Here are a couple of events celebrating Thanksgiving in São Paulo, one from the American Society and the other at the Grand Hyatt hotel.

American Society of São Paulo’s

Mark your calendars! The American Society of São
Paulo’s Ecumenical Service Thanksgiving Celebration happens at Wednesday, the 23rd!

This year the ceremony will begin at 7:30pm, at the St.Paul’s Anglican Church on Rua Comendador Elias Zarzur, 1239.

Following the service there will be an informal reception held on the patio of the church, with turkey sandwiches, homemade baked goods, wine and soft drinks.

The musician Grace Henderson will be playing the flute and Srgio de Souza will play the piano.

All American Society members and their children are invited to join AmSoc in this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. Also, to volunteer your time in organizing the event, to donate baked items, and/or for more information, please contact Celina at the AmSoc office (e-mail:, Tel. 5182-2074) or Jose Arana (e-mail:, Tel. 4137-1481)

Grand Hyatt Hotel

The Grand Hyatt traditionally holds a Thanksgiving dinner, and this year is no exception. Before you go it’s recommended to make a reservation as this event is typically fully booked.

Grand Hyatt São Paulo
Avenida das Naes Unidas 13.301
04578-000 São Paulo, SP
Tel.: +55 11 6838 1234
Fax: +55 11 6838 1235

By Rita Shannon Koeser
In a small town in the interior of São Paulo state there is a museum dedicated to the memory of one of the most influential painters of the early modern art movement in Brazil. Located in a blue three storey colonial building with a copy of her most famous painting, Abaporu”, painted on it, the Tarsila do Amaral Memorial sits on a quiet street in the town of Rafard. The museum was created a few years ago by Tarsila’s nephew and his daughter to honor the memory of their famous relative. The museum exhibits works from all three phases of Tarsila’s painting. The phases are known as Pau-Brasil, Antropofagia, and Social.. There are also family pictures, pictures of Tarsila with each of her husbands, with her daughter and granddaughter, and other mementos and letters. There is even a document on which Tarsila had erased her date of birth and written in another year, making her several years younger than she was. She used to say “An artist has no age”.


The Tarsila do Amaral Memorial in Rafard

She was cultured, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, but she would always remember her Brazilian country roots. She grew up in the splendor of the coffee growing elite during the coffee boom in Brazil. In Paris in the 1920’s, she studied the new styles in art, and she was friends with all the important musicians, artists and writers living there. She was noticed wherever she went and was known as a great beauty. Her nephew, Guilherme Augusto do Amaral, who was her lawyer and is now the executor of her estate, remembers first meeting her when she came to visit his family with one of her paintings. “My first memory of her is when I was four years old in 1934, and she came to visit us with her painting ‘Operrios’ (workers), and I was so impressed with that painting and with her”, he said. “She was elegant, cultured, and she had strong bonds with the family. She was very kind to the children. But the family which was a very formal, conventional upper class family was a bit shocked by her” he added.


Her painting “Operrios” (inside the museum) from her Social period

Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) broke all the rules, in her work and in her personal life. She was a strong woman who had the courage to live life on her own terms. She became part of a group of writers and artists who in the early 1920’s staged the Week of Modern Art in São Paulo. They wanted to modernize their country culturally and artistically. Instead of so much European influence, they wanted to portray their own country with its festivals, African influence, and tropical colors. .Tarsila’s paintings would incorporate the new trends of Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism which she used to express the Brazil she loved. Her art represented a break from the conservative academic painting of the time. Her most famous painting, “Abaporu” was sold at Christie’s in New York in 1995 for 1.3 million dollars, which was a record for a Brazilian painting.


Her most famous painting, Abaporu, considered her masterpiece (this is a copy painted on her museum)

Tarsila grew up and had a happy childhood on her farm, São Bernardo, near Capivari. Her father was a wealthy coffee baron, and she had all the advantages of a child of her class. A young Belgian woman lived in the house and taught the children French , as was the custom of upper class families at the time. Tarsila, in time, would speak French like a native. It was a cultured household. Her mother, a talented pianist, would play the piano in the afternoons in the library filled with books in French. The food was imported directly from France, and their clothing was French. She and her siblings were acquainted with the works of the French writers and poets like Voltaire and Victor Hugo from an early age. In her mother’s room, Tarsila used to like to play with a tape measure that had portraits of all the French kings on it. She loved to play in the forest surrounding the house. She would remember “I was always very free on the farm. I was always playing, running, climbing and falling out of trees” Years later she would write to her mother from Paris “I feel increasingly Brazilian. I want to be the painter of my country. How thankful I am to have passed my whole childhood on the farm. The memories of those times are becoming precious to me”.

