Spotting Toucans in Rio

Picture the scene: it’s 9am and I’m sitting at my desk with a full day of work ahead of me. My phone is switched off, I’m logged out of all instant-messaging applications and Mrs Eat Rio is in São Paulo. Today nothing will distract me. Today will be different. Today I will achieve! 

I start tapping away at the keyboard and it feels like things are going well. Then a strange noise starts up outside. It’s actually quite annoying and for once it isn’t man-made. This is the sound I heard:



See what I mean? It is pretty annoying isn’t it? It’s also quite hard to ignore and it sounded like it was coming from the trees just outside the window, so I decided to investigate.


As tormentors go this fellow was rather charming.

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Photo Post: Rio Rainbow

So there I was, up on the roof watering the plants, when I looked up and noticed that the clouds that had been gathering for the last couple of hours had started to clear. It was getting late in the day and I had been wondering if it would rain, but then the sun kind of peeped through below the clouds and lit up the Sugarloaf. I ran to get my camera. I know I bombard you guys with a lot of photos of my local monolith, but it is rather photogenic I’m sure you’ll agree.


When conditions are right, the sun lights up the face of sugarloaf and makes it look extra magnificent.


So, I was just about to put my camera down and get back to the plants when I looked over towards the bay and noticed a weird patch of rainbow in the sky. It clearly wasn’t raining anywhere, yet here was a small patch of rainbow!


“That’s weird” I thought. I kept watching it…

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Photo Post: Lagoa looking moody

Hey guys – just a quick postinho today, but lots more on the way! I thought you might like to see this panorama of the Lagoa. Rio has been so wet and dark and moody lately – hopefully this will give you an idea of what I mean.


There you go – a nice big panorama of the Lago…


What’s that you say? You can hardly see anything? OK, see if this crazy panorama-scroll gadget I found works for you…



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Rio strikes back

I feel like I’ve been mildly unfaithful recently. I’ve been off having flings with other cities and neglecting my beloved Rio. First I was seduced by Lima with its exciting food and reasonable prices. Then Melbourne caught my eye with its fancy restaurants and excellent transport system.

My first week back in Rio wasn’t easy. The people who told me that jet-lag is worse when you travel from west to east were so right. More than a week after arriving back, I am still waking up at 5:30am each morning and falling asleep at 9pm. On top of that there has been the usual trauma of returning to full-time work after 2 weeks of lounging, snoozing and other forms of general relaxation.

So, have my dalliances with other cities made me think twice about whether Rio is the one for me?

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Protests in Brazil – Sem Violência

On Thursday night we saw groups of (mostly) men roaming the streets of Rio without leadership or discipline, indiscriminately committing acts of violence.


If you’ve been following recent events in Rio (and countless other cities in Brazil), you’re probably wondering whether I’m describing the police forces or the minority of protesters who appear to be using these events as an excuse to smash stuff and set fire to things. At times the two groups, supposedly diametrically opposed, have appeared to share many traits.

This morning I arrived at work to see news footage from last night of guys in masks smashing up pretty much anything they could get their hands on. They were pulling down lampposts, setting fire to rubbish, kicking in windows and smashing up banks and shops. Then something that really shocked me – there were a couple of guys smashing in the windows of a bus and then the camera moved to show petrified passengers still trapped inside. Man, that made my blood boil! Some poor old guy was cowering under his chair while this idiot was shattering the windows with a metal bar.

Destroying a bank achieves what exactly? (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Destroying a bank achieves what exactly? (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)


But let’s not forget that there were hundreds of thousands of people protesting last night. The vast majority of them had nothing to do with the wanton destruction and spent a lot of time chanting the mantra: Sem violência! Again, it’s telling that this call was directed at both the police and the violent protesters.

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Video post: How to samba

Do you know how to samba? You should not be surprised to know that this clueless and somewhat awkward gringo doesn’t have a clue, so you can calm down if you thought I was was going to show you a video of me giving it a try.

Contrary to popular opinion, not all Brazilians are passistas (expert samba dancers) either. In fact I’ve seen a few Brazilian bloggers who have posted the following:



I find this message comforting. If not all Brazilians know how to samba then it seems perfectly acceptable that I don’t have a clue either.

However, I have just spent a few minutes checking out some instructional videos and it turns out it may not be completely impossible. Take a look at this clear demonstration:


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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.

What’s wrong with favelas?

I first became aware of the word “favela” when I was 12 or 13 – we watched a video in geography class about São Paulo. I don’t remember much about the video itself, but the word stuck in my head and 20 (ish) years later I find myself living right next to one.

Favelas are one of the most prickly subjects in Brazil. Get into a conversation about favelas with a middle class Brazilian and there is a good chance that you will find yourself in trouble before long. I once mentioned to a friend of a friend that Vidigal looked beautiful at night. He responded “Favelas are ugly. You think it is romantic to live without proper sanitation?”.

Vidigal favela at sunset

Vidigal (a favela next to wealthy Leblon) lights up as darkness falls.


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Brazil: apathy-free zone?

During my time in Brazil I’ve noticed that young Brazilians seem to lack the apathy that is common in many of their British contemporaries. It is quite normal to see Brazilian teenagers and 20-somethings wearing t-shirts bearing environmental messages: “Save Water!”, “Protect Mother Earth!”. Their British counterparts wouldn’t be seen dead in a t-shirt which was this earnest! They would snort derisively and read out the slogan in a mocking voice. “Oh yeah, ‘Save the Planet’ man.

Take a look at this:


I spotted this as I was walking in Santa Teresa recently and it occurred to me that simple, positive messages like this are quite rare back in Britain.


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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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