A new book has been released set in Sao Paulo.
So having seen Holland deal with Chile, we went into the centre and got a taxi to see whether we could find a restaurant to watch the game.
The Fan Fest in Belo Horizonte is indoor and so they shut the doors when it’s full. The taxi driver on the way to the hotel had already warned us that unless we were there by about 2pm we wouldn’t get in and seeing as though we were still lounging around our hotel at 2pm we decided to try and watch it in the centre.
We thought the cultural centre of Praca Liberadade might be a good idea but this turned out to be disappointingly devoid of places to eat so we followed the taxi driver’s advice and went to savassi, an area filled with bars and restaurants which had been closed to traffic but it turned out to be so busy that it didn’t feel safe staying there with my six year old daughter so we went around the corner to try and find somewhere quieter.
The only options seemed to be a heaving bar/restaurant with only standing room or a near empty boteco with seats. We gave the boteco a go but that too didn’t feel safe so we opted for the nicer place with standing room only and immediately found seats.
There was a great atmosphere in the place, large screens and a guitarist who played covers of 80s Brazilian bands at half time and after the game. The deal was r$60 all you can eat and drink a deal for the handful of English there for whom that equated to about £15.
Brazil didn’t disappoint and booked their place against Chile in the next round and we went back to the hotel to prepare for England v Costa Rica tomorrow
You remember me telling you that when you enter a bar you will be given a comanda that you must not lose at all cost? Well guess what happened to me last night? Having drunk one or two fizzy drinks more than is probably advisable, it came time to leave and I put my hand in my pocket for my comanda. It was gone! It wasn’t on the floor. I checked two other pockets. Not there. Then I thought about the Italian supporter stood behind me. She couldn’t have removed it from my pocket, could she? Being unable to find it I confronted her about it. No, she said, she had not taken it. Meanwhile, my girlfriend was busy trying to resolve the issue with the staff who were very helpful and managed eventually to identify everything we had consumed. I took my wallet out to pay and guess what I found. Displaying uncommon sense after ordering my last beer I had put the comanda in with my wallet where it would be ‘safe’. Needless to say I apologised to the staff, the bemused Italian girl and to my girlfriend and the world continues to turn.
And so back to today and Neymar is sporting a new haircut which must challenge the worst world cup haircuts of all time.
Brazilian magazine has published a list of ten projects that were not completed in time for the World Cup, some of which may never be completed.
In the US on HBO, John Oliver presented this brilliant summary of all that is wrong with FIFA:
And just when you thought it had gone away the true significance of the ball thing in the opening ceremony has been discovered:
And finally, some footage of what it sounded like in Sao Paulo when Brazil scored their goals:
So the first day began with scattered protests. People so proud of what they are doing they feel the need to wear masks. People so outraged at the lack of money for education and hospitals they decide the best thing to do is to burn telephone boxes and sign posts that the council is going to have to replace using more of its scarce resources.
Most Brazilians you speak too are not particularly happy about paying a quarter of their salary in tax and then having to pay extra for private schools and healthcare but the general consensus is that the decision to host the World Cup cannot be reversed and that the best place to voice their discontent is in the polling booths later in the year. This image posted to facebook sums it up:
President Dilma decided not to make a speech at the game having been booed last year at the opening game of the Confederations Cup. Even a brief appearance on the stadium monitors brought derisive chants. According to Brazilian public opinion pollsters Datafolha, the majority of the Brazilian public are, as they always have been, in favour of the World Cup.
Also, despite all the noise, President Dilma is still the most popular presidential candidate and, if history can be believed to repeat itself, a Brazilian victory in the World Cup would be very good news for a Dilma re-election.
One of the major gripes of the Brazilians is the amount of corruption that still exists in the system but, after last nights game, and after the questionable officiating in the Mexico v Cameroon game going on at the moment, conversation is moving to corruption of another kind. Brazilians completely accept that Fred’s dive last night was not a penalty but, just as no-one really minded the dubious penalty Michael Owen was awarded against Argentina in Japan in 2002, no-one is really complaining.
The first significant event of the match however was Marcelo who was unable to steer the Hull City striker, Jelavic’s, powerful back-heel away from the goal. Within minutes social media had cranked into action.
But’s not possible to end this post without mentioning the tremendous opening ceremony which even Brazil’s own press described as scoring the first goal against the World Cup. Here’s a selection of twitter comments about the spectacle and an image doing the rounds ion Facebook comparing Brazilian singer Claudia Leite to popular children’s cartoon Galinha Pintadinha:
It turns out that in Brazil they don’t celebrate valentines day on February 14th, instead they celebrate Lovers Day on June 12th. So this year, Brazilian men are in heaven because their partners will consent to watching the opening game of the world cup rather than being taken to an expensive restaurant.
