Monthly Archive: December 2012

Dec 31

Language confusion: Feira, Ferias, Feriado, Folga!

During my time learning second languages I have found certain word combinations seemed stubbornly unwilling to make a home in my memory banks. Back when I was learning Spanish, I used to have terrible trouble with ciudad (city) and cuidado (care/careful). You can see the issue can’t you? They look pretty similar and when you have all those other words trying to get in, it can be very easy to get these two mixed up.

As you may have worked out from the blog title (you clever people!), the words I have trouble with in Portuguese are Feira and Ferias. These are both excellent words so I’m hoping by telling you a little about them I can fix this once and for all!

 

Feira

A Feira (sounds like FAY-ra) is a street market. I love these places! Loads of hustle and bustle, noises and smells, great looking vegetables, all kinds of crazy fruit and most times I visit I see something that makes me go “What’s that?!”. 

Feira da Glória, Rio.

This is Feira da Glória, not far from my house. If you are visiting Rio you should definitely try to spend a morning wandering around one of these markets. It will be a feast for the senses!

 

What you see above is a Feira. Repeat after me – FEIRA! Now let’s move on:

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Dec 27

How to greet people like a Brazilian

Learning Brazilian Portuguese (or any other language for that matter) isn’t just about words and phrases, conjugations and tenses, pronouns and prepositions. All those things are important of course, but there is something else missing from that list. Body language! Or “non-verbal communication” if you prefer. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s not something you can easily learn from a book.

When Brazilians meet each other they have a whole range of greetings to choose from.

 

Tudo Bom?

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Dec 26

My favourite Brazilian food

As my good friend the Bearded Wanderer put it, I was a bit of a tease recently: I mentioned on Facebook that I’d just discovered my new favourite Brazilian dish but then instead of saying what it was, I just signed off with “I’ll tell you about it tomorrow”.

Well, tomorrow was yesterday and I didn’t tell you about it. Sorry about that. Let’s just say that the small matter of cooking Christmas Eve dinner for 10 got in the way. So, without any further ado, let me pick up the story…

We stayed up very late on Saturday, saying goodbye to a friend who had been staying with us for a few days. We got through plenty of cerveja and a few too many caipirinhas, so we had a slow start to Sunday. Around mid-afternoon, we headed to a nearby supermarket to pick up some essentials for the hangover-fuelled, sofa-based movie-marathon we had planned for the rest of the day. Our route to the supermarket just happened to take us through Praça São Salvador, a rather nice square situated between the neighbourhoods of Laranjeiras and Flamengo.

 

Praça São Salvador

Praça São Salvador is well known for great live music. When we wandered past on Sunday, Carlos Evanney, a well known artist who covers the great Roberto Carlos, was playing. It was one almighty sing-along!

 

As the hangover kicked in, we decided to postpone the the trip to the supermarket and stopped at a little market stall where a woman was selling soup and a variety of stews. We shared a delicious pumpkin soup and I downed a can of guaraná. I instantly felt better. Then we saw it…

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Dec 25

Time of Rio

A friend just sent me this link and I thought today (Christmas!) would be a great time to share it with the rest of you. Some amazing images from around this beautiful city. My favourite part is the bit with the planes taking off!

Feliz Natal!

 

If you want to get all full-screen on this video, then go here to the Vimeo link.

Dec 21

Rio – are you being served?

One day, a few weeks after I arrived in Rio, Miss Eat Rio (as she was back then) had a headache. There were no pain-killers in the house so I was just about to go to the pharmacy when my future mother-in-law simply picked up the phone. 10 minutes later a guy knocked on the door, delivered the medicine and then got on his bike and rode back to the shop!

“Wow!” I thought. “They delivered a single packet of pain killers? How can that be worth their while? They must charge a hefty delivery fee”. But no – I was told that this was just normal service, no extra charge.

Rio delivery tricycle

These delivery tricycles are used to deliver all kinds of things in Rio – from ice and drinks to gas canisters and goods from the supermarket.

