A delicious drop…


This mysterious white object appeared in the sky last weekend.


How has the weather been for you over the last few months? It seems like I’ve been hearing stories of freak weather from all over the world – floods in Britain, snow in the US and ice storms in Canada. Here in Rio we had the hottest summer in 50 years. From the start of December 2013, right through to the end of February, we had temperatures that rarely seemed to dip below 35°C (95°F) and spent long periods well up above 40°C (104°F).

They say that the British are always talking about the weather, but I tell you what – when things get hot, the Brazilians talk about it a fair bit too! Day after day I would hear people complaining that the temperatures were insuportável (unbearable). I have to confess that I took a certain amount of pleasure in telling anyone who would listen that I positively loved the high temperatures. And after all, I spent the first 30 years of my life complaining about how cold it was, I wasn’t about to start moaning about the heat!

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Photo Post: Rain in Rio

My first job interview in Rio went pretty well. We spent about 10 minutes talking about what the new role would be, then another 20 minutes talking about my skills and past work experience. Then, at the end, one of the two interviewers turned to me with a quizzical look on his face and asked: “Just one thing – why would you leave a job like that in London to come to Rio?“. The way he asked the question made it clear that he thought I was crazy!

Conversely, I know that many Brazilians who move to London are asked by incredulous locals “Why would you leave sunny Brazil to come to this miserable place?”. I guess next door’s chicken is always fatter, right?

Well you know what? You might not see it on the postcards, but it rains a lot in Rio. In fact it rains more in Rio than it does in London!


It has rained pretty much non-stop every single time I’ve left the city of Rio to explore other parts of Rio state. This was a nice bamboo sprout I saw in Petrópolis.


I imagine that Londoners will be reading this and thinking “Oh sure, you get more actual rain in Rio because of those crazy tropical storms, but I bet we (Londoners) have more rainy days than Rio”. Well that’s where you’re wrong:

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Copacabana, street kids and popcorn in the rain

We had a massive storm in Rio on Tuesday night. I was leaving work in Barra and had just got on my bus when the first fat drops of rain started to fall. Within minutes the rain was coming down in torrents and the thunder and lightning started soon after.

The windows on the bus steamed up and the rain was so strong that it was like someone was spraying the outside of the bus with a hose. As the bus hurtled along the precipitous Avenida Niemeyer I thought that perhaps it was a good thing that I couldn’t see out of the windows.


When hurtling along Avenida Niemeyer at breakneck speed in the dark in the middle of a thunder storm, looking out of the window is not recommended. Source


The bus came down the hill into Leblon and then followed the beach into Ipanema. Every time the bus doors opened to let passengers off, I saw some new scene of watery mayhem – people cowering on the beach under a buckling gazebo or wading through flood-water and sheltering under wind-smashed umbrellas.

Then I made my fatal error.

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The storm before the calm

Wow, I’ve been so busy recently that there’s been no time for blogging! Can you believe I actually worked last weekend? Saturday and Sunday? Work has been crazy recently – lots of early starts and late finishes. Thankfully, after 6 months solid work, I have some holiday coming up. During these last few frantic days at work, my mantra has been “This time next week I’ll be in Bahia, this time next week I’ll be in Bahia…”.

Bahia, in Brazil’s northeast, is known for being a particularly laid back place. A friend told me that last time he was there, he was staying in a pousada (like a guest house or nice hostel). At around midday he found the chef snoozing in a hammock. The chef stayed awake just long enough to listen to the lunch order and then turned over and went back to sleep! Apparently the food showed up around 4.30pm!

As if in pre-penance for the relaxing times to come, the pace of work has been building to a crescendo. And as if to mirror this tempestuous ‘storm before the calm’, the weather in Rio has gone a bit crazy too. This was the view outside my window this morning:

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Lawyers in Flip-flops!

Rio gets pretty hot this time of year. If you pop out for lunch around 12.30 you may find that your favourite restaurant, which is 10 minutes walk away, will suddenly not seem so alluring. Ten minutes walk in 38°C (100F) heat? Maybe you should just grab some rice and beans from the crappy Kilo restaurant next to work.


