Rachels Rantings

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Orlando Hotel Steals From Brazilian Family

 

I am as guilty as every other foreigner when it comes to feeling that the US works well. No offense to Brazil but living in Rio de Janeiro only makes this feeling stronger.

If you think about it, taking care of things in the US is normally quite easy. Things are efficient, regulated, and the customer service is amazing. It seems that none of the crap that happens in Brazil could happen in the US. That’s why we have checks and balances.

So when some Brazilian friends approached me about a strange charge on their credit card from their Orlando hotel Allure Resorts, I told them it was not a big deal. The hotel double charged them, processing the cards of their entire party for a 2 week stay, 5 days after they checked out. It must have been a mistake. They had already checked out, had paid in advance with a travel website and checked out without an issue. The credit card was taken for deposit only. It was a weird mistake considering they waited until after checkout and hit 3 Brazilian credit cards for a total of 5 rooms. Nonetheless America is the land of customer service and I thought it was nothing a phone call couldn’t fix.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. After various phone calls, emails, and messages to the Orlando Hotel Allure Resorts, it was obvious that they had no intention of returning the stolen money to my Brazilian friends. That only pissed me off more. As a blogger I went to my best resource, the internet. This is what I found on this Orlando Hotel’s Facebook page:

As of today I am a victim of credit card fraud thanks to Allure resort. If you can’t pay in cash do not stay there.

and

These people charged my Card, And they haven’t done anything about it. And I didn’t even stay here!!!

That only made me dig deeper:

Third, I had cancelled another reservation I had with them for later in my stay, well within the cancellation policy dates, but they still charged for the stay.  They not only charged me once, but twice on 2 credit cards.  When I tried to call and get it taken care of I was put on hold for 15+ minutes at a time until I hung up, transferred to a manager whose voicemail inbox was full, or transferred to another line that never picked up.  I have called almost everyday for over a week now and still cannot get anyone to talk to me.  I have now had to file a dispute with the credit card company. 

and

Allure Hotel charges resort fee that is never disclosed during check-in and they fail to provide a receipt during check-out when booked thru’ third party booking which supposedly should have included all the fees.. You are surprised when you see your credit card statements about these charges which again you come to know when you call the hotel for the details of these charges. This is a scam that many resort hotels are using including Allure and I would not want to stay in this hotel again since there is no fairness to consumer as they fail to disclose at every opportunity they had. The only reason they call themselves as resort is so that they can charge this resort fee which is not controlled in this hotel industry. There is nothing in this hotel that qualifies to call themselves as resort. Not to mention their bathroom faucet had broken knobs and water in bath tub would not shutoff. The room telephone didn’t work and the bathroom door would not close. Their front porch had cars parked along the yellow lines all the time (violation of fire code) when there are no lines waiting for checking in when all the rear and side parking lot is practically empty. Visitors – Don’t be fooled by this so called RESORT name. Book your hotel room elsewhere and you will not regret it!

And countless other complaints. Amazingly enough, bookings.comhotels.comexpedia.comkayak.com, and orbitz.com are all recommending that we stay there. I am so flabbergasted that I am using the word flabbergasted. How on earth has this been allowed?! Please share this with your friends. I would hate for anyone else to scammed by this hotel.

Brazilian Judge Denies Justice

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Driving is taken seriously in Brazil, if you are caught at a checkpoint anyway. In 2011 Judge João Carlos de Souza Correa experienced this when he was stopped at a checkpoint in Leblon. It seems his car didn’t have license plates nor did he have his license on him at the time. That is a punishable offense in Brazil.

Of course if you are “important” in Brazil that doesn’t matter, especially if someone offends you. To sum it up, Judge João Carlos de Souza Correa was not pleased when he was NOT held above the law and Luciana Silva Tamburini commented on it. She made the very obvious observation that “juíz não é Deus” or a Judge is not a God in English.

Judge João Carlos de Souza Correa must have felt differently because he was offended enough to give her some trouble. It just recently came out that Luciana Silva Tamburini will be the one receiving the fine. She obviously deserves it as she was the one just doing her job and he was the one breaking the law.

