By Kieran Gartlan
There are many great restaurants in São Paulo, but for something special try Ob. You can select from four styles of cuisine – Mexican, Thai, Italian and Brazilian – and whichever you choose you won’t be disappointed. Decor is cozy and interesting with artifacts from around the world, while service is friendly and extremely efficient. Several of the waiters speak excellent English. The restaurant is run by six partners, all with different backgrounds, which helps give the space its eclectic feel. The name for the restaurant came from the chorus of a Jorge Ben Jor song Mais que Nada” and is also an African Orix that protects the kitchen. Ob has a good selection of Caipirinhas and Margaritas and a decent wine list.

The restaurant is well located in the Jardins neighborhood, and within walking distance of popular bars such as Balcao and O’Malleys, should you want to go for a few drinks afterwards.

Address: Rua Dr. Melo Alves, 205. Jardins.
Tel: (11) 3086-4774.
Opening Hours: Tue to Sun 12h to 15h. Mon – Sat 20h – 1h.
Credit Cards: Mastercard, American Express, Dinners
Parking: R$8 Valet parking.

To read previous articles by Kieran click below:

Brazil Restaurant Review: El Mariachi
Brazil: Bits and Bobs

By Susi Moscoso
When we lived in Rio – 1995/6, the violence was already out of control. The slums, or favelas, were everywhere, so no matter where you lived, you lived near one. As a result, it was a common, nightly occurrence to hear gunfights. Not just a few gunshots, but all out gunfights, between the police and the drug gangs. And not just small guns, but automatic weapons – the kind that you only expect to see in movies.

I remember my first encounter with the gunfire. It was late one night, and I was watching TV in my bedroom. Being Brazil, it was hot. And being brazil, there was no air conditioning in the house, so i had my big bedroom window open to the ocean breeze. Being brazil, there were also giant mosquitoes, and one had wandered into my bedroom and was buzzing around my head with that itchy high-pitched buzz… eeeeeeeeeeeee… I was standing on my bed, trying to catch the mosquito, window open, lights on. I heard some loud noises – I thought fireworks, and kept at my battle with the mosquito.

All of a sudden my dad came running down the hallway, and proceeded to bang on my door and tell me to get down on the floor and turn off the lights. The fireworks were gunfire.

The first few nights of that were scary. I grew accustomed to sleeping in my extra large and fancy walk-in closet. I felt safer in there – at least the bullet would have to go through 2 walls to hit me. But after a few weeks, the gunfire was the norm, and we hardly noticed it anymore. I remember once calling my best friend Beth, and she could hear the gunfire on the phone. She cried. But to me, it was normal. Even when a stray bullet hit the generator and all our power went out.

We were, or course, slightly protected. Not from the stray bullets, but from an attack. We lived on a small peninsula, and at the entrance to our tiny street was a guard tower. But more intimidating was the house at the end of the peninsula. It belonged to the media mogul of Rio, and was fortified accordingly. He had his own guard tower (caddy corner to our house) with 17 guards on patrol at all times. My dad once asked them what they would do if the drug gangs attacked. The guards said not to worry – in addition to their automatic weapons, they also carried grenades.

There were other ways to avoid invasion. Mr media mogul bribed the drug gangs. He donated an ambulance, among other things, and the Sheraton hotel across the little bay paid them not to mug the tourists.

Following the recent events with the weapons stolen from the military I wonder how this will all play out… sending the army in. Last time they did that, the army failed. They were met with a force equipped with rocket launchers. I’m sure if we were still there, i’d be sleeping in the closet this week…

Readers comments:

It is this sort of exaggerated story that gives Rio a bad name. The favelas are not everywhere, and they are not all full of gun-blazing bandits.

A favela is a cheap alternative to the expensive living conditions in Rio, and most people who live in favelas are honest, hard-working people. The favela Susi talks about is Vidigal, and the condominio she lived in used to be one of the most up-scale condominios in Rio.

I have lived in Rio for over 40 years and have never seen a gun fired or had to hide from flying bullets. It does happen sometimes, as the drug gangs use the favelas as hideouts, but the way Susi puts it you would think nowhere was safe.

Also the section on: Being Brazil, it was hot. And being brazil, there was no air conditioning in the house, so i had my big bedroom window open to the ocean breeze. Being brazil, there were also giant mosquitoes ……….!”

It makes Brazil, and Rio, sound like you lived in the jungle, not in a swish condo on a small peninsula sticking out to sea, with one of the best views in Rio – a spot some would pay millions to live in. Condos in those days had plenty of power and air-conditoning. (generator?)

However, Susi was pretty young then, and certainly impressionable, so it is understandable that in telling the story 14 years later things seem bigger than they were. Come to the PanAmerican Games in 2007 Susi, and see what a beautiful city Rio really is.

— Chris

Susi is 28, was born in Ecuador, grew up in the States, lived in Mexico City while in high school, and moved to Rio after high school. She’s currently living in the States, working in marketing. 2-time marathon runner (training for her third!). Email address susimoscoso@yahoo.com.