Her first husband, whom she married in 1906, the father of her only child , was a man who didn’t share her interest in books, music and art. They were together for seven years. But she felt suffocated in this marriage, and unlike most women of her class at that time who were expected to resign themselves to unhappy marriages, Tarsila separated from her husband and went to São Paulo to study art. Her conservative family was scandalized by this, and it was difficult for her as a woman living alone separated from her husband.

After a previous visit to Paris to study art, in 1923 Tarsila returned to Paris with the poet and writer Oswald de Andrade while still married to her first husband. She again studied art, and socially she made a big splash. She was noticed wherever she went. She was friends with all the important people. The guest list at her Brazilian lunches would include Picasso, Erik Satie, Villa-Lobos, Stravinsky and others. These were some of the happiest years of her life, and later she would remember “In my studio on rue Hegesippe Moreau, in Montmartre, I entertained all the artistic avant-garde of Paris”. A brunette with big expressive eyes, Tarsila was 5 feet 4 inches tall and wore her hair pulled back. She always wore enormous earrings. She wore clothes by the best designers in Paris. Tarsila caused a stir one evening when she went to the theater to see a ballet. When she entered her box, everyone turned around to look at her. The poet and critic Sergio Milliet remembered “The black hair… the extravagant earrings almost touching the soft dark shoulders”. Years later, Oswald de Andrade’s son would say “Tarsila was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. And I think that she was more beautiful still on this night”. Tarsila and Oswald were very much in love, but she was still married to her first husband. Because of the pressures from her traditional family, she tried to be discreet about her relationship with Oswald. But Tarsila always followed her own star.

Her later years were filled with heartbreak. She married Oswald de Andrade in 1926, and they separated in 1930. Her third husband was twenty years her junior, and he would eventually leave her for a younger woman. Both her daughter and granddaughter died before their time. The stock market crash in 1929 affected coffee prices in Brazil, and her family lost a lot of their wealth. But Tarsila’s indomitable spirit never left her. She endured all without complaint. She had loved life and had lived it on her own terms. And she still found joy in her art. She continued painting, and there were many retrospectives of her work. In 1964, she represented Brazil at the Venice Biennial. She died in São Paulo on January 17, 1973.

In the Tarsila do Amaral Memorial, her paintings are exhibited in small rooms organized according to the different phases of her painting. Most of the paintings are copies, the originals being in museums or the homes of private collectors. On one wall is a copy of her masterpiece “Abaporu”, the painting that sold at Christie’s to an Argentine collector in 1995 for 1.3 million dollars. She painted this in 1928 as a birthday present for her husband, Oswald de Andrade. This phase of her painting is called Antropofagia. The pictures are characterized by exaggerated anatomical forms and a certain surrealist flavor. They have a mysterious and dreamlike quality . In another room the works of first phase, Pau-Brasil are exhibited. In these paintings, the influence of her teacher in Paris, the cubist painter, Fernand Leger, is evident in the geometric forms of cubism. These paintings have vivid colors, bold brush strokes and tropical landscapes which were Tarsila’s tribute to Brazil. Tarsila’s style completely changed with her Social phase. Her famous painting “Operrios” (workers) is in the room that encompasses the paintings of this period. She painted this in 1933 after her trip to the Soviet Union. She was influenced by the idealism of that time. After her trip, she became concerned with social themes.

Paintings inside the museum, from her Pau-Brasil period

Paintings inside the museum, from her Pau-Brasil period

The Tarsila do Amaral Memorial is open Monday to Friday, from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. The address is Rua Mauricio Alain, Centro, CEP 13370-000, Rafard, SP. The telephone number is: (19) 3496-1679. The museum can be visited alone or with a guide. English and Spanish tours need to be scheduled ahead of time. Directions to the museum from São Paulo: Rodovia Castelo Branco. Follow directions to Piracicaba. Get off at the entrance to Capivari. From Capivari, take Pio Xll Avenue straight to Rafard.

