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Thursday, 14 April 2011

My ´Hood (or part of it at least)

If you're from Rio, you're called a Carioca - It's nice to have a label. If you're like me, you're a gringo. Plain and simple - although it seems that its not as derogatory as it sounds. I actually get the feeling that it's an endearing term reserved for us poor lost foreigners. To be honest, I reckon I'm offered more than my share of goodwill and patience.

I know I bang on about bus drivers, but get this. I reckon the dirty great beasts of the road have been responsible for all of my near-death experiences in Rio so far. That said, not only are these guys prepared to splatter me in order to get where they're going, they are also prepared to screech (and I mean tyremarks) to a halt 500 metres after the bus stop just because I was too dozy to remember to alight. (hmm... where do you get off etc etc...)

So, pretty quickly, I feel a part of the mayhem, rather than a camera toting holiday maker (or one of those gap year types from the mosquito factory at the bottom of the road (I'm only jealous - more about them later)

Incidentally - here's where we live. Slap bang in Copacabana. Before we made the move I explored via the power of google, and the one thing I just can't communicate here is the noise! - I love noise in my life, but this is pretty close to the limit. Needless to say if I wanted to stroll down the street banging two bin lids together, chances are nobody would notice.


Now - if you are ever passing by, the petrol station at the bottom of the street has an amazing bakery. Just saying.

Right - Cariocas love babies. Our little man is the subject of more cooing than a packet of hobnobs in trafalgar square. I'm not kidding - a simple excursion to the petrol station to buy a couple of rolls may well include a good five minutes of fascinated cheek-squeezing (his, not mine). He currently attends a local nursery - Passo a Passo - just around the corner next to yet another backpackers retreat ('mellow yellow' for crying out loud).  Whilst I wouldn't put it past some of the more unscrupulous cariocas to rob you in broad daylight, the buggies outside nursery remain untouched - maybe even robbing bastards won't nick off babies.


Anyway - to look at a video of his nursery, where even one year olds turn up in uniform and get a school report (he did especially well in science the other day!) - have a look here http://g1.globo.com/videos/jornal-da-globo/v/materiais-escolares-deverao-ter-selo-de-qualidade-e-seguranca/1404105/

Tomorrow dawns the arrival of our first UK guest. Yep - my old man has packed his speedos and he boards the plane this afternoon. Hope he likes our place, and the noise, and the busses. Crikey, best do what I do best and have a very careful think about which bar to hit first......

Try one of these....

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