Brazil: Barretos Rodeo

By Alistar Crawford

I live in the quiet, what you would call backwater, Barretos SP. It is a city about 500 km inland in the north of the state of São Paulo on the border with Minas Gerais. Approximately 120,000 people live here which, as anyone will tell you is small in Brazil.

Being from Ireland it wasnt really too hard to blend into country living when I first came here in 2001. I come from the South of Ireland from a small holiday village called Tramore set on 6 miles of Sandy beach. Growing up in a town with 8000 people living there and an economy based around farming, fishing and beach holidays it didnt come as a shock to come to another small town on the other side of the world. In fact I was shocked at how big it was to be honest.

Barretos is a town that is steeped in the Brazilian cattle industry. At one time it was the centre of the trade for cattle to São Paulo. Being at the end of the train line it was the central point of embarkation for cattle to São Paulo. Thus in the 30&rsquot;s an English group built the biggest factory in South America with capacity to slaughter 2000 animals a day (sorry you animal lovers) and thus commenced the concentration of the cattle industry in the town of Barretos. The towns various residents became rich from various business including farming, trucking and supplying materials. To this day the town has stayed small but has become a major centre for farm owners who have land and cattle all over Brazil.

During this time when Barretos was literally the end of the line for the train to São Paulo the Peao or Cowboys organized themselves to have a competition while they waited for the train to load their cattle. This was the start of the rodeo which today makes the town famous.

Every August for 10 days the town becomes the centre of Brazilian cowboy culture for the second biggest rodeo in the World outside of Fort Worth Texas. Up to a million people come to the town from all over the world to party during the Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro de Barretos”. Cowboys and cowgirls from all over Brazil come to Barretos to sing, dance, drink, eat and of course love. Oh and yes watch the international rodeo festival with participants from Brazil, Mexico, USA, Canada and Australia.

Organizers say there has been a huge increase in rodeos all over Brazil. There are now 1,800 rodeos across the country each year, and more than 10,000 professional riders regularly participate in traditional events such as penning, bulldogging, and the blue-ribbon event, bull-riding.Brazilians are particularly adept at the latter, a brutal competition in which cowboys fight to cling to the back of a bucking 3/4-ton bull for at least eight seconds. One of the sport&rsquot;s biggest stars is Adriano Moraes, who in 1994 became one of only four men in history to go eight seconds on 10 consecutive bulls.

The heroic deeds of bull riders, however, are not the only reasons people travel for hundreds of miles to take in the atmosphere at Barretos. What goes on before and after the broncos buck is a key factor in setting Barretos’ apart from the more traditional rodeos in North American cities like Houston or Las Vegas.

Shows from famous artists from all over Brazil and the world with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, A-Ha, Gloria Gaynor and Ivete Sangalo have been played here. This year there was rumor in the town that Ricky Martin would play on the last weekend of the festival (still not confirmed). Also Brazil’s sertanejo culture comes to the fore with artists playing their hearts out in a stadium shaped like a horse shoe.

This year’s festival is the 50th year and will run for 17 days over three weekends. With the current interest caused from the novela being shown on Globo at the moment, America, this years festival will be a sell-out.

I would advise anyone who wants to see this peculiarality of Brazilian culture they should start looking now for hotels, camp sites, pousadas and Chcaras to stay in as the space is at a premium.

Tickets are reasonable and run at about R$ 170 for two days at the time of the festival but there is all sorts of family passes and discounts for groups as well. Information can be got at the organization of cowboys that organize this festival for the last 50 years.

How did a young Irish guy end up working and living in this backwater well that’s another story but let’s just say I cam here in 2001 to learn Portuguese and work with meat factories something we are not short if in Ireland too. The problem was I didn’t want to leave. So after learning Portuguese I went back to Ireland and bought my return ticket for the August “Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro de Barretos”. There I partied for 10 days and met my wife. After another year and half of back and forth to Brazil we married and I came to live and work here.

All I can say is you can’t beat living in the country in Brazil if you like the quiet life without any traffic and crime, although every now and again I have to go back to the real world in São Paulo for a pint of Guinness and to watch football or Rugby from home.”

