Canada’s Aaron Day moved to São Paulo with his Brazilian wife Paula about a year ago. Despite having lived in such exotic locations as Curacao Island, he was still enchanted with São Paulo and it’s nearby beaches. It certainly beats the 8 months of winter in Vancouver.

Where are you from?
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, but had been living in Miami for 12 years before moving to São Paulo

What brought you to Brazil?
During 1996 I was working on the Island of Curacao, installing what became one of the first Internet Casinos and I met and fell in love with a girl from São Paulo.

What do you do here?
Internet marketing and web site development, I manage a dozen or so web sites and Blogs that reside on a server in California, connected by Virtua from my home.

What do you miss about Canada?
My wife and I usually go back to Canada for July but we missed it this year and I often thought about my family, as I especially miss my niece and nephews. Also, if you’ve ever been to Vancouver you’d know what the combination of sky, sea and mountains could do to your mind. I definitely don’t miss the 8 months of winter.

What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?
Just celebrated my first full year living in Brasil and found that Learning Portuguese has been a challenge but I’m making progress. When I first came to Brazil for a visit, 8 years ago I was a little frustrated by the deplorable distribution of wealth and that there are so many children living on the streets. Now I’ve come to accept the situation and recognize that most people are happy.

What do you most like about Brazil?
It would be too simplistic to say that it’s the culture I like the most about Brasil, so to be more specific, it’s the combination of exotic location (I love the beaches), with great music (I enjoy Brazilian music), fabulous food and wonderful people who really know how to enjoy life when the opportunity presents it.

What is your favorite restaurant in Brazil?
Since there are purported to be over 3,000 restaurants in São Paulo it’s really hard to choose just one but for total style, ambiance and incredible cuisine I’m very fond of Viccolo Nostre but still, for me, nothing compares to the Rubiyat.

Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?
Driving a car for the first time in São Paulo can always be amusing. My first experience in Rio was kind of comical and hanging out in Buzios, trying to be natural and fit in but having lived in Miami for many years I was too much of a Gringo.

What difference between Canada and Brazil do you find most striking?
Weather is obviously the biggest difference between Canada and Brazil but also in Canada we have a huge middle class and very small lower class. Children are not seen out on the streets, especially during school hours. In comparing my experiences with living in Florida: I’d say they you don’t see the race integration and the poor are more hidden out of sight.

What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo?
Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and try to be with locals. The richness of São Paulo lays hidden behind a grimy cover-layer and it can be difficult to get to see what’s behind unless someone shows you. Make sure you take a trip to Litoral Norte.

Aaron Day can be contacted at aaron@siliconpalms.com

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Graham Debney – New Zealand
Ken Marshall – Australia
John Milton – England
Pari Seeber – Iran
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Kim Buarque – Wales
Carl Emberson – Australia
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany

Are you are foreigner living in Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@www.gringoes.com

This week’s (Nov. 25 to Dec. 1) entertainment guide features the legendary Brazilian funk and soul band Banda Black Rio, the super trendy Skye bar/restaurant at the Unique Hotel, the risqu Exxex club and cabaret, an art exhibition by Brazilian modern artist Francisco Rebolo and a science museum exhibition run by USP and open to the general public.

Banda Black RioBlack Rio Band. The Carioca funk and soul band Black Rio will perform two gigs in São Paulo later this week at the Choperia do Sesc Pompeia (rua Clelia, 93). The band has been around since the 70s and was one of the pioneers in mixing samba, soul, funk and jazz. The group, now led by William Magalhaes son of the original founder, was a big hit with British DJs back in the 90s and has influenced such bands as Jamiroquai. The group could easily be compared to an instrumental version of other late 70’s early 80’s funk bands, such as Kool & The Gang or Earth, Wind & Fire, except with a Brazilian twist. Some of their best hits are “Maria Fumaca”, “Mr. Funk Samba”, and “Cravo e Canela”. A must see for any fans of late 70’s funk! Playing Nov. 26 and 27 at 21h00. Admission R$5 – R$15.

SkyeSkye. On top of one of the city’s most modern hotels, the Unique, the Skye bar and restaurant has become a meeting point for the city’s young and trendy crowd. It is not uncommon to see artists and actors among the crowd and if you get tired looking at the pretty faces you can always admire the magnificent view of the surrounding São Paulo skyline, including a view of Ibirapuera park. The kitchen is well taken care of by French chef Emmanuel Bassoleil and the menu ranges from chic French cuisine to pizza and even sushi. The bar has an open air deck, which is excellent on a warm summers night and table overlook a snazzy red swimming pool. Music is provided by a resident DJ. Avenida Brigadeiro Lus Antnio, 4700. Open till 01h00 at weekend. www.skye.com.br

