So Saturday Brian and I, armed with our map and limited Portuguese headed out to find the Chaveiro (locksmith) to make some more keys for our house. The directions in our “welcome kit” said we were headed in the right direction and that we would find “Oscar” between blocos C and D in the North Section of 114 — seems relatively simple right? Oh even you must have caught on to the fact that nothing is easy to find here lol — we got to the place described above but we did not find “Oscar” but another locksmith (did not get his name) he was very friendly (or at least seemed to be since I didn’t understand a word he said as he supposedly called Oscar for us and told him something about “americanos” looking for him — at the end of this conversation we think he was telling us that Oscar was in the “South” and not “North” where we were — ok — Obrigada (thank you) as we tried to leave but he kept saying something about vinho (wine?) and traversa (travels) and despite our please of “nao falo Portuguese” (No speak Portuguese) he kept babbling on and on like we understood — we finally had to just make a somewhat hasty and rude exit because at this point he was wasting his breath and Portuguese on us! So we got back in the car, took out the map and now located the equivalent address in the “South” — yes we were determined little Key Seekers — when we got to the “South” — much to our disappointment there was no Oscar to be found… guess we really didn’t understand what our friend was trying to say — maybe he wanted to go out for a glass of wine with us lol! On the bright side, there were some nice shops in this section and we stumbled across this Organic Food Store pictured — despite everything being in Portuguese we might have to make a trip back here one day for some organic wonders — um, that is if we can remember how to get here again without our friend in the “North”!
So we have been trying to stay quite busy here so that we can a. make some new friends, b. enjoy ourselves and c. practice our Portuguese. I am not going to lie, we mostly are aiming for “a” and “b” and if “c” accidentally happens, well there’s an added bonus! Friday night, we went to a happy hour at the Marine House — it said it was from 19:00 to 01:00 (translate — you need to learn military time!) so since we already have learned that nothing starts on time here (hmm — must be a tropical weather thing because nothing started on time in Kenya either!)– we didn’t leave our house until 19:45 and arrived around 20:00 — well epic fail on our part since we were still the first arrivals besides the Marines of course lol! However, we got to talk with some of the marines and enjoy a couple of drinks when slowly other people started to drift in… a familiar face (another newcomer) and nice conversation followed and then we realized that we were by far the oldest people there — time to make our exit; not sure if this is going to satisfy “a” and “b” of our going out criteria and it certainly did nothing for “c” since everyone spoke English, although we did learn that you absolutely, positively need to learn Portuguese to “survive” here — ugh — we might need to bump “c” up to “a” in our priority list! Anyways we dashed out around 21:00 (is this military time getting annoying yet?! — welcome to my life!) and headed over to the Lake to get some more drinks (“b” on our priority list) and enjoy the view. We sat out on the deck of the Bierfass ( ) and had a beautiful view of the lake and of many couples making out on the pier — seems to be very common here to express your affection quite openly in public lol! After enjoying a bottle of german beer and some chicken wings (only took us about 20 minutes and google translate to order these — so I think we satisfied “c” quite nicely!) we left the lake and lovers and headed home — all in all a nice night out with my hubby and the beginning of many more adventures out in lovely Brasilia!
So today I decided to stop at the grocery store at the end of my walk so I armed myself with an empty backpack, some Reais, my tunes and my much needed “thumbs up” since that is the only kind of communication I am successful at here in Brazil — they love to give you the thumbs up which in essence means everything is A-OK — which is not to be confused with the apparently not universal A-OK symbol, since here if you flash that rounded circle of thumb and pointer finger, you are actually calling someone an “asshole” — thank god that little tidbit was in our Welcome Brochure! I had a good 3 mile walk and then stroll through the grocery store where I only got minimal stares for my backpack and athletic attire (look out for another post in the near future about what the Brazilians wear to work out here — it looks nothing like what I had on today — I just need to get up the nerve or practice my spy shots in order to capture someone in this outlandish attire!) I had to carefully select what I was buying since I had to haul it all home but as you can see I got all the essentials!! (dinner, dessert, popcorn for a movie and toothpaste to keep those teeth nice and healthy since I don’t think we will be visiting the dentist here!)
We have finally moved into our permanent residence after 2 and half weeks in the hotel (and 8 weeks for Brian!) — We were all so ready to move (I sense the roll of eyes but living in a hotel really does get old after a few days — we knew the room service menu by heart and our key cards needed to be reset almost everyday and plus the constant maid service caused such a disruption lol!) Anyways we happily packed up the Shaggy Van with our few suitcases (and a lot of dirty laundry) and headed over the bridge to our new home in Lago Sul… Wow — it was worth the wait! Its huge and beautiful and yes it is the house of many bathrooms — 8 to be exact! (we only discovered the 8th one on our 2nd day in the house lol — its outside on the side of the house– (I guess if you can’t make the additional 3 steps to walk into the house and use the downstairs bathroom, it will come in handy!) Oh and the laundry room is bigger than my living room was in the states lol — and it sure came in handy for all that dirty laundry from the hotel! I will post a video shortly once we get all our shipments and actually “move” in but in the meantime I will be hitting up my creative peeps on how to stage this house — I mean what do you do with a rounded wall in a living room that is probably 1500 sq feet?
So the Secretary of State, John Kerry, is in country and came to the US Embassy for a meet-n-greet this morning… kind of a pep talk for the State Department and a chance for us expats living overseas to have a little taste of “american celebrity” and you know that much needed pat on the pack for our service to the country — I know you are wondering what my contribution is but after to listening to Sec. Kerry this morning, I feel pretty damn important – which brings me to my next point.. I need (because I do such a good job of serving my country lol) a better camera phone– if you haven’t noticed (although I don’t know how you couldn’t unless you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while — hmm, which I haven’t done either — but I digress-) poor Mr. Kerry and in fact most of my recent posts are quite blurry… its not that I am a bad shot — although my boys swear my hands shake when I take pictures – but I think my dinosaur of a phone (Iphone 3– yeah, I even had a girl in Old Navy ask me where I found this antique and if it really worked!) probably is only like a 1 pixel (is that even possible?) or something and needless to say, no matter how hard I steady my hand, the pictures are pretty damn blurry which might also explain my somewhat blurred view of how important I am to Sec. Kerry!
So if you know me, you know my somewhat complicated addiction to Diet Coke and despite the continued harassment, I mean love and concern, of friends and family and living in third world countries where water is usually in short supply – let alone soft drinks, my day is not complete without that satisfying sip (ok several sips, er, cans) of Diet Coke! Here is Brazil’s answer: Guaraná Jesus: a Brazilian soft drink produced by bv0, a Coca-Cola bottler based in São Luís. The drink is popular within the region, reportedly outselling Coca-Cola, and is made from extracts of the guarana plant, which contains caffeine (sometimes called “guaranine”), theophylline, and theobromine. Lago has noted that “Every Brazilian knows that guarana is a stimulant and that means it stimulates everything”. The drink has a pink color, a cinnamon aroma and a very sweet taste, and is marketed with the slogan “the pink dream”.
I love the name but not sure if even this “Jesus” can save me from my love affair with Diet Coke…
Okay so I have heard that you have to watch the volleyball players in the park – everyone said its so neat to watch because they play like soccer — No hands, every other body part is used besides their hands… Interesting enough until you realize that they also play in their speedos! Seriously, there were several games going on at once and yup, everyone was kicking the ball so gracefully with just a tiny speedo on. You got to love this free spirit of the Brazilians — only time will tell if my boys get the “balls” to embrace this aspect of the culture….