Saturday, 30 June 2007

Flight delays...pahabol....

While lounging at the cafe, HRO Karl Willem got the attention of a businessman who introduced himself as an "Expat American".

To us this was strange. We ARE in America and Brasilians ARE Americans! Hello?

Talk about a word being hijiacked....

Flight Delays

Yesterday, His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem, PA/PR Gromit, and The Nashman had some quality bonding time.

We went on an old train trip from Ouro Preto to Mariana before visiting the largest open gold mine in Latin America.

It was fun.

Later that evening we watched what could perhaps be the most beautiful open air contemporary dance presentation we have ever seen. There was no stage set, the dancers used the ledges and balconies of an 18th century building that served as a prison during the Portugese colonial period.

Today, we are stuck at the airport. Our flight to Rio de Janeiro has been cancelled and we are waiting for the next flight. Otherwise, we are going to spend another night in this region.

We really don't mind, we're such laid back dawgs. Some people have been shouting at airline staff (not the Latins mind you, but the North Americans, sino pa nga ba...).

I think I will be caught soon for stealing wifi so we're going to just chillax a bit in one of the many cafes.....

Friday, 29 June 2007

Me and my new tsinelas.....we go places.

Mas okey pa sa alright. HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit admire my new Brasilian Havaianas Flipflops. Oh ha, hende na Spartan yan. The next time some pretentious hotel in Manila tells me "Bawal tsinelas sa lobby", isasampal ko sa mukha nya ang flipflops ko. Actually, in my old university, SLU, bawal rin naka-tsinelas doon. Ewan kung baket eh tropical country naman tayo. Mabaho nga actually paa ng mga nasa admin doon dahil kahit summer naka-medyas pa rin. Mura lang Havaianas dito, 400 pesoses.

Is there anything healthier than lunch of guavas, sweetened papaya, and rice with mango sauce? Kaya naman ang aking ebak, tamang tama lang ang size at tigas. Di nga kumukulubot noo ko habang ume-ebs.

HRO Karl Willem, PA/PR Gromit, and The Nashman visited four churches today. We suffered from baroque overdose.

I can't believe I'm the only Flipinoy in Da Village. Oh ha, when I sign under hometown I ALWAYS put "Baguio". Hinde ako tulad ng iba na pa-feeling na tumira lang sa Oxbarrio ng 4 weeks eh naging hometown na nya yun ayon sa kanyang Friendster profile. I'm proud to be a product of the mean slums of New Lucban. Just keeping it real 'yo. Apay agin-agin lalaing ka kadi?, palpalek tupay ta rupam.

The Nashman pa-artistic eklat sa isang cafe. Nampucha, yang mga taong nagpapa-self self portrait na yan ay dapat ikulong sa kwartong yari sa salamin. There are some good travel blogs out there like, say Coconuter or Ivan Henares, but must they always put their faces in the picture??? Look me with a monument, me with another monument, oh me with more monuments, oh it's me again. Pero to be fair to these two guys, at least 90% of the frame is not obscured by their faces unlike someone I know whose mugshots are apparently travel pictures. Saan dyan yung monument eh mukha mo lang naman laman??? I guess there is nothing wrong with it, but it's just a personal preference. Actually to be honest, why is it that ugly people like to take self-portraits?? Hindi ba sila kinikilabutan? If yo have it, flaunt it. Pero kung wala, pwidi va, tumabi ka nalang...

It's a test of nerve as The Nashman and a Beetle-driving granny have a tense stand-off in the middle of the mean streets of Ouro Preto.

Before going for pre-dinner drinks, then dinner, then after dinner drinks, then more drinks, HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit have a relaxing afternoon tea. Brasilian girls are really pretty. Atsaka masyado sila touchy-feely ha. Inday, baket naka-holding hands na tayo habang naglalakad? Ano nga pala pangalan mo? Wala na akong ma-sabi. Actually, shut up nalang ako diba dahil who am I to complain??? And the live music is also excellent.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Chicharon day.

Are you kidding me? May sira yata TV natin.....but it was no fluke. Copa America: Brazil 0, Mexico 2. Ronaldinho didn't play, give chance to others daw. Pero in fairness, magaling yung striker ng Mexico na si Castillo. Dibale, toma nalang tayo.