So he worked his judge magic and got Luciana Silva Tamburini a R$5,000 fine for abuse of power. Am I the only one who finds that ironic?

What amazes me is that he is a Brazilian judge, thus logic would suggest he is a well educated and reasonable individual. How on Earth did he not realize that this would come back to bite him in the ass? Honestly, we Gods have to have a thick skin if we don’t want to get into trouble.

Thankfully though, Brazilians do apparently draw a line somewhere when it comes to the abuse of power. When the story broke Brazilians joined together, once again, in horror over the lack of justice. The Brazilian community raised money to pay the fine for Luciana Silva Tamburini. That’s a good thing seeing that Luciana Silva Tamburini made less than R$5000 a month while João Carlos de Souza Correa makes around R$50,000. Yes I used the past tense with Luciana because she also lost her job. But thanks to other Brazilians she won’t go home empty handed. Her cause raised R$27,000!

So it seems that the people are on Luciana Silva Tamburini’s side. Though I’m sure João Carlos de Souza Correa can count Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as strong supporters.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

Ask Rachel: “This country is fuck-ed-did.”

Photo from: http://patrickpmoore.wordpress.com/

Dear Rachel

“This country is fuck-ed-did.”

According to my Brazilian partner. OK. Although you are probably already thinking I am an ignorant gringo mocking foreign accents, please hear me out.

I am not asking you for advice on foreign accent modification, nor on how to deal with someone who dislikes his own country nor on inter-cultural issues in a relationship.

Well, that last one, I guess I kind of am.

Here’s the thing: my Brazilian partner and I speak English with each other almost exclusively. OK, yeah, bullshit almost. Exfreakingclusively. Yes, I know what you are thinking and damn it you are right: my Portuguese indeed sucks and his English is quite decent. Also, he is completely impatient with my Portuguese.

Impatience. Yeah, I guess that is part of the thing (well, hey no, not on my part). Sometimes when he is speaking with me I feel like I am on an acid trip. A bad one. A sample of a recent conversation follows:

Ohhh, and before we begin, let me be crystal here. There was NO CONTEXT. I mean ZERO.

Him: You know that guy?
Me: What guy?
Him: You know, my cousin’s friend.
Me: Which cousin? (he has bazillion)
Him: Claudia.
Me: (we were at Claudia’s last week, met her new colleague, what the freak was his name? maybe . . .) Marcio?
Him: Yeah, he owns that place.
Me: (Bingo! wow, I am shit hot at this but . . .“that place?” I didn’t speak with Marcio. Shit, not a clue, grrrrr . . .) Which place?
Him: The place with the thing.

I think you are getting a little bit of the worm whole I get sucked into
when ever we converse.
We are speaking English, but I don’t understand my first language.
I mean maybe it is me (seriously? I doubt it). I know I am not a freaking
bright-ass genius but I don’t consider myself a complete idjet either.

Yeah, I get that English is not his first language and he often might not
have the vocab. I’m down with that. I have tried to explain to him that he
needs to help me out and try to find another way to express himself with
the words that he has (I believe linguists call this circumlocution). Hell, he
could even use Portuguese and I’ll ask Siri. This usually results in him
getting frustrated and freaking out on my ass blaming me for not really
listening to him or paying attention. Seriously.

I also get that English is a low context language and Portuguese is high
context. But WTF? We are not talking about implied subjects here. There
is usually none or so little freaking context that I have begun to read a
paperback I found from the 1970s on the paranormal with a chapter on
mind reading.

Have you experienced anything like this? Is it him?? Is it me??? (It cannot
be me.)

OK, lets return to the opening line of this little epistle. I am totally
sympathetic (empathetic? seeing as I often get the other end of the
skewer down here) with people speaking English as a second or foreign
language and I am not down with mimicking people’s accents (OK. Yeah,
but only in an ironic sort of way). But he is.

Him and his friends (hell, strangers on the street) think my Portuguese is
down right hilarious. I know. I know. It is a “cultural thing”. They are not
being malicious, my Portuguese is just ROFLMAO funny I guess.