By Grumpy Gringo
Before I came to São Paulo I did so with some trepidation and unease. This was heavily counterbalanced somewhat with my vivid cartoon-like imagination of Brazil as a whole – with the promise of paradisiacal beaches, the hedonism of carnival, beautiful women, a promised tropical land of sun and surf, lounging about in a hammock for days on end under coconut trees sipping caipirinhas, entertained by the indios in grass skirts with some light bossa nova in the background… Okay that’s going too far, but you get the picture – yet the little research I’d done on São Paulo wasn’t enticing to say the least.

On the BBC website, for example, I learned that São Paulo had 17 million inhabitants, 4 million automobiles and 10,000 miles of streets, making São Paulo one of the most congested cities in the world. For an asthmatic with a hatred for cars this wasn’t a good start. And then there was the bombshell to really get the travel juices flowing and friends salivating in jealously and running to the travel agencies to book their flights to stay with me – It also has one of the worst crime rates in the world with 1500 murders in 2004, compared to New York’s 671.

I wasn’t to be put off though. I could handle it. (While living in the UK I’d lived in both Toxteth and Brixton – two trouble spots in Liverpool and London, that exploded in riots during the early eighties.) If I could live there I could live anywhere – except Dufar perhaps or downtown Iraq. But I wasn’t helping myself either when I brought with me for the flight a book ominously entitled A Death In Brazil” (actually a brilliant portrayal of modern Brazil – giving an overview of its history, politics, culture, cuisine – highlighting the country’s spirit and contradictions.) It must have been just after taking off, waving goodbye to dear old Blighty, all dewy eyed and dreamy, that I came across the following paragraph:

“Rio is huge and lovely and terrifying. São Paulo is huger and more terrifying and not lovely at all (oh dear, what am I doing? Take me back, please. Now!)… São Paulo has more private helicopters than any other city in the world, more armored limousines, more armored ordinary cars, more armed security personnel and more desperate people than any other urban center on the face of the earth. (Shit!)”

As far as I could see and smell, within a few seconds of driving past the shit stinking Rio Tiete upon arriving in São Paulo, Peter Robb’s assessment wasn’t too far off the mark. It has to be said it is one hell of a not-lovely-in-the-way-that-eating-one’s-own-excrement-is-not-lovely ugly city – apparently designed with anarchic and random abandon by some bankrupt mediocrity in a fit of vindictive hatred against his fellow human beings.

São Paulo is also very much a city under siege. Paranoid of thieves and burglars and bank robbers and murderers and bandits – security is everywhere. As rife, perhaps, of say paid up members of the PCC (many of whom undoubtedly work in the security industry – but that’s another story). On the entrance of many streets and avenues, patrolling the roads are security guards – before you even arrive at an apartment or commercial building, and when you do there is even more security usually both in front of and behind the electrified fences, and then, if that wasn’t enough, you are suddenly being hassled on the entryphone by the porteiro for your name, so then he can okay it with whoever it is you are visiting – and then, only then, are you allowed in, albeit steadily followed in through the lobby and into the lift and up to the floor by the watchful eye of a camera lens.

Not that I’m complaining after the recent wake up call that São Paulo is really, truly one of the worlds most trigger happy cities. The death toll after the four days of violent clashes between police and suspected gangsters had reached over 130 on the last count.

“We’re at war with them, there will be more casualties, but we won’t back down,” state military police chief Col. Elizeu Teixeira Borges said, reassuringly.

I can’t argue. This city is at war with itself – in many ways the self-destructive button had already been pressed a long time ago; with unparalleled levels of violence, pollution, homelessness, the extreme inequalities between rich and poor, one must ask the question I have been asking myself recently over and over. The question any privileged westerner living here must surely have asked: Why the hell live here?
I mean, apart from having more opportunities and a lot of very good restaurants, but that’s all by the by if you have enough money and luck to live anywhere else in the world you choose. Why the hell live here if you are not from here? Why not London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Buenos Aires? I challenge you reader, give me one good reason?

Readers comments:

You’re right there, mate. São Paulo is definitely one of the bonafide homicide capitals of the world.

I was a bit baffled by the Brixton and Toxteth comment though, nowhere in Britain remotely compares to São Paulo. The UK is probably one of the least homicidal places on earth.

Are you sure São Paulo ‘only’ had 1,500 murders in 2004? I’m assuming you mean the city proper rather than the metro area but still, there were 6,030 murders in 2002 (10,682 in the metro area). I’ve heard it’s dropped a lot but ‘only’ 1,500 murders??

— Morland

Listen gringo, to each his own as far as cities go. Some people like a smaller and more organized place, others like a more chaotic environment. If you live in São Paulo and all you can see are the restaurants as a benefit for living in this city, then obviously you aren’t suited for it and should leave rather than sit there and complain. Do you even experience the real life of the city? You are a self-titled “privileged westerner” who goes from one guarded and secure environment to the next. Have you been to a practice of Rosas de Ouro? Have you been to a feira to eat pastel and drink sugar cane juice? Have you raised a kite into the air amongst the hundred others already flying? Have you been to a festa junina at a friends house to drink quentao and talk by a campfire in the backyard? Have you been to the Horto Florestal? Have you taken the bus or the subway? Gone to any of the museums? Listened to the state orchestra play at a highly regarded concert hall (Sala São Paulo)? Been to the Mercado Municipal?

