England’s Lorelei Jones came to Brazil, fell in love with a fella, and returned. Despite missing the English culinary delight of ‘baked beans’ she has made the most of her time in Brazil. She knows her way around the restaurants of São Paulo and can suggest some great places to visit. Share her experience with midnight traffic in São Paulo – it will make you laugh.
Where are you from?
England (various parts of it!)
When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?
I first came to Brazil in January 2002, on a year’s secondment with Lloyds TSB to work on a project in their Human Resources department (unfortunately the company went into liquidation shortly after I left!). After that I went back to the UK for 6 months but as I was having a relationship with Nick, a fellow Brit I met out here, I left the bank and moved back to Brazil in October 2003 to be with him, and am now living happily ever after! (we are getting married in September)
What do you do?
I am primarily an English teacher, giving one-to-one classes in businesses e.g. law & accountancy firms etc., and to private pupils. I also do some translation work, especially for companies who need some help with the english version of their website. And Im a committee member for the St Andrew’s Society, which takes up some of my time at various points in the year!
What do you miss about home when you are in Brazil?
A ready supply of baked beans; the weekend Times newspapers; my family and friends; and autumn.
What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?
Waiting for things to happen, such as Speedy to be installed (2 months), for a workman who said he would be round first thing to show up (….all day!), or for my car to come from the manobrista – I am learning to accept the different approach to time but it will always frustrate me a bit.
What do you most like about Brazil?
The vastness & diversity of the country, which makes it seem like many different countries rolled into one, and the amazing opportunities for travel which that gives; the meat of course; caipirinhas; the manicures, pedicures & shiatsu massages; learning a language from the experts (the Brazilians!)
What is your favorite restaurant here?
Martin Fierro in Vila Madalena for its simple atmosphere & great steaks; Consulado Mineiro on Praa Benedito Calixto for fantastic Saturday afternoon feijoada; and Bar des Artes (Itaim) & Caipim Santo (Vila Madelana) for al-fresco dining without the petrol fumes!
Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?
The time it took me 3 hours to get from Itaim to my apartment in Vila Olimpia. I had just moved in and had been visiting a friend – I left her house around midnight and tried to drive back to Rua Visconde da Luz where I lived. The fact that I had not yet figured out how the one way streets worked, coupled with the incredible madrugada traffic which Vila Olimpia’s bars and clubs generate, meant I was stuck in traffic jams at 1am (I couldn’t believe that in the first place!), and I just kept driving round and round, knowing I was near to my apartment, but being completely unable to find it! At one point I seriously considered giving up and sleeping in the car (I was new!!), I was so convinced I was never going to find it. In the end I stumbled upon my street by accident and have never been so thankful!
What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?
The size of the country; of course the poverty; the level of domestic help; the ‘service industry’ where there is someone employed doing every imaginable job, from holding up an advertising sign by the side of the road, to watching your car when you park it in a side street.
What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?
In São Paulo: the Banespa building (with a Brazilian to explain what you are looking at from the top);The Terrao Italia for cocktails (with a full wallet). A feijoada or churrascaria (with an empty stomach). Andrade forró club in Pinheiros (preferably with someone who can dance)
In Brazil as a whole: apart from the obvious (Foz, Rio, Salvador etc.), I would recommend: Chapada Diamantina – great scenery & walks from the base of the picturesque town of Lenois. Gonalves – high enough in the Serra de Mantiquera to get to below freezing, with friendly people, great food, complete tranquility & spectacular scenery. Fazenda Carand in the Pantanal – an oasis in the middle of an incredible place with anteaters, armadillos, incredible birds and innumerous jacars on your doorstep.
If anyone would like to contact Lorelei she can be reached at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
Ken Marshall – Australia
John Milton – England
Pari Seeber – Iran
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Kim Buarque – Wales
Carl Emberson – Australia
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Aaron Day – Canada
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Adam Glensy – England
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 email@example.com