50°C (122°F)? Really? Like most visitors (and locals too, I suspect) I enjoy quoting these signs when telling people how hot it is in Rio. But seriously, I saw one once which said 54 and it was no more than 35. I suspect these are sun-assisted temperatures, rather than in-the-shade temperatures that are more conventionally used. (from:


I know what you’re thinking – 38 degrees isn’t that bad – it was as hot as that when I was in [Torremolinos/Death Valley/Timbuktu] last year for my holidays. OK tough guy, but were you wearing a full business suit at the time? Yeah, didn’t think so!

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Dystopian Rainiverse

After our New Year’s trip to the Coca Cola rivers of Ibitipoca, we arrived back late last night in pouring rain. Apart from a short period just as we arrived, it rained the whole time we were away. It is still raining now. The last few days reminded me of a short film I saw many years ago – a dystopian future world where it rained all day, every day without a break. Every seven years the sun would come out for just one hour, then the rain would restart. Through the magic of Google I have just discovered that the film was based on a short story by Ray Bradbury called All Summer in a Day (read it here or, if you have 30 minutes to kill, watch it here).

Taking photos of rain is not easy! I just hope I don't have to wait 7 years to see the sun again...


Of course I’m being a little melodramatic here. We actually had a lovely time away in Minas Gerais and once I have a little time to sort through my photos I’ll tell you all about it. But for now I am going to continue being melodramatic. Or maybe I can drop the “melo”, because there was quite significant drama on the way home yesterday.

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Tidying up and moving…

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post today as we had a party last night and I’ve been clearing up and cleaning the house all day. Here is a photo taken from our balcony yesterday as we were preparing for the party – dramatic right?

Split sky

The rain and clouds were moving away, to the right. Does the rainbow (on the left) look a bit fake? I promise it isn't! We hoped it would be a good omen that the storm clouds were leaving us in time for the party, but unfortunately there was plenty more rain to come. Luckily the birthday girl got so drunk she didn't notice!

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The Herbs are Smoking!

The best way to describe recent weather in Rio would be ‘changeable’. Yesterday was blisteringly hot, then last night there was a torrential downpour (just after got home – yes!). This morning I woke to a rather tedious drizzle which reminded me of England. 

A day or two of rain doesn’t really bother me (well, unless those two days are Saturday and Sunday!) – I actually rather like a bit of mixed weather. And it seems that I’m not the only one!


This Basil ain’t Fawlty! In fact it is getting a little bit too successful.

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The Emperor’s Tree, Freed by Slaves

One of the things I love about life in Brazil is that there are plenty of public holidays. Next Tuesday is the ‘Proclamation of the Republic’ holiday and seeing as it lands on a Tuesday, many people will get Monday off work too. Four days off work just as the summer is getting going? Yes, I’m pretty happy about that. Of course the weather forecast is showing 4 straight days of thundery rain, but right now the sun is shining and I’m heading off to Jardim Botanico, Rio’s botanic gardens. 

The Imperial Palms of Jardim Botanico.

The huge Imperial Palms (Roystonea oleracea) of Jardim Botanico are hard to miss, having been planted in great avenues lining many of the paths. These long-lived palms form a fascinating part of Rio’s history. 

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Sun For Sale

If you Google “What to do in Rio when it rains” you will get a lot of hits. That’s because most of the nicest ‘Rio activities’ involve being outside – lazing on the beach, a churrasco at a friend’s place, a walk to the waterfall, wandering and sight seeing. And of course rain = clouds = you won’t see much from the lookouts at Pão de Açucar or the Cristo. 

When it starts raining, many people seem to go into suspended animation, cancelling everything until the rain stops and normal service can be resumed. 


Call everyone to cancel the churrasco, ensure you have plenty of snacks in the house and then prepare for an 80s movie marathon…

But it doesn’t have to be this way! If your event simply can’t be rescheduled and you have enough cash, then there is a solution. The answer lies with an indigenous spirit named Cacique Cobra Coral.

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