Just as well because the restaurants, in Vila Madalena at least, are now jam solid with folks from all over the world who seem to have descended on Sao Paulo in the last 48 hours. I blame all the blogs recommending where to go and ruining it for those of us that live here. So, listen carefully, the best place to watch the game tomorrow is Bob’s boteco in Jundai at the end of the CPTM line.
It’s difficult to tell whether there are lots of visitors in Sao Paulo or not because the metros are always choca block and the roads always busy. At least the metro strike has ended, the strikers had lost so much public sympathy I don’t think they could continue any longer.
World famous Brazilian artist Romero Britto has taken time out from painting famous people like the Queen and has painted the queen of Brazilian football, Neymar in a piece presented to the selecao striker in Sao Paulo this morning. This act of kindness has inspired me to create my own representation of Wayne Rooney which I hope to present at a similar ceremony as soon as possible.
The Brazilian team have been preparing themselves for the Sao Paulo climate by taking baths in caipirinha. Here’s a photo of Hulk soaking his lemons:
Meanwhile, in the north of the country, locals queue for tickets in the traditional style:
Once you’ve arrived in Sao Paulo and you’ve recovered from the shock of the size of the head on your beer, you’re probably going to start to feel a bit peckish. Depending on where you chose to buy your beer there may be several options available to you. You may have chosen a restaurant for your beer in which case you’re probably sorted already depending on the type of cuisine you’ve selected. Bars do a range of food depending on the level of poshness but unlike the UK where beer it typically limited to pubs and restaurants there are a range of alternatives for beer drinking in Sao Paulo.
1. The Padaria
Essentially a bakery but the padaria is much much more. It’s the place you can go for your morning coffee, pre sugared (cafe puro if you want black or cafe pingado if you want it with milk). They also have a range of ‘salgados’ (savouries) ranging from coxinhas (pron. kosh-ee-nya – chicken surrounded by dough in covered in breadcrumbs) to pao de queijo (cheesy bread).
Any time between 07:30 and 10:00 depending on the quality of the padaria, it’ll start serving beer. Beer is available in cans (latinhas – pron. la-chee-nyas) or in pint bottles (garrafas – pron. ga-ha-faz). Beware – despite it’s name a ‘long neck’ is actually a little bottle (about 330ml). There is usually a range to choose from, it’s all fizzy lager but Original, Serra Malte or Heineken probably has the most taste but on a hot day even the bog standard Skol or Brahma can be refreshing. Bohemia is usually marginally more expensive but there’s little difference taste wise.
Throughout the day many padarias also become restaurants serving a wide range of food nd some even have buffets that charge by the kilo. You select the food you want, then your plate is weighed and you pay for the amount you have selected.
After about 6pm many padarias also serve pizza by the slice and they have a range of baked and dairy products you can buy to take away.
2. The Boteco
The boteco is a bar/cafe which has many of the features of a padaria but without the large range of bread products and food choices. The quality of a boteco varies considerably from very chic and very expensive to very filthy and cheap. The toilets in the latter variety are an experience in themselves. The food choices in a boteco are often more limited but usually include salgados and sometimes, in the posher types, a wider variety of food. The beer options are usually the same as a padaria but the more posh botecos may offer a selection of bottled beers from around the world.
3. The Feira
If you are lucky enough to go to a Sao Paulo street market then as well as enjoying the wide range of fruit and vegetables, make sure you try pastel, deep fried pastry filled with cheese or meat. Near to a pastel stall is usually someone selling caldo de cana, juice made from sugar cane which is very sweet and very delicious.
4. The lanchonete
A lanchonete is a cafe, halfway between a boteco and a restaurant. A popular dish is the ‘prato feito’ which normally consists of rice, beans (the south american kind, definitely not baked) and some kind of meat. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they normally do feijoada (pron. fey-jwa-da) which is beans mixed in with bits of pork. Fridays they’ll probably do fish.
5. The restaurant
If you want to go for a sit down meal there is a large range of Italian, Chinese, and Japanese restaurants. The best place for the last two is probably Liberdade which is where you’ll find a wide range of asian restaurants and a few karaoke bars.