It's so fun having the language barrier. This morning I went to the laundromat and it was a monumental struggle trying to explain that the parallel streak marks on my silk undies should only be swabbed by cotton buds made of chamois. (Paano i-translate sa Portuguese ang pultit nga nangisit?) The lady was adamant that my suit should only be dry cleaned. How to tell her that I didn't care if they put it inside the wash? Marami ako pwede ipalit dyan galing ukay-ukay sa Baguio. My undies are more important than my suits, but I would appreciate it if they handwashed my Dunhill shirts. Bah, I really don't care if they ruin it, I'm not Gretchen Baretto, I can afford to buy new ones every season.

I'm writing a letter to the Brazilian President for the return of an important Philippine relic. Yesterday, HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit and I visited Da Escola de Minas. They had on display some meteorites and I was shocked to discover that they had a small one from Luzon!!!!! This has got to be Darna's!!!! Hoy ibalik nyo sa Filipinas ito! I guess this is why there is a prevailing cloud of evilness in my beloved country. Villians like Lintang Bedol and his mini-army are walking our streets. We need Darna back to round up all these fugly baddies! Return our meteorite!

All we need is coffee in the morning..then we can give you some all-day loving.

Lunch: Fresh chicharon. Kaya naman ang aking figure, so delicious.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit and Plaza Tiradentes.

This is the life, cold lager, pulutan, and live music before dinner.

Dinner, bean soup with more chicharon on top.

HRO Karl Willem in his newfound favourite afterdinner bar. More cachaca cocktails. It's nice to go to a place where the bartenders and waiter know you by name. We've gained their trust that we can order mean cocktails not on the menu. We loves!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Areola? Devo engoli-los inteiros?

Starting the samba training young. The Nashman was the baddest man on the dancefloor. Shakira? Sino sya? The Nashman's kembots and shoulder shakes were whack and made him popular with the locals.

"Do you want some areola?" said the girl. I thought it was some cultural thing for Brazilian girls to offer their areolas to strangers. Before I could touch the rosary in my pocket to give me the strength to resist temptation, she quickly produced her areola for me to have.

It turns out she meant "acerola" juice (Barbados cherry). It was yummy.

I have given up trying to learn more Portuguese. It's the nasal vowels that make it difficult for me. Sometimes I can get away with Spanish but Portuguese is not like Tagalog kung ano ang baybay sya rin ang bigkas. I'll read the words but the pronunciations are totally counterintuitive to me. Anyways, for as long as I can greet people, say thank you, order liquor, and tell women how beautiful they are, I've been surviving very well.

I didn't come to Brasil to be online, but to live the good life. Thankfully, with my modified Oxbarrio-issued carbon fibre encased satellite receiver laptop, I can read emails and post anywhere. My bowel movements have been very satisfying, good consistency, sink to the bottom, Pacific Naval fleet quantities because the food is very good here. Lots of fruits and dishes similar to Da Pelepens. I like how they cook the rice here.

Let me be honest that I've been a bit desensitised to the presence of beautiful girls, I won't necessarily stop whatever I'm doing at the moment because some pretty girl is walking by. Yet, there was this one girl yesterday and, whew, my jaw just dropped at her very captivating face. She glided gracefully to the water fountain and took a drink. I didn't have time to do the "I'm a tourist and I'm lost, could you help me?" modus operandi and she quickly disappeared into one of the many sidestreets. (Pasensya na I'm slow, di kse ako sanay humabol ng umaandar na bus sa Edsa. Idiay Baguio, it's rude for the jeep not to stop properly to allow the passengers to board properly and take a seat.)

Anyways, I did the next best thing and took a drink from the same water fountain. I took my tongue out and kissed the very faucet she drank from. Shet, dinalaan ko ng husto ang faucet. I was like a St. Bernard drinking water in the Sahara. O ha, diba? Para na rin kaming naghalikan. Pao, counted na yun diba? Para na rin naging kami.

I thought I had seen Baroque, but the churches here are waaaaaaaaaay over the top. There are 18 Baroque Churches in Ouro Preto each trying to outdo each other in the amount of embellishments made of Gold. Last night I attended a baroque concert and eye flirted with Violinist number 3. Grabe, sobrang ganda nya. Sana we bump into each other again.