One of the paintings inside the museum, from her Pau-Brasil period

One of the paintings inside the museum, from her Pau-Brasil period

Previous articles by Rita:

Learning English in Brazil’s Outback
Brazil: An Encounter In The Amazon
Manaus and the Rubber Boom

By D. E. Finley
Going to a doctor for the first time in Brazil was intimidating for me – alright, terrifying. Would my Brazilian doctor, Dr. Luba, understand my English and my possible ailments that I’d contracted from our Christmas trip to the Amazon jungle? My phone book of US doctors certainly didn’t seem to.

After making the appointment, trying to find Dr. Luba’s office was another challenge in navigation and orienteering in a foreign country. In Austin, Tx, since I detest reading maps, my usual method of finding a new doctor’s office, is to stop every couple of minutes to consult with a store employee, fellow driver at an intersection, or Lance Armstrong wannabe (in yellow spandex, playing Cheryl Crow music on their MP3 player). Here in Campinas, I winged it with an ex-pat’s driving directions. That’s when I found out how severe her dyslexia was. From her e-mails, I thought her name was Sahely – turns out it’s Ashley.

After an hour of driving the sections of Campinas, that holds the Guinness Book of World records for graffiti and iron bars on the window, I followed signs to a shopping mall. There, I hopped a cab. Proudly, but without too much self-gloating, I arrived only ten minutes late to Dr. Luba’s office. So, I only had to wait another fifty minutes.

I worried that Dr. Luba would treat me like an insurance card number, like my US doctor, Dr. Drippy. At Dr. Drippy’s office, I felt more like an Oreo cookie in the Nabisco factory, being checked to see that my top, middle, and bottom looked normal”, like all the other Oreo cookies Dr. Drippy examined. Fortunately, Dr. Luba treated me, personally, like a return customer at a Lexus dealership. He acknowledged the special person that I am, even noting my moles, stretch marks, and spider veins.

I also stressed that Dr. Luba would rush through my appointment like Dr. Drippy did. Even with my being a hypochondriac, Dr. Drippy would dispatch me, hurriedly, like a McDonald’s drive-thru customer. After a five minute examination, Dr. Drippy’s usual, draggy response was, “Stop reading medical websites. Call in two weeks if you still have symptoms, and a pulse.”

Fortunately, Dr. Luba spent as much time with me as I felt that I needed (I even packed an overnight bag). Since having returned from our Amazon vacation, I’d scoured the medical websites. I panicked that I had every disease, related to my tick bites, mosquito pricks, food poisoning, and monkey handshakes. Either that, or I’d eaten too many burgers in the Manaus airport on the way home.

To rule everything out, Dr. Luba took x-rays, blood tests, urine, and stool samples. The tests were almost painless, and took off the extra five pounds I’d been trying to loose. Dr. Luba gently squeezed my hand, reassuring me, that my test results would be back in two days. And yes, an ambulance and hospital bed would be available in the critical care unit if necessary.

Going to a Brazilian doctor like Dr. Luba was like getting to sit in first class on the plane versus having to sit in coach, like with Dr. Drippy. I got personal, professional, and cutting edge treatment. The insurance co-pay was much cheaper than the US too – about the price of a U.S. movie ticket in Mississippi. None of my exams were denied or contested either, like they probably would have been in the US. And best of all, I got a clean bill of health with no CSI: Medical Investigation, TV show type diseases.

Copyright D.E. Finley 2005.

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil Humour: Lost Dog

Brazil Humour: Brazilian Chicken

Brazil Humour: Visiting Santos

Brazil: Novo Jerusalem

Brazil Humour: Plastic Surgery

Brazil Humour: What’s In A Name?

Brazil Humour: Sizing Up Shoes in Brazil

Brazil Humour: Hiring a Cook

Brazil Humour: Pet Sitting

Brazil Humour: Driving in Campinas

Brazil Humour: Lighting Up

Brazil: Going to the US Consulate

Brazil: Advice to Dialinda

Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo covers a bar in Itaim, a night club in Pinheiros, an adventure park for kids, a rock festival coming to São Paulo and Rio, and this week’s recommended cinema release.

O Bar des ArtsInspired by Provence, O Bar des Arts has three environments: the outside area with the garden and fountain, an extensive saloon with bar, and the half moon room that highlights the garden. The half moon room can be hired for company events, weddings etc. The menu has a large variety from cold and hot appetisers, pasta, risottos, seafood, various cuts of steak, and sushi. They also run a lunch buffet every day of the week, with varied themes (check the web site for details). Currently from Monday to Saturday from 7:30pm they offer cheese and wine, in detail with various breads, minestrone soup, cold appetisers and of course various cheese and wines. Rua Pedro Humberto, 9. Itaim. Tel. 3074 6363.

