Monthly Archives: March 2011

No St Patrick’s day for me this year

It’s Paddy’s day. Usually that would mean some fun in the evening drinking Guinness and enjoying the several-gigs-in-one-day that the BibleCode Sundays are planning, but this year is a bit different.

It’s true that there are several Irish bars in São Paulo, but they are seen as upmarket joints and are very expensive. I don’t mind spending a lot when it’s a special location, like the bar at the top of the Italia building , with a view over the city from 44 floors up, but some flea-bitten Irish bar that is charging £10 a pint just because it’s “foreign” – no thanks.

The funny thing is that some of these bars even charge you just to get in because they see themselves as foreign and sophisticated. Can you imagine having to pay something like £10 just to walk into your local O’Neill’s Irish theme pub and then paying £10 for each pint of Guinness? And this is in Brazil where £10 goes a long way…

So I might put on my Ireland shirt later and have a quick Brahma before bedtime, after my Portuguese class finishes. Not quite the same, but I will be at the parties back in Europe in spirit.

Private Eye

New Moo cards featuring Brazil

If you have met me and had a business card from me in the past few years then you probably have one of my Moo Cards. I take a lot of photos when I am out and about and those photos end up on my business cards… so everyone always gets a unique card when they meet me.

I just got some new ones printed for my new role at IT Decisions. They all feature photos I have taken of Brazil.

Take a look at a small selection of some of the cards here and see what you can recognise…

New Moo Cards

Henry VIII has a lot to answer for

The English Reformation in the 16th Century was the series of events that led to the creation of the Church of England – when the English broke away from the power of the Roman Catholic church.

For most of my life, I never really considered the significance of this, other than the knowledge that if I had ever met and wanted to get married to an English princess I could never be a King thanks to my own Catholic background.

But now I have moved to Brazil, and as Lent begins this week, I can see a huge glaring difference.

In England, the tradition is to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday – a way of seeking absolution for the crap we eat all year, get rid of it all, and eat more humble food for the following 40 days up to Easter.

In Brazil, the entire country goes wild and nobody does any work for a week… because it’s the CARNIVAL season!

Henry VIII has a lot to answer for…

Viviane Araújo

Bus rides in São Paulo

Moving to a new country can be a confusing experience. It’s even more so when the country is on a different time zone, in a different continent, and the people use a completely different language. It has been quite an experience coming to Brazil.

But all these new experiences also can make small achievements feel significant.

Back home in London, I would never have considered it an achievement to go out for a meeting, and then to come home again. But drop yourself in an unfamiliar city of 20m people where very few can use English, and then try the same thing.

Yesterday I went out alone, got a bus and metro into town, went and charged up my metro card, ordered a few beers and some snacks, and managed to get two buses to come home again.

It’s simple stuff, but when I got back I felt happy that I can now feel fairly confident negotiating my way around the city and ordering some basic food and drinks and all without anyone speaking English. And with over 1,000 bus routes and no simple spider maps, São Paulo can be a challenge by bus even for the locals – you just have to learn which buses go where because there is no information at the bus stops.

All this makes me feel so much more enthusiastic about improving my Portuguese.

And just as I start getting more enthusiastic, my university course at PUC-SP is about to start on the 15th… will I be able to join in the football chants at Palmeiras soon?
Our carts are cleaned every day but if you prefer to use the alcohol gel