But here is another thing (last thing, I promise). He is keen to curse, cuss
and swear in English like the good Canadian I am (good fucking luck pal).
However, the time I drunkenly, good naturedly, non-patronizingly mimicked
his pronunciation of the past participle of the F word, he righted his
pronunciation and thus has been pronouncing it correctly since.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should just get drunk and in a good natured, non-
patronizingly sort of way mimic a whole conversation with him.

Whada ya think?

Perplexed in Parana

And BTW, that first line: like I said, I didn’t say it. He did. I like this place. I mean, I’m a snowback and actually enjoy it really freaking cold and snowy, but hey, beyond the lack of pickup hockey games, snowmobiling opps and pissing my name in the snow it’s all good.

Perplexed,

Wow, sounds like it’s fun to be you, please note the sarcasm.

Your boyfriend seems to be lacking in relationship maturity. Communication is the key to any good relationship, at least when the honeymoon period sex is over. Maybe you haven’t reached that point yet but eventually you are going to need to be able to have a conversation.

It’s time to have a serious talk with your boyfriend. Maybe you should consider hiring a translator to mediate, and by translator I do not mean beer. Alcohol has no place in a serious conversation. It merely gives you a false sense of relaxation, opens you to getting off topic, and depending on your drinking level leads to arguments.

When two people in a relationship each speak another language, patience is of the utmost importance. That means you need to continue asking simple questions to help clarify what he means to tell you (good job for having the patience to ask about even the most mundane things.) He also needs to stop mocking your Portuguese.

You should both also consider taking private language classes. That goes double for you as you are the one living in the Portuguese speaking country. I do not recommend having your boyfriend teach you. While not paying for classes sounds like an awesome idea, having an insensitive language teacher will do far more harm than good.

That also goes for correcting his English. Stop if he doesn’t like it. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him say beach instead of bitch if he doesn’t want to. This may sound harsh but his pronunciation is not your problem, especially if it does not bother him. Along those same lines, your pronunciation is not his problem, though he could be more sensitive about it. Mocking, even if considered culturally “ok”, is not.

As for your boyfriend and Brazilian friends finding your Portuguese ROTF funny, it’s something that I still deal with on a daily basis. While they are seemingly doing it in “good nature,” it doesn’t feel like it. Your boyfriend should be defending you, not laughing at you. He doesn’t have to say anything aggressive or get pissed off. A simple, “Hey guys, I don’t see you speaking a second language” will usually suffice. Nonetheless, you’re going to have to grow a thicker skin when it comes to that. This issue isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Trust me. Think of it like this, you are much more likely to remember to not make a mistake after being laughed at because of it. Turn it into a lesson and make them explain the mistake to you in detail once the laughing subsides. Brazilians may love to make fun of a foreigner’s Portuguese but they also love to explain Portuguese to them.

You didn’t mention how long you have been together. If this is new, he’s a douche and I would drop him now. If this is a long-term relationship, I’d still consider it. If someone really cares about you they would help you not make fun of you.

What do you readers think he should do?

________________________________________________

If you have a question Ask Rachel email me at me@rachelsrantings.com or message me on my Facebook page. Please try to keep questions down to 200 words if possible.

 

 

The One that Got Away…

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I went out for a happy hour that didn’t end until practically midnight Friday. Blame it on Rio. And I have a story to tell you.

I met a boy. The one that got away.

I know what you are thinking, what the hell Rachel! You’re married! It’s not like that though, seriously! Because the one that got away was only about 6 years old.

He came up asking for money, like the four other kids who came before him, but at the same time his approach was completely different.  He came with a plan and a sales gimmick.

He was dressed to kill in a worn out Polo Shirt and jeans, on a very hot day.  It’s almost summer in Rio and Friday was Rio ‘s way of showing it by busting out 31 degree weather well into the evening. By the time the one that got away approached my table, he already had sweat dripping down from his carefully combed hair.

The boy walked up and started to talk.  Unfortunately, this is a very normal thing in Rio de Janeiro and people shoo begging children away as if they are dengue infested mosquitoes. Sadly, after a period of time in Rio, the sight of begging children becomes less shocking and more commonplace. The children usually take it in stride, shooing being commonplace for them as well.