SalamandraSalamandra is a night club located in Pinheiros, and easy to spot with the Salamander motif. The club is decorated in a somewhat rustic style, but the ground floor bar is moodily lit and inviting. The downstairs dance floor isn’t large, but equally does generate a more cosy feel and is sensibly sound insulated from the other bars. The first floor bar is designed to have a more romantic feel with lit tables and candles, as well as an open air area. The drinks menu is fairly standard. The current programme on Friday nights is “Party Up” with pop/rock, flash house and dance. Saturday’s is “Salamandra Groove” with so called black music. For the latest programme check their web site. Rua Cardeal Arcoverde, 563. Pinheiros. Tel. 3082 9111.

Espao de AventurasKids will no doubt love to spend some time at Espao de Aventuras. Located in 3200 square metres the emphasis is on outdoor fun, with the video games left behind at home. The park was designed by the arhitect JC Serroni, and centres around finding the treasure. To get to the treasure children must pass through tunnels, over bridges, caves, by trees and flowers, and the mountain labyrinth. Avenida Fernando do Esprito Santo Alvez Matos, 1000. Itaquera.

Claro Q  RockClaro Q Rock is described (by them) as a “true rock festival”, and it’s hard to dispute as there are indeed some excellent rock groups in attendance. Including Good Charlotte, The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Nine Inch Nails, Fantomas and Sonic Youth. The festical is taking place in both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, at the Chcara do Jockey and Cidade Do Rock respectively. The SP festival takes place on the 26th, and in Rio on the 27th November. Tickets for both events can of course be bought in Claro shops, as well as various shopping centres, FNAC and Chilli Beans (see the web site for details).

Everything is IlluminatedThe pick of the films this week is Everything is Illuminated (Uma Vida Iluminada in Portuguese). Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, and directed by Liev Schreiber, this tells the story of a young Jewish man from the USA (played by Elijah Wood) who travels to the Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War 2. As can probably be perceived from the basic plot outline the movie is an emotional one, but provides both emotional highs and lows, aside from the issues of one character trying to understand another with the language barriers. The film is rated a PG-13 in the USA, and a 12A in the UK.

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, or anywhere that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

What’s On Guide, November 14 – November 20 2005
What’s On Guide, November 7 – November 13 2005
What’s On Guide, October 31 – November 6 2005
What’s On Guide, October 24 – October 30 2005
What’s On Guide, October 17 – October 23 2005
What’s On Guide, October 10 – October 16 2005
What’s On Guide, October 3 – October 9 2005
What’s On Guide, September 26 – October 2 2005
What’s On Guide, September 19 – September 25 2005
What’s On Guide, September 12 – September 18 2005
What’s On Guide, September 5 – September 11 2005
What’s On Guide, August 29 – September 4 2005
What’s On Guide, August 15 – August 28 2005
What’s On Guide, July 28 – August 14 2005
What’s On Guide, July 7 – July 27 2005
What’s On Guide, June 22 – June 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 15 – June 22, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 6 – June 15, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 26 – June 6, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 20 – May 25, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 13 – May 19, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 6 – May 12, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 29 – May 5, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 21 – Apr 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 6 – Apr 20, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 31 – Apr 6, 2005

By Max Hodgkin
This column is for all you lovely classical music lovers in São Paulo. This week’s suggestion list includes an opera, a concert for children, and jazz.

Prices normally are ridiculously low in SP so don’t miss the opportunities! Often there is price for children and senior citizens.

Nov 20th, 21st and 24th
Opera – Salvator Rosa by Carlos Gomes
Teatro São Pedro. Rua Barra Funda 171. Tel. 3667 0499
Good parking at the side
Starts at 5pm

Nov 19th
Mozart – Criana (Child). A charity concert of theater, dance and classical music. A must for children and parents
Sala São Paulo (part of the railway station) Praa Julio Prestes. Tel. 3337 5414
Has its own excellent parking and good seats
Entry $R20 to $R30. Well served snacks available. Starts at 11am
Tickets also available at Tucca. Tel. 3057 0131

Nov 23rd and 24th
Jazz Symphonic with Daniela Mercury
Teatro Sergio Cardoso, Rua Rui Barbosa 153, Bela Vista. Tel. 3288 0136
Entry $R20 to R$40. Starts at 9pm