Living in any city is not about being part of an elite upper class that is sheltered from real life. It’s easy to say that a city is not good to live in when you don’t really live there. All you quotes are statistics; tell some stories of your bad experiences here to justify your attitude.

— Daniel

Previous articles by Grumpy Gringo:

Brazil: Fashionable Florianopolis
Brazil: Hotel Cambridge Club
Brazil: Backpackers in Florianopolis

By Mark Taylor
Here is part 2 of Mark’s article. To read part 1 click the relevant link at the bottom of the page.

I’m often asked by visitors and those new to living in São Paulo what there is to do. Ibirapuera Park and Avenida Paulista spring to mind, but then my mind goes blank. Of course there are many things to do in São Paulo, even if it is ultimately much more a practical business city than a tourist haven.

Even so I was pleasantly surprised when my wife was digging through some old papers and found a printout of an old email titled 100 Things To Do in São Paulo” (or the Portuguese equivalent). “Hooray!”, I thought, finally a list I can give to someone when they next ask “what can I do in São Paulo?”. On reading the list it is perhaps a bit more whimsical than a practical list of tourist spots, but it’s a start. Subsequently I’ve found a 200 and 250 Things To Do in São Paulo that expand on these, so perhaps I’ll add to this another time. For the moment translating 100 is hard enough! Apologies for any information that’s out of date and mistranslations. Also if anyone knows any more accurate information for locations e.g. a web site for bars and restaurants, I’d be grateful for the link.

If anyone knows the originator of this list I’ll be more than happy to credit.

Anyway, continuing from part 1…

31. Have breakfast in Parque Agua Branca on Saturday morning, and take advantage of the organic produce market that’s closeby.
32. Have a nostalgic night in the Bar Brahma (http://www.barbrahmasp.com), and then go nearby to the corner of Ipiranga and São João to see the crowds and night life.
33. Go to Vila Madalena on a sunny Saturday to eat in one of the busiest bars, like Sacha or Jacar.
34. Watch a concert in Sala São Paulo, located in the old Jlio Prestes train station, that has some of the best acoustics in Latin America (http://www.salaSãopaulo.com.br).
35. Watch a play, ballet or concert in the Teatro Municipal and feel like you’re at the Paris Opera (http://portal.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/secretarias/cultura/theatromunicipal).
36. Watch any film in Sala Cinemateca, converted from an old abattoir, in Vila Mariana (http://www.cinemateca.com.br).
37. Travel up to the Teatro Alfa, on the bridge Transamrica to enjoy any of the sensational events that happen there (http://www.teatroalfa.com.br).
38. Watch the play “Trair e Coar Só Comear” (which translates to something like “to betray and to scratch is only to start”) that has come and gone from the city during the last 15 years.
39. Go to a rehearsal at the samba school Vai Vai, in Bexiga (http://www.vaivai.com.br).
40. Go to the show “50 de anos de TV e +” (50 years of TV and more) in the Oca of Ibirapuera park. This show isn’t on any more, but there’s usually something worth visiting at the Oca.

41. Visit the planetarium, another attraction of Ibirapuera Park (http://www.parqueibirapuera.com.br, although the web site was still under construction at time of writing).
42. Visit the works of art at MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna, the museum of modern art) (http://www.mam.org.br) and MAC (Museu de Arte Contempornea, museum of contemporary art) (http://www.macvirtual.usp.br).
43. Pay a visit to the Lasar Segall museum, that served as the residence of the artist Lasar Segall until his death, in 1932, in Rua Berta – it holds the first modernist works of Brazil (http://www.museusegall.org.br).
44. Vistit the Museu de Arte Sacra (the museum of sacred art), in avenida Tiradentes (http://www.Sãopaulo.sp.gov.br/Sãopaulo/cultura/museus_sacra.htm) …
45. … and take advantage of the trip by also visiting Pinacoteca (http://www.Sãopaulo.sp.gov.br/Sãopaulo/cultura/museus_pinac.htm), which is in the surrounding area.
46. Visit the Centro Cultural do Liceu de Artes e Ofcios, in Rua Cantareira, founded in 1873 (http://www.liceuescola.com.br).
47. Stay tuned to the eclectic programme of Sesc Pompéia (http://www.sescsp.com.br/sesc/unidades/pompeia.htm).
48. Search for precious books in the Mrio de Andrade library, in Praa Republica (http://www2.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/secretarias/cultura/bibliotecas/marioandrade).
49. Visit Sesc Itaquera (http://www.sescsp.com.br/sesc/unidades/itaquera.htm).
50. Visit the Teatro Oficina, in Rua Jaceguai, the epicentre of various manifestos for 60 years (http://www.Sãopaulo.sp.gov.br/ingles/Sãopaulo/cultura/teatro_oficina.htm).

