Musical Note – Rihanna

This video makes me want to take some drugs and have some fun too.. ūüôā

The Brazilian Superwoman

One of the greatest benefits of living in a developing country is the incredible luxury of having a maid. I am still at disbelief at what this wonderful woman can do for you, for about a third of the price of her counterpart in the States; She comes for 5 or 6 hours, she turns your house upside down and scrubs the floors like there is no tomorrow. She also does the laundry and can make some food.

Today I came home after work to a clean and freshly smelling apartment. ¬†I entered the kitchen and there were pots of food on the stove (chicken Strogonoff and rice). The bed was made tightly with fresh sheets. Amazing! It’s like having all the benefits of a mom, just without the nagging (sorry – mom!). I am thinking of upgrading my relationship with the maid from bi-weekly, to weekly. This is something I can easily get used to….


Grobby¬†has finally found the perfect apartment she deserved and moved into her new home about 10 days ago. She is now the proud resident of Flamengo, one of Rio’s older neighborhoods, which used to be super fancy in like the 1940’s, but is now just an average middle class hood with lots of local chopp bars.¬†¬†This site here has more interesting information about it.

So far, I’ve been happy to live away from all the other gringos, pretending I am a local, but of course, being asked every single time I go to the supermarket, where I am from (not too many tourists here so my blond-self sticks out as a sore thumb). Flamengo¬†has its character, its personality, and its beer-bellied village fools, hanging out all day in the corner boteco, watching the local piriguete¬†(something like a bimbo) wiggling their asses down the street. I’ve also discovered the Flamengo beach, which is full of similar characters, but is also a great place for a vista jogging (or very slow walking in my case), with an incredible view of the Sugar Loaf and the marina in front of it. It also has a huge park, where I could try to kill some innocent children by crushing into them once I get my roller blades (hopefully sometimes next month).

Other than that I continued to explore the many-rio spots, drinking more bad beer, and practicing my “I understand everything you’re saying to me” face. So life is continuing business as usual.

I had an interesting realization on the romantic front. Instead of understanding what is my “type”, I figured out the definition of the type of guys that are attracted to me. I call them Shrek-men.. it’s amazing, in the past few weeks, I keep receiving interest from exactly the same type of guy – I call him the Shrek¬†– stocky, big head, short, and balding.. most of the time, with bad teeth. My friend also came up with “sponge-Bob”- big head and small body. I even have a Portuguese version of this : “BCG – baixo, careca, gordo” (short, bold fat). I seriously have to work on my Shrek-repulsing and Rodrigo-Santor0-attracting facial expression…


Living on the edge of fire

Meet GOWH, aka – my gas-operated-water-heater.
I moved into to my new apartment today (finally) and met him face to face. I have never seen such creature before and I am guessing this is because they went out of production probably 20 years before I was born.
This curious machine has very complex instructions one has to follow before taking every single shower: 1) open the hot water tap 2) turn the handle to the right (almost like driving stick shift…). 3) light a match and hold it against the gas-emitting hole in the center, to light the fire. Easy enough?
One can guess the procession of events that almost led me to losing my eyebrows..

Thank God for the gospel concert that has been going on in my neighborhood today (1 mln people from all over Brazil).. I think their prayers must have saved me.

For the worried readers out there, I’m asking my landlady to change it and until then taking cold showers. Me is risk-averse.

My Morning Commute

One question I’ve always struggled with on my Russian proficiency exam was: describe your normal commute to school. I always wanted to give an interesting answer but all I could come up with was: “I exit my house, cross the park, take a bus and 10 mins later I’m there. ”

No more boring answers.

Now that I’m in Rio, I finally have a more exciting answer to give. My daily commute doesn’t have a moment of boredom. It starts with me trying to navigate Rio’s extremely uneven sidewalks that become extra tricky when one is wearing heels, as they are paved with small rocks that are often missing.
I then have to watch for all the men swarming around me. I’ve come to a conclusion that they are staring at me because of three main reasons: 1) I’m a woman, 2) I look different 3) they want to rob me (kind of related to 2). So most of the time I’m trying to figure out which is the true reason for the stares. I think most frequently it’s (1).
There also the old ladies that occupy the south zone. They love walking reallllllly slow or stopping in the middle of your way to chat with the newspaper vendor or the florist. One has to navigate around them carefully to avoid them falling down or even worse, trying to strike a conversation with you.
Crossing the street is always a good exercise and somewhat a military training – one has to look quickly around and in all directions for upcoming bus, taxi or motorcycle (those are the craziest attackers) and then sprint as fast as possible across the street before one of these sneaky bastards suddenly shows up at racing speed and makes a panini out of you.

Finally, when I arrive to the metro, I elbow some women to get a seat on the women-only cart, staying as far as possible from the seats reserved for the elderly (those old ladies come in quantities and the seats are never enough so if you seat nearby, you have to get up for them).

Once my seat is secure I can finally relax and write the above post…