Outside Reading: News Features on Expat-Blog.com


A News feature
is now available for the community on Expat-Blog.com. It allows you to see the latest posts from other blogs and I think helps increase the connectivity of the expat community worldwide. It’s also great to see at a glance what’s going on worldwide.
There are also new blog listings and ways to search them.
One last thing, you can now make blog recommendations…so my dearest, beautiful readers if you want you could always throw Brasil! Pra mim…some love.

Keep Calm: How to blend in with Cariocas

You have most likely seen the posters, pictures with the words Keep Calm and underneath them more words saying to do something or other. My advice for those wanting to blend in in Rio is the same minus the doing something else. Just keep calm. Nothing sticks out more around these parts than a frenzied, frantic, neurotic, looking in every direction tensely on guard person. You might as well just hand your money and valuables over to the first person you see. Seriously.

If you don’t get robbed acting like that you will assuredly get strange looks. People are laid-back here for the most part. Maybe because there are always lines and waiting and waiting and more waiting, the population has learned to wait gracefully. They float like butterflies. Even when in a hurry there still seems to be a general ease to the movements, a sway, a leisurely strut. There’s no hurry. It’s all good. All in good time…etc. Sometimes that is absolutely, cartoon steam coming out of your ears, frustrating! If you’re American, you might be prone to just want to …erm…get er done! But here, you must learn to wait, calmly.

You will wait, I promise. You’ll wait for the point of the story your new acquaintance is telling you. You’ll wait in a labyrinthine checkout line at Lojas Americas with thoughts of no escape and impeding doom and stampedes if there were to be a fire or disaster (ok maybe that’s just my thoughts). You’ll wait for your visa to be approved, for any government documents… To speak to anyone about documents. You’ll wait in traffic. You’ll wait for the cable man to come. You’ll wait for mail. Tick tock ticky tocky…time keeps on slipping slipping…

Cultivate patience.

I’m, by nature, at times (perhaps most times) overly anxious and the opposite of calm. I’m easily overwhelmed. It’s true. That doesn’t play well here, trust me. I have yet to be robbed (knock on wood) but have had several strange, strange looks. I was told by the man at the newsstand, “calma” (meaning calm). He almost didn’t sell to me and looked at me like I was an absolute muttering sputtering bath salt using, ready to jump over his concurso books and eat him, crazy person. That day sucked. It was one of my worst not including my numerous near death experiences almost stepping out in front of taxis and motorcycles. But, you know what? In his way he was right. What’s the rush. If I finish in one place quickly, I will just make it to another with more time to wait again. If I miss the bus, there will be another one along sooner or later. If I don’t get my questionable meat on a stick first, I’ll live.

I’d also like to point out that all this waiting and laid backness should not be equated with laziness. All of the Cariocas I’ve met are workers in on way or another. They’re hustlers in the broad and most flattery sense of the term. They’re constantly doing… but they do it with a sort of ease (with the exception of driving). It’s a dance. Sometimes it’s a samba but mostly it’s a bosa nova. Nothing is jerky or crump. It’s fluid. It’s a breeze.

So, yeah my advice is to learn to float if you want to live in or around Rio. You will most likely get hit by debris from time to time and may not arrive where you had intended to go but learn to enjoy the ride. It’s probably going to be awhile….

Calma…calma…..

I Spy: Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro as seen from Praia de Icaraí in Niterói.

I’m Still Here

I wanted to let you all know that even though my posts have slowed, I am still here and alive and well. My life has become a little busier in ways and I fear that Brasil! par mim…has suffered a little because of that. I apologize.

There’s not much to report about my personal life here, although the beginning of this month did mark one year that I’ve been in Brazil. I have no annual summary of events really. At times days, weeks and months seemed to pass quickly and at others the minutes seemed to tick by in a painfully slow manner. Most importantly, I really have no idea what I’ve learned. Sometimes I feel that things like that, are hard to discern while you’re still experiencing them or maybe that the further in you get, the more you lose sight of other experiences to compare the new ones with properly. A friend of mine wrote on a Facebook post of mine, that it must be a surreal to me to be living in Brazil. I responded that the surreal had become increasingly more real but that it was still a fascinating and beautiful place to live. Actually, I suppose that can be my one year anniversary summary.

Other than that, there is a cat in heat somewhere in my neighborhood who mews all night long. At times when its windy, like tonight, she sounds like a tiny tin horn blaring. The wind also causes a palm tree to rub against the roof of the garage and I swear it sounds like an older printer. At first, I thought it was someone doing some excessive printing, which made perfect sense to me given how many times it seems necessary to have to things printed out in duplicate or triplicate in this country. It made me think of the movie Black Orpheus and the part where he goes in search of the girl. He’s in an office building at one point and there papers everywhere. They’re in the hallways in stacks in row upon row. Many lose sheets are tossed about by the wind. Its confusing and seems like an utterly hopeless search and sometimes, I see this as an accurate portrayal of dealing with Brazilian bureaucracy.