ExxexExxex Clubaret. Exxex is a mixture of night club and cabaret. The club’s owner Angelo Leuzzi aims to mix music, dance performances and anything wild. The club is keen to promote new talent as well as revive old and forgotten bands. There is also room for artists, dance and theater. Different nights of the week are dedicated to different styles of music including rock, house, hip-hop etc. The club’s dcor has a distinct S&M feel to it with lots of iron, rubber, vinyl and velvet, as well as lots of bright colors. Rua Clodomiro Amazonas, 99
Itaim Bibi – Tel. 3168-6876. From Tue to Sat 23h00 – 5h00. Valet Parking. Admission from R$20 – R$30. You can get a discount by going to their site and putting your name on the Vip list. www.exxex.com.br

Francisco ReboloFranciso Rebolo. This colorful art exhibition by one of Brazil’s most expressive modern artists Francisco Rebolo is currently showing at the Espaco Cultural Vivo including over 60 works of art. Rebolo led an interesting and varied life. From 1917 to 1932, he was a semi-professional football player and this is reflected in many of his paintings. Through his link with football he also participated in creating the emblem for the Corinthians football club. It was only in 1934 that his artistic talent became recognized and for the next 45 years, until his death in 1980, he provided a descriptive and vivid impression of life in São Paulo and Brazil through his many colorful paintings and engravings. Espaco Cultural Vivo, Av. Chucri Zaidam, 2640 – Brooklin. Tel.: 3188 4147. Mon-Sun 9h to 20h until Dec. 5. www.uol.com.br/franciscorebolo/

EspacoEstacao Ciencia. Located in an old warehouse in Lapa, Estaão Cincia, run by USP, has set up a permanent educational exhibition which is of interest to for both adults and children. Unlike most exhibitions, this one is interactive and visitors are actually encouraged to touch the exhibits. One of the most popular items, especially among children, is the Van de Graaff generator, which is a large metal sphere which makes you hair stand on end when you touch it. The exhibition is divided into a number of different areas of interest including Astronomy, Geology and Geography, Biology, History, Technology and the Humanities. Also includes a miniature steam ship, and steam train, reconstructed dinosaurs, and an interactive play about the origins of electricity. Estacao Ciencia, Rua Guaicurus, 1285 – Lapa. Tel. 3673 7022. Tue-Fri 8h to 18h. Sat, Sun and Holidays from 13h to 18h. Entrance Free. www.eciencia.usp.br

Make your Thanksgiving Day celebration extra special this year by bringing the family along to the Hyatt hotel in São Paulo. The hotel’s Grand Caff restaurant will have a special Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 25 (see menu below). The cost is R$75 per person and reservations can be made at (011) 6838- 3203

Buffet
Selection of freshly baked Italian breads
Focaccia, Chiabattini, Grissini
***
Selection of Italian Cold Cuts:
Salami, Mortadella, Coppa and BreSãola
***
Beef Carpaccio on Rocket lettuce with
White truffle oil
***
Smoked Salmon with onions, capers
and lemon wedge
***
Oven dried tomatoes with Buffalo
Mozzarella and basil leaves
***
Potato salad with mustard, bacon and
caraway Avocado salad with shrimps
***
Vitello Tonnato” thinly sliced and braised
veal with tuna-capers sauce
***
Pickled vegetables and mushrooms
***
Marinated figs with Parma ham
Grilled belle peppers marinated with
garlic and herbs
***
Sheredded carrot salad with apples,
nuts and olive oil
***
Ceasars salad with condiments
***
Heart of Palm salad with coriander pesto
***
Green asparagus with vinaigrette
***
Selection of fresh garden greens with
dressings and condiments
***
Oven dried and marinated tomatoes
***
Parmesan Cheese with apricot compote
Gorgonzola with plum chutney
“Condiment bar”
***
Garlic Chips, Cashew nuts, Parmesan Chips
***
Extra virgin olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar from Modena

Pratos Quentes
Traditional Minestrone
Vegetable lasagne
***
“Roasted Turkey” with gravy
Served with Brussels sprouts and potatoes
***
“Roasted Prime Rib”
Served with Barnaise sauce and roasted potatoes
Selected and tossed seasonal vegetables
***
“Steamed filet of Salmon”
with lemon butter sauce
Green peas puree and sauted carrots

Dessert
Baked pumkin tart with pecan nut
***
Chocolate brownies
***
Baked cheese cake
***
Riccota cheese tart with honey sauce
***
Tiramissu
***
Chocolate mousse (home style)
***
Red fruit jam
***
Vanilha sauce
***
Belgium chocolate

If you are a Swedish expat, or have a Swedish interest, or just like good parties, then this is for you. The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo will hold its annual Christmas Party on Dec. 8, from 19h. A complete, all-included Swedish Julbord” (Christmas Treats Table) will be served! Live music and performance with Sambrasil and Tribo! Swedish Christmas Tree! More special surprises will happen throughout the evening – gifts, raffles and more.

