This week’s entertainment guide features a restaurant in Cerqueira Csar which is frequented by the Paulista ‘it crowd’, a bar in Vila Nova Conceião which is a good venue for watching football games, a Brazilian Country & Western artist singing Bob Dylan Covers in Pinheiros, the latest movie release – a romance/comedy starring Will Smith and a park in São Paulo that offers a diverse range of flora and fauna.

SpotDo you like to see and be seen? If the answer is yes, then Spot is the ideal place for you. Located in Cerqueira Csar, the first thing that will strike you about this restaurant is the windows, which provide a great view of commercial buildings on Avenida Paulista. This provides great views of the city along with a prime position to spot some of São Paulo’s famous ‘it crowd’, who frequent the restaurant. People watching is the primary pastime here, however if you arrive with a hunger you are catered for, the menu offers salads, grills, pastas and sandwiches. One of the popular dishes is penne with melon and cured ham. Another dish you might consider is grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and garlic pure. For dessert the chocolate short cake is a specialty. Cost: R$35 to R$60. Address: Alameda Ministro Rocha Azevedo, 72, Cerqueira Csar. Phone (11) 3283-0946. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Vila IsabelIf you are interested in finding a good place to watch the current round of World Cup Qualifiers Vila Isabel would be a good choice. This new bar is located next to the Old Vic Pub in Vila Nova Conceião. The bar is always full on the weekends and a great atmosphere is generated by the crowd that spills out onto the terrace. They have giant television screen set up to watch sports along with an army of waiters who will provide you with regular cold beer. If you are hungry there is snack food available. Given the nature of the venue and how busy it can become there is a good chance you will strike up a conversation with a fellow punter about say, the current form of Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Address: Avenida Hlio Pellegrino, 198, Vila Nova Conceião. Phone: (11) 3045-2966

Rodrigo HaddadOn Sunday April 3, 2005 Brazilian country singer Rodrigo Haddad will play an acoustic set with North American Jason Bermingham. The set will include Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones, and more. Rodrigo Haddad was recently featured in an interview on gringoes. This a great opportunity to listen to some great music, meet ex-pats and English speakers. Cover: R$ 4.00. When: 8pm Sunday April 3. Where: Finnegan’s Pub, Rua Cristiano Vianna, 358, Pinheiros. Phone: (11) 3062-3232 Check out the websites www.rodrigohaddad.com, www.jasonbermingham.com

HitchHitch is a comedy/romance which tells the story of a professional “date doctor” (Will Smith). While helping his latest client woo the fine lady of his dreams, he finds his game doesn’t quite work on the gossip columnist (Mendes) with whom he’s smitten. She has enrolled as a student and plans on publishing an expos of his fraudulent methods. Currently showing in Brazil. PG-13 for language and some strong sexual references. 1 hr. 55 min

Parque TrianonParque Tenente Siqueira Campos, better known as Parque Trianon, was created on an existing native forest and later remodelled with the introduction of some exotic species by Frenchman Paul Villon and Englishman Barry Parker. With an area of approx. 48,000 square meters, visitors can admire cedar trees and wood-iron, along with gigantic native species, such as sapopemba, jequitib-branco and jatob. In addition the park is home to diverse species of insects and birds. It is one of the few environments in the city which provides suitable habitat for the breeding of native birds such as rolinha, periquito, pica-pau, joão-de-barro, bem-te-vi and sabi-laranjeira. Small mammals such as caxinguels (squirrels), can be seen by visitors. There are playgrounds for the kids as well as tracks for wandering around the park. Rua Peixoto Gomide, 949 Cerqueira Csar. Phone: (11) 3289-2160

See below for previous editions of What’s On in São Paulo

What’s On Guide, Mar 24 – Mar 30, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 17 – Mar 23, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 10 – Mar 16, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 3 – Mar 9, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 24 – Mar 2, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 17 – Feb 23, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 11 – Feb 16, 2005

England’s Raymond Smith was seduced by Brazil at a very young age. His love of wild places and the environment brought him to Brazil in 1979 and he has stayed ever since. Raymond divides his time as a surveyor, a farmer, a hotelier and a tour guide! He has a love of fishing in some of the more ‘out-of-the-way’ places. He also shares with us his involvement with a charity helping the young. Read his story.

