Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lei Seca and what to wear at 7 am on a Saturday

We have met a great group of fellow expats here in Belo Horizonte.  And it just so happens that a large percentage of these expats are French.  We went out with them to a wonderful new French restaurant in Sion called Au Bon Vivant .  It was so so so so so yummy.  And of course, when you have delicious French food with French people, you have to have French wine.  Matt had a glass at the beginning of the evening (9 pm), and offered to drive so I could have 2 glasses.  We finally finished dessert and goodbyes at about midnight.  But when we stepped outside, we found this:

The police had set up a "blitz" right in front of the restaurant.  Thankfully, drunk driving laws changed in Belo Horizonte this year.  The new law (lei seca) is that you can not have ANY trace of alcohol in your system while driving.  Zilch.  Zero.  NONE.  If you do, you will be fined, and you may lose your license and your will be towed (I know I should research exactly what will happen, but all I know is that it is you'll get in trouble).  I think it was very necessary for the laws to change.  Two years ago, I was told that Belo Horizonte had two breathalyzers for the ENTIRE city, and it was practically impossible to get in trouble for drunk driving.  We have observed MANY drivers on our street driving while holding beer bottles.  As an American, this is a BIG NO NO.  All those MAD campaigns and after school movies, and knowing people who were killed as a result of drunk drivers has instilled in me a strong sense of what is right and wrong.  It is not good to drink while impaired.  Don't do it.  It does seem a little extreme to me that now the law is that you can't have any trace in your system, but I feel that it is probably better here to go to an extreme after years and years of living with the other end of the spectrum.

Even though none of us were impaired, and Matt was totally fine to drive, he had had a glass of wine 3 hours earlier.  We all opted to leave our cars and catch taxis.  Sometimes the blitzes involve stopping random cars, and sometimes they involve stopping every car.  This one was stopping EVERY car except taxis.  So it was better to play it safe.

Way too early the next morning, Matt had to work.  So I had to wake up and catch a bus at 7 am to make sure that I could then drive him to his rehearsal.  I had managed to take a shower and get down a cup of coffee, but I had no makeup on (I don't wear much anyway) and I was wearing sweat pants, a tee shirt and tennis shoes.  After all, I was going to have to do a little walking to catch the bus, and I wanted to be comfortable on my day off.  But, almost everyone at the bus stop was dressed to the nines!  Including this woman:

The picture doesn't do it justice.  She's got on 4 inch bright yellow heels, perfectly manicured red toenails, an animal print shirt, and she had the hair and makeup to match.  Work it honey!  I guess I need to put a little more effort into my early Saturday morning get up, especially when catching the circular bus!


  1. Ha! I remember my ex husband (who was a true, bonafide macho-man misogynistic mineiro from the interior de minas) complained that I would leave the house without lipstick and earrings. When I go to Brazil, I don't dress as nice as the other people there with my flip flops and shorts. I just don't give a $#!+. I hope that I don't make an easy target for dressing "pobre", haha.

    1. Hooray for not caring! But I don't think you would be considered poor, because I think those who have limited resources work the hardest to not look it.