Monthly Archive: September 2012

Sep 30

Secos e Molhados

I wanted to start a little differently today. What I’d like you to do is click on a link – this will open another window/tab on your browser into which will load a youtube clip. There may be an advert that you have to wait for – once the proper clip starts playing I want you to come back here to continue reading. Everyone clear on that? You’ll continue reading here while the music is playing there.

OK, here is the link: http://youtu.be/bAdlGZSaQRg

Secos e Molhados

I should explain to younger readers that this is what was known as an ‘LP’.

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Sep 26

Peeling Pineapples and Wearing Watermelons

I didn’t enjoy languages at school – in fact (to my later regret) I dropped French at the earliest opportunity. Since then I have come to realise that although I’m not particularly gifted in the learning department, I actually find language fascinating.

During my pre-Brazil travels around South America, I routinely met other travellers from around the world and I was delighted to discover that seemingly every nation has a different word for the noise a rooster makes in the morning. While British birds say “cock-a-doodle-DOO!”, their Brazilian counterparts say “Cocoricó”. I had a whole international list of rooster noises in my head at one point but I can’t remember them anymore (isn’t it annoying how you always forget the really important stuff?).

The linguistic fun continued when I got to Brazil and discovered that Brazilians have some hilarious turns of phrase. Someone who thinks they’re always right is the ‘owner of the truth’ (dona da verdade). Those glass fronted chicken rotisseries are known as Dog TV (Televisão de Cachorro – thanks Aki!).

Dog TV – not only for dogs…

 

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Sep 24

The Brazilian eating experience that gives me the fear

Thinking back, I realise that I’ve written quite a lot about the culture of lunch in Brazil. There was the fact that Brazilians have a proper, sit-down lunch with plates and cutlery every day (the modern British norm of a quick sandwich at your desk is not an option here). Then I looked at the joys of the Kilo restaurant – the rules and the strategy!

On the whole I’ve taken to this aspect of Brazilian culture very well – I really enjoy taking a bit of time to get away from my desk to have a peroper lunch. But during my first year here there was one lunchtime word that would leave me trembling mass of fear and stress: Spoleto.

Spoleto Brasil

Spoleto – the scene of so many stressful lunches…

 

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Sep 22

Hortifruti, The Beatles and English Potatoes

Remember those great Hortifruti adverts? Well they are back with more! And this time they have touched on a couple of subjects close to my heart.

I try not to drop this into conversation too much (just enough that everyone knows about it and hopefully is impressed/envious) – but before I came to South America I worked at Abbey Road Studios in London. You know, that place where a little band called the Beatles recorded 90% off all their music (amongst a host of other legends). Well the latest offering from Hortifruti makes a reference to Liverpool’s finest and another, apparently, English classic:

Hortifruti Potatles

I played in the Potatles. ‘Batata Inglesa’ and the world of flavours.

 

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Sep 21

The most beautiful spider in the world

Hmmm, that’s a bold post title isn’t it? Still, a little hyperbole never hurt anyone did it? Spiders on the other hand – they hurt people all the time. Well, actually not so much, but I understand that some people aren’t big fans of spiders. So as well as showing you the Most Beautiful Spider In The World (MBSITW), I thought I’d start off with a nice, friendly, non-spidery animal.

 

Blue-gray Tanager

Facebook followers may have seen this little fellow before. This is a Blue-gray Tanager and when we were in Bahia we would see these guys every morning as we had breakfast. They are particularly fond of bananas.

 

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Sep 19

The best way to drink a cacau caipirinha.

A couple of days ago I mentioned the fish that we ate on a remote beach in Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. When you’ve walked a couple of hours to get to a beach, you realise that you are basically a captive audience so if there’s only one thing on the lunch menu then you’d better hope you like it. As I said in the post, luckily for us it turned out to be one of the most delicious fish I’ve ever eaten.