When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?
It was a lifelong dream ever since a very early age to go to wild places, having been brought up with stories from missionaries in the family. I decided in my teens that Brazil would be the place for me upon hearing stories of the construction of Brasilia and being keen on environmental issues, I wanted to be where the problem was rather than just criticising other countries like most in the comfort of the developed world. I eventually arrived here in 1979 working for Lord Vestey looking after his properties throughout South America.

What do you do here?
Today I have four activities, primarily I am a chartered surveyor and work as an urban planning consultant as well as general real estate consultancy, secondly I have a small orange farm near Riberão Preto, where I also have a Hotel Fazenda of 35 bedrooms, this used to belong to the Emir of Qatar and makes a very luxurious rural hotel, we cater for company events as well as families. Finally I organise fishing trips in desolate places, this is an activity I am building up to keep me busy in my later years.

Another very important part of my life is my involvement in charity work with the Leonard Cheshire organisation. We look after physically challenged people in São Paulo and, as a new venture, are about to open a crche to integrate disabled children into society, with handicapped and non-handicapped children learning to live side by side.

What do you miss about home when you are in Brazil?
Obviously family and friends but I also miss the fantastic concert halls of London with great orchestras and conductors appearing almost every night.

What do you most like about Brazil?
The fact that life is constantly changing and every day is an achievement. Also, I travel a great deal and love the remote areas of this huge country, in all parts the people are great, just look at Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima the marathon medallist, what other country in the world will produce someone with such a positive outlook on life?

What is your favourite restaurant in Brazil?
I go for quantity rather than quality so I am a great fan of churrascarias, but if there is one restaurant I always return to when I can it is Yemanj in Salvador.

Do you enjoy traditional Brazilian Food and Drink?
Apart from the usual Paulista dishes there are some other fantastic dishes particularly Amazon fish and fruits as well as some of the vegetables from central Brazil, the spicy Bahian foods and the wines from the south.

What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?
Get out of São Paulo whenever one can, not that it isn’t a great place to live and work but there is so much to see elsewhere and you don’t always have to travel very far. But if one is looking for something to do in the city then I would recommend eating in restaurants of as many different nationalities as one can, with such variety of Japanese, German, Italian and the other typical restaurants here and at such cheap prices.

Ray can be contacted at: rhwsmith@uol.com.br, you can check out his hotel at www.gloria.tur.br

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

Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

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

Gilberto Gil, one of Brazil’s most important singers, composers, instrumentalists and more recently politicians, will play two shows at Tom Brasil in São Paulo on 1 & 2 April 2005.

Gilberto Gil was born in the city of Salvador, in the northern state of Bahia Brazil, in June of 1942. Just after his birth, his family moved to the interior of the state, where he spent his childhood. While he was composing and recording jingles for advertisements and starting out a career in music, he was studying business administration. In 1964, he took part in the Nos Por Exemplo, a Bossa Nova show which also included singers Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa and Tom Ze.

In 1965 Gil moved to São Paulo. After playing and singing in various shows, he got his first hit when the famous singer Elis Regina recorded his song Louvacao. In 1978 he went to the U.S. and then recorded Nightingale, an album specially composed for the American market.

Gil achieved international status when his 17th album Nightingale was released in the United States. Aside from his brilliant performances at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival, Gil has toured with great success throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, South and North America.

In 1980, Gil teamed up with Jimmy Cliff for their first ever tour together in Brazil. Gil’s cover song of Bob Marley’s hit No woman, No cry (from the Realce album) climbed the Brazilian charts up to number one, for months, selling 700,000 copies (platinum).

Following his election as President of Brazil in 2002, Lula appointed Gilberto Gil as the Minister of Culture for Brazil. This is a position that he has since filled to some acclaim.

Where: Tom Brasil, Naes Unidas, Rua Bragana Paulista, 1281

When: April 1 and 22 at 10pm
Tickets: R$40-R$80
Tel: (11) 2163-2000
Website: http://www.casatombrasil.com.br

Brazilian stocks ended 1.58% lower on Tuesday at the São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa) at 25,842 points and trading volume totaled R$ 1.546 billion ($573.01 million). It was the Bovespa’s lowest closing since the 25,731-point close of February 4. Since the start of March the Bovespa has fallen 8.16% and since the start of 2005, 1.35%.

The Bovespa began Tuesday’s trading high, rising as much as 1.38% as a result of the morning’s first-quarter inflation report from the Brazilian Central Bank.

