Tag Archive: Brazil

Aug 06

Just like watching Brazil

During a recent Portuguese lesson (yes, I’ve restarted lessons!) a word came up that was unfamiliar to me - goleou. The context was the description of a football match and went something like “Last Saturday night Barcelona goleou AC Milan”. I asked my teacher about this word and she said “It’s when one team beats another team by many goals. You know, like a chocolate” (pronounced in the Portuguese manner: shocko-LATCH). Well, that left me even more confused/intrigued. I’d never heard of a chocolate in football. I decided some research was in order.

It turns out that the national obsession of Brazil has given rise to a rich and diverse set of words, phrases and sayings. I expect that today’s post will be just the tip of the football iceberg so if there any football experts out there then I’d love to hear about the ones I’ve missed out.


As my teacher told me, a goleada is a what English commentators might call a drubbing. A win with a large margin of victory. Goleada is the noun, goleou is the 3rd person past tense conjugation of the verb golear (to win by many goals). There is some discussion over exactly what constitutes a goleada, some saying that the margin of victory must be at least 3, others saying it must be 4.

Chocolate de futebol

This cartoon, entitled Blue Chocolate, celebrates the goleada of Brazilian side Cruzeiro over Venezuelan size Caracas back in 2008. Final score 3-0. The fox (?) of Cruzeiro is saying “Give Hugo Chavez a hug from me if you can”. Source


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Dec 22

Zombies of Brazil

If I said ‘Zombie Nation’ you might think I’m talking about a crappy video game from 1990, a horrible techno song that (apparently) US college kids like to sing when their team does something good, or a movie so bad that one reviewer described it as “a monstrously absurd turd of a film”.

If, on the other hand, I mentioned Nação Zumbi, at least some of my readers would think of a Brazilian band who are most definitely not crappy! I was lucky enough to be taken to one of their performances a couple of days after I arrived in Rio and I have to say they were awesome. Their style is a fusion of rock, hip-hop and traditional Brazilian music with some serious drumming thrown in. If you get the chance, go see them, they’re a great band. When I went to see them, I misheard the translation of the band name and assumed it meant Zombie Nation. In fact it means Zumbi Nation - this is Zumbi: 

Zumbi also known as Zumbi dos Palmares. His story is fascinating, inspiring and tragic.

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Dec 16

The most amazing natural wonder in Brazil.

That’s right, I’ve just gone right ahead and put a full stop at the end of today’s post title. No question marks today, it’s Friday, I’m feeling tough and I’m going to make a statement of fact. Lençois Maranhenses is the most amazing natural wonder in Brazil.

Before I tell you anything about it, I’m doing to do a quick backtrack regarding my tough Friday stance in that opening paragraph. I actually haven’t seen very much of Brazil – I’ve seen some of the Amazon region, a little of the north-eastern states of Maranhão and Ceara and a little of Rio state. I haven’t been down south to all those amazing beaches everyone tells me about. I haven’t been to the waterfalls of Iguaçu (and yes, I know they’re amazing). So I will listen if you tell me there is somewhere more spectacular (in fact I’d love to hear your opinions/suggestions).

But seriously, take a look at this:

Lençois Maranhenses, Maranhão, Brazil

Situated in Brazil’s poorest state, Maranhão, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park covers 270 km² and lies on the coast of north-east Brazil. Situated next to the sea, these huge white sand dunes are dotted with rain-fed, fresh water lagoons.


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Dec 05

Lupi catches bullet

I won’t resign and I won’t be sacked. I have the President’s full support. I guarantee it won’t happen…It will take a bullet to get me out of the ministry. And it will have to be a big bullet, because I’m a big guy. - Carlos Lupi, 8th November 2011.

Politics and corruption in Brazil appear to be intimately linked.