Dr Gringo

This week Dear Gringo tackles the slippery slope of marriage, bureaucracy and of course pre-nuptial agreements. This is a real issue faced by all people who wish to marry someone from another country. The good news is that Dr G has &rsquot;been there, done that&rsquot; and can provide you with some good tips to overcoming this potential minefield… Dear Gringo, I am a Canadian Citizen who has been living in Brazil since 2003 with my girlfriend (Brazilian). In the next year or so, we are planning on getting married, but we are unsure of whether it will be in Brazil or in Canada. It doesn’t really matter to us, as we will have celebrations in both, but we are wondering what country would be better for the official certificate, etc. If we got married in one country, would the marriage certificate be recognized in the other country? How would we be affected by citizenship, etc? If you could lead us in the proper direction, that would be great. Thanks WB Dear WB If we had room on this website, WB, I could sit here all night answering your question. I came to Brazil last year from Canada and married a Brazilian, so I have some experience in this matter. We did the deed here because it figured to be easier for me to find work in Brazil than for her to get up and running in Canada. Unless one of you has a skill in demand in the other&rsquot;s country, work permits are a major consideration. I have Canadian friends back home whose foreign spouses always ended up working illegally or sitting home watching soap operas for months while paperwork was processed. It&rsquot;s a good way to stress-test a marriage, but that would appear to be the only attraction. As far as I can tell, the hoops you have to jump through will be the same in both countries. Whichever way you do it you&rsquot;ll get a healthy dose of bureaucracy. My recommendation, without knowing the particulars of your work status in the two countries, is to get married here since this is where you are. After the dust settles, register with your local authorities in Canada. Citizenship applications are a separate matter, but are facilitated by being married to someone in the new country. Getting married in Brazil will entail you getting your Canadian papers (birth certificate and one or two other documents) authenticated by the Brazilian consulate in Canada (cannot be done in Brazil), then translated by an official translator (only in Brazil), and finally registered at your local cartório. My favourite document was the statement in-lieu of certificate of non-impediment to marriage” that the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs provides free of charge. It&rsquot;s a very short letter that says Canada doesn&rsquot;t have anything like the declaraão de estado civil Brazil requires. The cartório in Santo Amaro didn&rsquot;t accept this letter so my mother-in-law and another witness had to swear that they knew I was single (I haven&rsquot;t told anyone about my other wives yet). Since the statement is free and some cartórios might want it, you should probably get it. If you don’t speak fluent Portuguese, you will need an official translator to say “I do” and to make sure you know what you&rsquot;re getting yourself in for. Also of note, pre-nuptial agreements are mandatory in Brazil. You get three choices:
  • All assets and liabilities are the responsibility of the individual. (If your beloved is a little shady, you might want to opt for this.)
  • All assets and liabilities prior to the marriage remain the responsibility of the individual, and all assets and liabilities after the marriage are shared. This is the standard one and doesn&rsquot;t require any paperwork or legal agreements. (If either of you has any large outstanding debts, do it this way and put all future assets in the debt-free spouse&rsquot;s name.)
  • All assets and liabilities, past and future, are shared. (The happily-ever-after option.)So, WB, get married here with all the paperwork and official translations of your English-language documents, enjoy your honeymoon, then register in Canada with all the paperwork and official translations of your Portuguese-language documents. It&rsquot;s a bit of a hassle, but she&rsquot;s worth it, isn&rsquot;t she? Dr G To read previous letters to Dear Gringo click below: No Falo Portuguese Paulista Princess Amazon Woman Pining in Pinheiros If you have any unanswered questions that would benefit from the wisdom of Dear Gringo please forward them to with &rsquot;Dear Gringo&rsquot; in the subject line.

Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District

By John Fitzpatrick

A number of readers have contacted me over the last few years asking for advice on where to stay in São Paulo. Several were executives and managers with little knowledge of the city, who were being sent here by their firms. Security and educational facilities for their children were their main concerns. People like this will probably have their rents and school fees paid by their firms so they can afford to rent a house or flat in places like Morumbi or Chacara Flora which are close to the Berrini neighborhood where many multinationals are located.

However, by locating in such areas, foreigners can find themselves isolated from normal life and cut off from their Brazilian neighbors. They can also miss the chance to make contacts with local people through the padaria on the corner, where you can buy freshly-baked bread or sit at a counter and have a snack, or the newsstand where you can thumb through the magazines and chat to the owner.
Unfortunately São Paulo has no delightful areas to sit or stroll in, like Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, the Royal Mile in Edinburgh or the Backs in Cambridge, so residents have to accept second best in this sense. There are a few beautiful spots, like the lush, tropical stretch of Jardim America between Avenida Brasil and Faria Lima, but this a dead zone. The only people you see are security guards, joggers, dog walkers and domestic maids. The rich people who live there have used their influence to make sure that there are no shops or bars to encourage you to linger. They also remain behind their walled fortresses and emerge on four wheels rather than two legs.