Traders’ reading of the report was that monetary tightening may have reached its end in March and that in April the 19.25% Selic (base rate) will be held. The local bourse was also helped along in the morning by falling yields on U.S. T-bonds.

This changed when Wall Street opened for business. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.76% and the Nasdaq fell 0.94%.

After the opening of Wall Street, the gringos started selling steel sector shares in these parts,” commented a trader, who pointed out that when the Bovespa had risen in recent sessions it was due to a boost from steel, mining and banking shares.

This selling was largely due to a report from the GFMS Metals consulting firm, which said that over the next 12 months flat product prices should fall 27%.

The selling of “typical gringo shares” came in the wake of a R$ 257 million ($1 = R$ 2.70) foreign capital outflow recorded on March 23 when the U.S. Federal Reserve warned about inflation. This reduced the month-to-date’s net foreign capital inflow up to R$ 727 million.

The main losers at the Bovespa on Tuesday were preferred shares in steel company Gerdau (-5.16%), common shares in mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) (-4.69%), preferred A shares in CVRD (-4.20%), common shares in São Paulo water company Sabesp (-4.14%) and common shares in aircraft maker Embraer (-3.82%).

The main gains were for preferred B shares in Paran power utility Copel (2.82%), common shares (2.67%) and preferred B shares (2.32%) in federal holding company for the power sector Eletrobrs and preferred shares in São Paulo power company Cesp (1.81%).

In terms of heavily traded stocks, preferred shares in Brazil’s largest fixed wireline company Telemar fell 0.81%, preferred A shares in steelmaker Usiminas fell 3.65% and preferred shares in Brazilian state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) shed 1.54%.

Mario Rocha/Daniel Cooke – AE”

Paraty is a beautiful colonial city located in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Undoubtedly one of Brazil’s best destinations, it is easily reached from both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and offers a great choice for a weekend excursion. Not surprisingly Paraty is listed as a National Historical Monument, in order to preserve its natural and architectural charms for which there are many. This article gives you a touch of the history, some suggested activities during your stay along with recommendations on hotels and restaurants.

History
The village was founded in 1667 around the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios”, its patron saint. Paraty (sometimes spelled “parati”) had a significant economic importance due to its sugar cane mills (it used to have over 250 distilleries), and the name “paraty” was at a certain time synonym of a very good sugar cane rum.

In the 18th century, the port of Paraty was an important outlet for the gold and precious stones brought on horseback from Minas Gerais State to be shipped to Portugal. However, constant pirate assaults who took refuge in beaches such as Trindade , led to abandoning the gold route, resulting in a great economic isolation. After the opening of the Paraty-Cunha road, and especially after the opening of the Rio-Santos Highway in the seventies, Paraty became an attraction for Brazilian and international tourism, due to its good state of preservation and thanks to its natural beauties.

Today the historical Center of Paraty takes you back in time. The center is free of cars enabling you to explore on foot. A word of warning – you will need to walk at a leisurely pace as roads and paths are constructed from cobblestones. The construction of its old housing and churches reflect the architectural style of the day. Look out for the mysterious masonry symbols which decorate the walls.

What to Do?
Once you have wandered around the colonial streets, explored the shops and visited the churches you may wish to consider some of the following activities.

Boat Tour of Paraty Bay
This is a must for anyone visiting Paraty. The Paraty Bay is one of the most beautiful places on the Brazilian coastline with literally hundreds of small beaches and islands. You can swim and snorkel in the clear warm water looking for colourful fish and marine life. There are a number of options for visiting the bay. You might consider joining a tour on an old schooner or maybe hire one of the many small trawlers located along the habour. Depending on your bargaining skill and proficiency in Portuguese you can hire a boat with enough room for six people from around R$200 a day. Allow at least five hours to cruise through the islands, stop for some seafood lunch, have a swim and sun bath on one of the many beaches.

Trindade
Trindade just a short drive from Paraty was once refuge for the gold raiding pirates, however today it is a charming fishing village with a rich history. There are some great beaches nearby, including: Brava Beach – which is wild with access on foot, Cepilho Beach – surf beach with access by car, Fora beach or Ranchos beach – bounds the village and has many bars, Meio Beach – picture postcard, small with calm waters and a few bars, Cachadao Beach – can be reached by foot, some camping areas without electricity, be careful of undertow and tides, Figueira Beach or Pelados Beach – small nudist beach reachable by foot, Cachadao – marvelous setting with rock formations creating a natural pools and accessed via foot.