51. Checkout the library of Centro Cultural Vergueiro (http://www.centrocultural.sp.gov.br).
52. Feel like you’re in Japan in the district of Liberdade.
53. Take a trip on the bus line Machado de Assis – Cardoso de Almeida (408P), that passes by some interesting bridges of the city.
54. Take a stroll by Pa. Vilaboim on Saturday afternoon, and stop for a sneaky (but free) read of the newspapers and magazines.
55. Checkout the privileged view of the Bar do Jockey surrounded by São Paulo’s high society (http://www.hcj.com.br).
56. Visit the Parque da Luz (http://www.prodam.sp.gov.br/dph/servicos/rotjdluz.htm), that was recently restored.
57. Visit the bar of Hotel Cambridge, that is at the end of Av. Nove de Julho, to see if there’s a big party going on.
58. Hear the Gregorian chants, performed by the priests of the São Bento monastery (founded in 1598), that occurs every Sunday at 11am (http://www.mosteiro.org.br/index.htm).
59. Go to Ibirapuera park during the week, on a sunny day (http://www.parqueibirapuera.com.br, although the web site was still under construction at time of writing).
60. Have afternoon tea in the Fundaão Maria Luiza e Oscar Americano, one of the best places in Morumbi (http://www.fundacaooscaramericano.org.br).

Part 3 next week…

If you have any whimsical places, or not so whimsical that you enjoy visiting in São Paulo, then let me know at mark@www.gringoes.com and I’ll add them as comments to the article. Also if you can update information in this list with say web site links then please email them to me. Hopefully a São Paulo visitor will never run out of things to do!

Readers comments:

I just love the following restaurants and bar and we always took our visitors there and they just marvelled over the good food and nice deco:

Bar des Artes
Rua Pedro Humberto, 9 – Itaim Bibi
Tel: 3849-7828

Leopolldina (in Daslu)
Av Chedid Jafet 131

Figueira
Rua Haddock Lobo 1738
Tel: 3063-3888

Rubaiyat (Sat for Feijoada)
Alameda Santos 86
Tel: 3289-3185

Gero
Rua Haddock Lobo 1629
Tel: 3064-0005

Parigi
Rua Amauri 275
Tel: 3167-1575

Thai Gardens
Av 9 de Julho 5871 (close to Rua Amauri)
Tel: 3073-1507

Fogo de Chao
Av dos Bandeirantes 538
Tel: 5505-0791

Cantaloup
Rua Manoel Guedes 474, Itaim Bibi
Tel: 3846-6445

Ruella
Rua João Cachoeira 1507, Vila Olimpia
Tel: 3842-7177

Bar Juarez
Av Juscelino Kubitschek 1164, Itaim Bibi
Tel: 3078-3458

Santo Grão (very nice coffee and salads)
Rua Oscar Freire 413
Tel: 3082-9969
(their wonderful Sticky Dates Pudding dessert is to die for)

Baretto
Bar inside Fasano Hotel

SKYE (in Hotel Unique)
Av Brigadeiro Lus Antnio 4700
Tel: 3055-4700

On weekends when the weather is nice, I love going to Parque Vila Lobos.

— Anonymous

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
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

By Carl Meek
Brazilian lovers are insanely jealous, hot-blooded and volatile.

Brazilian people are very giving and like to share whatever little they

have.

They snort and hock in public and it is not considered rude to do so.

Due to huge meat consumption you will find toothpicks on every dinner table.

They drink gallons of Cocacola and Guarana with lunch and like the beer it

must be stupidly cold.

Most young people show respect towards the elderly.

Brazilian people are generally happy and smile a lot.

People like to drum samba beats with their hands on any inanimate object.

They stop and speak to strangers on the street and also feel a need to make

conversation in elevators.

A lot of people live with and are supported by their parents well into their

adulthood often into their late 40’s.

It can be difficult to resolve matters on a Friday afternoon as many people

have already started their weekend.

There is a 24 hour pharmacy on almost every street corner.

In supermarkets they pack each item for you in a separate bag.

There are heaps of people walking around on crutches or with missing arms

and legs. This could be due to accidents caused by the scores of bad drivers

and the poor roads.

Brazilian seem to be followers, so if a particular item comes into fashion

you can bet that everyone and their dog will be using it.

Women of all ages like to wear low cut tops which show their cleavage but

this doesn’t mean that they’re easy! Platform shoes and dark red nail

varnish are also popular.

Most men tend to wear Haviana sandals and Baggy shorts, a collar and tie are

rare.

Guys don’t feel embarrassed to walk casually down the street in nothing but

a very small pair of swimming trunks.

Men stare at beautiful women.

Young guys hang out at gas stations at night and blast music from their

cars.

Readers comments:

Great observations and so true.

— Hank

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo features a bar/restaurant in Itaim, an exhibition by a Brazilian artist, this week’s recommended film release, and a roundup of some other upcoming events.