For classical music on the radio tune to Cultura (FM 103.30MHz). On some late nights they transmit Jazz. More extensive details can be found in a monthly magazine called Concerto and is available via Tel. (11) 5535 5518

For previous articles by Max Hodgkin see below:

Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Nov 9th to Nov 17th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Nov 2nd to Nov 8th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 25th to Nov 1st
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 20th to 24th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 5th to Oct 16th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 5th to Oct 12th”

Press Release
John Fitzpatrick interviews Former Brazilian Finance Minister Mailson da Nobrega over at his site,

Former Brazilian Finance Minister Mailson da Nobrega says President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could win next year’s presidential election but says much will depend on the opposition’s tactics. Lula’s chances will be boosted by the macroeconomic outlook for 2006 which da Nobrega describes as being one of the best in the last eight years. He foresees no risk of the government giving in to political pressure and changing its economic policy. “Lula knows this would be a mistake in economic terms and suicidal in political terms,” said da Nobrega in a wide-ranging interview with Brazil Political Comment, a recently-launched site which covers the Brazilian political and business scene.

In other comments, da Nobrega says Lula’s foreign policy is based on a Third World agenda, is marked by anti-Americanism and is “one of the worst in the history of Brazil”. He describes the pension system, introduced by the 1988 Constitution, as a “fiscal disaster” which is holding back Brazil’s development.

Da Nobrega also discusses his forthcoming book “O Futuro Chegou – Instituies e Desenvolvimento no Brasil” (The Future has Arrived – Institutions and Development in Brazil). “I believe Brazil is migrating to a new development model which will be marked by democracy, a market-oriented economy, and be founded on strong economic institutions with social policies focused on the poor. The transition will be long, difficult and risky but I believe we will arrive there. The signs of this future can already been seen.”

You can also read John Fitzpatrick’s article Brazilian Parties Start Long Haul in Fight for Presidency in which he claims that the forthcoming presidential election campaign will be a no-holds conflict, marked by dirty tricks and mudslinging. Here is an excerpt:

“In early October I was talking to someone closely involved with the São Paulo PSDB leadership who said that the Workers Party (PT)… was wrong if it thought the ongoing political crisis was running out of steam. Something would occur which would show Lula that he would not have a clear run at a second mandate next year. I assumed he was referring to some ambush the PSDB was preparing for just before next year’s election. “Oh no, it will happen sooner, perhaps this month”, he said. Events in the last few days of October show he may have been speaking the truth.”

Contact: (5511) 9156 8366 or

By Teacher Claudia
Dear readers, sorry for the absence and thanks for your e-mails. Hugs, South Africa!
As I’ve told you, due to our historical, social and cultural roots, Brazilian Portuguese has a myriad of interjections and expressions, and some may be tricky to comprehend.

In fact, they are the only linguistic elements which don’t need to connect to any other, and they express several emotional states, such as joy, admiration and surprise.

Quoting a student, Brazilians are too emotional”, it’s only fair enough the presence of these elements in our language.

Activity 1
Read part of a song, “O Meu Amor” by Chico Buarque, a master in using colloquial Brazilian Portuguese in his lyrics:
E me beija com calma e fundo
At minha alma se sentir beijada, ai
Eu sou sua menina, viu?
E ele o meu rapaz
Meu corpo testemunha
Do bem que ele me faz

(My Love
And he kisses me calmly and deep
Until my soul feels kissed, ai
I’m his girl, right?
And he’s my boy
My body is the witness
Of the good he does to me)

Activity 2
Recognize the various types of interjections and what they express:
Joy: Ah! Oh! Oba! !
Admiration or surprise: Puxa! Nossa! Viva! Caramba!
Greeting: Psiu! Oi! Ei! Ol!
Intention: Oxal! Tomara!
Pain: Ai! Ui!
Silence: Psiu!
End: Basta! Chega!

Activity 3
Know some expressions with interjections:
Puxa vida! Como voc demorou! (expressing anger)
Apesar do acidente, voc est bem. Graas a Deus! (gratitude)
Todos chegaram a tempo para a reunião. Ainda bem! (relief)
Nossa Senhora! Que frio! (surprise)

Activity 4
Understand some contractions:
Mandei e-mail para voc, viu?
The word viu might be the simple past of ver, but it isn’t. In fact, it’ the contraction of ouviu, and it means “Did you hear what I said? Did you pay attention to my words?”
O clima em São Paulo horrvel, n?
The word n is even clearer. It’s the combination of não and , “Isn’t it?”.
Xi, o relatório vai atrasar…
Now, xi is one of the most interesting. It’s the contraction of Virgem Maria, which has several branches; vixi Maria, xi Maria, and sometimes only xi.