Waterfalls
After a few days of sea and beaches you might like to break things up a little and visit some of the waterfalls that are located in the nearby mountains. Try Pedra Branca, Tobog and Corisco waterfalls where the river has also formed some lovely swimming holes. You should stop by a distilleries to see the traditional method of making the famous Brazilian drink ‘pinga’ or cachaa. While there, it would be remiss not to sample a few as well!

Where to Eat?
Margarida Caf offers a cozy atmosphere which is excellent for couples. There is also a bar ideal for a few drinks. The restaurant offers a contemporary menu with typical Brazilian products. Try Amir Klink (the great navigator of Paraty) – grilled regional fish, with grapes in white wine sauce and palmetto risotto or Escalope Paulo Autran (an icon of the Brazilian theatre who has an Inn in Paraty) – filet mignon escalopes, covered in Dijon mustard, served with potatoes cooked with pesto and nuts. All bread is baked on the premises in a wood oven. In the evenings singers from all over Brazil provide the pleasant sounds of MPB, Bossa Nova, Forró, Tango, Jazz and French Music. Margarida Caf Pa do Chafariz, Paraty. Phone (24) 3371-2441. Check the website: www.margaridacafe.com.br

Where to Stay
You could try Pousada do Forte which offers great views of Paraty and surrounds. It is located within a short stroll of the Historical Center. The hotel has a swimming pool, bar and TV room. All rooms are air conditioned, with fridge and color TV. Breakfast is included. The Pousada can arrange transport to the waterfalls and ‘pinga’ distilleries. Pousada do Forte: Al. Princesa Isabel, 33 Paraty. Phone: (24) 3371-1462. Check the website: www.paraty.com.br/hotforte/Ihforte.htm

How to get there?
Paraty is ideally located within easy distance of both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. If you are coming from São Paulo allow 5 hours, take the Rodovia Ayrton Senna or Rodovia Dutra turning off just before Taubate onto the Rodovia Oswaldo Cruz to Ubatuba then take the Rodovia Br 101 (Rio – Santos) to Paraty. Avoid the Rodovia Paraty-Cunha which looks more direct on the map but is a rough dirt track. From Rio allow 4 hours, take the Rodovia Dutra to Barra Mansa-Angra and then take the Rodovia Br 101 (Rio – Santos) to Paraty. There are 6 daily buses from São Paulo and 10 daily buses from Rio.

Useful Links
www.paraty.com.br
Loads of information about Paraty in Portuguese, English and Spanish

www.paraty.com
Information about Paraty in Portuguese

www.paratytours.com.br
Information in Portuguese and English about excursions around Paraty

I have a few tall friends who, during the weeks following Carnival, find that shopping can be more back breaking than usual. The problem is stooping. With only 40 shopping days to go before Easter, supermarket aisles start filling up with eggs and not only on the shelves. A canopy of brightly colored chocolate ovals bears down on shoppers. Anyone taller than five foot eight has to bend to avoid a chocolate bruising.

This is Easter in your face, so to speak. Or at least the part of Easter that requires spending money. People don’t decorate hard boiled eggs anymore — if they ever did here.

The great commercial pressure is on chocolate and it can be overwhelming. I have never seen so many Easter eggs of all sizes anywhere else in the world. Those Lenten weeks between Carnival and Easter are temptation itself. As soon as the partying stops, the eggs go up and the shops become chocolate emporia, a delight or a hell depending on your height, weight and/or Lenten resolutions.

This is overbearing commercialism but this time it has its own logic. The tradition of eggs at Easter is linked to the meaning of the religious festival. Eggs have always symbolized rebirth. Easter egg hunts date back to before the Middle Ages. This isn’t a Victorian export, like the Christmas tree, which seems singularly out of place in a tropical country. The advent of chocolate eggs in the 19th century was an evolution that clearly helped the confectionary industry, and undoubtedly Brazil’s own cacao production, but it also didn’t obscure the meaning of Easter.

In São Paulo, the trick is to hold out until Easter Monday, which isn’t a public holiday. Shops then launch a mass sell-off of unsold chocolate eggs and bunnies (another symbol of fecundity recast by the likes of Nestl and Co.) And there’s no need to do any hunting.

That doesn’t go for the bacalhau – the traditional Good Friday fish. This Brazilian/Portuguese specialty is sold year round and, given that it is made from salted North Sea cod, is never cheap. After Good Friday, the displays in the front of the store just migrate back to the fish counter.

