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A solution for Santa Teresa while we wait for the Bondinho

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Anyone who has visited Rio’s Santa Teresa neighbourhood over the last 3 years may have been a little confused. The picturesque streets that trace the area’s steep hills and hairpin bends are covered in tracks, yet the Santa Teresa tram has not been seen here since August 2011. Instead you see posters on walls and stickers in car windows showing the image above.

Back when I first moved to Rio, the tram of Santa Teresa, better known as the Bonde or Bondinho, was a major tourist attraction. The bright yellow wooden tram cars were rickety but pretty and made for an utterly charming way to get around Santa Teresa. However, although tourists and locals flocked to the trams, all was not well.

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Galinha ao Molho Pardo

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Feeling lazy and hungry?

OK I’ll hold my hand up – from time to time I succumb to the temptations of exaggeration and hyperbole. When you’re trying to write about something in an entertaining way, it can feel a bit flat to say something is “nice” or “fine” or “pleasant”. That’s when I come out with phrases like “this is my favourite Brazilian dish ever!!!“. So, today I’m going to try to stay calm and keep the exclamation marks to a minimum.

About a month or so ago, Mrs Eat Rio and I were feeling both hungry and lazy, so we decided to wander up into Santa Teresa and find somewhere to eat out. We didn’t really have a plan, but we found ourselves in a low-key kind of place called Bar do Arnaudo. Well it might look low-key, but it turns out this place is amazing!!! good.

We ordered a nice cold beer and perused the menu. Arnaudo’s specialises in comida nordestina (dishes from the north-east of Brazil). One classic dish from the north-east is Carne de Sol and I love it, but Mrs Eat Rio has had just about enough of it as I went through a bit of a phase where it’s all I wanted to eat. So instead we went for a rather special chicken dish.

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What’s that on the floor?

As a kid I spent quite a lot of time staring out of the window when I should have been concentrating. My teachers used to say I was “staring into space” which always confused me as I thought they meant outer space! I hadn’t seen a single planet, comet or asteroid. I was just looking at the clouds…

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Remember this from Amelie?

 

Well, it seems like Amelie and I are not the only ones. If you happened to check the Eat Rio Facebook page this morning you would have seen following mystery image. Read more

Waiting for the Bondinho

The Bondinho (sounds like bon-JEEN-yo) is the name used by the people of Rio for the little yellow trams that used to trundle along the steep and winding streets of Santa Teresa (the neighbourhood that I currently call home). They would make their way from the hills of Santa, across the amazing arches of Arcos da Lapa and end up in Centro (downtown Rio). They were sweet, rickety old things, clanking and shaking as they made their way up and down the hills, almost always full to overflowing with a mix of locals and tourists – it was common to see people hanging off the edges as the street-cars went by.

Bonde da Santa Teresa

Quintessential image of Santa Teresa in happier days. Source

 

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Acarajé

Last weekend we had a friend from London to stay. This was fun, not just because our guest was nice and not only because she brought us all kinds of yummy goodies from home, but also because her presence pushed us into doing a whole bunch of sight-seeing things that we probably wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. We wandered around a favela, we went to see some samba (these guys) and spent a fair bit of time eating and drinking in Santa Teresa. 


One of the places we ended up was Armazém São Thiago, a really nice old bar that dates back to 1919. The bar itself does pretty yummy food, but even better than that, on Sundays there is a lady just outside the bar cooking Acarajé

A delicious bundle of spicy goodness. I am designating acarajé as an essential food – see the others in the list by clicking the ‘essential food’ label on the right (Photo: Leonardo Martins).

 

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Views To Get Out Of Bed For

Some problems are good to have aren’t they? Like when the view outside your window at 5.30am is so amazing that you simply have to get out of bed and take a few photos. Then you can’t get back to sleep and you find yourself tired for the rest of the day. I’m not going to get much sympathy here am I? 


Well if I’m going to suffer (yes, suffer) then it seems only right that something good comes out of it. Like today’s post! So here are some of the more memorable views from my window that have sent me scampering for my camera:

This was yesterday morning. We have a saying in England: “Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”. This is the old way of saying that it’s going to rain (everyone knows shepherds can’t stand the rain right?). Well, judging by yesterday’s weather, that saying doesn’t work here.

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Coming up next on Dog TV – Chicken!

About three months ago my wife and I moved into the top floor of a lovely house near the top of a steep hill in Santa Teresa, an artsy neighbourhood near downtown Rio. To be honest, it’s a little more than we can afford and walking up the hill is exhausting, but the beautiful view makes up for cutting back on a few luxuries and the achy legs.

A sight for sore legs – the view from our new house, situated where the neighbourhoods of Santa Teresa and Glória meet. You can see Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) and Guanabara Bay in the background.

 

Santa Teresa (or simply Santa as the locals say) is quite unlike most other Rio neighbourhoods, being a hilltop district with steep, windy roads lined with beautiful old buildings. In English we would describe the streets of Santa as “cobbled”, but here in Brazil they have a far more interesting word for the rough, rectangular stones: paralelepípedos. Try saying those seven syllables after a caipirinha or two!

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