Against this background, I always recommend Pinheiros as a district for long or short-term visitors. Like many districts – or bairros” – Pinheiros is not strictly defined and some readers might find my geographical definition a bit elastic. It lies roughly within the borders of the Rebouas, Dr Arnaldo and Naes Unidas avenues, the latter better-known as the Marginal, and merges into the Alto de Pinheiros, Vila Madalena and Perdizes districts on the other more fluid border. It measures about three or four square miles and has everything you need within its confines. It is also convenient for the downtown area around the Praa da S, the business districts of Avenida Paulista, Faria Lima and Berrini, and the upscale Jardins and Morumbi districts. Despite the proximity of these rich enclaves, with their millionaires mansions and exclusive shops, Pinheiros has a good mix of people of all social classes and none of the pretence of these more prestigious neighborhoods. It is not as pretentious as Higienopolis or as fashionable as Itaim. In short, it is unpretentious, lively, friendly and, in my humble opinion, the best place in São Paulo to live.

It is not a pretty area and most middle-class people live in faceless, high-rise apartment blocks. There are few buildings of note or historical interest. The Calvario church, located on a hill overlooking Praa Benedito Calixto, and the Fernão Dias Paes college in Rua Pedroso de Moraes, are among the exceptions. However, a number of new buildings have been constructed in recent years which readers who are more tolerant of modern architecture than I am might consider noteworthy. There are still some remnants of the days when São Paulo was a smaller, quieter place. Around the Rua Mourato Coelho area, for example, there are blocks of pleasant three-story buildings. These were constructed about 50 years ago by a Lebanese immigrant for his large family. They are on a refreshingly human scale and a relief to the eye after rows of 10 and 15-storey monsters. This relief may not last long as high-rises are being built nearby, ready to remove the light and space the residents have enjoyed for half a century.

Small is Beautiful – but not in São Paulo

There are also a large number of small terraced houses in more secluded spots, known as “vilas”. Unfortunately a lot of building is going on and some of these vilas are making way for monstrous housing or office projects or are being overshadowed by them. Some naãve people believe this development will increase the value of their homes but they are falling into the trap set by property speculators who know the price of everything but the value of nothing. The greed of these developers is seen in the sheer size of some of these projects. For example, two 25-storey “luxury” towers are being built in Rua João Moura, a pleasant, leafy street between Rebouas and Artur de Azevedo. If each apartment has four cars, that will bring an extra 200 cars onto the street, thereby destroying the tranquility the developers are using as a selling point. This will increase the traffic, noise level and pollution. If each apartment has a family of six, plus a live-in maid, this means an extra 350 people will require additional resources of water, electricity, gas etc. Small may be beautiful in some places but not in São Paulo.

Thankfully, there are still many houses around. In the better-off areas around Fradique Coutinho, for example, many have been converted into shops, boutiques and restaurants and are no longer used as residencies. These places are keeping the high-rises at bay for the moment. In the worst-off areas, such as Cardeal de Arcoverde and Largo da Batata, a lot of these houses have deteriorated. The walls are crumbling and scored with graffiti and the houses have been converted into seedy tattoo parlors, martial arts “studios” and cheap lodging houses for incoming migrants. There has been talk of redeveloping Largo da Batata and making it respectable with a shopping center, restaurants etc but let us hope these plans remain plans. São Paulo does not need any more shopping centers or gentrification, as the recent development of the Mercado Municipal shows. What used to be a market has now become a victim of fashion and you need to queue up to buy an overpriced mixto quente.

Street Life

There is no heavy industry in Pinheiros but there are lots of banks, commercial concerns, schools, colleges, hospitals and clinics. Much of the trade is carried out literally on the street. The area around Largo da Batata and Largo de Pinheiros is filled with stalls, selling everything imaginable, and cut-price shops aimed at the lower-income group. Walking on the pavement is like carving out a trail in the jungle and the noise from the people and traffic can make you wish you had never set foot in São Paulo in your life. There are also at least two food markets which pop up on one day a week in different streets. These are good places to get fresh fruit and vegetables at a lower price and of higher quality than the supermarkets.

Pinheiros contains a number of streets which concentrate on one product. One stretch of Rua Teodoro Sampaio, for example, specializes in shops selling musical instruments. It is full of would-be rock stars clutching guitars and salesmen with long hair, garish tee-shirts and tattoos showing their street credibility. On Saturday afternoons one shop puts on a free concert. The audience throngs the surrounding pavement and even congregates on the street itself, risking death as buses and cars thunder past them. If you visit another part of the same street, on the other side of Avenida Henrique Schaumann, you will find dozens of shops selling furniture and house fittings. Just two blocks away, a stretch of Rua Cardeal Arcoverde is filled with shops selling more traditional antique furniture.

Pinheiros is also a good place for book shops. The big FNAC leisure shop, which has now become as much a meeting place as a bookshop, has actually encouraged other book shops rather than crushed them. There are now about half a dozen second hand book stores nearby where you can also buy and sell CDs, DVDs and videos. They all stock English books although these are often in pretty bad condition. Most are of the Tom Clancy/Sidney Sheldon type but you can often find more interesting authors. The prices are a fraction of imported books and you can often negotiate a discount.