Waiting until past the sell-by-date also doesn’t work for the other commemorative holidays that pack the calendar. Brazil, as elsewhere, manages to turn Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and it’s version of Valentine’s Day called Lover’s Day or Dia dos Namorados (which is celebrated on June 12th) into commercial extravaganzas. But they don’t have quite the same bargain hunter’s aftermath. A diamond ring, tie or a pot plant can be sold any day of the year; it’s just a matter of organizing the inventory. But Easter eggs and bunnies don’t have such long shelf lives.

I found a full listing of the many different commemorative days in Brazil at www.mundorp.com.br. Many aren’t celebrated with quite the panache of Easter or the other popular favorites. For example, I can’t remember seeing much in the way of advertising for Dia das Sogras, Mothers-in-Law’s day coming up this year on April 28th. That also goes for Lawyer’s Day (August 11th), and Dentists Day (October 25th).

In fact there are more types of days to commemorate than days in the year so people and things have to double up. Women’s day is also railway day. The Brazilian National Anthem is commemorated on April 13th along with office boy day and young people’s day.

Most of these events slip by unnoticed, even here in São Paulo where shopping ranks as the favorite weekend pastime, witness the packed malls. I do expect, however, on Monday to be out with the chocoholic bargain hunters stocking up on treats for the next few weeks. Luckily, though, Easter comes but once a year and it is definitely after Lent!

DW

By Jason Bermingham
Just one metro stop away from the centrally located Praa da S, pedestrians emerge from the São Paulo underground into what appears to be the heart of Japan. The district’s main street, Rua Galvão Bueno, is adorned with red Oriental arches. Store fronts advertise herbal cures and classes in meditation. Even the local McDonalds sign is spelled out in Japanese characters. Liberdade, meaning Liberty in Portuguese, is São Paulo’s Little Japan. And it is just one of the many ethnic enclaves that keep the traditions of Brazil’s early immigrants alive today.

Japanese immigration into Brazil began in the early 20th century, when the steamer Kasato Maru docked in the Santos harbor. Over 150 Japanese families were onboard – most fleeing the crop failures and earthquakes which plagued their homeland. To these immigrants, the voyage to Brazil represented a chance to start their lives anew and to find work on the country’s rural coffee plantations. It did not, however, imply leaving their culture behind.

The Liberdade district today is home to some 600,000 Japanese descendants. Considered the world’s largest Japanese community outside of Japan it is a nucleus of Japanese heritage within Latin America. Some claim that Liberdade is more Japanese today than even excessively Westernized Tokyo. But, in truth, Liberdade is much more than simply a microcosm of Japan. Many of the second, third and fourth generation Japanese descen-dants who currently reside in Liberdade have never set foot in Japan and consider themselves fully Brazilian. Also, they share the district with descendants from other East Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea. In this sense, Liberdade is a melting pot where Latin America, Japan and East Asia merge into a single, diverse cultural reality.

Travelers can begin their visit at the Liberdade Station on the north-south Jabaquara/Tucuruvi metro line. Generally considered safer and friendlier than the nearby city center, Liberdade offers several lodging and dining options at a reasonable price. There are also a variety of close-by sights where it’s possible to learn more about the district’s heritage. The Museum of Japanese Immigration, for example, is just three blocks east of the São Joaquim metro station and offers a comprehensive look at the Japanese presence in Brazil over the past two centuries.

Liberdade is also famous for its annual festivals. On the evening of December 31, the streets fill to commemorate the beginning of the New Year in true Oriental fashion. In April, traditionally dressed children carry statues of the Buddha, in honor of his birth. The largest celebration, however, is in July, when over one hundred thousand people gather for Tanabata Matsuri, a folklore event known as the Festival of the Stars. Travelers visiting São Paulo outside of these times have an alternative. Every Sunday, an Oriental street fair is held in the Liberdade Square.

Liberdade"

Japanese immigrant Keiko Hadano sells her Bonsai trees at a street fair held in Liberdade Square each Sunday.