The one that got away was different though. People tried to shoo him away, but he stood strong. When they ignored and spoke over him, my personal pet peeve as I feel you should at the very least acknowledge the person with more than a wave of a hand, he took a deep breath and kept going.

I swear the only reason I noticed his tenacity was because I have boys the same age. He ignored the swatting, took a deep breath, lifted his chin and continued on with his speech. He didn’t get louder. He didn’t get upset. All he did was take a breathe and continued speaking with a calm yet strong tone of voice. I know adults who can’t manage that.

There was an obvious script, and again knowing children his age I could imagine how long he and his mother had worked on it.

He was selling the cloths Brazilians use to mop their floors, ones that had an adorable stamp on them. They were on sale for r$8, but if he sold them for r$10 his mother said the other two Reais could go towards a bike for him.

Talk about incentive.  And he sold it. His speech was impressive for a child of his age that had been raised in the best schools, which he obviously doesn’t attend.  His perseverance is something that only life could teach.

My heart broke.

If this boy was born to a well off family, he would be extremely successful. The same could be said for his Mother. Even sadder, if this boy was born in a country with properly functioning public schools, public health, and other public services that could help him build his way up, he could still be extremely successful.

I did buy a cloth, of course for R$10. And then I congratulated him.  I told him that he was doing an amazing job and that his mother should be proud. The compliment obviously made him very pleased. It also was also a painful reminder that few people give him the time of day.

As he walked off he turned and looked back at me. He gave me a 100 watt smile. It was one of those huge innocent smiles only a child could give. I returned it and gave him a thumbs up, the Brazilian equivalent of saying you’re cool. He then went on his way, off to the next person who would maybe give that little extra towards his bike, the first R$8 going exclusively to feeding and clothing his family. Just call that an educated guess.

Now my heart is broken. First off, I have no idea why I just didn’t buy everything he had. I don’t need 10 things to mop my floor but he shouldn’t have to walk the streets of Leblon by himself all evening selling cleaning cloths to strangers. I resent that privileged attitude that I as well suffer from. It’s the one that tells me after the fact that I at least did something. In reality I did nothing. I gave the kid R$10. That isn’t even an economical hiccup for us, nor does it buy basically anything in Rio de Janeiro.

I like to dream that his natural feisty nature will pull him and his mother, and possible siblings, out of their situation. Sadly, I’m not delusional. I know there are many people in need in Rio de Janeiro. I also know the system put in place to help them doesn’t work.

So if you happen to be in Leblon and see this young boy selling the above pictured cloth, buy it. There is a whole argument in Brazil that the poor want to do nothing but get their bolsa familia (Brazilian equivalent to welfare). This boy and his mother are proof that you can’t generalize the situation.

No Thank You Very Much For Your Offer

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I got a direct message on my Rachel’s Rantings Facebook page and it annoyed me. Let me show you:

Hi Rachel,

I work for the (keeping this anonymous) and I want to write an article about the hotspots in Lapa, Rio. What are the coolest places to see art, eat, dance, drink? What places in Lapa do you absolutely have to see when you go there? Because you live in Rio I would love to hear your opinion about Lapa and maybe see if you have any cool photos of the neighbourhood. Can you help me?

Kind regards,

Now I have been asked for advice about hot spots from travelers coming here or people moving here. I’m no stranger to doing guest posts. I have even spoken with some journalists and helped them with their research. I have gone as far as to put them in contact with other bloggers or people of interest. I love helping people out. That said, there is a line.

Basically I draw the line at being asked to be someone’s Google bitch. There is already a Google out there and it’s pretty damn easy to use. Seriously, a stranger dropped me a message, posing it as asking for an opinion, while pretty much requesting that I give her all the information for her article. And this kind of article is not particularly easy. I can’t just list a shit ton of places off the top of my head. I have to remember names, look things up, etc etc. Of course, being a local, it is a hell of a lot easier for me than her. I have been to Lapa, can go there if I need to, and I have a general idea of what is going on in Rio de Janeiro. So I made a proposal:

Hi (Stranger), I am actually available for hire when it comes to travel articles. I charge (none of your business) per article. I would be happy to work with you :)

 

This was her reply:

Thank you very much for your offer, but my editor in chief insists on working with our own journalists. Because this is a smaller article I’m trying to find locals to help me out a little. But we can of course mention your blog and your work in the article :)

Her editor in chief may insist on working with their own journalists but doesn’t seem to care if the journalists do their own work. At this point I was just plane annoyed. She was still trying to say that she was just asking for help! I know this is a puff piece for them but apparently it is more work than she is willing to do on her own and she is being paid. Why the hell am I going to do it for her for free?!