Alcatruz"For a taste of traditional Portuguese cuisine drop by the restaurant Alcatruz. Owned by Antonio Pacheco, the restaurant’s aim is to bring Portuguese food, specifically from the Algarve region, to São Paulo. The restaurant itself is minimally but stylishly decorated in white and blue, with some wall decoration such as paintings and other aspects with contemporary updates. It also has a somewhat cosy feel with 55 seats in the main restaurant (which has a terrace), and 35 seats in the event area on the upper floor. Some of the traditional Portuguese dishes include Bacalhau ao Forno (salted cod cooked in the oven) and Caldo Verde (a thick soup made from potatoes and thinly sliced kale), which sit alongside completely new dishes such as Frigideira Portimonense (composed of fish, squid, octopus, clams, lobster and shrimp, with a Mediterranean sauce) and the Francesinha (a sandwich of fillet steak, various types of sausage, and cheese, covered with shrimp sauce, black beer, port and brandy). Expect to pay around R$50-70 per person, excluding drinks, for a three course meal. Valet parking R$7. Open Tuesday – Thursday: 12pm-3pm and 7pm-11pm, Friday and Saturday: 12pm-4pm and 7pm-midnight, Sunday: 12pm-4pm. http://www.alcatruz.com.br

Casa CorCasa Cor (which translates as something like “coloured house”) is returning to São Paulo on the 30th May. For those who’ve not been before, Casa Cor is an exhibition by various designers and architects who each transfer individual rooms of various houses and areas. This year is particularly special as it celebrates 20 years of Casa Cor, and brings some of the biggest names in design and architecture. There will be 60 themed areas, located this year in the Jockey Club. In particular the building of the antigo ambulatório (the old clinic) will be transformed into a house for a supposed couple with two children and a baby. Open Tuesday – Sunday: 12pm – 9pm. The exhibition will be open until the 9th July. Entry R$30-35. Valet parking R$15. Jockey Clube, 775 Av. Lineu de Paula Machado, Portao 6A, Cidade Jardim. Tel. 3813 3335. http://www.casacor.com.br

X-Men: The Last StandThis week’s film recommendation is X-Men: The Last Stand (X-Men: O Confronto Final in Portuguese). The third film in the X-Men series, it brings together the cast from the previous two films, including Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ian McKellen as Magneto, and Halle Berry as Storm, as well as introducing some new mutant characters. Following on from the last film, Jean Grey has transformed into the Dark Phoenix, a mutant that is a danger to both herself and her mutant comrades. To solve the problem a cure to mutancy is developed, giving the mutants a choice between keeping their powers, or becoming human again. Of course the mutants form two groups, headed by Dr. Xavier and Magneto, and the ultimate war begins. Despite initial worries about the film it seems to have received a relatively warm reception. Rated 12 in Brazil, PG-13 in the USA, and 12A in the UK. IMDB’s page on X-Men: The Last Stand. Guia da Semana’s page on X-Men: The Last Stand, with cinemas and showing times.

US Singer Hillary Duff is touring with her new album Metamorphosis at the Via Funchal on the 30th May (tickets R$120 – 200, tel. 3089 6999). US DJ Tim Sweeney will be at the festival Vegasfest, celebrating one year of the Vegas club, on the 2nd June (tickets R$50 – 60, either from the Vegas club, or tel. 3231 3705). The maestro Jamil Maluf, and the Bulgarian singer Kaludi Kaludow, and US singer Maria Russo, will appear in the opera Andrea Chnier at the Teatro Municipal on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th June (R$10 – 40, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). Famous Brazilian rock group Los Hermanos are playing with the Portuguese group Toranja on the 7th June at Citibank hall (tickets R$50 – 80, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). US heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, and his band, are touring with his new CD Holy Diver Live, at Credicard Hall on the 15th July (tickets R$80 – 200, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). Cirque de Soleil are coming to Espao Vila Olmpia with their show Saltimbanco between the 3rd and 25th August (tickets R$50 – 400, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br).

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

Also if you are a bar, restaurant , or night club owner (or hosting any other form of event that might be of interest to foreigners) that would like to be reviewed by www.gringoes.com, as well as appearing in our entertainment guide, please contact us to arrange a visit. If you would like to submit a weekly entertainment guide for your city we’d be interested to hear from you also.

What’s On Guide, May 22 – May 28 2006
What’s On Guide, May 15 – May 21 2006
What’s On Guide, May 8 – May 14 2006
What’s On Guide, May 1 – May 7 2006
What’s On Guide, April 24 – April 30 2006
What’s On Guide, March 27 – April 2 2006
What’s On Guide, March 20 – March 26 2006
What’s On Guide, March 13 – March 19 2006
What’s On Guide, March 6 – March 12 2006
What’s On Guide, February 20 – March 5 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 06 – February 12 2006
What’s On Guide, January 30 – February 05 2006
What’s On Guide, January 23 – January 29 2006
What’s On Guide, January 16 – January 22 2006
What’s On Guide, December 13 – December 20 2005
What’s On Guide, December 5 – December 12 2005
What’s On Guide, November 28 – December 4 2005
What’s On Guide, November 21 – November 27 2005
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 David Bongiorno
I have been following the Brazilian national team for over fifteen years.

