Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where should we eat Wednesday? Goiania

Yes a new posting about the different restaurants in Goiania and the cities I travel to.  Sometimes I will be able to direct you to some of the best places I have found and keep you from some of those that just didn't add up to me.  Hope you enjoy this new adventure as my blog continues to expand. Oh, and I am posting these on Wednesday so you have time to make plans for the weekend.

The first review:

Casa Sao Paulo Pizzaria - this is one of my favorite places to go for a bite of pizza in Goiania.  I know,  I know,  pizza is not a very Brazilian place to start,  but then again the toppings they include on their pizzas are quite different then what I am used to.  Eggs,  heart of palm,  peach and banana,  just to name a few and I love it when Casa Sao Paulo Pizzaria is where we discuss going.  They have thin and thick crust options which are both good depending on the kind you prefer.  There is not a ton of cheese but plenty of other toppings and traditionally Brazilian pizza is not as heavy on the mozzarella.   If you end up there try the Portaguesa and Margherita for dinner and a small sweet California for dessert.  Located in a restaurant rich area,  the pricing is a little on the high end but the service and food are truly excellent.

Alameda Dom Emanoel Gomes nº335, Setor Marista, Goiânia-GO


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday's Travel Tip - Motel

 You've been traveling through the country side enjoying the wonderful country of Brazil.   Made a few stops,  met a few people,  ate some good food.  OK, maybe the language barrier did not allow you meet a whole lot of people but the day is winding down and it is time to find a place to sleep.  As you drive into the small town and pass by the churrascaria still serving there evening meal.  You come to a quaint little motel and think what a great place to settle for the night.  Wait,  put the brakes on my friend.  One of the things to learn about Brazil is the different between hotel and motel.
It is quite an easy lesson today,  Brazilian motels are designated hotels which charge by the hour for couples who are in search of intimacy and discretion.   Now don't let your mind get seedy, as I understand many of these motels are decorated quite nicely in different themes like Egyptian, red n white, and Paris. I hear they would rival any regular hotel with a few additional amenities.  But if you intend to stay all night and are not interested in the heart shaped bed,  just remember this ain't no Motel 6 and probably not where you want to spend your money for a good night sleep.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Day is all about Luiz n Natalia - the follow up

I had to take a minute to write a quick follow to Luiz Henrique and Natalia's big day.   Yes time has passed and they have settled into their quaint two bedroom apartment in Goiania.   We joined some friends there a couple of days ago for coffee and to see the new place.  During our visit the wedding was brought up and they mentioned how they liked the blog post I had written. Natalia needed a little help with translation but good for her Luiz Henrique speaks English fluently.  The conversation continued on about the similarities and differences there were from weddings in the United States that I help plan.   It started with the ceremony and I again shared how not knowing exactly what was said,  it seemed like every Catholic wedding ceremony I had been to before.  We then discussed what was written about the reception and I mentioned that there is traditionally a cake cutting as part of the evenings festivities in the states.  They shared that this was part of the original plan but  somehow the wedding planner dropped the ball and forgot it.  They were also supposed to have time to toast each other and drink a glass of champagne as husband and wife.  Similar to the toast given by the best man in the U.S.A., this ceremonial gesture
of sharing a glass of champagne between the newlyweds is reserved for the new couple.  I asked if maybe I had missed it but was informed no,  it was missed by the planner as well.  Luiz Henrique and Natalia said these were two regrets of the evening which were supposed to be in the hands of  the wedding planner.  They also pointed out my observation of too many photos during the reception was accurate as well.  All the newlyweds wanted to do is dance and enjoy their guests and it seemed like the photos went on and on.   In the end they had a wonderful evening with no major mishaps and plenty of pictures to remember it with.  The young couple are both happy with how the evening went and were pleased that I enjoyed their evening of celebration honoring the beginning of their lives together as husband and wife.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Travel Trip - Slippery when wet!