6. A Curry
OK so there are some restaurants near the centre which will offer you what they think is a curry but if you want a decent curry you’ll need to get the metro south to Santa Cruz and go to Samosa and Company where you’ll find the best curry in Sao Paulo. Trust me.
p.s. My mate Pete also recommends Tandoori. Going to check it out asap. yum yum
This isn`t meant to be my attempt at Lonely Planet, there are plenty of sites aimed at tourists coming to Sao Paulo but having been to France in 98, Korea in 2002 and Germany in 2006, I thought it might be worth sharing a new things that I might want to know if I was new to Sao Paulo.
First of all, If you get a beer with more head than beer, don’t panic it’s quite normal. Draft beer in Brazil is called chopp (pronounced shoppee) and there’s a very good chance it’ll arrive with a massive head. The Brazilians claim it keeps the bubbles in the beer but if you’re like me and are not too keen on bubbly beer then you can ask for it `Sem colarinho` (pronounced seng kollarinyo) in which case it might arrive with less or more head – they probably won’t listen to you.
If you go to a bar that serves English style beers, such as Cervejaria Nacional or O`Malley`s you’ll get the same disappointingly large head in a pint glass but before you complain bear in mind that you are being charged for the amount of beer they give you (probably half a litre) and not actually for a whole pint.
When you enter the bar you’ll be given a card ( known as a comanda). You need to give the number of this card every time you buy a drink and no cash changes hands until the end of the evening when you hand your card in and pay on the way out. So, and this is very important, do not lose your card or you will be charged a lot of money to get out.
Forget about queuing at a bar six deep. Most bars in Brazil prefer you to sit at a table while waiters take your order and bring you your beer, which is much more convenient but you can very quickly notch up a fairly hefty bar tab. Also, if you are offered a `saidera` (one for the road) you will be expected to pay for it – it is not `one on the house`.
If you like micro breweries then Cervejaria Nacional is a good place to try.
They have a standard range of 5 beers: wheat beer, pilsner, red ale, IPA and stout which you can buy individually in pint or half pint glasses or as a taster selection of five third pint glasses. Each of these standard beers are named after a Brazilian legend which one day I might write a post about. They also have seasonal ales which include ales brewed in partnership with other micro-breweries.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll tell you where to get a good curry.
Bureaucracy in Brazil is a running joke but it’s no joke to Brazilians who encounter in their everyday lives. I was reminded of the ugly arm of Brazilian bureaucracy when my girlfriend needed to transfer the ownership of her car from her father’s name into hers.
A quick consultation of the gov.uk website tells me that in order to transfer car ownership in the UK you need to complete section 6 on a form, sign section 8 of the form, get the buyer to also sign section 8 on the form, give the buyer part of the form and send the rest of the form to the DVLA. No fees, no proof of identity, no authenticated impressions of the car’s chassis and engine number plaques.
Even if you don’t have the correct form you only need to write to the DVLA with vehicle registration mark, make and model, exact date of sale, name and address of the new keeper, and your signature. Oh how trusting we are in the UK.
In Brazil it requires an initial visit to your local Detran which, if you work in another area during the week, means a visit on a Saturday where they will helpfully inform you that your signature needs to be verified by a Cartorio, a public notary, which you will discover does not open on a Saturday.
Having certified your signature during the week you return to Detran the following Saturday where, not having checked the previous week, the staff inform you that the finance company your father used to buy the car had still not notified Detran that the car had been paid for despite the finance company had been telephoned to confirm this transfer would happen the previous year. Obviously the finance company does not open on Saturdays.
The week is spent speaking to individuals in the finance company who insist it is necessary for the father to go to Detran personally to declare his ownership of the car despite the fact that he lives hundreds of kilometres away and does not have a car as he has sold it to his daughter – the one currently threatening to sue the finance company if they do not transfer the ownership by Saturday.
Various additional trips are required to Detrans who, on each occasion, inform said daughter of other requirements/fees/documents/hoops which require to be fulfilled/paid/obtained/jumped through before the transfer can be made and all the time the transfer deadline is looming after which time fines will also be levied.
Her experience reminded me of my first experience of Brazilian bureaucracy when I first arrived. For those arriving in Brazil to work or, like me, on a permenant visa, there is a requirement to register with the Federal Police and obtain a foreigners identity card.
The Federal Police website, though difficult to follow, did contain information about where I should go and what I should take with me so off I went and, after a two and a half hour journey from Sao Bernado do Campo, where I lived, to Lapa, where the Federal Police live, I joined the queue at Window Two on the second floor where the helpful staff had directed me.
After a considerable queuing period the helpful member of staff at the window informed me that the items of identity I had brought with me were not actually the ones they wanted but, not to worry, she had a helpful sheet of A4 paper which listed all the things I did need and that once I had collected all these things I should return.