Pinheiros houses several colleges and language schools, including Cultura Inglesa in Rua Deputado Lacerda Franco. Cultura&rsquot;s administrative headquarters is a plate glass and steel building in nearby Rua Ferreira de Araujo. This place opened a couple of years ago and stands out in an otherwise rather rundown area. It houses the UK consulate and other official British bodies and contains an excellent library and IT center. You can read many of the UK papers and magazines for free and watch the BBC TV World Service. You can also become a member for a mere R$15 a year and borrow books. This center also hosts a so-called “English” pub where the prices of the imported beers are enough to make you give up drinking forever or, in my case, stick to the local beer. Pinheiros also has a so-called “Irish” pub in Rua Cristiano Viana which is as authentic as the so-called “Brazilian” cafes found in Europe. The UK influence is strengthened by the presence of the British School, known as St Paul&rsquot;s. Although the school is not actually in Pinheiros it is as near as you can get, in Rua Juquia on the other side of Rebouas. There is also a Goethe Institut and Japanese-Brazilian cultural center in Pinheiros.

Boy Meets Girl

The large number of students mean that there are plenty of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and places to go dancing. Rua dos Pinheiros, for example, offers lots of options for eating and drinking and is very lively in the evening and at weekends. During the day it is completely different – almost quiet and calm. Praa Calixto, which hosts a market on Saturdays which attracts thousands of visitors, also has lots of bars and restaurants. On Saturdays it can be too lively but it is quieter during the week. Once you have run out of a choice in Pinheiros you can pop over to Vila Maddalena which also offers plenty of night life. These are great places for young visitors looking around for a local boyfriend or girlfriend. Since these districts are popular with students there is a good chance of meeting people who speak English. This is not the case in most parts of São Paulo or Brazil as a whole.

There are samba shows at the bottom of Cardeal Arcoverde as the road approaches the Eldorado Shopping Center. If you are looking for paid sex it&rsquot;s available too. Female prostitutes and male transvestites – known as “travestis” – are on tap day and night, particularly on the other side of the river near the Jockey Club. This district is not as sleazy as the garish bars and “saunas” found in the Consolaão area near the old center. I am not sure if Pinheiros has any “gay” scene. However the stretch of Rua da Consolaão in nearby Cesa Cerqueira, running from Alemeda Santos to Oscar Freire, is the probably São Paulo&rsquot;s biggest meeting point for homosexuals.
Pinheiros also has good communication links to other districts and towns like Osasco and Alphaville, through traffic arteries like Rebouas, Avenida Henrique Schaumann, Avenida Sumar, Rua Cardeal Arcoverde, Dr Arnaldo and the Marginal. These roads are all served by local and long-distance buses. Pinheiros is also blessed with metro stations at Clinicas and Vila Maddalena and the Pinheiros and Rebouas/Hebraica CPTM train stations. This train link makes it convenient to get to places like Santo Amaro in one direction and Osasco in the other. This makes it a good place to live if (like me) you dont have a car or are afraid of risking your neck among São Paulo&rsquot;s crazy drivers.

Now the Bad News.

Despite these eulogies, Pinheiros has a number of drawbacks. Although Pinheiros means “pine trees” in Portuguese there are not too many pines around nowadays. In fact, the lack of green space is one of the district&rsquot;s main disadvantages. However, Pinheiros is not far from the sprawling Ibirapuera park, the large open campus at São Paulo University, the less attractive Villa-Lobos park or the Trianon park in Avenida Paulista. Despite its name, the excellent Esporte Clube Pinheiros, the largest and probably best-equipped sports club in Latin America, is not actually in Pinheiros but in Jardim Paulista. To get in you need to be a member or be signed in by one. Pinheiros has a modest little sports club which is part of Hospital das Clinicas. Anyone can join but the facilities are primitive and unimpressive. However, it provides a quiet, green spot away from the hustle and bustle.

There are also areas of poverty and misery, particularly near the Marginal. Walking down some of these streets is not recommended since beggars and tramps use them as communal toilets and the smell can be revolting. The district also attracts lots of refuse collectors known as “catadores”. These are men who wander the streets in search of scrap metal, glass, clothes etc which they can sell. They pull primitive carts like rickshaw drivers. They are usually ragged, bare-chested and sometimes do not even wear shoes. There is a recycling center just behind the Calvario Church, which is one of the ugliest, smelliest, most unpleasant places in the city. Refuse collectors who bring their wares there hang around or use the area as a base, sleeping on old couches and mattresses and fouling the pavements. This area is about a two-minute walk from Praa Calixto, with its trendy bars and designer shops, and shows the social contrast which mark life in Brazil.