Brazil’s Labour minister, Carlos Lupi, announced his resignation yesterday. This makes him the 6th minister to resign because of corruption allegations since President Dilma Rousseff came to power (at the start of 2011). Lupi’s resignation comes after more than a month of allegations and revelations. As the quote above illustrates, this guy is quite a character. In response to the outcry to that followed the above quote, he made another statement apologising to the president:

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Nov 30

"To live in Brazil is shit…

…but it’s great.”

Who said that? None other than Antônio Carlos Jobim, also known as Tom Jobim, the godfather of bossa nova, composer of The Girl from Ipanema and one of the great Brazilians of the 20th Century. The full quote is:

“To live in other countries is great, but it’s shit. To live in Brazil is shit but it’s great.”

Tom Jobim – legend.

Nov 29

Are you happy with your country?

Last week I saw this article on the Guardian website – for those of you who don’t do links, the title is Want to be happy? Don’t live in the UK. It goes on to list various statistics which demonstrate that people in the UK and Ireland pay more tax, enjoy fewer holidays, shorter life expectancy and fewer hours sunshine than France, Spain and various other countries in Europe. 

The title of the article made me smirk and feel a little smug (I certainly see more sunshine and enjoy more holidays than I did in London), but as a couple of friends pointed out, the UK is a great place to live! Amongst other things, we (or should I say they?) have a free health service for all, great education, low crime rates, low poverty and politicians who are publicly accountable. And yet people in the UK have been subjected to a steady stream of doom and gloom for years:

Broken Britain – this imagery and tone seems to come up again and again in the British press. Of course you need to acknowledge a problem before can solve it, but are the people who continually push this message doing it for political gain and/or to sell newspapers?


This contrasts starkly with Brazil, recently dubbed the ‘Country of Optimism’.

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Nov 17

How to beat the Kilo

Although I think of myself as being fairly adventurous when it comes to food, I am also a creature of habit, particularly when it comes to my everyday working life. 


Me proving my food-adventurousness with the help of a guinea pig (and several glasses of wine).

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Nov 11

Three Yummy Foreigners I Met in Rio

I sometimes think that the title of this blog is a little misleading. Originally I had planned to concentrate on all the delicious and (to me) previously unknown food I discovered in Rio, but as time passed I found there were all kinds of other interesting things that I wanted to write about. Now my selection criteria have broadened to include anything that I would show/tell a curious friend who hadn’t been to Brazil. 


Sure there’s some food in there, but there’s quite a lot of other stuff as well (this is a sneak-peak of the new-look Eat Rio coming soon).



But I’m still into the food! I have plans to tell anyone interested about a whole bunch of great Brazilian dishes, ingredients and perhaps even a few of what I deem to be Rio’s best places to eat. 

So today I’m going to tell you about a Peruvian, a Mexican and a Southeast Asian I met in Rio. They have quite different personalities but all three are totally yummy. 

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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.



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Aug 31

My First Bus Chat

In one of my first posts I gave a bit of an overview of the buses here in Rio – they are such a great way to get a snap shot of the people of Rio that it seemed a good place to start. And although I described some of the negative aspects, I hope the overall impression I gave was one of affection.  

One of the the first things that the buses showed me about the Cariocas is their willingness to chat. I watched as complete strangers sat next to each other and passed the time, discussing all kinds of interesting subjects in an amiable way. I remember thinking back to all those miserable bus journeys back in London where everyone would sit in a kind of suspended animation, where the closest thing you’d get to conversation would be someone tutting at the traffic. And then I would return my attention to Rio and the cheerful strangers in front of me as they discussed who knows what. 

Perhaps I am idealising the situation somewhat. It has occurred to me that my limited understanding of the language does mean that I’m missing all the bitching and complaining that may well be going on around me. They could well be moaning about the traffic in just the same spirit as my former co-passengers back in London. Well maybe they are, but at least they’re talking!   

Anyway, as much as I enjoy watching these conversations, I always felt rather sad that I couldn’t really take part in one. Although I was here and in amongst it, my lack of decent Portuguese meant that my role was restricted to that of spectator… Until tonight!

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