Obviously I replied and I was in full Rant mode.

Thank you for the offer but while mentioning my blog is nice it does not make a huge difference in my day to day stats, merely giving me a temporary jump in stats but not necessarily return readers. And while you are asking locals to help you out, you are also basically asking for the bulk of your article. In all honesty, you are asking for the all the important information in your article. As someone who has never been, you will then be writing travel advice based on random advice from people you do not know and your own speculation from checking out the related links. I understand that it is economically impractical to send writers places for simple things like this, unfortunately ;) . And I can see asking around. I’m personally going to pass though. :)  

I know you are going to think this is weird but I didn’t receive a reply. Maybe I came off a bit harsh but the phrase “trying to find locals to help me out a little” threw me over the edge. It’s total bullshit!

I’ll help you out a little. I googled “things to do in Lapa.” 465,000 things came up. The information is there my friend. You are the one being paid to sift through it, not me. Thank you very much for your offer, I’m going to pass.

So tell me the truth, was I a bit harsh?

 

7 Biggest Tourist Sins in Rio de Janeiro

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Globo published a list of 7 things tourists do incorrectly in Rio de Janeiro. I was very excited to read about tourist sins and then very disappointed. The list was weak. For example, they said eat feijoada like there is no tomorrow. Eating heavy food is a horrible thing. But hello, I’m American. I can handle feijoada for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and become obese like it’s nobody’s business. They also listed driving drunk, wear too much on the beach (true), and sometimes not enough. That last one was in reference to going topless, which has happened a handful of times and made headlines in ALL the newspapers down here. It’s funny how nudity during Carnaval is nothing but put some boobs on the beach and it’s a big deal.

So I’ve obviously decided to make my own list. Here is what this wannabe Carioca considers the 7 biggest tourist sins in Rio de Janeiro.

Toursist Sin #1They don’t use sunscreen. I’m not just talking about when on the beach, I mean everywhere. Did you not realize that you are in Rio de Janeiro? The sun is different here, and by different I mean gives you skin cancer. I know a Norwegian girl who refused to use sunscreen because she tans so well. I may be geographically challenged as an American, but I’m thinking there is a slight difference in sun exposure between the two countries. Needless to say, she was a cooked lobster after her first day on Rio’s beaches. Moral of the story, Brazil isn’t Norway.

Toursist Sin #2: Leaving Items unattended on the beach. Actually that goes for anywhere. Remember how I just mentioned that Brazil isn’t Norway, the same goes here. Rio de Janeiro has poverty. If you take your stuff for granted, someone else won’t. It isn’t even about honesty, it’s about being in a place where a portion of the population struggles for their basic needs. If you are forgetful when it comes to something of value, someone else in Rio won’t be. I’m not excusing crime here, I’m just being aware of where I am at.

Tourist Sin #3: Being impatient. Newsflash, Cariocas aren’t in a hurry most of the time. It’s one part personality, one part the reality of living here. Things take time. Life in Rio de Janeiro isn’t necessarily efficient. That also goes for touristic stuff because 1. there are a ton of tourists here on a daily basis 2. most of you have no idea what you are doing so you slow things down more 3. Cariocas working there don’t get paid enough to care 4. and Cariocas generally have the attitude that everything will work out eventually so why force it. Unfortunately, many international tourists come from countries where if something isn’t immediate you can throw a hissy fit and it will happen quicker. Not necessarily the case here. I recommend being prepared to wait for just about everything. Use that time to look around and enjoy the moment that you are in as opposed to the moment you are trying to get to.