Activity 5
Use you comprehension.
Find the word which is also used as an interjection, to emphasize denial.
“Só pro meu prazer”, by Leoni
Não vem agora com essas insinuaes
Dos seus defeitos ou de algum medo normal
Ser que voc não nada que eu penso
Tambm se não for não me faz mal, não
Não me faz mal, não.

(For my pleasure only
Dont come now with these insinuations
Of your flaws or some normal fear
Is it possible you’re nothing that I think of
But if you aren’t it won’t harm me
Don’t you harm me)

Answer: the word não, at the end of the sentences.

Practice your interjections and expressions, viu?
See you next class!
Teacher Cludia

Teacher Claudia is available for private classes in São Paulo. She can be contacted at

To read previous articles by Teacher Claudia click below:

A Brazilian Holiday: October 12th
Portuguese Tip: Sounds
Portuguese Tip: Verb Tenses
Portuguese Tip: The Mystery of Seu, Sua
Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 2
A Brazilian custom: Kissing the Cheek
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Past
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 1
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Present
Portuguese Tips
Portuguese Tips: Adverbs in Portuguese
Portuguese Tips: Comparative and Superlative
Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes

By John Fitzpatrick
One of the few agreeable features of São Paulo is that it is a thriving residential and business center at the same time. Unlike the center of Rio de Janeiro, for example, which is practically deserted in the evening after people have left their offices, the old center of São Paulo is vibrant. This is because hundreds of thousands of people live there. The city’s most famous street, Avenida Paulista, and the surrounding area is densely inhabited and filled with restaurants, cinemas, theaters, discos, nightclubs and even hospitals. São Paulo has more claim to being the city that never sleeps than New York does.

The majority of these residents are from the middle and upper class but there are also people from the lower income group. How long this will last is a matter of conjecture since there are already signs of creeping gentrification which is making life more difficult not only for the lower income group but even the middle class in areas such as Jardins and Pinheiros. Buildings and houses are being torn down and replaced by gigantic obscenities which only millionaires can afford. Simple shops and bakeries, where you can buy a pãozinho (bread roll) or a soft drink, and tradesman’s places, such as cobblers and key cutters, are being replaced by expensive bars and restaurants where a beer can easily cost a domestic maid’s daily pay.

Working class people have almost no chance of buying a property since the gap between and industrial worker’s wage and that of a middle class person, like a lawyer or doctor, is enormous. However, these middle class districts have tens of thousands of maids, janitors, security guards, waiters, nurses etc living and working there. There have to be facilities which suit these people’s pockets, such as cheap eating places, unpretentious bars and corner shops where you can buy rice, beans and potatoes rather than imported fancy foods and wines. The existence of such places is good for the middle class as well since it means that the consumer still has a choice and can buy simple things at reasonable prices. Removing or replacing downmarket stores and restaurants pushes up prices for everyone.

For example, there used to be a family-owned corner shop by the junction of Rua Oscar Freire and Peixoto Gomide where you could buy fruit and vegetables. Nearby was a small bakery with a simple dining area, and there was also a little stationary shop where you could make photocopies. Over the last two years these places have gone. The fruit shop is now a so-called Irish pub, the bakery has been turned into a trendy restaurant and the stationary store is a fancy Arab restaurant. These places have become very popular and must be making much more profit than they ever did before. That is good news for the investors and for those who have gained employment but one wonders what is of more value to a community – places where anyone can go and buy necessities at a reasonable price or places which exclude a large part of the community and offer only added-value items which bring the owners a bigger profit?

Only a couple of hundred yards away, at the corner of Oscar Freire and Mello Alves, a workman’s place and a upmarket bar/restaurant are virtual neighbors. In the simple place you can buy a big bottle of a popular brand of beer whereas in the smarter place you are restricted to a smaller bottle of a premium brand which costs much more. At least you can still take your pick but for how much longer?