I have seen them on video and dreamed of playing in my next life as number 10.

Brazil is the team I love more than any other in world football except for Napoli.

I know the names and statistics of the majority of players who have donned the canary yellow shirt over the last decade: who they played for in Brazil, how many caps they earned for the national team, and where they moved to in Europe to further their careers.

I have studied the team’s language – Portuguese – and speak it well.

And if I were to find myself at a ground on match day, I would love to shout: Gooool do Brasil!”

Without my love for the team, I would not be the person I am today.

The team has taught me to play with creativity, win with humility and lose with dignity.

As a spectator, I have been moved by the video of the 1970 World Cup win over Italy, gratified by the telecast of 1994 World Cup win over Italy and shattered by the broadcast of the 1998 World Cup loss to France.

I get great pleasure from the weekly columns of former great Tostão on the website of the O Globo Media Group.

And I experience tremendous excitement every time Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho take the field.

In my study at home, I have a shelf of literature on Brazilian football.

Titles include Armando Nogueira’s A copa que ningum viu e a que não queremos lembrar, Stanislaw Ponte Preta’s Bola na rede: a batalha do bi and Joao Saldanha’s Meus Amigos.

On another shelf, next to my degree, I have an autographed set of Pel’s Diaries.

The message on the inside cover of the first diary says: “Com muito amor, Pel”.

If they had been the two-volume life story of someone such as the impetuous Francesco Totti, with his signature and his irritatingly handsome face on the first page, they would probably be worth a lot more to today’s fans of the game.

I am glad they are not.

The two books are among my most treasured possessions.

Obviously, the dream job for me would be working as a stringer in Brazil, covering the Rio and São Paolo State Leagues, and filing match reports and colour pieces on the national team.

But I am based in Melbourne and made to write lovingly about the team from a distance.

And as I do so, it is just twenty days from embarking on a quest for an historic sixth World Cup trophy.

This one will be sweeter than the others, because it is neither the 1958 nor the 1970 side.

Brazil, everyone says, is only capable of producing teams like those twice a century.

And when you think of the top liners like Didi, Vav, Garrincha, Pel and Rivelinho, you realise they are correct.

But it does not matter.

This year’s national team has enough class to rightly call itself the best in the world.

On July 9, it will become official.

Readers comments:

To the Gentleman that wrote this article:

Valeu J

In other words..may your next incarnation bring you to the Maracana field and play with your number 10 shirt, and be proud to play in a TEAM of Honor.

Soccer is not a game, it is a philosophy.

One can not play as an individual, but, as a one of many as ONE.

Todos ligados na mesma emocao, that is what I feel when I watch Brasil play during a World Cup.

May the Force of many bestow on the 22 players in a positive flow, to show the World what “Joga Bonito” means, but most important of all..That when the game begins…there are no, races or classes, but all are equally tuned into the same feeling.

If only in life all were just a bit simpler, kinder, with dignity and humility..maybe one day..for mankind’s hope.

I want to see you play wearing your # 10 shirt next encarnation, and I will be there cheering with all my fellowmen.

— Miguel

By Ana Luiza Bergamini
Have you just started your Portuguese studies? Once you start talking to Brazilians you’ll quickly realize that, like many other languages, spoken (and often, written) Portuguese isn’t always a perfect reflexion of what you’ve been learning in books. You may come to see that in reality certain words and structures are used mostly in more formal” contexts: newspapers, some workplace situations, written communication, etc – one example of that being the Imperative tense for voc (see article Expressions with Dar.)

So here are three common occurrences in colloquial language that you may want to get familiar with right from the start, if only to understand it more clearly when people talk to you.

1. ‘a gente’ (informal) and ‘nós’: Both mean ‘we’ in Brazil. Many books briefly mention ‘a gente’, but you’ll hear it much more often than ‘nós.’

‘A gente’ is always followed by a singular verb form (same as used for ‘voc/ele’), whereas ‘nós’ demands its own unique conjugation. Try substituting ‘a gente’ on sentences with ‘nós’ while you’re studying so you get used to the sound of it:

Nós vamos viajar no fim de semana. / A gente vai viajar no fim de semana.
[We are going to travel on the weekend]
Nós sempre mandamos o relatório por e-mail. / A gente sempre manda o relatório por e-mail.
[We always send the report by e-mail]

Tip: In Portuguese, the usual way to answer a yes/no type question affirmatively isn’t with ‘sim’ (yes), but with the verb. Take a look:
Voc preparou o relatório? Preparei. [Did you prepare the report? (liter.) I prepared]
Notice that you don’t need anything but the verb in the answer. When the yes/no question is directed to ‘vocs’ (you, plural), you’ll answer it affirmatively with the ‘nós’ verb form. This is one situation in colloquial language where using the ‘nós’ form is quite common.
Vocs assistiram o filme? Assistimos. [Did you watch the movie? (liter.) We watched]

2. Ter (informal) and Haver: Although ‘haver’ is the official equivalent of there ‘to be’ (h = there is/are), the verb ‘ter’ is used almost 100% of the time in informal conversation. When used this way, ‘ter’ is impersonal and always on the 3rd person:

Tem um americano na minha escola. [There is an American in my school]
Teve at banda na festa. [There was even a band at the party]

Here are a couple of common expressions:

Não tem jeito [There’s no way / It’s impossible]
Não tem jeito de fazer esse computador funcionar. [There’s no way to make this computer work]

Tem como…? [Is there a way to…/ Is it possible…?]
Tem como vocs chegarem mais cedo? [Is it possible for you to arrive earlier?]