That’s all.

Hopefully I’ll be back again sooner rather than later.

Brazil…no goooooooooooooold

As you all know by now Brazil’s men lost the gold 2-1 to Mexico yesterday. It was a bit of a heartbreaker. I think that’s all I have to say about that. Hopefully 2016 at home will be better.

I Spy: Piratininga, Niterói

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Brazil Betters New Zealand

Brazil’s march toward its first ever Olympic gold in men’s football ( that’s soccer to us American gringos) continues.

The Seleção is moving on to the quarter finals after their 3-0 win against New Zealand yesterday at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

Already through to the quarter finals, Brazil was expected to win yesterday’s game, only needing a draw to finish atop their group ( Group C). With their easy victory accomplished while Oscar rested and Alex Sandro left them a man down after second yellow card early on in the match, they played strong with no Chinese, South Korean or Indonesian badminton scandal like match throwing antics.

Brazil will next take on Honduras, Saturday at 1pm (Rio time) in their first knockout round match.

I, being in Brazil and outside of NBC’s reign of prime-time power and editing mishaps , will be watching the game live and unedited on TV.

I Spy: A Neighborhood Street in Centro Niterói

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I Spy: A Catch

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A boy catches a fish by hand at sunset in Itaipu Beach in Niterói.

Goooooooooooo…ld?: Brazilian National football Team in the London Olympic Games

Brazil’s first Olympic men’s group match is today, Thursday, July 26th. The Seleção (The Brazil national football team), will face off against Egypt at 20:45 CET in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Today is the eve of the official start of the games but due to the large number of football faceoffs needed to narrow the field down to bronze, silver and gold, the group matches have started ahead of the opening ceremonies.

Coached by Mano Menezes with Alexandre Pato, Hulk and Neymar as forwards, the odds are looking good with Brazil as current favorites for gold. If they should suceed, it would be the Brazil’s first Olympic gold medal in football. It is one international prize that has mysteriously eluded Brazilian footballers with the closest they’ve come to date being silver medals in 1988 and 1984.

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The squad, at times having been criticized as inexperienced has made a concentrated effort to focus only on the upcoming matches at hand. They announced last week a choice to stay in Hertfordshire rather than within the Village in Olympic park, which according to coach Menezes, has “too many temptations” .

The brightest star on this year’s team is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known simply as Neymar. The now 20 year old, born in São Paulo state, has been repeatedly called the next Pele. Having joined Santos FC’s youth academy followed by quick ascent to stardom within Brasil, like Pele, the comparisons almost at times write themselves. However, Pele himself, likes to shift to a comparison of the young Brazilian star to Argentine footballer Lionel Messi instead. Pele had said that Neymar is better than Messi, who is now a current player for Barcelona and is sometimes argued to be the best player of all time.

Neymar is just getting started. Having debuted on the Seleção roughly two years ago, he has been increasingly wowing fans while catching the eyes of international clubs ever since. Should he perform well in these games, more European teams will likely be wooed and possibly begin making Neymar bigger and better transfer offers.

Not to be out done however, the forwards Hulk and Pato and now Oscar are very much stars in their own right. After a recent US/ Brazil friendly, rumors of Hulk’s possible transfer from Portugal’s Porto to UK’s Chelsea abounded. Instead it seems that his Seleção teammate, midfielder Oscar is Chelsea bound instead with Hulk to remain with Porto. Alexandre Pato, current AC Milan striker, recently also had the press racing to report a possible move as he was thought to be leaving to join former teammates in France. However, he too appears to be staying put for the time being. Both Pato and Hulk when asked about their respective possible transfers, choose to, instead of addressing those issues, talk about their focus on the upcoming Olympics.

Managing all of that focus is Coach Mano Menezes. Having replaced Dunga shortly after his coaching lead the Brazilian squad to their quarterfinal lose to the Netherlands 2–1 in the 2010 World Cup, Menezes has reorganized the senior squad over the last two years and will lead Brazil’s Under-23s in London. Referred to as the Under 23s because selection of players is limited those under the age of 23 with the exception of three additional overage players. Menezes’ selection of Thiago Silva, Hulk and Marcelo as the squad’s three over 23 picks has been called into question by some who wonder why Chelsea’s David Luiz didn’t make the cut. Still, the full squad of 18 listed below seems very strong.

Goalkeepers: Neto, Cabral
Defenders: Danilo, Rafael, Alex Sandro, Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Bruno Uvini, Juan
Midfielders: Sandro, Romulo, Lucas, Oscar, Ganso
Forwards: Pato, Neymar, Leandro Damiao, Hulk
Reserves: Marquinhos, Giuliano, Cassemiro, Gabriel

Time will tell if this group will be the first set of footballers to bring Olympic gold home to Brasil. If last Friday’s face-off against Great Britain and the resulting 2-0 win for the Seleção is any indication of things to come, then Brazil’s future is indeed looking golden.

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