The Sounds of Sirens

Having said that, Pinheiros has no favelas or favela-like areas and, in terms of security, is no worse than other areas. Some years ago there was a spate of assaults on motorists at the junction of Henrique Schaumann and Rebouas but policing has been stepped up and the situation has improved. The main drawback of this particular part of Pinheiros is the traffic which is never-ending. Life as a pedestrian was always unpleasant and dangerous but has become worse over the last eight months, thanks to a poorly organized road “improvement” scheme which has left Rebouas virtually without pavements. Pedestrians are forced to walk across craters and mud or else take their chances on the road. Accidents are common, particular among the city&rsquot;s manic motorcyclists. Fortunately for them, Latin America&rsquot;s biggest hospital, Clinicas, is in Pinheiros. If they dont pull through the Araa cemetery is just across the road. The presence of Clinicas also means that ambulances and helicopters handling urgent cases are a constant presence and noise. Had Paul Simon lived here he would never have written the Sounds of Silence.

John Fitzpatrick 2005

John Fitzpatrick writes on Brazilian politics and culture for sites and magazines, including and He runs Celtic Comunicaes which specializes in editorial and translation services and can be contacted at

Brazil: Bohemian Paradise

By Robin Sparks I am now on the most beautiful tropical island off the coast of Salvador, Brazil.In a pousada overlooking the ocean for $30 a night! Including a bountiful breakfast. Just a 2 hour boat ride to Salvador. No motor vehicles, only sandy streets. And filled with interesting foreigners from around the world. After my arrival, as I followed the boys pushing my suitcase in a wheelbarrow up a steep hill, I looked up at the houses tucked into the palm-treed hills, and I got that Yes, this might be It,” feeling. A feeling I’ve had in only two other places. Bali and Deia, Mallorca. Morro So Paulo is an island of hills, monkey-filled jungles, white sand beaches, sandy streets on which no motor vehicles are allowed, all-night every night beach parties, and tourists from all over the world. In other words, it is Bohemian Paradise. When I haven’t been hanging from a hammock on my terrace writing with the ocean breaking at my feet, or in the sophisticated internet cafe in town, I’ve been out meeting the local expatriates. Walking up and down the island’s hills, through its jungles, and along miles and miles of beaches. Horst from Germany and Leandro from Argentina have shown me many corners of their world. Both moved here over a decade ago and bought land for very little. I have learned that I can rent a beautiful house overlooking the ocean for one year, for less than one month’s rent in San Francisco. I have seen everything from modest homes with ocean views for $60,000, to mansions for half a million dollars, and $200,000 beachfront lots, and $15,000 lots in the jungle. Horst owns the Naturaleza, a beautiful Moorish style Pousada and restaurant, and has just opened a sailing business. Leandro owns the O’Bar Restaurant, a web design company, a real estate company, and several chunks of beachfront land he’s looking to develop. Both men wear their long hair pulled back and their skin is deep brown. They climb the steep steps of the hills and hop over the rocks on the beach like mountain goats. In my short time here, what I have appreciated about the village besides its tropical paradisical quality, is the diversity of its people. Both locals and visitors. And the way that children play and work with old people, and all ages in between, and that they come in shades from cafe con leite to dark chocolate. Even the waiters wear constant smiles and dance from table to kitchen and back again. These aren’t expatriates who are running from something. Neither are they looking to get rich. They are here for the “good life” – warm air, the sea, good friends, art, music, dancing, aesthetic architecture, and keeping the environment pure. Most of them arrived years ago when property was inexpensive, and they have watched it appreciate dramatically. But few are selling. More than money, they care about who their neighbors are. Tomorrow I will return to Salvador to tie up loose ends. I will check out nearby Praia do Forte, and then head south to Marau and possibly as far south as Trancosa. And then to So Paulo where I will climb onto a 747 that will take me out of this life back into the old one. It’s tax time (last extension). And every now and then, I hear something about an upcoming election. There is the new boyfriend back home – a relationship which had just begun when I left. There will be the inevitable sticker shock at prices in San Francisco, and the cool weather clothes gradually replacing my tropical weather duds. I will search for a full-time tenant for my apartment, spend time with my children, my family, my friends, reconnect with writing colleagues and alas, get my wings clipped. Temporarily anyway. The dreaded bunion surgery can be put off no longer. For months I will walk with crutches. And I live on the highest hill in San Francisco! But enough of that! I have one week left, and I will savor every second. Editor&#145s note: Originally published on Robin&#145s site, August 24th 2004. This story was written by travel writer and photographer, Robin Sparks. Sparks has written about expatriates and the places in which they live for over 7 years, logging in time in over 23 countries. Read about her adventures at and Although she has been published in over a hundred magazines and newspapers, Sparks concentrates these days on writing for online media, like where she is on the staff. Sparks also organizes travel writing workshops. The next one will be held aboard a Turkish gullet while sailing the coast of Turkey in a traditional Turkish gulet. The class will be taught by publisher and editor of Travelers Tales books, Larry Habbegger. If you are interested in being in the class contact Robin immediately as there are only 3 seats left in the class of 8. Sparks is presently in Argentina and can be reached at Previous articles by Robin: Brazil: Go South Old Man Walk Like a Brazilian

The Elephant Man plays in São Paulo

Set in late Victorian London, The Elephant Man is a haunting tale of hypocrisy, love and betrayal. Based on the true story of John Merrick, whose grotesque birth deformities forced him into the brutal life of a Freak-Show. The Elephant Man is a powerful allegory of freedom and justice, exposing the vanity at the heart of Victorian society.

Bernard Pomerance’s haunting true tale of the hypocrisy at the heart of Victorian Society is more pertinent than ever in today’s climate of political correctness, racial harmony and global cultural differences.

Using a cast of eight, SINCERA Productions The Elephant Man will take its cues from Victorian Melodrama and the current trend in British Theatre’s for epic story telling. This story of one man struggle to be like others” is an important part of SINCERA’s Educational slant and brings to St Paul’s School an example of Acceptance in the face of adversity.

After SINCERA’s sell out success “Animal Farm” in 2002, this young Company is returning to Brazil constantly striving to bring the best of British theatre to São Paulo.

Don’t miss the performances:-
When: August 25, 26, 27 and 28 at 8.00 pm
Where: St Paul’s School Theatre, Rua Juqui 166 – Jardim Paulistano

When: August 30 and 31
Where: Cultura Inglesa Theatre”

‘Jazz Not Jazz’ At AmpGalaxy

Downtempo sounds, nujazz, electro, deep house, broken beats, 2 step, tropiclia, all wrapped up in the jetsetter ambience of one of So Paulo’sbetter nightspots, the AmpGalaxy. Cheesy porn films from the 1960’s and 70’s play on the big screen. Invited guest DJ&rsquot;s Alastair Stewart (UK) and William Wattie (New Zealand) join DJ Gus and Tim Adams (Canada) for a stylish set of eclecticstyles for the more sophisticated and discerning punter. When: Every Wednesday Price: R$ 5.00 entry. Promotion from 19h to 22h, buy two drinks and get the third one free! Where: AMPGALAXY, Rua Fradique Coutinho, 352 (directly in front of Sala UOL Cinema) – Pinheiros. Tel. 3085-7067

Brazilian Churrasco

By Monica Trentini
One of Brazil’s most famous culinary traditions is the weekend churrasco. Unlike an American BBQ, a churrasco is composed mainly of top quality meats with very few extras.” Churrascos can start anytime and go on into the night, with people coming and going throughout. Read on for pointers on having a successful “Gaucho-style” churrasco at your home.

In order to create an authentic experience for you, I have interviewed the Trentini brothers from Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul – the hot-spot for the best churrasco of all time. As William is my husband, and Hardy, my brother-in-law, I can give a first-hand un-biased recommendation for their churrasco preparing skills. Actually, William is more of a “churrasqueiro”, but Hardy makes a mean caipirinha and his girl friend Cyntia comes in with the Molho de Campagna and the Farofa (read on for recipes.) I try to help by making salads to complement their efforts at the grill. After a successful churrasco, no one will even eat a cookie!

All right, so what do you need to buy in order to prepare for the event? Let&rsquot;s start with the meat. A general rule of thumb is to buy approximately 500 grams for each man and 300 for each woman. The basic meats William buys for a standard churrasco are linguia, picanha, lombo and chicken.

Picanha tends to be everyone&rsquot;s favorite. William recommends you always buy the smallest picanhas possible. The maximum weight of a picanha is 1.2 kg. Anything larger includes a different part of the cow – coxão mole. Smaller picanhas also tend to be softer. A true Gaucho, William admits to foregoing all the extras at churrascos he has cooked and eating one kilo of picanha all by himself! One of the benefits of being the churrasqueiro is that you will always have your choice of what is being served. If you end up buying too much picanha (for fear William might show up) you can always bake whole picanhas later in the oven. (see recipes)

As for the linguia, there are different types. There are Calabreza, Toscana, chicken and others. There is no real secret to buying linguia. Trust your eye and the validity on the package. William&rsquot;s personal preference is Toscana, which is a mild sausage. “Apimentado” means spicy, so check for that on the packaging!

When choosing a lombo, buy one that is whole. Many times, they will be in the frozen section of the supermarket, or you can get a fresh “lombo inteiro” at your local butcher. William buys his “sem tempero” (without seasoning.)

When William buys chicken to grill, he usually buys it on the bone, since it is more flavorful and juicy this way.

Please read recipes to find seasonings and meat preparation pointers.

As for the other ingredients, you will need to decide what else you would like to serve. According to Hardy, the churrasco came about because the Gachos (cowboys in southern Brazil and Argentina) had a very limited diet. While they were camping, they ate mainly meat and drank chimarrão, a strong tea that they shared by passing the cuia, adding boiling water when necessary. When they had leftovers from the churrasco, they would make arroz carreteiro (see recipes.) In other words, extras are really optional, but most choose to serve them anyway.

Foreigners sometimes refer to Farofa as sawdust. It is dry and gritty, but it adds flavor to the meat and contains some of the meat drippings. Farofa also goes well with rice. Most dab their meat into it before eating it, or pick it up with their fork with rice and meat. Eating it plain might not be such a pleasant experience.

Another accompaniment you might like is Molho de Campanha. It is similar to a Mexican salsa, only it is not usually hot and spicy and the recipe does not call for cilantro, only parsley. Molho de Campagna is always served chunky, never beaten or blended. It goes well with sausage and the other meats.

As for salads, I have two easy recipes for you to try, but any green salad will do.

Another “extra” at a churrasco is the caipirinha (directly translated as “the little farm girl”) One essential part of the caipirinha is the lime selection. Picking out the best ones will make your caipirinhas even better. Hardy says limes with thin skins are best. He rolls them applying pressure to release the juices. After washing them, he cuts them in half and then in quarters. At this point, Hardy cuts most of the peel off before cutting once again and adding the limes to the cup. If the limes have a large white core, he cuts it out. After he has enough limes cut, (approximately 1 1/2 limes per drink) he adds 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar per 8 oz. Drink. Next, he mashes the limes and sugar together until mixed and adds cachaa and ice. Hardy says crushed ice is preferable since it cools the drink faster and dilutes the alcohol a little more. Nega Ful and Esprito de Minas are some higher quality cachaas, and 51 and Velho Barreiro are easily found in the supermarket and perfectly fine choices. There is a place called “Barbolla” in Morumbi (Ruas dos 3 Irmãos, 460, phone 3722-0792), and another called Cachaaria Paulista in Pinheiros (Rua Mourato Coelho, 593, phone 3815-4556). Both have numerous types of cachaa. These cachaas are not all for caipirinhas. Many are sipping cachaas, which have different tastes depending on their barrels and brewing techniques. Some of them can be quite expensive.

Anyone who likes meat will definitely love a good churrasco. Hardy claims the churrascaria is the largest growing new type of restaurant in the US. While you are here, don&rsquot;t miss going to some of the famous churrascarias here in São Paulo. Our favorite churrascaria is called “Caminhos do Sul.” It is on Regis Bittencourt, 3 kilometers past the last exit for Embu das Artes on the right. Try the “Filet Mignon na Manteiga.” It is my personal favorite.

If you are really up for making it yourself, you need to start by approaching the grill. Most grills in Brazil require charcoal. William buys one bag of charcoal for a 3-4 picanha party, but it is always wise to have extra. There are many ways to light the coals and keep them burning well. One way is to fill a stale pãozinho with alcohol, place it in the coals and light it. There are also many choices of starters at the supermarket. Most supermarkets have a grilling section with all the bells and whistles to choose from. The important part is to light the coals and let them burn for a while before you start grilling. When the coals are red and the flames are low, you can add the meat. Generally, most start with the sausage (linguia). As the fat of the sausage drips, it will feed the fire. William places lombo and picanha on medium heat, and the chicken and sausage on the hotter places. As the linguia and the picanha are ready, William takes them off the grill and cuts bite-sized pieces for people to pick up with their fingers or toothpicks for the more civilized guests. Everyone who knows what to do (the “diretoria”) stands around the grill and socializes with the churrasqueiro. This way, they are guaranteed the hottest and best choices of meat. People come with plates to partake of the chicken and lombo, and larger pieces of linguia and picanha. Then they gravitate towards the salads and other fixings. If people stand around with plates or balance them on their laps, this is known as eating ” Americana.” Brazilians prefer eating with a table in front of them; not set formally, but a place to rest their plates while they eat. No matter what you are serving, always have knives and forks available. Brazilians even eat cupcakes with forks.

Grill it and after it is cut, you can sprinkle lime juice on it for added flavor.
Cover with minced garlic and lightly salt. Squeeze lime juice on it and let it sit for 1-2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Towards the end of grilling, cover the top with parmesan cheese. Allow this to melt a little before slicing thinly and serving.

Coat picanha steaks with rock salt before grilling.

Cutting picanha steaks and slicing:
Leave the fat on the picanha. Cut steaks across to the tip.(6-7 2 inch steaks) After grilling, slice steaks thinly so each piece has a small strip of fat.

Salt and pepper chicken pieces. Add olive oil, oregano and lime. Let sit for 1-2 hours before grilling.