Tip: as with the expression ‘dar para’, the verb following ‘tem como’ is conjugated in the personal infinitive tense (see article Expressions with Dar.)

3. Estar and Voc(s): This tip is about ‘spoken abbreviations’ – take a look at what frequently happens with ‘estar’ and ‘voc(s)’ in spoken language:

Estar (and its conjugations) – most of the time the first syllable, ‘es’, is simply dropped.
Voc(s) – it’s common to drop ‘vo’ in ‘voc(s)’, especially in questions.

Onde voc est (c t)? Estou (tou/t) em casa.
[Where are you? I’m home]

Vocs estão (cs tão) saindo agora? Não, a gente não est (t) com pressa.
[Are you leaving now? No, we’re not in a hurry]

Try and practice saying the following sentences out loud with the ‘spoken abbreviations.’ And remember – this tip applies only to spoken language! Always use the whole words when writing.

Vocs conhecem essa praia? [Do you know this beach?]
Onde vocs estão indo? [Where are you going?]
Voc est com frio? [Are you cold?]
A gente est com fome. [We’re hungry]
Eu vou estar em casa s oito. [I’m going to be home at eight]

Readers comments:

My contribution on this week’s tips is on nr. 3: ‘spoken abbreviations’, mainly of the “voc” and its dropping of the “vo”.

We must say that Brazil is a very big country ant there are so different ways of saying someting, like we had almost a different language in south from the one spoken in north or northeast, for example. Although you are in São Paulo, I would like to give you an idea of how we speak in the south.

So, what I mean is that ‘voc’ and mainly its dropping of the ‘vo’ is not used in south Brazil.

We, gachos, use ‘tu’ (you) instead of voc for the second person singular and ‘voc’ only for the second person plural ( vocs, in this case) and we never abbreviate it.

So in your examples we would say:

-Onde tu ests (t)? Estou (t) em casa.

-Vocs estão saindo agora? Não, a gente não est(t) com pressa or, Não, não estamos com pressa.

The other examples:

– Vocs conhecem esta praia?
– Onde vocs estão(tão) indo?
– Tu ests(t) com frio? Also, ‘T com frio?’ (simply drop ‘tu’).

— Iara

Ana Luiza Bergamini is a private Portuguese teacher in São Paulo. She can be contacted at ana@practicalportuguese.com.

Previous articles by Ana Luiza:

Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Using Deixar in Your Conversation
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Expressions with ‘Dar’

(The Adventures of 2 Brazilian Students at American Universities)
By Rita Shannon Koeser
I Love New York”
In 1626, Peter Minuit, the Dutch governor of the territory of New Netherland bought Manhattan island from the local Indians for 24 dollars worth of trinkets and beads. The Dutch called the island New Amsterdam. It was later renamed New York when the English took control. They named it for the Duke of York. The price paid for New York has been a joke ever since. The Indians got the best of the deal, some say. Give it back to the Indians, others say. But the Brazilians generally don’t share in this chiding sentiment. They have a great love for New York. Perhaps this goes back to 1654 when Brazilians arrived in New Amsterdam from Recife, Brazil. Recife had been a Dutch colony for 30 years. When the Portuguese recaptured Recife, many Brazilians left for the Netherlands and the Dutch colonies. Thus, some of the first settlers in New York were Brazilians.

Present day Brazilians, university students Solange and Fernando, love New York. “I could have written that advertising slogan, ‘I love New York”‘, said Solange who was happy when she and Fernando were accepted to their respective universities in New Jersey. They were good schools, and they were very close to New York. “Having heard so much about New York and seen it a lot in the movies and on TV, we were excited about seeing this great city,” she said. Although they think São Paulo has better restaurants than New York, they think New York is fancier and more elegant. During the time Solange and Fernando have been living and studying in New Jersey, they have taken much advantage of the close proximity of New York.

Solange and Fernando on the ferry going to the Statue of Liberty

“We need to go to New York at least once a month. We wish we could live there for a while. The Big Apple has so many attractions and cultural things. Princeton is a small quiet town and doesn’t have the excitement of the big city”, said Fernando.

The first time they went to New York, they had to see one of the most famous sights in the city. the Empire State Building, even though they are both scared to death of heights. Built in 1931, the Empire State Building has 102 floors. The public observation deck is on the 86th floor. For 41 years, it was the tallest building in the world.

