolling along as if it were Sunday morning. As I came out of the Metro system and into the open square, a girl seemed to nearly fall over, right in front of me, then throw her arms up in a rather dramatic gesture. “Weirdo…” I muttered to myself and kept walking.

I hurried along to my bus and managed to secure myself a seat. I glanced out of the window and noticed the crazy girl again. Then I saw this!

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It’s at times like these that my wife gives a long-suffering sigh and shakes her head as if to say “How did I get mixed up with this strange guy?”. Well I’m sorry, but I had to show you this massive leaf! Amazing isn’t it? These things are littered all over the place and even after 2 years in Brazil, they still amaze and delight me.



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Lemon-Lime confusion in Brazil

Back in my England days there was one thing you could almost always rely on: somewhere in my fridge you would find half a lemon. Always half a lemon. When you have a whole lemon, there are all kinds of uses (for half of it) – squeeze it over some fish, slice it for drinks, the list goes on… But what about the other half?  That would sit in my fridge for days, slowly shrinking and shrivelling and becoming increasingly useless.

Here in Brazil things are different – we have limes! Aren’t limes great? Not only do they have an amazingly fragrant, tangy, zingy flavour, but they are just the right size! You won’t find half a lime in my Brazilian fridge.

But what about lemons? Here in Brazil (in Rio at least) they seem to be very rare. After learning that the Portuguese for lime is limão, I wondered what the word for lemon was. The answer? Limão. Huh? “You use the same word for both lemons and limes?” I asked incredulously. It was like the moment I found out that Portuguese (and Spanish) uses the same word for fingers and toes! (Dedos).

Well, that is the simple answer anyway. In fact there is a way to distinguish between your limões (and your dedos). You get specific.


Apparently these limes are from Tahiti! Well, I guess the variety is at least. These particularly large and firm limes are very handy if you want to make yourself a decent-sized caipirinha - the extra juice will ensure that you can still walk after you've polished it off.

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Happy Birthday to…

Today I would mostly like to say a big Happy Birthday to my Mum! It’s at times like this that I feel the downside of living in Brazil. The sun and adventure is all very well, but it’s tough to be away from so many loved ones for such long periods. I have also just recently missed my niece’s birthday and (unfortunately for her) I am one of those people who is useless at planning ahead, buying presents or using the postal system (AKA a man).

Happy Birthday Mum!


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Using food to steal from the starving

They say that anyone who actively wants to be a politician should be prevented from being one on principle. It’s a cynical way of looking at things, but then it’s not exactly breaking news that politics attracts its fair share of dishonest characters. If we take the example of the UK over the last decade, scandal after scandal has emerged with depressing regularity – politicians accepting money to ask questions in parliament, widespread cheating of expense allowances (i.e. stealing), and over-cosy relationships with evil media moguls to name just a few.

Despite the regularity of political scandals back home, since coming to Brazil I have been shocked not only by how widespread the corruption here seems to be, but also by the sheer audacity and greed with which it is perpetrated.

Sadly it is all too easy to become desensitised to all this dishonesty, but even against this background, every once in a while a story comes along that takes my breath away.

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Doing business in Brazil

Those of you who’ve been paying attention will know that I started a new job recently. A simple version of the situation is that I am employed by a British company to provide services to a client of theirs which happens to be a good-sized Brazilian company based in Rio. It was a fairly demanding selection process – 4 interviews, one in Portuguese, one involving me giving a 20 minute presentation)  – which stretched over a period of 2 months. At the end of all that, it became clear that they liked me and so I thought my troubles were over. In fact my troubles had only just begun!

My future portrait?

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Three women on walls

Today I wanted to show you three more beautiful women from Rio, but hopefully today’s offerings will prove a little less controversial! I’ll start off with a woman I have been admiring for a the last couple of weeks. My daily journey takes me through Praça General Osório, one of the main squares in Ipanema. Each morning I have been in a rush to catch the bus and so whilst I’ve gazed longingly, I’ve never found time to take a photo. Last night I decided to go after work instead. Not what you’d call perfect lighting, but the shadows from the nearby gate add a certain je ne sais quoi don’t you think?


I haven’t looked into who “DP” is yet, but I would like to offer him/her huge congratulations. A beautiful image. **UPDATE** It isn’t “DP”, it is “Di”, the signature of Di Couto. I met her in a bar a few months back and she was very nice!

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ASSets and Academias

Ideas for blog posts usually pop into my head when I’m on my way to work. Sometimes I spot something going on and decide to do some investigation, other times the subject of the post actually gets on the bus and takes the seat in front of me. There have been occasions when a little undercover filming/photography was required and at those time I fearlessly pursue the image in order to present it to you, my dear readers.

Well a combination of these things came together recently and allows me to finally write about something I’ve had on my list for a long time. Carioca women have a very distinctive style when they’re going to/from the academia (gym). Like I said, I’ve been wanting to write about this for ages, but I had one big problem – images!

Put yourself in my shoes – if I want to tell you about this then I really need to be able to show you what I’m talking about. “Fine,” you say, “so go to a gym and take a few photos”. This is where we get to the problem. Hanging around outside a gym, taking photos of women doesn’t look good does it? I played with the idea of approaching some gym-goers and explaining why I needed a photo, but again, it just sounds a bit weird doesn’t it?

And so the idea hit a stumbling block. Until a few days ago when I was walking to the Metro station and a girl came out of a door in full gym gear and strode briskly down the street just a few metres in front of me. I realised that this was my chance to whip my phone out and take my chance.

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Great food in a favela: Bar do David

Remember I was talking about Comida di Buteco recently? Well today I thought I’d tell you about one of the participants that I visited recently. Bar do David is located in Chapeu Mangueira, a favela in the neighbourhood of Leme, right next to Copacabana. It has been on the ‘favela food map’ for a while now, renowned for its excellent food, in particular a seafood feijoada.

So, last weekend we decided to go and see what all the fuss was about. The idea of seafood feijoada had already piqued my curiosity and when I realised it was involved in the Comida di Buteco competition I had one more reason to go!


One of the best favela restaurants in Rio, Bar do David is situated in Chapéu Mangueira, not a million miles from Copacabana.


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