Jason Bermingham works as a writer/musician in São Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian country singer Rodrigo Haddad will play an acoustic set with Jason Bermingham. Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones, and more. Meet ex-pats and English speakers. Cover: R$ 4.00. Rua Cristiano Vianna, 358, Pinheiros. Telephone (11) 3062-3232 www.rodrigohaddad.com www.jasonbermingham.com or e-mail at jasonbermingham@uol.com.br

This week Dear Gringo gets serious. Our reader is being stalked by a jealous ex-boyfriend of his current girlfriend (following this?) for the second time! Dr G has researched the problem and provides some tips on how our reader might deal with this difficult situation…

Dear Gringo
For the second time in my Brazilian dating career I find myself on the wrong side of a jealous ex-boyfriend. My fabulous girlfriend assures me we’re dealing with a disturbed mind, not a psychotic. Nevertheless, receiving in excess of thirty hate calls per day I can’t help but recall the character played by Glenn Close in the film, Fatal Attraction. Is this a cultural phenomenon or just plain bad luck?
P

Dear P
I don’t know if we can blame your difficulties on culture, as human beings all over the planet can be possessive, vindictive, cowardly psychopaths (insert politician joke here). However, amongst the many machismo-influenced members of this particular society, I suspect a larger prevalence of fatal attractiveness than you might be used to. I presented your query to a group of local dating experts (actually a class full of mostly-Brazilian 18 year-olds), and it is notable that the majority attribute the fact that this is not your first time to mere bad luck.

So what’s the deal? The assumption here is that Mr Ex didn’t enjoy the breakup and doesn’t want to let go. If he subscribes to the machismo thing, he no doubt feels that his manhood has been challenged. This is not your fault, obviously, but the way he is expressing his distaste for the situation has made it your problem. The best course of action is to ignore him as best you can. In most cases, the disturbed gentleman will get over his loss with time, and he will move on to enrich someone else’s life. If he has any conscience at all he will also eventually be overcome with embarrassment and guilt, and do everything he can to either apologize or to avoid you and your girlfriend for the rest of his life. In rare cases, the phone calls and other bothersome behaviour will continue until you and your girlfriend take action. Changing phone numbers is inconvenient, but helpful. Even changing your voice greeting to an anonymous one provided by the phone company can work. The person you are calling is unavailable…” doesn’t invoke the inner neanderthal quite like “Hi, this is the guy who took your girlfriend, leave a nasty message for us after the beep.”

The threat of violence, when present, is usually no more than a threat. If he were planning to try anything physical he shouldn’t bother with the incriminating phone calls. Anyone with a modicum of sanity would just beat the crap out of you (or your bunny) without the trail of evidence.

In the case of an ultra-persistent stalker, or someone you have reason to believe might be violent, you have a few options. Moving is rather drastic, so leave that for a last resort. Calling the police is a good idea so that they have something in their files, but they probably won’t act until after he does something criminal. The lawyer I talked to suggested that you could sue, or threaten to sue the guy. A civil suit would ask that Mr Ex pay damages for your emotional suffering, etc. A criminal suit would bring up the prospect of jail time. I imagine that a letter from a lawyer raising either possibility would get the man off your back.

Whatever you do, get a printed record of the “thirty hate calls per day,” as well as a recording of some of them, if you can. These will help you prove your case.

Dr G

Next week: How to win back a woman who dumps you…

To read previous letters to Dear Gringo click below:
Squashed
Humour
Marriage
No Falo Portuguese
Paulista Princess
Amazon Woman
Pining in Pinheiros

If you have any unanswered questions that would benefit from the wisdom of Dear Gringo please forward them to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with ‘Dear Gringo’ in the subject line.

This week’s entertainment guide features a Contemporary restaurant in Itaim Bibi, a boteca which serves great chope and Portuguese inspired tidbits in Itaim Bibi, a piano recital featuring a world premier at the Theatro São Pedro, the latest movie release – a romance starring Nicole Kidman and an exhibition that combines the smells of Brazil with art.

SabujiSabuji is a contemporary restaurant located in Itaim Bibi and is a collaboration between friends Marcelo Loureiro and Eduardo Grinberg, who also own the Japanese restaurant Japengo. Designed by architects Marina Cury and Elisa Biagi the restaurant projects a retro/modern environment, with armchairs, antique furniture and pictures by Vic Muniz. There is a bar located in the restaurant lounge, providing an option for those who fancy a few drinks. The contemporary kitchen is the domain of chef Bel Coelho, who has constructed a menu which includes the following choices: robalo with pupunha and cashew nuts, beef ribs with gnocchi and nutela souffl with banana ice cream. The restaurant also offers some exotic plates, such as arraia wrapped in banana leaf with coconut sauce and pear risotto with Roquefort. Cost R$61. Address: Rua Sabuji, 40, Itaim Bibi. Phone: (11) 3814-1240. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner.

