S?bado no Mercado, Ent?o em Casa, Maring? Park, and a Party!

This morning, we went to the market to buy (a ton of) food for the weekend. See attached.

Apologies for some of the pictures being rotated wrong – I uploaded them before reviewing.
Wine time!

After lunch, and the obligatory nap, I struck out alone in search of adventure. I settled for coffee and conversation in a coffee shop. Upon returning, my host informed me that he was going out for a walk, so I repeated the process, this time around Maringa Park – what’s left of some rainforest that used to be here.
Party time!
Upon our return, Edna asked if I had a suit. I told her I did not, and asked why. I was informed that there is a birthday party for a 15 year-old girl this evening, (apparently quite the event in Brazil), and asked if I wanted to go. I got squeals of glee when I said yes, and “ooos” and “ahhs” when I donned Gilberto’s suit jacket, which fits me quite perfectly.

Brazil Day 4 – Business as (un)Usual

Today, I

  • reviewed a client’s firewall log reports for the month of October,
  • gave some direction to the rest of the Paradigm crew on some niggling issues,
  • assisted a client with transcoding a video for inclusion in his PowerPoint presentation tomorrow,
  • assisted the same client’s network support crew with a recommendation on how to securely provide wireless Internet access to his patients,
  • performed a cursory penetration test of a wireless network (yay, WEP),
  • assisted with the same client’s home/office PC, as its email ceased working when his Outlook Express inbox eclipsed 2GB, and finally,
  • assisted one of same client’s staff with translation of some medical forms from English to Portuguese,
  • made two new friends in IT, and discussed various issues, network service solutions, including Astaro, CloneZilla, Debian, and Squid.

The difference between this any any other normal day is that I did it all from Maring?, Paran?, Brazil.

The Quest for a SIM Card

Not having Internet data on my iPhone kinda bites. I’ve got GPS, and the ability to take pictures and videos and compose emails of things that I see and experience… and no way to use them unless there’s open WiFi. Unfortunately, a lot of folks around here actually lock down their networks (good for them, bad for the casual traveler in search of a few kilobytes of data to find out where the heck he happens to be).
The first step was finding a cell phone store. Despite what I’ve heard about the crime rate in Brazil, everyone on the street seems pretty comfortable and casual so I figured I’d be fine as long as I paid attention and didn’t wander down the wrong street. If you’re reading this, I didn’t.
I found one store that was closed, stopped two women on the street and asked if they could direct me to another one (which was just a couple of doors away). Although the store does carry GSM phones and SIMs, and has a pre-paid plan with unlimited texting, Facebook, and Twitter, my iPhone didn’t work with their SIM. It looks like I forgot to unlock it after jailbreaking it this last time around. Oops! So I just followed these handy instructions to unlock the phone again. Of course, I can’t test this until I get another SIM card when my host returns and I can borrow his Nokia to verify.
Yup, you can take the tech-geek out of the country, but you can’t take the… wait, that’s now how it goes.

Coffee Grounds in my Neti Pot

I brought coffee as a last-minute gift for my hosts. So far, it’s been well-received, although I do not yet know how they’ll like it. Not that I’m worried, mind you, as coffee is coffee, and our coffee at Breaking Grounds is pretty darn good, but still, there’s the whole cultural differences thing. Who knows how wrong things could go because their cups are metric and ours are English measure? Egad!
One thing I learned was this: Whole bean coffee, always. Some of the bags I brought were pre-ground. Those are the first I am gifting away, as some of the coffee has leaked out and into my luggage. Fortunately I kept all of my clothes in Lewis & Clark bags, so I don’t smell like coffee, even though my bag does. I also found small coffee bits in my neti pot. It’s a good thing I look in there before I use it, or I’d be smelling coffee for a while.
Note to self: You never know how contents may settle in transit.
I’m just glad I didn’t decide to try to bring Maple Syrup.
Today, I may explore the city and see if I can find a capoeira studio or aikido dojo.

Brazil: Day 2

This morning my hosts too me to breakfast at a local bakery. They served it buffet-style, with a huge assortment of baked goods, fruits, and scrambled eggs and bacon. I tried a few things that didn’t look familiar, but the small roll, I couldn’t tell if it was topped with coconut or cheese until I tasted it, had a savory filling (and was indeed topped with cheese). I also had a cappuccino, which, at least at this place, included chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and possibly some extra sugar or sugar in the whipped cream topping. Whatever it was, it was sweet. As of now I am officially on calorie watch. Continue reading “Brazil: Day 2”

First Day In Brazil

At the airport, I had the pleasure of seeing a Windows error message on one of the terminals’ computer displays.
When I asked my hosts (while staying at their daughter’s apartment) “What can I do?” The response was “take a shower.” I’m hoping that was just polite for “we’ve got this covered, you do what you have to do” and not “you really need to take a shower.” Then again, I had been traveling for more than a day, so…
After that, we ate a light dinner of fruits, bread, and cheese. There was also a dessert which seemed to be made of custard and cornmeal. It was yummy, but I forgot the name. I washed it all down with Passion Fruit juice. Yummy.

I've Landed in S?o Paulo

The trip here was uneventful. I spent extra to get a seat with more legroom and bought a Tempur-Pedic neck pillow, which is a lifesaver.
I made it through customs, which took a little longer than it should have, due to a bit of a miscommunication. The guard handed my paperwork back to me, instructed me to “get [my] luggage and keep [the paperwork] when [I] come back.” So I went to get my luggage, then wondered how the heck I was supposed to get back to the customs desk. What he meant was “when you go back to the USA.” Clearing that up opened the door to go through the “something to declare” line, which was completely empty and moved more quickly than the “nothing to declare” line. Hah!
Now I’m hanging in the airport, where the food is overpriced and absolutely horrible. Somehow I managed to resist the temptation to try Pizza Hut or McDonald’s a la Brazil…
No AT&T service here on my phone, even roaming. Wireless costs R$9.95 for two hours, but was worth it to let the folks back home that I arrived safely and relatively soundly.