In the past I have dedicated posts to the wonderful sidewalks and the art that is created right under the pedestrians feet.   This post is about the harsher side of walking around Brazil and those walkways where I say "watch out".  I have learned the hard way that Brazilians love marble and often use this material outside on their sidewalks,  stairs at their building entrances, around pools, and all around for flooring.  (I have yet to see carpet and very little hardwood flooring.)  The caution I have is that when these are wet they are extremely and I mean extremely slippery.  There are no slippery when wet signs used to warn anyone strolling along.  It may be the flip flows I wear and maybe its that I am new to dealing
with this surface but I have literally fallen numerous times.  Fortunately never getting hurt beyond my pride and surprise.  I have learned that when the rain comes I turn on the caution mode as I traverse the sidewalks and stairs holding onto walls and handrails wherever I can.   In the good old sue happy United States this surface would be too much of a liability to install in these places.  Someone would fall and it would be ripped out days later because of the pending lawsuit.  So while traveling in Brazil my piece of advise is enjoy the wonderful art underneath your feet but if it gets wet walk carefully.  You just never know just how slippery that surface will be.

Even regular cement looks like a sheet of ice
when it rains.. 

this is traditional blocks used for sidewalks ..
not a slick but will help you fall
Mostly used indoors.. watch out when
the floor is mopped 

But don't forget to enjoy what is right there
under your feet. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This day is all about Luiz n Natalia - The reception

The wedding ceremony is over and all the guests slowly file out of the church.  I am sure Luiz and Natalia are taking a deep breath and are plenty ready to continue on and have a great night.  This is when the wedding planner's job really begins but again I am just here to participate and fortunately no work for me tonight.  We all load into vehicles and bump and squeeze down the roads of Mineiros to the reception venue.  A plain building with a circle drive to drop people off before heading to park the car.  This is useful tonight as an occasional shower blesses the evening cooling it down a bit.
In the wedding invitations there was a little card which invited us to the reception and this ticket is

taken at the door by two gentlemen who obviously work for the venue.  We enter the large banquet hall which is decorated with lavish linens and ornate table centerpieces.  I think to myself that this would be like any reception in the U.S.  The venue is simply gorgeous.  At the far end of the room just beyond what is obviously the dance floor is a small riser with a white table topped with a four tier cake, framed by pink flower spheres and platters filled with what only could be Brazilian sweets.  Before I can go investigate a little closer we find a seat to call ours for the evening and visit with family and friends who are already seated and some that arrive shortly after us.
The DJ begins to play some soft music allowing the guests to talk for a while.  By American standards,  this would be a large wedding with clearly over 300 guests but not quite 500.  The tables are filled and soon the newly Mr. and Mrs. Luiz Henrique Brito enter the room and are introduced to cheering and applauding and "We are the Champions" being played by the DJ.   I asked the groom later of the significance to this musical choice but he simply states with a chuckle that they both love the song.  The reception is official kicked off by the first dance of the newlyweds and shortly after the dance the buffet is open.  Guests begin filtering through the food lines filling their plates with bread, meats,
The Bride n Groom with his family
pastels,  panelinhas (small pans), and salad. All cooked to Brazilian perfection and no one should have left hungry.  Of course the wait staff brought beverages to the tables and people just enjoyed the evening catching up with each other.  I watched as the wedding coordinator buzzed around making sure the food was replenished at the buffet,  tables were cleared around the ballroom,  and she even helped the photographer find family members for photos by the cake table from time to time.
Speaking of the photographer,  they spent the evening filling the riser with different combinations of people for a quick photo and then on to the next group.  The wedding party, the bride's family, the groom's family,  the extended families,  all the bridesmaids, all the groomsmen and on and on.  Heck even Luiz and I had our photo taken with the newlyweds and once these photos were finished, the photographers dispersed into the crowd for additional candid shots.  I thought to myself that such a large portion of the couples evening was taken by these photos and in the United States many of them would have been done prior to the ceremony or at the church right afterwards.  In the end primarily the same photos were taken as I would expect back stateside just during the reception.
After the first dance and everyone has had a chance to eat, the dance floor begins to fill with guests grooving to the sounds of the DJ.    Everyone was having a good time and on occasion someone from the family even dragged me out to shake my groove thing a little.  No line dance or chicken song but some good classic American songs mixed with Brazilian favorites filled the evening.  Half way through the night the bride tossed her bouquet to all the

single ladies whom had scurried to the dance floor in hopes of catching it.  Shortly after the new husband joined his wife at the cake table for a couple of speeches or toasts.  They were in Portuguese and with all the crowd talking I had a hard time interpreting. These were  the only customs I noticed during the evening.   At least the only ones that I am aware of.  Oh wait.  a Brazilian custom which I almost forgot was when several of the groomsmen took the groom around to the different table throughout the ballroom asking men to contribute money for the couples's honeymoon.  If you made a contribution,  the groomsmen would cut a piece of the groom's tie for you as a souvenir of sorts. After this brief interruption, the rest of the
evening was filled with dancing and fellowship with family and friends.  Soon the night was at an ending point and upon leaving we noticed a beautiful coffee station complete with an elegant floral arrangement.  Not sure how we missed it on the way in and maybe it was not there but what a nice ending to a wonderful evening.  I cannot wait to be invited to another nuptial celebration in Brazil.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This day is all about Luiz n Natalia