This I did, with a spring in my step confident that I now had documentary proof of everything I would need to get my foreigners card and, having gathered the now growing pile of papers together headed back on the two and a half hour journey to Window Two where the helpful member of staff told me it was all very nice that I had bothered to bring everything they had listed on the A4 paper but that there were a couple of extra things I would also need that they hadn’t bothered to tell me about on my previous visit.
No matter, these additional requirements could be fulfilled easily enough by visiting a local internet cafe, if I could find one. Eventually, after trudging around the streets of Lapa in 30 degree heat, I did find one and managed to print the missing items and hot foot it back to the Federal Police building where the entire staff appeared to have gone to lunch for a couple of hours.
After another consultation which resulted in a trip to the bank, to join another queue, to pay the application fee, I was now in a position where I could be given a time to join a different queue to wait for the person whose job it would be to type my application into a computer.
The Brazilians the Federal Police employ to perform this task reminded me strongly of the kind of teenagers who fill their summers working in holiday camps or as chalet staff. They seemed to spend a large amount of time gossiping about one thing or another and much less time typing actual data into actual computers.
At last, one Friday, my opportunity arrived and I took a seat opposite someone who looked like they enjoyed baladas (Brazilian night clubs) and funky (Brazilian…er…well not quite music) considerably more than inputting data into a computer. Tap tap tap…the first three letters had been entered, how exciting, and then….oh dear…the system has gone down.
Interestingly, this was the last of my 30 days I had to register before I became a member of the criminal fraternity by flouting Federal Police immigration rules. Two more queues, one to get a new appointment and the second to extend my the 30 days by the required period to cover the new appointment date.
I returned on the appointed date. My details were input by another balada/funk loving teenager. I was handed another piece of paper and told to wait in yet another queue for photographing (despite the requirement to supply a number of passport photos) and fingerprinting. This completed, the piece of paper became by temporary identity document for the next year while my actual identity card sat in a queue waiting to be laminated. The only problem with this was that the piece of paper was only valid for six months, so after six months I had to return to get a stamp saying my six months could me extended for another six months after which I returned to the Federal Police for what I hoped would be the final time to collect my lovely card which I now treasure having been through so much to get it.
As an important ally of Portugal, the British have always had an interest in Brazil but never more so than in the 19th century when a significant proportion of the population of Rio were either British or of British descent.
As in any other part of the world the British found themselves, they made efforts to introduce sport to the locals and by the middle of the century Rio boasted half a dozen cricket clubs with games played on makeshift grounds.
In the 1860s, as part of an effort to beautify the city, parks were created including the city’s first proper cricket ground which was later to host Rio’s first football games.
However, the Brazilians were reluctant to participate in sport and, unlike football which following its introduction in 1894 eventually captured the imagination of the nation, cricket faded almost completely from view as the British population in the country declined.
The modern form of cricket is still played across Brazil by small groups of expatriates and in 2003 Brazil became an associate member of the ICC but the popularity of the modern game is completely eclipsed by the popularity of a game which owes its genesis to Cricket but which has evolved and devolved into the game which is popularly known as Taco.
Anyone attempting to describe cricket to Brazilians is able to save hours of effort by simply saying: “It’s a bit like Taco”. Unfortunately the momentary satisfaction of witnessing a wave of realisation sweep across the Brazilian’s face is soon replaced by further hours spent explaining that cricket is not simply a game played by children on streets and beaches but that pads, gloves and sometimes helmets are required, and that the cricket ball is hard and bowled occasionally very hard indeed.
It’s easy to see how cricket has evolved over the last 150 years when the rules and equipment of the two games are compared. The Taco bat resembles much more closely the cricket bat of the early to mid 19th century when bowling underarm was still a feature of the game and three sticks are used as stumps though these are much more commonly substituted these days by empty plastic bottles.
Taco is played by two pairs, a batting pair and a fielding pair. The stumps (or cans or bottles) are placed either end of the wicket (though the term wicket is alien to the average Brazilian). Around each set of stumps is the crease (again this is not called a crease and is a circle drawn a full 360 degrees around the stumps).
At each end a fielding/bowling player stands behind the stumps and the batting players stand with their bat grounded inside the crease. The bowlers attempt to hit the stumps and the batters try to hit the ball as far as possible. Like cricket, on hitting the ball the batters are able to run to the opposite end and accumulate runs.
Unlike cricket, if the ball is hit behind, or catches an edge the batter is prohibited from running. Not only may they not run but, on the third occasion of the ball touching the bat and going behind, regardless of whether runs have been made in intervening balls, both batters are out and the two pairs exchange places.