Espirito SantoInspired by similar taverns in Lisbon, Portugal, Espirito Santo has a loyal cliental who pack the bar throughout happy hours, lunches and in the evenings. The bar providers a relax atmosphere with a touch of nostalgia. The walls are decorated with pictures of the streets and houses of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities. Apart from a great chope Brahma, the chef Paulinho Pereira Ramos, offers a variety of Portuguese tidbits, sandwiches and salads. As you would expect of a place with a Portuguese influence, seafood and particularly bacalhau feature prominently. When the weather is nice the bar sets up tables and chairs on the veranda so that punters can watch the world pass them by. Avenida Horcio Lfer, 634 Itaim Bibi. Phone (11) 3078-7748. Open Thursday to Sunday for lunch and Monday to Sunday for dinner. Check the website www.barespiritosanto.com.br

Theatro São PedroGo and experience the wonderful Theatro São Pedro for a world premier piano recital. On March 24, 2005 the theater is to celebrate its 7th anniversary, and is presenting pianist Marco Alcantara. The recital includes the beautiful sonata of Scarlatti, the world premiere of Scarlattina by Brazilian composer Eduardo Avellar, the festive Schumann Carnival of Vienna and the famous Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. When: 8:30pm March 24, 2005. Where: Theatro São Pedro, Rua Barra Funda 171 (near metr Marechal Deodoro). Phone: (11) 3667-0499 for tickets R$15 and 7.50 for students, retired and seniors. Check out the website www.teatroSãopedro.sp.gov.br

BirthBirth is a romance by director Jonathan Glazer who follows up his debut, Sexy Beast, with his new film, teaming with Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman for a metaphysical love story that explores the space between what we know and what we feel. Kidman stars as Anna, a delicate young widow who is on the verge of a new life when a solemn little boy appears, claiming to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. As Anna, Kidman achieves a breathtaking emotional transparency to portray an intelligent woman who discovers another side of herself in the face of a bizarre, yet tantalizing possibility. The actress is paired with Canadian child actor Cameron Bright, who portrays the boy interloper. Birth is part romance, part mystery, and part family drama – woven into a whole about love, mortality and the unknown. Released in Brazil on 25 March, 2005. R for sexuality. 1 hr. 40 min

The Interpretation of a SmellAssociaão Alumni, a not for profit Brazil-US binational center since 1961, will hold an event called The Interpretation of a Smell in March. Firstly, in this bold and innovative initiative, Citratus, one of the largest Perfumeurs in Brazil, created such an essence. Called “Cheiro Brasil” this essence reminds people of the smells of the forests and beaches. This essence was then given to 12 leading artists in the country, namely: Alex Atala, chef; Gloria Coelho, fashion designer; Cecilia Rodrigues, jeweler; Gustavo Rosa, painter; Igncio de Loyola Brandão, writer/essayist; Isabelle Tuchband, ceramist; Marcelo Rosenbaum, interior decorator; Paulo Von Poser, plastic arts; Luiz Tripolli, photographer; Vic Meirelles, florist; Victor Lema Riqu, video-arts; Claudia Matarazzo, journalist. Inspired by this essence, they were asked to create a work of art. This collection will be exibited from March 22 to April 19 at the Centro Cultural Alumni, located at Rua Brasiliense, 65, Santo Amaro. Phone: 11 5644-9730. Check the website: www.alumni.org.br

See below for previous editions of What’s On in São Paulo

What’s On Guide, Mar 17 – Mar 23, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 10 – Mar 16, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 3 – Mar 9, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 24 – Mar 2, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 17 – Feb 23, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 11 – Feb 16, 2005
What’s On Guide, Feb 3 – Feb 10, 2005

Approval of the administration of Brazil’s President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva has fallen to 62% in March from a previous 58% in November, according to a poll released Tuesday by the National Industry Federation (CNI) and conducted by the Ibope polling firm.

The poll, carried out between March 11-14, involved 2,200 respondents in 143 Brazilian municipalities.

Disapproval of the Lula government, meanwhile, rose to 33% by 30% by the same comparison.

Confidence in Lula fell to 60% from 63%, whereas distrust of the Brazilian president rose to 34% from 33%.

Also, 52% said that the Lula administration has been better than the previous government. Another 27% said nothing has changed and 18% said the current administration is worse than the previous one.

By Cida Fontes – AE