On that same day, as we were waiting for the fish, a different guy came past and asked if we’d like a caipirinha. Regular readers will know I’m rather fond of Brazil’s classic cocktail and so won’t be surprised to hear that I immediately asked what fruits they have (caipirinhas can be made with all manner of fruit, not just lime). The first fruit the guy mentioned was Cacau and I stopped him right there. Cacau is the fruit whose seeds are used to make chocolate, but those seeds are surrounded by a sweet, refreshing pulp that tastes nothing like cocoa.

When the guy disappeared off to make the drinks, I expected him to return with a drink served in a plastic cup. As discussed before, this does not automatically mean it will be a bad drink and who could expect them to have anything else in such a remote location? But what he actually came back with was this:

 

cacau caipirinha

Caipirinha de Cacau!

 

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Sep 18

Comedy Translations – Bahia Edition

A little prep for the non-Portuguese speakers among you. Remember the post about Misto Quente? OK, so that should remind you that the Portuguese word ‘misto‘ means ‘mixed‘ in English. And in the last post I showed you a couple of delicious examples of one of Bahia’s most famous dishes – Moqueca. It’s a seafood stew flavoured with coconut and dendê oil, but comes in various different combinations of seafood.

And finally, for the non-Americans, ‘co-ed’ is short for co-educational, and refers to schools where boys and girls are taught together.

OK, everyone up to speed? So now for the comedy translation that I found when handed the English menu in a restaurant in Salvador:

If you haven’t done so already, please place your mouse over the image and then wonder in awe at the amazing technical skills that enabled me to create that swanky mouseover effect (how many ‘mouseovers’ did you do before you got bored? Once should be enough, but I’m finding it strangely addictive…).

Let’s ignore the shirmp typo – I’m getting my fun from the ‘Co-ed’ seafood! So now answer me this: are shrimps the boys or the girls?

 

Sep 17

Reasons to visit Bahia #2 & 3: People and Food

When we arrived in Salvador, it became apparent that Mrs Eat Rio had been harbouring a little obsession. An obsession that  went by the name of Sorriso da Dadá. When you hear a Brazilian saying these words it sounds like ‘so-HEE-zo dadaDA’ – try saying it out loud, it’s pretty weird. On the third time I heard her mention it to someone, I demanded to know what this ‘dadada’ thing was all about.

The People of Bahia

It turns out that it is an amazing restaurant run a lovely woman named Dadá. The full name means Smile of Dadá and when we met her we found out why this is such a good name – she smiles plenty!

Dadá – amazing woman, amazing food! source.

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Sep 16

Reasons to visit Bahia #1: The Beaches

Phew – I’m back from a lovely relaxing trip to Bahia and have finally found some time to catch up. What a nice time I had – Bahia has so many great things worth mentioning. How about I start off by showing you some of the beaches? Bahia is renowned for its long stretches of golden coastline and after 6 months working without a break, I was ready to spend some serious time relaxing and enjoying the simple pleasures of sun, sand and sea.

Since coming to Rio I have become accustomed to the crowded beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, but in Bahia I reacquainted myself with the concept of the deserted beach:

Beaches of Bahia

Those 3 people in the distance were my travel-mates. This beach (Algodões on the Maraú Peninsula) was the best of the whole trip and we were pretty much the only people there.

 

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Sep 07

Bahia in Brief

Hi everyone! After 5 days in Bahia I thought I’d attempt a mini-post to tell you about how things have gone so far. I only have my phone, so please excuse weird typos…

We flew into Salvador, state capital and first capital of Brazil (replaced  first by Rio and then more recently by Brasilia). Salvador reminded me a bit of Panama City – large, rather ugly outer city, surrounding a beautiful, historic area that is popular with tourists. In Panama City, Casco Viejo is a lovely wreck of a neighbourhood full of beautiful crumbling facades. The perimeter is guarded by heavily armed police to keep the rich tourists safe.

image

Check out the phone boxes that look like coconuts!

Salvador’s equivalent is called Pelourinho and is far prettier and better maintained. Lovely old colonial houses, painted in complementary shades, line steep, cobbled streets. The heavy police presence (coupled with frequent warnings from random people) remind you that there are people who’d like to take your valuables if given the chance, but the overriding sense is that this is a city rich with music, history and culture.

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