Feijoada Friday

Shame on me! I’ve been in Rio for almost 4 whole months and I’ve only just had my first proper feijoada…

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It’s basically just beans, meat, rice and fried things, but it’s SO much more. The only thing I can’t get my head around is HOW Cariocas get ANY work done after their traditional Friday lunch as it sits like a brick in the tummy.

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In other news, winter is almost over and I can report that we have an almost perfect blue sky and temperatures in the high 20s.

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Winter Wonderland

What to say about the Brazilian winter? Get your violins out as it’s 25 degrees and mostly sunny. Brutal, I know! I’ve had to sleep with a blanket and wear an extra layer of clothing in the evenings.

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The woman on the radio commented that it was ‘muito frio’ the other day (aka 27 degrees) and apparently some magazines include tips on preventing chapped lips etc. (surely this is plagiarised from articles in countries with real winter weather?).

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This time next month, I’ll be basking in the Scottish summer sun (or rain/sleet/snow) in the Outer Hebrides. Bring. It. On.

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Laughing All The Way To The Bank

Brazilian bureaucracy hasn’t been at all bad and I really feel that my employer has done an amazing job of supporting the gringos.

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Last week was my first payday and I was anxious to road test my temporary bank card. It didn’t work. This week I was given a second temporary card and my first permanent card neither of which worked. So today, I went to the branch where my account is held and was assisted by a lovely girl who was very apologetic and managed to solve almost all of my financial concerns. She was also very apologetic about the mix-ups and made me feel bad for laughing at the sheer amount of paperwork and PIN numbers I was required to create and amend. I don’t think I have ever had to remember so many numbers. All of them committed to paper, well, post-it notes. It’s a foolproof system :-P

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The F-Word

Where were we? Bureaucracy! Well, last week I went to register with the federal police and Ministry of Labour, waited for a couple of hours, had my fingerprints taken and some pretty hideous mugshots. All in all it was painless and we were in a group so had a bit of a giggle. Those of us that have lived abroad before had definitely experienced worse. I now have my CNF number so can open bank accounts, get myself a personal mobile phone and EVEN use the free Wi-Fi in Starbucks. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

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A week or so ago a bunch of us decided to go to a party in a favela. It was a bit of an odd one. For starters, the invitation came from a friend of a friend of a friend. Then the instructions arrived and they were basically ‘Go to Santa Marta, ask for Michael Jackson’. What could possibly go wrong? And off we went into the night.

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The community (we don’t call them favelas any more) was super cool and felt a bit like old towns I have been to on Greek islands where old people and families sit outside their front doors and greet passersby. I felt much safer there than I do in Copacabana. We got to the top of the hill (500 or so steps later and with wobbly legs) and, behold, there was a mural of Michael Jackson.

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I’ve read about ‘favela tours’ on Trip Advisor and was less than convinced. But having been to one, particularly in the context of beer and live Brazilian music with fabulous views of the city, I would definitely go back.

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Touchdown

Greeting from Rio! I’ve been under pressure to provide an update now that I’m here, but I think I hit the ground running at such a speed that it’s been difficult to find the headspace to gather my thoughts and download them. Hmmm. I’m still not really sure where to begin.

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Booze is usually a good place to start, but I think meat would be a more appropriate topic for Brazil. I’ve only been here a week and have already eaten more meat than I thought possible. It always seems to happen at lunchtime too and it’s such a meat fest that you end up avoiding all contact with food for the rest of the day. Weird…and totally out of character for me.

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It would be wrong not to comment on the weather as it is just amazing. When I did my pre-move recce in January it rained a lot and was a major worry. But right now, it’s 29 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, no humidity, the scenery is spectacular and all the gringos are in heaven.

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I’m going to the international airport this afternoon to register with the Federal Police and to the Ministry of Labour tomorrow morning for a workbook, or something. These will be my first dealings with the local bureaucracy so my next blog will probably start with ‘WTF’ or ‘Are you having a laugh?’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you :-)

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Final Countdown

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Da da da da
Du-du-da-da da
Da-da-da da
Bum-bum-ba-dum bum bum bum bum
Da da da
Da da da da da da
Bum bum…
Da da da da da

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

If there’s one thing worse than goodbyes it’s prolonged goodbyes. I was originally supposed to leave for Rio over a week ago and organised my leaving drinks and teary farewell soirées with friends to take place the week or so before.

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As my departure date has been delayed, I’m now on round 2 or 3 of them. It’s become a bit of a running joke that I’m not actually leaving, except that I am and, if I’m honest, I HATE goodbyes. The only good thing about them is that they drag me away from packing and thinking about packing :)

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Someone once said that goodbyes make you realise what you have, what you’re about to lose and what you’ve taken for granted. I bet that person feels really smug.

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In a way, though, I feel as if I’ve already left as my thoughts are now firmly on the next chapter, opportunities and reunions in warmer, sunnier climes. Really can’t complain about that.

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