When: Wednesday, December 8, 2004. Cocktails/Drinks at 19h00. Capoeira Performance at 19h30 and Dinner at 20h00

Where: Gran Meli Mofarrej – Penthouse Restaurant 23rd floor, Alameda Santos, 1437, São Paulo

Price: R$ 135.00 (Members) R$ 150.00 (Non-members)

RSVP (by Dec. 06) to: Fabiana Cerqueira – Tel: (11) 3066-2550
fabiana.cerqueira@swedishtrade.se or Jonas Sjbom – Tel: (11) 3066-2590
jonas.sjobom@swedishtrade.se

A recent study carried out by the London-based Economist magazine, placed Brazil 39th out of a total of 111 countries in a global quality of life survey. The study was based on criteria which included income, health, unemployment, climate and political stability. According to the survey’s authors, Ireland is the best place to live in the world. followed by Switzerland, while Zimbabwe was bottom of the list. Apart from Australia, which came in sixth, all the countries in the top ten were European. The United States came 13th, while Britain scraped into the top 30 in 29th place.
In fact Brazil’s ranking wasn’t that bad if compared with similar polls taken this year. In a survey carried out by Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog group, earlier this year, Brazil came in 59th in terms of the least corrupt countries. On a scale of one to 10 — 10 being a nation without any political corruption — Brazil garnered a 3.9 rating. The administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was plagued by corruption scandals earlier this year including a former aide accused of receiving illegal gambling funds connected to the bingo industry.
In a recent United Nations study Brazil ranked 72nd in terms of human development while it received the same ranking from this year’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report for its educational system. Ten Latin American countries, including some of the poorest, like Ecuador, Panama and Peru, ranked ahead of Brazil.

Even if you are not a big opera fan, São Paulo’s Municipal Theater is worth a visit just for the view and atmosphere. Nov. 24 the theater will host Wagner’s Lohengrin” conducted by renowned American conductor Ira Levin, accompanied by the Municipal Sinfonic Orchestra. The principal role will be played by Russian tenor Leonid Zachozhaev, while Argentine soprano Graciela de Gyldenfeldt will also participate. King Henrique will be played by the American Steven Bronk.

“Lohengrin” was completed by Richard Wagner (1813-83) in 1847, when he was just 34. This is a four hour show, with two intervals, so be prepared. For synopsis see below

Where: Theatro Municipal – Praa Ramos de Azevedo, s/n, Centro, São Paulo. Tel.: 222-8698
When: Nov. 19 and 26 at 19h30. Nov. 21, 24 and 28 at 17h
Tickets: R$30 to R$100 can be bought in advance at the theater on the day of the show.
Website: www.theatromunicipal.com.br

Lohengrin
Richard Wagner

ACT I: Antwerp, c. 900s. On the banks of the Scheldt, a Herald announces King Heinrich, who asks Count Telramund to explain why the Duchy of Brabant is torn by strife and disorder. Telramund accuses his young ward, Elsa, of having murdered her brother, Gottfried, heir to Brabant’s Christian dynasty. (Gottfried was actually enchanted by the evil Ortrud, whom Telramund has wed.) When Elsa is called to defend herself, she relates a dream of a knight in shining armor who will come to save her. The herald calls for the defender, but only when Elsa prays does the knight appear, magically drawn in a boat by a swan. He betroths himself to her on condition that she never ask his name or origin. Defeating Telramund in combat, the newcomer establishes the innocence of his bride.

ACT II: Before dawn in the castle courtyard, Ortrud and the lamenting Telramund swear vengeance. When Elsa appears serenely in a window, Ortrud attempts to sow distrust in the girl’s mind, preying on her curiosity, but Elsa innocently offers the scheming Ortrud friendship. Inside, while the victorious knight is proclaimed guardian of Brabant, the banned Telramund furtively enlists four noblemen to side with him against his newfound rival. At the cathedral entrance, Ortrud and Telramund attempt to stop the wedding – she by suggesting that the unknown knight is in fact an impostor, he by accusing Elsa’s bridegroom of sorcery. The crowd stirs uneasily. Though troubled by doubt, Elsa reiterates her faith in the knight before they enter the church, accompanied by King Heinrich.

ACT III: Alone in the bridal chamber, Elsa and her husband express their love until anxiety and uncertainty at last compel the bride to ask the groom who he is and whence he has come. Before he can reply, Telramund and his henchmen burst in. With a cry, Elsa hands the knight his sword, with which he kills Telramund. Ordering the nobles to bear the body to the king, he sadly tells Elsa he will meet her later to answer her questions.