Tourist Sin #4Wearing clothes on the beach. Cariocas are funny when it comes to the beach. That means they will go out of their way to change into beach clothes before hitting the beach. I understand you may have decided to walk around Ipanema all day and then you end up on the beach in cargoshorts and tennis shoes. I get that. It still doesn’t make it ok. You are on vacation. Swing by your hotel and get ready for the beach. You’ll only enjoy it that much better. If you are staying far from the beach, bring your stuff with you. That just gives you one more reason to buy a kanga to bring instead of a bulky towel. Cariocas love them so much because they are compact and don’t hold onto the sand. That means you can carry one in a medium sized purse or backpack with a swimsuit.

Tourist Sin #5: Leaving Christ the Redeemer and/or Sugarloaf for the last day of your trip. This is a big tourist mistake. Rio de Janeiro’s weather is about as stable as Brazilian politics. That shit changes with a gust of wind. It is such a bummer when someone says that they could hardly see Christ and lost the view completely because of cloud coverage. Check the 5 day forecast and attempt to buy a ticket for a sunny day near the beginning or middle of your trip and go! That way if the clouds do unexpectedly roll in, you have a chance to do it another day. I highly recommend hitting Sugarloaf at sunset!

Tourist Sin #6: Drinking Too Early. Nightlife in Rio de Janeiro starts late. Of course that doesn’t mean Cariocas aren’t a fan of happy hours or beers during the day. Of course they are! But if they are going out in Lapa, they aren’t getting completely wasted by 8pm. While Rio de Janeiro has a huge drinking culture, getting absolutely fall down shit faced is not considered attractive. Here’s a weekend timeline for Lapa. Go out for drinks at 9pm and go to clubs around midnight, depending on the club.

Tourist Sin #7: Expecting Everyone To Speak English. This is one step up from thinking Brazil’s national language is Spanish. This is Brazil people. The national language is Portuguese. Sure tourist places will have English speakers, not just for your convenience but to get them more business. That doesn’t mean though that every taxi driver, juice stand waiter, or person on the street should be able to speak to you. Again, English is not the national language.

What would you add?

10 Things I like Better: US vs Brazil

Following up with my last post, now here is what I prefer about the US.

1. Mexican food. Mexican food in Rio de Janeiro is usually crap and overpriced. It’s such a sad Mexican food situation down here that I get excited over wannabe store bought tortillas and Old El Paso spice packets I receive in the mail.

2. The parking spots. I can hardly park a small car in a large American spot, I am totally useless here. Parallel parking skills are so good in this country that Brazilians should be allowed to list it on their resume. “Brazilian Parallel Parker”

3. Couches. You all saw what I went through for my couch. I do love it and it is really comfortable but I have to say it can not beat American couches. In the US we have fabulous soft, fluffy, comfy and sleep inducing couch options you just can’t really find here. Of course it may be because it is cold there, we sit on our asses much more than Brazilians, and that we need softer couches that will allow for the spread of our ever growing ass. Whatever it is, they are far more comfortable up there.

4. Candy. Seriously candy isles are a freaking a joke down here. The tiny little “normal” sized candy bar is the size newborn American babies eat. Give me a break and get this girl a real candy bar!

5. Moisturizers. I chalk this up to personal preference due to growing up there. I just find that the body and face moisturizers are nicer in the US. That and they are less expensive.

6. The toy selection. Toys for my kids are SOOOO much cheaper at home. Hell, anything for my kids is cheaper at home. I end up using the vast majority of my suitcase space for kids stuff like future bday presents, clothes to grow into, and shoes.

7. Milk. I do have a brand I like in Brazil now (leitisimo or something like that) but it still isn’t the same. I go on a milk binge everytime I visit. Maybe it’s all the chemicals pumped into our cows like water. Maybe it’s the fact that our milk isn’t made to hold for a year on a ridiculously hot shelf in a Brazilian kitchen. I don’t know what it is but I have no problem killing a gallon of American milk in the 5 days before it spoils in the fridge.

8. Floss. This is a weird one and I totally blame Mr Rant. He got me into this thin wax floss stuff from Colgate or something. I have to say, it is now my favorite and you can not find it here.

