Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chocolate and the American Candy Bar Invasion

Brazil is not known for it's quality chocolate.  This is very odd to me, since cacau is from the Amazon.  Don't get me wrong: Brazilians love chocolate.  But for the most part, they like milk chocolate.  And less expensive, lower quality chocolate. I realize I'm speaking in generalizations, but go to any Lojas Americanas, and you'll find at least one whole row devoted to the following:
There's a reason it's called baton (lipstick).  Eww.

I bought a box of these on a recommendation, and gave it as a gift to my sister and family.  They said it was just bad chocolate.  I feel bad that their first exposure to a Brazilian product was bad chocolate!

In terms of candy bars, there are these:
Crunchy outside, nougat-ty middle.  Not bad, but cheap chocolate.  And sometimes the chocolate gets a little soft.  Not good.

Inexpensive milk chocolate with air bubbles.  Meh.

These are yummy.  

But the WORST WORST WORST are these chocolate soccer balls.  My kids won't even eat them.  They are literally plastic.  We got a bunch at a birthday party, and I threw them all out today.


You can find good stuff.  Talento makes some dark chocolate bars.  I love chocolate bon-bons, like Seranata do Amor and Sonho de Valsa.  And Diamante Negro is good (crunchy toffee pieces in chocolate).

One thing I've noticed in our three years here, is the introduction of American candy bars into the mix.  First it was Snickers.  They were more expensive when they arrived, but now you can find them for R$1.49 (or so).  Then came Twix.  These also have gone down in price.  From a brief google search, it looks like they have been in Brazil since 2000 and 2001 respectively, but I didn't see them in Belo Horizonte until at least 2011.  Maybe I was just so absorbed with daily life and adjusting that I never noticed.  But it can be verified that  KitKat arrived in 2011, which is still about R$2.50.  And now I can find Milky Ways!  I used to eat a Milky Way a day in high school when I was playing volleyball.  Oh my.  What will arrive next?  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Does your help speak English?

Thank God my phone calls aren't like this anymore.  I think this is funniest if you speak Portuguese.  Enjoy!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rain, rain, go away


It's been cloudy cloudy cloudy, rainy rainy rainy here.  As in UNSEASONABLY rainy.  Last Tuesday one of the streets in our neighborhood literally turned into a river.  I was out with my oldest daughter, and I was a little bit afraid that we'd get hit by a floating trash can or pulled into the current in the street.  On Saturday we stood in our dining room during a huge storm and watched "protective" netting and large boards fly off the construction project that is happening 300 feet from our house (scary).  I also saw a weird blue flash from a transformer blowing in our neighborhood.  The rain has caused a huge mosquito population, and dengue is rampant, with over 50,000 cases in our state.  And the price of tomatoes has skyrocketed, mainly due to poor crops because of the rain.  

On top of that, the grey skies just start to get people down.  Maybe that's why there's been a rash of blog posts addressing some challenges in Brazil, or "interesting" culture differences.  This post about mediocrity has really got me thinking, especially working here as an educator.  But when combined with the rain, it's been tempting to sulk, and just feel downright grumpy about most everything.  

But yesterday the sun came out!  Hope is restored.  And today THE SUN CAME BACK!!  I stood in my laundry area for a full minute, just letting the sun shine on my face this morning.  Thank you.