 

In the following weeks and months I learned that many other aspects of Carioca life were similarly taken care of. My mother-in-law had an empregada (maid) who did the cooking, cleaning, washing and other household duties. I had mixed feelings over the idea at first, but man did I love having someone else iron my shirts…

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Dec 19

Brazilian Brands: Paçoquita

Regular readers may be aware that I’m not a big fan of super-sweet things. I do like chocolate (I’m not completely crazy), but the really sweet things like Brigadeiro are a little too much for me.

With that in mind, it may come as a surprise to hear that I rather like today’s Brazilian brand.

 

Paçoquita

Paçoquita

Name: Paçoquita (‘passo-KEE-ta’)

Product: Paçoca (‘pa-SOCK-a’).

Description:  First let me explain that Paçoca is the generic name for a super-sweet, crumbly sweet made from ground peanuts, sugar and salt (and sometimes that Brazilian favourite, sweetened condensed milk). Paçoquita is surely the best known brand of paçoca. The website is slightly vague about when the Paçoquita brand was established, but it looks to have been someone in the 1980s. Today they are commonly found in a small basket or bowl next to the cash register in Kilo restaurants, gas stations and Casas de Sucos (juice bars). The bright yellow, matchbox sized brick has striking red lettering with a chirpy looking peanut man on the side.

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Dec 17

The Rio Color Run

Because of my activities yesterday, I needed to spend an extra 10 minutes scrubbing my chiselled body in the shower this morning. No, I didn’t enter the Rio Erotic Mud Wrestling Competition (after last time I promised myself never again!). Instead I entered the Rio Color Run!

The idea its pretty simple: a 5km run/race during which competitors dressed in white are pelted with paint. Sounds like fun right? The race started at 8am in Glória and as Mrs Eat Rio and I arrived, we realised that a lot of other people also liked the sound running around and getting covered in colour.

Rio Color Run

We hadn’t even started and already I was leaning on Mrs Eat Rio for support.

 

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Dec 14

Brazilian Brands: Aviação

How do you feel about brands? Whether it’s food, clothes, electronics or detergents, they’re all around us whether we like it or not. Some of us willingly embrace a brand, while others feel that brands are simply a cunning marketing ploy to fool us into paying more than the fair price.

I have to admit that I find some aspects of branding really interesting. I like the design elements of the packaging and find it interesting how these are involved in the way we (at least some of us) develop an affection for certain brands. Of course a lot of this brand indoctrination starts at a very early age so that by the time we’re old enough to be buying our own tomato ketchup we don’t even stop to think about why we always pick Heinz.

An interesting aspect of transplanting yourself into a new country is that you come to the market cold. Many of the brands from home are unavailable and so you find yourself adopting new favourites.

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Dec 12

Cow Hand Soup

Last Saturday some friends and I went to a kind of fundraiser for one of Rio’s top Samba Schools, Portela. It was pretty cool actually, there were a bunch of different bands playing up on a stage, there were plates piled high with feijoada and there were ice buckets full of beer. Oh yes, and there was some serious heat!

Portela Feijoada

A day of samba, cerveja, feijoada and fun!

 

With the temperatures up around 40°C (104°F), the ice cold beers slipped down very easily (along with a cheeky caipirinha or two). Eventually the sun sank, our boozy afternoon became evening, and I started to experience that special kind of hunger that comes after drinking a little too much.

Luckily for me, Mrs Eat Rio’s appetite tends to be well aligned with mine, so we decided to leave the stage area and go in search of sustenance. We wandered past stalls selling beers and caipirinhas and then we saw the sign.

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Dec 06

How to order food in Brazil

The first time some friends from back home came out to visit me here in Rio, I was more than a little excited. It had been 18 months since I’d seen them and after such a long time, where better to have a reunion than Rio de Janeiro? On their first night in town, we had a few drinks in Copacabana and then went for a meal at La Fiorentina in Leme (that link is to an official Eat Rio review!).

La Fiorentina, Rio

La Fiorentina – legendary seafood and pasta restaurant on the seafront in Leme.

 

Back in London we would often meet up at a favourite restaurant (or try a new one), so it was like old times, chatting over a glass of wine as we perused the menu. However, when the food arrived, they realised that they weren’t in Kansas London anymore.

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