“Even though we were scared”, Solange remembers, “we held our breaths, we held hands, and tried to be brave. We went up the 86th floor and were astounded at the gorgeous views. There are 360 degree views of the city, and you can see across the river to New Jersey. In looking straight down however, it was scary, and we tried not to think of all the suicidal people who have jumped off the Empire State building through the years”. Nobody knows exactly how many people have killed themselves in this manner, but now there is a suicide fence encircling the observation deck. Having recently seen the film, King Kong, in which the ape climbs to the top of the building and falls off and dies, they tried not to think of that either!

Solange and Fernando in New York with a little Statue of Liberty

Other favorite things in New York are Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the museums, Broadway shows and the opera. Or rather Solange enjoys the opera. Fernando sleeps. The Metropolitan Opera, located at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is a beautiful and spectacular theater. To see an opera there is a special treat. If you can stay awake that is. “Fernando slept through Madam Butterfly, The Barber of Seville, and several others. I always hit him to wake him up, and then he falls back to sleep again”, Solange said with a sigh.

They both love going for long walks in different sections of the city. Downtown has Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge and the art galleries. Midtown has Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Central Park, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. On the East Side is the United Nations. Every section has something special.

According to Solange, “Peter Minuit was a smart guy. He got a good deal for those 24 dollars”

More adventures with Solange and Fernando soon….

Previous articles by Rita:

Brazilians In The USA Part 5
Brazilians In The USA Part 4
Brazilians in the USA Part 3
Brazilians in the USA Part 2
Brazilians in the USA Part 1
Brazil: A Woman Ahead of Her Time
Learning English in Brazil’s Outback
Brazil: An Encounter In The Amazon
Manaus and the Rubber Boom

We continue with part 2 of Richard’s article. To view part 1 click the relevant link at the bottom of the article.

By Richard Conti
One does not have to take my word for it, read the news articles about Brazil. They will be self sufficient soon as they are discovering locations with oil off their coasts, and have the expertise and technical advancements in the process of extracting such oil from beneath the sea. It is no secret to the world that they have been using alternative fuels long before other countries. So much in fact, that other countries are now looking towards Brazil for help in these areas.

Brazil has and will continue to grow and move in a positive direction. It is a friendly country which harbors no enemies or poses any threat to another land. It is the healthiest and largest economy in South America and has moved recently into the number nine slot of the world’s largest economies. This has attracted many businesses and governments to Brazil and many who once did not look favorably at Brazil are starting to take another look at her, a serious look.

On an almost daily basis all the news I hear about the rest of the world is negative and filled with one sort of problem or another. Whether it be war related, weather related, or a score of other topics. All the news that seems to be coming out on Brazil is for the most part very positive these days in an era when many, many other areas have some extremely serious problems. Let us be honest with ourselves here, as the next ten years for so many countries, yes, including the United States, looks a bit bleak to say the least, it seems quite the opposite for Brazil as it looks extremely promising for Brazil and Brazilians these days as well as for Foreign Investors.

As I am far from any kind of an expert in any of these areas all I can do is evaluate these findings through news articles, reports and findings which are in abundance and readily available these days and draw my own conclusions. For these reasons, I strongly believe many who may have been a bit skeptical in the past now take another look at Brazil, a serious look for that matter and soon not to miss out on the opportunities that she presents at present, but which may be all but drying up as has happened in others areas due to growth and development. A look into real estate and investment possibilities.

Only a few short years ago the US Dollar bought 4 Reais. Today it buys just above 2 Reais. As I do not foresee, and this is my personal opinion mind you, it going any lower then this, one may think why not wait it out until it reaches that same exchange as just a few years ago? I do not think you will ever see those exchange rates again anytime in the near future. As a matter of fact, I think it has all but stabilized itself now and it is what it is. Therefore, in regards to real estate and investment, I am of the opinion that now is the time to get in if you have been contemplating such a move as real estate prices are definitely on the rise especially in João Pessoa but still an extremely good bargain at present.

Any fluctuations in the currency exchange rate in the near future will more then be absorbed by the rise in real estate prices taking place right now. So, if you have been so inclined in the recent past but skeptical and still have thoughts of Brazil dancing around in your head, and have exhausted your real estate possibilities as well as options here, maybe it is time you too took another look at Brazil as we have and will be for the next few years.

Now is the time to think Brazil!! Those who wait will have lost an excellent opportunity to own and invest in a wonderful country filled with wonderful people and an abundance of natural beauty for you and your family to enjoy, now as well as in years to come. Worse case scenario, you make a great investment and a good return on it as well in the near term.

Richard is an American born and raised in New York City in the shadows of the once towering World Trade Center. He now lives in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. He is presently doing design work and general contracting, but his dream is to complete his private community in João Pessoa, Brazil, and to move there with his Brazilian girlfriend. Once there he wants to devote time to building many many more projects with Americans and Brazilians in mind. In his spare time he wants to write many many more enjoyable articles for www.gringoes.com for you all to enjoy. If you want to contact Richard by email then send to guyfrmbk@adelphia.net.

Previous articles by Richard:

The US Real Estate Bubble has moved South to Brazil Part 1
Thoughts of Brazil and João Pessoa Part 2
Thoughts of Brazil and João Pessoa Part 1
Brazil is Looking Better and Better Everyday
Brazil’s Best Kept Secret