American Visitors 1: Tyson – from Champ to Chump
One man who enjoyed São Paulo’s vibrant night life was Mike Tyson who passed a memorable night which started in a bar and ended up in a police station where he spent four hours being treated more like a hero than a hood. Tyson ended up in police custody after thumping a photographer who was annoying him and then smashing his camera and ripping out the film. One can sympathize with a celebrity who just wants to be left on his own and few people will shed any tears over a press cameraman who would photograph a corpse if he could make money out of it. However, Tyson made a worse mistake by giving a street boy U$100. Tyson was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that it was better to give a poor child U$100 than spend it on a prostitute. This is a bizarre example and shows the kind of mentality Tyson has. However, whereas a prostitute would spend the money on herself and family the boy is more likely to be targeted and robbed. Instead of making a showy gesture which could endanger the boy’s life it is a pity that Tyson did not make a donation to an organization which looks after underprivileged children or even visit a favela. This might have also polished up his tarnished image.

American Visitors 2: Rice – No Rosa Parks
Other recent American visitors, George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice, might also have made some efforts to meet local people during their flying visit. Bush could have shown Brazilians that he was not the demon he is made out to be while Rice could have spoken to young black Brazilians as her predecessor, Colin Powell, did. Unlike Tyson, she is a good role model for poor black youngsters but she could not find a space in her crowded diary to pass an hour with them. The recent death of Rosa Parks, the black woman whose refusal to go along with the segregated system in the southern US, was the spark which led to the advancement of black Americans was given great coverage here. Rice missed an excellent opportunity to capitalize on this event in a country with one of the world’s largest black populations.

Warmongering Brazil Style
Here is a part of a letter published on the day President George W. Bush arrived in Brazil. It did not appear in some leftist or student rag, but in the Estado de S.Paulo, a newspaper with probably the highest opinion of itself in the whole world.

What is Bush going to do here? A proposal for Acre in exchange for the foreign debt? Brazil will not sell Acre! The Amazon is ours! Go home Bush II. Caesar of modern times. Go home warmonger!” (I have translated it literally to show how inarticulate the original Portuguese version was.)

This irrelevant verbiage was published without any explanation or comment. Nor did it mention the fact that Acre used to belong to Bolivia and only became part of Brazil at the start of the 20th century after an uprising by Brazilians who declared the territory an independent republic. Brazil exploited the presence of thousands of Brazilian rubber tappers who had started arriving in Acre in the last decades of the 19th century. They eventually formed a majority of the population and revolted. At one point, they expelled the Bolivian governor leading to intervention by Bolivian troops. In 1902 there was another revolt, this time backed by the governor of Amazonas state who provided military and financial support to the rebels. Bolivia was unable to resist and in 1904 handed over 73,000 square miles of its territory in exchange for access to the Madeira river, US$10 million and a pledge by Brazil to build a railway on the right bank of the Madeira, thus giving the Bolivians access to the Atlantic via the Amazon.

This is just one example of Brazil’s own warmongering past which saw it annex territory belonging to neighboring countries but which modern Brazilians do not like to recall. The latest issue of the magazine “Nossa Historia” has a section called “Fronteiras do Brasil” which describes how today’s borders were fixed. Obviously the Estado’s correspondent has not read it.

Gunlovers of the World Unite
Perhaps this martial history explains why Brazilians voted overwhelmingly not to ban the sale of guns in the recent referendum. Maybe those who favored the ban underestimated Brazilians’ wish to own guns and shoot people. Just as I was surprised by the sheer size of the majority in favor of guns I was also surprised by the strong feelings this issue generated. I received quite a lot of e-mails from readers, only one of whom agreed with me. About the half the responses came from Americans, who as far as I could see had no link to Brazil, and my articles had links to gun-related sites. There have been reports that the Brazilian gun lobby sought advice from American organizations such as the National Rifle Association. I am not sure if this is so but the odd interest shown by the American pro-gun lobby in a purely Brazilian domestic matter makes me think it could be true.

John Fitzpatrick 2005

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes.This article originally appeared on his site He can be contacted at

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on

Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

By D. E. Finley
One sunny afternoon in our Campinas neighborhood, I was walking our two dogs, Rocky and Baylor. A cute mutt resembling a miniature, fifteen pound golden retriever, stood in a driveway. But, he didn’t bark in the typical, Off my turf estrangeiros!” way. He was friendly and had a self-effacing modesty.

Continuing down the road, I turned around to see the tail-wager following us.

“You’re a cutie,” I admired, stopping to pet him, “I wish that I could take you home.”

From a across the street, a woman from her second story window yelled out to me in a serious tone. Not understanding what she said in Portuguese, I stressed. Did she think that I was trespassing or something? Couldn’t she see that I was petting an adorable pooch in this person’s yard? When I replied in my pigeon Portuguese, she switched to speaking English, as most of my neighbors do.