I just had to find time to get this finished today and publish it on Valentines Day ... 
Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day 

Normally I am on the working end of a wedding but this past December I was able to attend the wedding of Natalia and Luiz as a guest (F.Y.I. Luiz's nephew).  This was also my first Brazilian wedding and I was excited to see what it is all about when the date was announced and I was able to attend.  Of course a December wedding in Brazil is a little more common then in the states as this is their summer and the largest deterrent is the heat,  but then again all year long it is warm in Goiania / Mineiros, so any time would be good.   Leading up to the day,  I was curious about how it would compare to those I coordinate back in the states.
December seemed to come quickly almost as if it was my own big day (I am sure that will come later) and soon it was the week of the nuptials.  The invitations arrive and our journey begins with the five hour drive from Goiania to Mineiros.  We pick up Luiz's cousin and off we head down the mess of a road that is still under construction as progress is slow (another story for later).  We arrive at his mom and dad's house Friday afternoon and scurry away for lunch at the bride's families home followed by a gathering of family at his parents home that evening.  Relatives I have met before and some that I have not mixed in with some friends of the family.  An evening sitting around and talking while I switch to "listen mode" in order to work on my Portuguese again.  Soon it is time for bed with a big day ahead.
The morning of the big day for the family is like any other.  Coffee and bread after the dreams have subsided.  It was a little warm overnight as we are sleeping at his grandmothers house and there is no air conditioning and unfortunately that night no breeze.  It reminds me of sleeping outside when we were growing up.  All the wonderful nights of dragging our sleeping bags and air mattresses out on the screened in balcony when it was just too warm to sleep inside.  Heck,  I think that was one of the largest draws to the summer for me back then.   But enough with memories and soon it is time to head to lunch and it seems like shortly after this it we begin to get ready.  It is a hot day so putting on a suit and tie is not something I am looking forward to but soon a small shower of rain rolls in and makes it a little more tolerable.  Once we are all dressed and ready we walk the three blocks to the church.  A beautiful old Catholic Cathedral which we pass by several times a day when we are in town.  Towering over the residential and commercial buildings that surround it the church is simply majestic.  Out front of the church is a small crowd of people waiting to get it.  As we approach the church we realize these are the guests of Luiz and Natalia all waiting for the prior wedding ceremony to finish.  Of course like many things in Brazil it is a little behind schedule and I don't think they left enough time in between but I guess you get used to it.  Just as the clouds begin to drip a drop or two we are ready to enter the cathedral.  The small sanctuary with blue and white walls accenting the ornate details and altar at the front of the church.  The alter has been decorated for the occasion with two grand flower arrangements framing  it.
People begin sitting and soon the beautiful house of worship is filled with people anticipating this union.  The preceremony begins with the bride and grooms parents ushered to their seats by family followed by sixteen bridesmaid escorted by sixteen groomsmen down the center isle.  The men are all dressed alike in black suites and silver ties,  but unlike weddings in the US, each of the women are wearing there own dress with colors from orange, yellow and red to blue, green and purple.  They take their seats in the front few pews of the church and soon it is the ring bearer and three flower girls turn.  The young children walk down the isle with a little persuasion.  The ring bearer in a suite like the older men and the flower
 girls in lovely white dresses, two of them holding kissing balls and the youngest one in the middle holding a  bouquet of marshmallow treats.  Finally the time arrives for the bride (Natalia) to begin her walk with her father down the isle.  The back doors open to reveal her holding a wonderful bouquet of white orchids and wearing and beautifully beaded white dress.  They end up at the front of the church and the exchange from father to fiance happens smoothly.  The service begins and like any other Catholic Ceremony I have been to in the past it is filled with music, scripture, and prayer.  (of course in Portuguese)  It does not seem to vary much from the ceremonies in the US and soon it is time for the groom to kiss the bride, they are announced as husband and wife and everyone leaves the church on their journey to the reception.  (to be continued...)  

(to read about the reception - click here)