I am still having to train myself into certain aspects of Brazilian life – patience in the face of overweening bureaucracy is something I have yet to develop, and the relentless lunching, while very good fun and pleasingly welcoming, is proving too much even for my innate greediness: was thrilled the other day when one lunch was cancelled as it meant I could eat fruit for lunch, and allow my body a small chance to digest the constant three-course extravaganzas. However, the socialising timetable – going out at 11pm and staying out till 5am – is one thing I’ve slipped into with remarkable ease.
Largely this is because I’m working ridiculous hours – a solid week of 12 hour+ days has not been my favourite working period ever, and will determinedly not become the norm; something must be done to change HQ’s seeming expectations of my ability and willingness to work London and Brazilian hours. However, the upside of being here is that long after London is in the pub, and indeed long after most Brazilians have finished work, the evening fun is just beginning.
On Friday night, having finished work at 10pm, I had a celebratory and initiatory caipirinha with my flatmates before they headed off to a hip hop club up the road (a musical style which, brilliantly, because of how Portuguese treats consonants on the ends of words, is here pronounced ‘hippy hoppy’, a translation which to my mind does wonders for the ‘chood inherent in most of its practitioners), and was picked up at 11.30 by a couple of friends to go to a house party not far away. Our hosts were three guys – English, Brazilian and Argentine – and their amazing Great Dane puppy, in the most hilarious bachelor pad I’ve seen in a while – beautifully if predictably modern, entirely without kitchen implements save a large wine rack and a overly complicated coffee machine, and hired bar staff to keep the caipirinhas pumping out…Dogão, the Great Dane, whose name is semi-translated as ‘Big Dog’ but which is also the nickname here for a hot dog (pronounced hotchi doggy – love this language), was of course the star of the show, until he decided to join in the dancing by jumping on someone and ripping their back with his claws. He’s an excitable puppy who weighs the same as a small person, so perhaps not surprising, and the attention was taken with grace by his chosen dancing partner. The mishap also barely slowed the dancing, particularly once Dogão had been banished outside.
It was a very different crowd to Saturday night – Friday’s party was about half expats, half locals, all with good educations and very good jobs, so for a shindig filled with lawyers and accountants it was really remarkably fun. The following evening I went with my flatmates to a proper student house party – in a residential suburb of São Paulo, to celebrate the occasion of his parents being away. It was fun in a very different way, much grungier music-wise, and certainly self-made caipirinhas this time…the only downside was of course being in a room full of 22-year-olds. Nothing like that for making one feel ancient.
Am flying out tonight for a couple of weeks – a week of work in the US and a week of holiday in Thailand – and I feel how little sleeping I have been doing because I can’t wait to get on the plane so I can pass out…And, while I am very excited about the holiday bit, I can’t wait to get back either. A month in, this city rocks. It is considerably better to live in that to visit, and the quality of restaurants, bars, people and lifestyle here is outstanding. The childish part of me, which admittedly rules the roost on too many occasions and which doesn’t like missing out on stuff, feels petulant about all the fun that will be going on here without me over the next two weeks. Couldn’t ask for better.