9. Selection. The one good thing about being a somewhat heartless consumer country is the selection. There is a seriously large selection of anything and everything in the US. Hell, look at #8′s floss preference. That kind of preference comes from a selection spoiled person. I mean, it’s freaking floss, how different can it be?… but it sooo is.

10. The bacon. The bacon here is a little too fatty, too few per package, and too expensive for my bacon taste. I miss the neatly sliced rows of American bacon with the perfect proportion of fat to fat meat and all at a fair American price.

What about you? What do you like better in your Native country?

10 Things I like Better: Brazil vs the US

Photo from www.leahtravels.com

As requested by Ana, here is the first half of my 10 Things I like better series. Enjoy!!

1. Coconut water. Sure it’s all hip to drink coconut water now in the states but that little box does not compare to a freshly opened chilled real coconut.

2. The beach. I thought I knew the beach before Brazil but I was so wrong. Brazilians do the beach the way it was meant to be done! I can’t explain it because it is not a technique, it is an experience.

3. Flakiness. While I hate flakes and flaking, it is really nice to be able to flake when you really want to and not be judged. You will get a little shit initially but since everyone flakes on everyone every once in a while there is a certain flexibility to it. I can not go to a friends party and only get shit about it while on the phone with them. Buy them a beer the next time you meet and all is forgotten.

4. Big lunches. It took me a while to get used to having my main meal in the middle of the day but I have now been converted. Sure I still have a sandwich every once in a while but my body much prefers digesting during waking hours instead of trying to do it while I sleep.

5. Flip flops. Sorry folks but Havaianas are the only acceptable brand and yes you should own a variety of styles and colors.

6. Bathing suits. The bikinis may be small but you don’t get a saggy butt and you look better all around (not to mention the fact that they really last!) The speedos the men use are flattering and not creepy like the Italians (no offense). That and why on Earth should men be forced to wear long baggie uncomfortable sand catching shorts? So not fair.

7. Brazilian earrings. I love them all, the expensive ones and the ones sold on the street. Sure you may have to sift through some tacky ones but you will still better your collection by far (and usually it’s much easier on the wallet).

8. Delivery. You can get everything delivered! Stuck home with a sick kid? Call the pharmacy and have the medicine delivered. Call your favorite neighborhood restaurant and have lunch brought to you. Hell, go to the grocery store and then leave all your goods behind for the store to bring them over by bike. This is a big plus, especially if you cruise around with 2 little ones like I do.

9. Homemade food. Sure I miss food from home but my eating habits have improved greatly. I hardly ever use my microwave and the only frozen food I eat is previously made homemade food frozen so I can use it at a later date. That being said, I am 10 pounds lighter in Brazil without trying. Coincidence? I think not.

10. The people. No offense to my country but people here are friendlier. You can talk to a stranger’s kid without being called a pedophile. Actually, if you didn’t pat that random kid’s head who stepped on your foot you’d more likely be called an ass. Brazilians love company, friends and family. There is always a lunch or event or random meet up. There are no “private space” issues. You kiss on the cheek hello, goodbye, and constantly use endearing terms with everyone. Brazilians just give out love and it is something the rest of the world should try.

I’m Back!

I took a little hiatus. I didn’t feel inspired and my lack of inspiration made my blog feel like a burden. So basically I felt I was suffering from a first world problem that isn’t in fact a problem or burden at all. I didn’t know what to write so I took my ball and I went home.

But you can usually get something out of every decision and this is no different. I’ve decided to make a few changes. Seeing that I obviously suffer from self-importance, I am imagining that you care.

I’ve decided to not make this blog so Rio/Brazil-centric. Given I will still write about the culture and life here, without a doubt, but I will also open myself to writing about other things.

Secondly I’d really love to do an advice day,like Rachel’s Recommendation. I have no qualifications whatsoever but think of it like a poor mans’ Dear Abby. If you want to take part (everyone will stay anonymous) email me at me@rachelsrantings.com

Lastly I need your help with something. I’d love to post some old posts from Rachel’s Rantings 1.0. If any of my readers are still checking in, I don’t blame you if you aren’t, which posts would you like to read again?

So that’s it. Forgive me for my blog’s current level of ugly. I’m still trying to put it together, and am obviously not doing a particularly good job.