Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tchau, Duque!

My last week in Porto Alegre was utterly fantastic, though a complete whirlwind. I was so busy with friends that I didn't have much time to sleep, let alone to get pre-emptively nostalgic about my affection for Centro or my
(but perfect)

with its funky kitchen.

I will miss my occasional houseguests...

...and the results of my science experiment. (I was trying to grow grass as sound insulation for the annoying dripping noise from my upstairs neighbor's air conditioning unit. It didn't really work--it's just made a muddy mess of my windows.)

I'm definitely going to miss the neighborhood: coffee and films at Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana; walking to work in five minutes; hanging out at the simple pubs and lancherias on Andradas; walking among the classic, pastel-colored architecture and through the quaint Praça Matriz. And, for better or worse, Champanharia Ovelha Negra won't be on the corner by my place anymore.

Perhaps most, in regards to my space here, I will miss staring out the big windows in my bedroom on the perfectly-blue days or dark, star-filled nights...

...enamored with the full moons and, occassionally, a moon that refuses to sleep as the sun chases.

On the other hand, I will not miss the shrill bark of the Sindica's dog.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Closing Time

"you don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Rudy & Roxanne are back, together (yay!), in Phoenix.

Kristin & Thiago are now setting up home, cars, and careers in Kansas City.

Fifi is taking a break in L.A., before starting her new chapter in Cali, Colombia.

Ivan (to whom I owe many thanks for always being "up for it") is probably out salsa dancing in Cidade Baixa - but Cassá de la Selva, Spain, beckons soon. At least for a little while.

Scott & Eliana are visiting the States for a while.

And yours truly, I'm off to Chicago for a few weeks.
Then, I'm changing my name.


A few weeks back I was remembering my mission mantra: "Leap and the net will appear." I was feeling half comfortable, half stir-crazy. I reminded myself that even if I can't identify the grand scheme from this angle, I know that it has nothing to do with the word "settle". At least, not yet.

After a chat with Marcelo that doubled as a revival, I made a few more phone calls. Within three days, my network of friends wove the net before me. Incredible.

I'm moving to São Paulo. I have a short term apartment in Pinheiros, coincidentally a stone's throw from Casa Club. I have some job leads. I have a surrogate family waiting for my arrival--comprised of the family and friends of my Porto Alegre pals. I even have a running club, since I'll be broke for a while and have to take a hiatus from the bars (ha)!

I was talking to friends about the bittersweet sentiments I have toward closing the Porto Alegre chapter of my life, and Adri, quite rightly, corrected me: "This wasn't a chapter. Now you are starting a new book."


"every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Remains of Book One

There were a few photos I didn't work into the previous posts.
Let's just revisit that view from my hotel room balcony in Recife...

...where, in addition to a new skintone, I found this weird little shoe-shine mitt.

Speaking of OMG SHOEZ...


And one more weird-sign-around-town, Rio Grande do Sul edition.

Nutty Up, indeed.

My favorite haunts in Porto Alegre

This post is a Public Service Announcement. If you are in Porto Alegre, or soon will be, you would do well to find yourself here.

After your delicious risoto, you can visit the rest of the list in no particular order.

Priscilla's - sticky buns

Budô Sushi - saké! just kidding. super-fresh sushi

La PizzaMia - General Artigas

Restaurante Copacabana - cordeiro/lamb

Moeda Bar e Restaurante - lunch buffet

Prinz - crazy hot mustard and stuffed pork signature dish

Na Brasa - Sunday afternoon churrasco rodizio

Sakura - summertime ambiance

Alto Astral II - simple, tasty, classic plates

Bar do Nito - ambiance

Lourival - ambiance

Agua Doce Cachaçaria - wicked cocktailing

Café Santo da Casa - an espresso with a view

Champanharia Ovelha Negra - champagne and charm

Mercado do Chopp - ambiance

Santíssimo - ambiance and a great caipirinha

Brechó de Futebol - ambiance

Boteco Natalício - happy hour snacking

Apolonário - ambiance

Mercatto d'Arte - late night ambiance

Penguim - late night... something.

Cachorro da República - late night, curbside hot-dog-eatin'

...or at home with Flor da Maça's signature pizza and a liter of Bohemia.

Bom Apetit!
Louquinha Gauchinha

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Good times...

The inimitable Juliana Carvalho, my new friend.

I am having the time of my life these days. In addition to Ju, I have met a surge of amazing people recently and just thinking about how interesting they are sometimes keeps me up at night. Other times, hanging out with them keeps me up at night.

I feel a tug of sadness over the timing. Tomorrow, my birthday, begins my last week in Porto Alegre. (Another big adventure is around the corner--details to follow.)

I'll miss calling Ivan, hungover, to ask him to meet me for a lamb feast at Copacabana in 15 minutes, knowing full well that he'll delight me in saying "yes".

I'll miss knocking on curious doors at 6am when, after closing Zero de Conduta--again, we go out to Alfredo for omelets.

And I'll miss all the goofy friends I've made!

Even more sentimental, I think the happiest night I had in the last five years was last Monday. I had a casual sushi dinner with Danilo and Fernando, followed by some live music at the tiny Girasole Pub. It was just one of those perfect nights.

("Shake it, Lurch!")

The good times are sure to continue this week, as I celebrate my new friends as much as I can.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Negative Two for Conduct

33 beers and a mineral water!
(Actually it was just a tab I lifted from the stack to take a picture. Really.)

"Who cares where we're going? Just get on the bus."

Let's review the week.

Bubbly at Champanharia Ovelha Negra

Guinness at Shamrock

Beer at Zero de Conduta

More beer at Zero de Conduta

Cachaça at Zero de Conduta

Red, red wine... at Zero de Conduta

The guys will be changing the name, shortly, to -2 de Conduta.

Valeu amigos.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010


A few weeks ago I ordered chinese food for the first time here in Porto Alegre. I had already managed my expectations for China In Box--given the name, commercials, and reputation. It's the McDonalds of mock-Chinese, basically.

But, really, what the hell is with this fortune?

"What is the best Chinese food chain in Brazil? Send a text message, 1 for China In Box, 2 for others, to.... and enter [a contest, presumably]."

I got the shaft! Bah, tchê! ha ha ha!

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Independently Happy"

Things are getting fun... and crazy...

... even for me.

I'm rocking out to "Independently Happy". Good things are happening here.

For example, I recently noticed that "eu cheguei... "I arrived..." (more or less) with my Portuguese. Suddenly, finally, I realized while out one night: "Hey, I understand!" I understand about 80% of the conversation, which is really good considering the local dialect warrants its own dictionary. Ahh, finally. Eu mesmo entendi "Claro!" "Claro é o cu do vagalume!"

With all the flux in the foreigner crowd, the World Cup, and the upcoming birthday season, there have been lots of parties--with several more on the agenda in the coming weeks.

Anthony, Eliane, e eu at the best new futebol bar in town for the USA x Ghana game. Scott brought the flag, which I was surprisingly happy and proud to see...

This is me and Scott, celebrating our heritage (and loss). Scott and his wife Eliana are completely amazing/cool/fun/admirable. Despite the fact that we're the same age, I want to be like them when I grow up.

Vivi, me, Juliana, Michele, and Têmis--the "new girls"--and an incredible group they are. You'll hear more about them soon enough. On this night, though, I got to know them a little--and they stunned me.

Juliana, a luminary, com certeza.

Two of my favorite locals, Fernando and Danilo.

Happy Independence Day!
Loquinha Gauchinha

P.S. I also (re-)discovered the fabulous Salty Dog. Adorei. (Demais, aparentemente. Drinking and writing, not the best idea.)