Food-by-Weight Restaurants and a Birthday Party

The “empregada” (cleaning lady/maid) came today to clean the apartment. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this..! She comes once a week to clean, on Fridays, and stays for several hours — usually 9am to around 4pm. I always feel like I’m somehow in the way. I can’t stay in my room, because she needs to clean it, but I feel bad cooking in the kitchen because that’s where she goes to rinse the mop, refill cleaning fluid, etc.

So, instead, I went out to get some lunch. Food-by-the-kilo places are very popular — there’s at least 1 or 2 per block, and sometimes 3 or 4. I wonder if it’s because everyone’s kitchens are so small that people are willing to pay for the convenience of eating buffet style and paying for your food by weight. Either way, my food-by-weight plates always come out to around $10.00 USD. The food is never really fantastic, but it’s not inedible either. I went to Aipo & Aipim today, which is a popular food-by-weight chain.

Aipo & Aipim chain: my food-by-weight concoction, which came out to about $10. The most delicious thing on this plate was the green kale-type thing on the bottom left. Everything was.... edible, although not entirely enjoyable.

My food-by-weight concoctio. The most delicious thing on this plate was the green kale-type thing on the bottom left. Everything else was…. edible, although not entirely enjoyable.

Fearing a potential stomachache, I headed to the nearest pharmacy to see if I could find a Brazilian version of Alka-Seltzer. Alka-Seltzer is one of the best inventions on this earth. Especially when you’re like me and you eat a shit ton of random stuff.

I've discovered the Brazilian version of Alka-Seltzer. Hallelujah!

I’ve discovered the Brazilian version of Alka-Seltzer. Hallelujah!

Also, I took a look at sunscreen prices out of curiosity, as I’d heard they were absurd. L’Oreal sunscreen on the left with 60 SPF is R$ 41.61 which is about $20.00 USD. Neutrogena sunscreen on the right is R$ 30.15, which is about $15.00 USD. These are each 120mL bottles..which is about normal size.

Proof that sunscreen here really is ridiculously expensive.

Proof that sunscreen here really is ridiculously expensive.

I decided to get some ice cream afterwards at Paradis. I got 2 flavors (apricot on the bottom, cookies n’cream on the top), which came out to about $6.00 USD. Nooot exactly cheap, but the ice cream was creamy and quite good overall.

Fancy ice cream and sweets store in Copacabana. Was quite good. Very creamy!

Fancy ice cream at Paradis, in Copacabana.

The rest of my evening was pretty laid back. Putzed around, of course. Around 7pm, met up with some fellow grantees to go to one of their roommate’s birthday parties. It was about a 10-minute bus ride away from downtown Rio (in Centro), in a neighborhood called Laranjeiras.We were headed to Laranjeiras because the birthday boy (er, man..) Elvis has friends at a photography institute there (Instituto Cultural Kreatori), which also hosts happy hours on the weekends. The art there was cool, and the backyard bar area was chill.

The party seemed to consist primarily of gay men in their 30s and 40s. I had a fabulous time. Had great conversations with people in Portuguese and learned lots of phrases and words. For example:

  • “Ela está se fazendo de difícil.” This translates to “She’s playing hard to get.” Thank god somehow explained this to me in English, because I would have simply translated it as “She’s making herself difficult”… which isn’t really exactly what it means..!

On the way home I got a little lost (took the bus the wrong way). The woman who collects the bus fare on the bus was nice enough to talk to the next bus fare collector on the bus that I ACTUALLY needed to take, to make sure he knew to have me get on the bus when his bus left. After 15 minutes of waiting and a 35 minutes bus ride down a giant hill, I finally made it back home. It’s these little moments of temporary worry (e.g. that I’m lost), followed by the easiest resolution ever, that seem to define the acclimation period of living abroad in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language as a native. It’s fun. :)

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