“The dog is lost!” she yelled.

“Really?!” I yelled back, “Oooh, poor thing.”

She came out of her house over to us, “Yes the dog is lost. Would you like to take it home?”

“He’s precious. But, I don’t think my husband would be happy.”

She laughed.

The last thing my husband would want is another dog jumping up on his side of the sofa, shedding on his side of the bed, and stealing his sandwich rolls off of the counter while he’s at the store buying sandwich meats.

Looking down at his friendly furry face, I melted like an ice cream cone, “I can take him home for a little while.”

But, how I was going to get three dogs home with two leashes? If I leashed the stray pooch with Rocky’s leash, then Rocky would be loose and could get hit by a car. That would fix the problem of not having a third dog to bring home. But, it wouldn’t be a viable solution. And, I was struggling to catch the stray. Every time I got close enough, Rocky interfered like a jealous sibling. And, my two leashes were being used to keep Baylor tied to a tree.

Watching my struggle to collect all three dogs, my neighbor gently approached the stray. She lifted him off the grass into her arms like a mother taking back an infant who had crawled too far.

“I took him home with me three days, but he got loose again,” she revealed.

“Ah, they’ve bonded already,” I thought, feeling optimistic.

“We’ll be returning to Texas in December, so we wouldn’t be able to take him with us,” I said, hoping to secure a home for the little mutt with this woman.

“Your dogs are Texans? How nice. I bet that this dog would like Texas too.”

“Yes, but, it would be hard to take three dogs, especially on the plane. Texas has very hot summers, bad traffic, and rattle snakes.”

Her look of concern grew to a gasp. We doted over the soft cuddly mutt nestled in her arms. He looked like he had just won first prize at an international cute pageant, beating out puppies, kids, and beanie babies.

“I will take him home,” the woman sighed.

“Thank God,” I thought.

“If and when you change your mind, you know where I live.”

But, I couldn’t back down. Maybe, I’d just take him on daily walks and to the pet shop for weekly shampoos.

As we crossed the street towards her house, another dog was smiling at us behind her fence as if he were welcoming the stray back home.

“This way your dog will have a playmate,” I reassured her.

“I already have three dogs,” she replied with a frown.

Copyright D.E. Finley 2005.

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil Humour: Brazilian Chicken

Brazil Humour: Visiting Santos

Brazil: Novo Jerusalem

Brazil Humour: Plastic Surgery

Brazil Humour: What’s In A Name?

Brazil Humour: Sizing Up Shoes in Brazil

Brazil Humour: Hiring a Cook

Brazil Humour: Pet Sitting

Brazil Humour: Driving in Campinas

Brazil Humour: Lighting Up

Brazil: Going to the US Consulate

Brazil: Advice to Dialinda

Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

By Mark Taylor
The 15th November is a public holiday in Brazil, and celebrates the Proclamaão da Republica” (Proclamation of the Republic).

Instrumental to the proclamation of the republic was Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca. Manuel was born in the state of Alagoas, on 5th August 1827. He had a military career and was involved in several battles such as the Praieira revolt in Pernambuco, in 1848, and the War of Cisplatina, which Brazil fought with Paraguay, 1864-1870. Through these military campaigns he rose from the rank of captain, to field-marshal, and then to a full marshal. His courage and competence in battle ensured his visibility as a national figure, and he became Governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

In 1886 the Emperor’s, Dom Pedro II, government was ordering the arrest of prominent republicans in a political battle over the abolition of slavery. Fonseca went to Rio de Janeiro to command an army faction that favoured abolition. This argument over abolition toppled the Emperor, on 15th November 1889, and Fonseca commanded the military coup that deposed him. Dom Pedro II and his family fled to France.

Fonseca’s leadership of the coup placed him temporarily as the head of the provisional government while the constitution was drafted. He was then narrowly elected as president, on 26th February 1891.

The government was still divided though between members who supported Fonseca and his vice-president Floriano Peixoto. Peixoto found greater support due to some arbitrary presidential decrees that soured public opinion, and on 3rd November 1891 Fonseca dissolved the National Congress and declared a state of emergency, with the country on the brink of civil war over the political split.

On 23rd November 1891 Fonseca signed his resignation, and turned over the presidency to Floriano. Fonseca died in Rio de Janeiro on 23rd August 1892.

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN