Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I’m BACK!!!

“Andrew, you haven’t scrubbed the oven out in caravan T23 properly….can you go back and do it NOW please. It’s a gold caravan so the guests will be arriving soon!” said my caravan cleaning supervisor. He was 19 and he went by the name of Jam.

“Yea, that’s right, call me Jam. Jam as in Strawberry Jam! It’s short for Jamie”.

This poor cow OBVIOUSLY hadn't been
cleaning caravans for long
when this picture was taken!
No Jamie.

It isn’t!  

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy living and working in England, its just that I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there  I was excited about getting myself back over to Brazil! 

After spending what seemed like a very long six months in the U.K. (helped in no small part by that caravan cleaning stint! I know that job made my days feel a lot longer than they actually were!), I’m finally back in Brazil! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed catching up with friends and family back home and I'm actually very fond of the U.K...but right now I'm happy to be back in the land of the samba!

Having spent a while outside of Brazil, it took me a good few days to reacquaint myself with Sao Paulo. As I did this, I noticed the following things that had slipped under my radar before:

  • Women don’t wear much make up here compared to British women.
  • People don’t wait for you to leave the train during rush hour, so getting off the train can be a bit like going to rugby practice (whatcha mean 'yea, like YOU'D know!').
  • Everybody seems to wear a backpack.
  • If you want to buy just one or two things from the supermarket, and the person in front of you in the queue is about to put enough food to last a month onto the conveyor belt...it is a given that that person won't ask if you'd like to go before them. 
  • There are more muffin tops out on the streets here than there are in the bakeries!
This is the minging old poodle,
 it barks when I'm trying to sleep in the
afternoons. I HATE it!
I live with my Brazilian friend Carlos, who came to meet me at the 
airport; and he then showed me around our new crib! The house is fairly big, in a good location, and we share with a couple of other people including the owner of the house. Now this guy is elderly, he is pretty camp, and he always sounds like he is gagging on something whenever he talks....and boy does he love to talk! My Portuguese isn't good enough to understand what he is saying, but that doesn't stop him talking at me daily for at least five minutes at a time. And when there is nobody about he loves chatting to his scabby old poodle! 

This poodle is revolting, it stinks, and it follows my eccentric landlord around everywhere. Now this is the bit that is bizarre...the guy is a medium, and he has people round to the house to do spiritual readings for them, usually in the kitchen (This is actually happening in my place right now!) There are times when all I want is a cheese sandwich, but making it as some stranger is communicating with their dead relatives seems a bit inappropriate!

A few days after arriving back here I was in a bar and I saw an advertisement on the TV, from that I understood that the build up to carnival was well underway. 

In the UK we know Christmas is approaching whenever we see the Coca Cola advert. “Holidays are coming” is chanted over and over, accompanied by that big red truck driving through the snow. The advert usually features a child whose face lights up whenever they see a computer generated Santa on the back of the truck, swigging from his Coca Cola bottle. 

Corrie's on in twenty minutes guys!

Well the Brazilians have a similar idea to mark the build up of carnival, as they too have an advert to remind you that the ‘holidays are coming’. There is no big red truck here though, just a naked woman sporting a bit of body paint, dancing the samba against a black screen (there she is, on your left! And let me remind you that I wasn't in some strip bar when I saw this, this was in a regular bar, on a regular TV channel around six in the afternoon!)! And just like the child, this woman is equally as excited about the upcoming festivities. I know this because I have seen how ecstatic she’s been for the past two years now. She is REALLY excited to be dancing with no clothes on, as the channel’s voice over reveals their carnival programming.

Last year I had an amazing time in Rio during carnival, so I was excited about the opportunity to experience it all over again. This year I celebrated carnival in a different place, on the beach in the seaside resort of Guaraja. It takes about an hour and a half to get there by car from the centre of Sao Paulo...or at least that's how long it should take without the traffic! We didn’t leave Sao Paulo until everyone in the car was done with work, which ended up being at about five o clock in the afternoon. Unfortunately it wasn’t just us on the road at five; it was the first day of carnival so about another seven million people were also trying to get out of the city. So this hour and a half journey took us well over five hours! It was around the fourth hour of us being stuck in traffic jams that I began to appreciate why so many people refuse to travel during carnival. 

Prior to my first trip here, I had always envisaged EVERYONE in Brazil embracing carnival, its parties and its festivities; however this is really not the case. A large number of Sao Paulo residents (who tend to be older Brazilians, or those with families) opt to stay at home and relax in the city during carnival. As the infrastructure in this city is pretty poor, perhaps one of the biggest down falls of living here is the constant traffic. For commuters, driving here can be a bit of a knightmare, particularly during rush hour, and whenever there is a major holiday a lot of people take to the roads travel to the beach or the countryside. As soon as these people have gone, with millions of people away on holiday, I’ve been told driving around Sao Paulo is much more enjoyable and a whole lot less stressful.

When we eventually got to Guaraja, I celebrated by having a beer or two with the other sixteen people I was sharing the two-bed room apartment with! And yea, that apartment was pretty cosy! Unlike last year when there were plenty of things to see and do in Rio, in Guaraja…well, there wasn't really anything to see and do!

We would wake up in the morning and head straight for the beach, and from there we would start drinking. Each day we could be found by one of the many beach bars, usually the one pumping out electronic music. When the sun went down, we would head back to the apartment to shower, and then we would head back down to the beach for more partying. 

So my carnival 2012 blog isn't going to tell you much about a Brazilian carnival at all! It was five days of drinking too much, partying hard and relaxing on the beach. 

All things considered, this really wasn't a bad way for me to be reintroduced to Brazil at all! 

Next on my to do list though, find a new, spirit-free place!  

Sarah and Kiko
A thong eating ass!
Me and Leanne, the friend I met in Japan,
who is actually a Middlesborough lass!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Correction: It's Guarujá, not Guaraja.

    One of the great things about spending holidays in Sao Paulo, while a mass of people is heading down to the beach, is enjoying the semi-tranquil feeling we get, like we are in a country city. Obviously we joke about the false feeling of empty city we have, and when we think about going to the cinema for example, even though 3 million people are not in the city, a million think about the same thing, as there is 17 million still here!

    1. This is so true! And thanks for the correction too...