A batter may be stumped either by being bowled out or by being run out either when their bat is not within the crease or, get this, if either or both of their feet are within the crease. Each time a batter is caught (even if the ball is hit behind), bowled or run out, the batting pair field and the fielding pair go into bat. The batters when running need to touch their bats as they pass for the run to count. A batter can also be got out by being hit by the ball while making a run.
The ball can be bowled from either end, the ends do not need to alternate. The ball is usually bowled from the end nearest to where the ball has been retrieved but the bowler must bowl to the stumps furthest from the end from which they are bowling. If the ball is hit back to the bowler, the bowler may immediately bowl again whether the batter is ready or not.
Although the batters and fielders may exchange roles many times over the course of the game, each team’s runs accumulates until the first team to reach a pre-agreed total, for example ten, is declared the winner.
Wikipedia lists 17 forms of cricket including many variations peculiar to particular regions or countries around the globe, What is the most peculiar derivation of cricket Corridor readers have encountered. I for one would be interested to know whether any are as close yet equally removed from cricket as Taco.
Since the Pope arrived in Brazil it started to snow in the south and people started to get eaten by fish in the north. I’m not saying these things are connected but it makes you wonder.
The woman attacked by the shark, Bruna Gobbi who was only 18, was in the process of being saved from drowning when the shark attacked. She sadly died later in hospital. (Warning: The above video shows blood in the water). There are between 50 to 70 shark attacks wordwide annually, roughly equivalent to the number of cyclists killed in Sao Paulo City. Sharks are coming closer to the shoreline due to the lack of food caused by overfishing. According to National Geographic, the number of sharks killed annually is over 100 million.
Anyway from one predator that preys on helpless animals back to the Pope who, this week had the dubious privilege of being featured on the from page of Time magazine with what appear to be horns protruding from the top of his head.
The pontiff’s visit to Brazil this week has created a circus of media attention. The media coverage has been particularly entertaining at times with clips of fawning reporters being played practically on loops and the popular day time shows Mais Voce running a feature on what can only be described as religious bling. The feature, entitled ‘Crucifixes the celebrities like to wear’ took a tour of chic crosses to rival that of the host, Ana Maria Braga. Follow this link to see the feature on Celebrity crosses.
Today the Pope read mass at The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida, which, and I’m happy to be corrected on this, I believe is the second largest Catholic church in the world after St Peter’s in Vatican City. Legend has it that a group of fishermen were having a bad day until they found a headless statue in their net. They cast the net in again and found the head. Having cleaned the statue and wrapped it in cloth they went back to finishing and managed to fill their nets with fish. As a result of this they decided to build the second largest Catholic church on the planet. Never has so much effort gone into celebrating the cleaning up of a bit of fly tipping.
Needless to say it`s a pretty big church with some interesting examples of contemporary religious art and a nice view from the big tower but these were not the things that interested me most.
Firstly, down in the basement is a collection of artefacts that people had brought to the basilica to be prayed for. For example they may have brought photos of family members who were ill, nothing strange about that, but then it starts to get a bit weird. Let’s say, for example, that Uncle Barry has sprained his ankle, his relatives then might take in a photo of the foot or, alternatively, they might choose to take a model of a foot in instead.
Interestingly enough it doesn`t stop there. people have brought in items that have caused injury such as exploded pressure cookers, guns, bottles of booze, packets of cigarettes many of which are on display in the basement but many more of which remain in storage.
The range of items in the collection is amazing, not least of which were the photos from a devout follower’s breast implant surgery that had been prayed for.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Basilica is a huge place receiving vast numbers of visitors each year. And, just like St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City where I was privileged one year to observe pope soap on a rope, it has the usual entertaining gift shops including cuddly Aparecida mascots.
Even more stunning though is the enormous food hall and shopping complex in the grounds of the Basilica designed to water, feed and relieve the thousands of visitors from their cash.
The shops in the centre sell absolutely everything from religious souvenirs to loudspeakers for car stereos some of which featured designs of naked women. Wandering through the shops brought to mind the biblical story when Jesus first visited the synagogue and turned over the tables of the moneylenders.
While there are undoubtedly many Catholics in Brazil there is a burgeoning evangelical community and churches can be found on almost every corner (they are outnumbered only by chemists and bakeries). Brazil is definitely a religious country, it’s almost impossible to leave someone’s presence without being told to go with God and many shops and restaurants have a bible stood on a pedestal just in case someone has come out without their own bible and desperately needs to look something up. I think that’s happened to all of us at one time or another.
But enough of this. I need to go back to the TV and see whether I can spot a news story that isn’t about the Pope, snow or royal births.