In a frying pan, melt butter, fry onion and garlic. Add beaten eggs and cook. Optional: Add bacon pieces, olives, banana, and/or hot peppers. Add farinha de mandioca (Manioc Flour), or Farofa Pronta by Yoki. Saute. (Yoki makes a great Pão de Queijo mix as well, by the way.)

Molho de Campagna
Dice tomatoes, Onions, Parsley and Green, Yellow, and/or Red Peppers. Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. This is standard fare. People cover their meat with it.

Arroz Carreteiro
Saute onions and olive oil. Add leftover picanha or sausage cut into very small pieces. Fry it a little bit. Add rice and salt to taste. Add water and boil until the rice is cooked.

Mix fresh mozzarella and cut up sun dried tomatoes with olive oil. Toss in rcula. Add balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve.

Mix green beans (cooked and cooled, or straight from the can with a little juice) with sliced hearts of palm. Sliced tomatoes optional. Season with olive oil and vinegar or lime.

Your favorite potato salad is always welcome.

Broiled Picanha: Place the whole picanha fat side up in a pre-heated hot oven (about 400 degrees farenheit, 200 Celcius) Bake for 45 minutes. Turn picanha over and cover with rock salt. Put it back in the oven and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until ready.

Read on. in What&rsquot;s Cooking in Rio
See page 224 for more information on Sausage (Linguia)
See page 190 for general information on beef.
See page 220 for more cuts of meat and their translations.

Linguia . Sausage
Picanha.Tip of Sirloin
Coxão Mole.Sirloin
Lombo.Pork Tenderloin
Farofa.Fried Manioc Flour
Vagem.Green Beans
Limão. Lime

Monica Trentini was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. She lives in São Paulo with her Brazilian husband and two children. She has a cookie business, making and selling baked cookies, cookie dough and festive pizza-size cookies. If you would like more information, or if you have any comments on the article, please contact Monica Trentini at 3739-2599, 8111-5920 or

Praia do Rosa – Surfer’s Paradise

Praia do Rosa, about 20 minutes north of Imbituba, is one of the region&rsquot;s most spectacular beaches, with perfect waves for surfing, sand dunes, blue-green lagoons, rainforests, crystal white beaches, and a birds eye view of visiting whales and dolphins. This is an ideal place to relax and get in touch with nature. Access is a little difficult as most roads are not yet paved, but the upside is that the beach never gets crowded.


Pousadas in Praia do Rosa

The Rosebud

Located on a hillside, overlooking the ocean and lagoons, this charming pousada offers a perfect view of the bay region.

All suites have a view of the ocean, with verandas, hammocks, frigobar, color TVs, and ceiling fans.

Surrounded by gardens with orquids, bromeliads and other native flora and fauna.

Other facilities include a bar, restaurant, pizzeria, swimming pool, barbeque area, laundry and parking. American Express and Visa accepted.

Estrada Geral de Ibiraquera – Praia do Rosa

Tel: 048 3556101



Fazenda Verde do Rosa

First class chalets, with verandas, located on a lush green hillside only 100 meters from the beach. Includes three restaurants, two of which are on the beach, space for parties and conventions, swimming pool, horse riding, barbeque area and playground.

Estrada Geral da Praia do Rosa, s/n

Tel: (048) 355-6060



Hotel Pousada Villa Grifoglio

Old style colonial farm hotel, easy access by car, located on a 25,000 square-meter plot, including gardens, palm trees and swimming pool.

Rooms and chales overlooking sand dunes and the sea, with veranda and hammocks, frigobar, TV, and ceiling fans.


Tel: (55) (48) 354-0299


Capitão David’s Surfing School

Take advantage of the regions perfect waves to learn how to surf, at the Capitao David surf school. Classes include theory and practice, beginning in the calm lagoons and then moving on to the real thing in the sea. Operates seven days a week, all year round. Individual or group classes. Price R$120 for three classes (lasting roughly two hours each)

Tel: (048) 355 6060

Praia do Rosa Location

  • Florianopolis………………… 70 Km
  • Porto Alegre………………… 400 Km
  • Curitiba……………………….. 350 Km
  • São Paulo……………………. 800 Km
  • Rio de Janeiro……………… 1200 Km
  • Montevideo………………….. 1360 Km
  • Buenos Aires………………… 1470 Km

For more information check out the following website (in Portuguese)

70s Style Party

Get your 70’s gear out of the closet and come along to a super party at the Mosteiro on Thursday Aug 22 from 21h00. Bring out the John Travolta or Olivia Newton John in you! Come in costume, 70’s style. Reservation necessary. Please confirm presence to the following email Where: Mosteiro, Rua Cunha Gago, 678 – Vila Madalena When: Aug 22 from 21h00 Cost: Admission R$12 Minimum consumption R$5. Payment by cash or check only.