Escorting Elsa and the bier to the Scheldt, the knight tells the king he cannot now lead the army against the Hungarian invaders. He explains that his home is the temple of the Holy Grail at distant Monsalvat, to which he must return; Parsifal is his father, and Lohengrin is his name. He bids farewell and turns to his magic swan. Now Ortrud rushes in, jubilant over Elsa’s betrayal of the man who could have broken the spell that transformed her brother into a swan. But Lohengrin’s prayers bring forth Gottfried in place of his vanished swan, and after naming the boy ruler of Brabant, Lohengrin disappears, led by the dove of the Grail. Ortrud perishes, and Elsa, calling for her lost husband, falls lifeless to the ground. “

This crime thriller starring Robert Redford and Willem Defoe is due to be released this week in São Paulo. Wayne (Redford) and Eileen Hayes(Helen Mirren) live the American Dream. Together they’ve raised two children and struggled to build a successful business from the ground up. But there have been sacrifices along the way. When Wayne is kidnapped by a disgruntled employee (Dafoe) and held for ransom in a remote forest, the couple’s world is turned inside out. Eileen finds her home full of FBI agents, their life under scrutiny. While Wayne is engaged in the negotiation of his lifetime, Eileen works frantically with the FBI to secure his release. The terrifying ordeal causes Wayne and Eileen to reassess their marriage and come to a deeper sense of their commitment to each other. With each passing hour, the need and desire for Wayne to return home safely becomes ever more urgent.

Lenght:1 hr. 31 min.
Starring: Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, Helen Mirren
Director: Pieter Jan Brugge
Produced by: Luc Besson
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Miramax Films romance ‘Shall We Dance? opens in São Paulo this week. For longer than he can remember overworked Chicago accountant John Clark (Richard Gere) has led a dull existence. Even with a successful career, charming wife (Susan Sarandon) and loving family, he still feels something is missing as he makes his mind-numbing commute through the city each day.
But one night, on his evening ride home, he looks up to see a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) staring through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train and signs up for dance lessons… and his whole life begins to change.
Now, he’s entering a world he never imagined – the colorful world of competitive ballroom dancing. It’s a place filled with grand passions, bitter rivalries, great friends and strange couples and it’s about to reignite the excitement in John’s life – not to mention the lives of his family, dance instructors and fellow classmates – in ways he’s never dreamed.
This is an English-language remake of the 1996 Japanese film, “Shall We Dance?” which has the record for top U.S. box office gross ($9.5 million) for a Japanese-language film.

Lenght:1 hr. 35 min.
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon
Director: Peter Chelsom
Produced by: Simon Fields
Distributor: Miramax Films

Clich here to see full São Paulo cinema listing for this week.”

Putin and Brazil’s President Lula signed political and trade agreements intended to increase trade between the two countries, particularly in high-technology areas.
Calling Brazil a strategic partner,” Putin said he hoped the two countries could double or triple trade in a few years, from the current $2 billion a year.
Brazil reaffirmed its support for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization while the
Russian president pledged support for Brazil’s bid to join an expanded United Nations Security Council.
Lula has made Russia one of his foreign policy priorities, eager to export more of Brazil’s abundant farm goods and gain access to Russian technology. Russia’s recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol could help Brazil’s growing fuel alcohol production, as countries seek new supplies of cleaner fuel. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of fuel alcohol, or ethanol, producing nearly 15 billion liters a year from sugar cane.
Putin, however, could not crown his visit with a decision by Brazil to purchase Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in a tender to upgrade its air force. Russia has lobbied Brazil hard to win the contract, which at more than $750 million is set to be Latin America’s largest arms contract in recent times.
Nor did Brazil’s biggest buyer of beef and pork lift a ban on meat imports imposed in September due to fears of foot-and-mouth disease. The ban, which was partially lifted earlier this month, allowing meat from Santa Catarina, is costing Brazil an estimated $1 million a day.

Brazil made an excellent start to the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship in Taipei earlier this week with a convincing 10-0 win over Australia in the opening match of Group B.
The Brazilians controlled the ball throughout, showing an array of skills and passes that thrilled the crowd and dazzled their overmatched opponents.
Brazilian captain Fininho made history on the night, scoring Brazil’s seventh goal to make him the first player to score at four FIFA Futsal World Championships and the third highest goal scorer in the history of the tournament.
Reigning champions Spain also got off to a strong start, beating hosts Taipai 10-0 in a Group A match.
In Group C, the US got off to a shaky start loosing 6-3 to Italy, but made up some ground against Paraguay with a 3-1 victory in the second match.
The top two teams from each of the four groups will progress to the quarter finals at the 16-team tournament.
Futsal, or indoor soccer, is played by five players per side over two 20-minute periods. The playing surface is the size of a basketball court. The 16-team FIFA tournament ends Dec. 5.
The 2004 tournament is the fifth since the competition began in 1989. Brazil won the first three events before being stopped in 2000 by Spain. The competition is held every four years.

For full match results and tables click here