His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit found a proper Cacharia!!!!!!!!! Kaysaya saya! It's a small bar that has 100 varieties of this sugar cane nectar of delight. Mmmmmmm, we loves it as much as I love my mother! The best part is that no matter how much you drink, it doesn't give you a bad hangover!

Tuloy po kayo. Tagay, tagay mga repapaps.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit's goal is to taste every bottle.

I had Sex on the Mountain for a start. Ay, kastoy gayam ti biag ti minero ditoy. Nag-imasen.

47% alcohol by volume

My cocktail number 2.

Cocktail number 3. I need to renew my AA membership.....

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

We love Ouro Preto

1. It's 1000m above sea level.
2. It's old but not too restored. Not too clean, not too dirty, not too overrun by tourists. It doesn't feel like Disneyland. (Or let's be honest, it's not like that one street in Vigan that feels so contrived. I personally think the best parts of Vigan are the non-touristy sidestreets where real people live.)
3. Cachaca (cane liquor). It's 42% alcohol by volume. Apparently this region makes the best. Quite a challenge going home intoxicated and having to tackle those steep cobbled streets.
4. Samba dancing with the pretty natives.

I know I'm intoxicated but I couldn't have imagined this. Ballet on the ledges at 11pm. Very very good choreography.

That's my room on the leftmost and this is the bus of happiness.

'tol, ano bang atin today?

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit send you greetings from Ouro Preto.

Waiting for the chu-chu chuga-chug-ah train to Mariana.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Creatures of the night

Ayrton Senna was a Paulista. Which probably explains why everyone here drives like crazy. Adrianna is your typical Sao Paulo native - beautiful, eloquent, and a bloody fast driver. She ignored all the red lights and turned left without slowing down. Adriana, like me, belongs to the Couchsurfing Project and we had exchanged emails before I got to Brazil. She's also featured in a Colombian lifestyle magazine. Kelangan ko pa bang i-explica kung ano ang criteria para ma-feature sa isang south american fashion magazine??????

Before meeting Adriana for dinner, I took a walk in Sao Paulo's seedy red light district. The guidebooks and my mom told me not to, but this is just the type of person that I am - brave and stupid. Rua Augusta is like Abanao Road at night multiplied 100 times. Bouncers and pimps stood in front of the 'clubs' enticing you to have a 'good time'. I was offered every imaginable drug on the face of the planet, Trannies tried to drag me inside their den of lurve, hookers of all shapes and sizes told me fantasy stories. I told them I was just passing through.

When doing 'social immersion' exercises like this, it is important not to be smug or patronising. Don't offend the gang leaders by saying "Do you want a peace of my fist, bitch?" Also, if you don't want to be mugged, don't bring too much bling, leave your Rolex at home. Fake or not, it's hard to to discriminate under red neon lighting.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit. Smug.

Let us not forget that Brazil is a big ass coffee producer. That glass enclosure is packed with coffee beans from floor to ceiling. Adriana, her sister, and her friend Carla took me to the party neighborhood of Jardins before drinks till the wee hours at a local hole in the wall.

I only had 4 hours sleep but still managed to catch my flight to Belo Horizonte. I could have slept for another two hours as the plane was very late. The air traffic controllers were not officially on strike, they just wanted to take it slow. At Belo Horizonte, it was another 2.5 hour ride up to Ouro Preto.

Ouro Preto, a mining city founded on gold, hence the name, duh , is fucking awesome. It's one of those photogenic cities and thank god for digital cameras with 2gb memory sticks. I was famished when I arrived and went in to the closest restaurant next to my apartment. I opened Vogue magazine while waiting for my miner's soup. On page 143 (or something) is a picture of the very table where I was having lunch. O ha, hende na ako nakain sa mga pepetsugeng carenderia na pang Yes magazine lamang. Yung pwet ko naka-upo na sa very seat na genamet ni Gisele Bundchen. So in a way, parang naging kami kahit sandali lang.

I'm tempted to do what I'm not supposed to do. It's just the type of person I am.

HRO Karl Willem, finally airborne after a two hour delay.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit at the pousada. Home for 6 days.

PA/PR Gromit always makes sure that we are stocked with Guarana which we have been addicted to bigtime.

The view from our room. I feel at home here in the mountains.

Late lunch.

Vogue says this is where all the pretty people go. Done there, been that.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Sao Paulo 2

There was no masseuse available at the hotel so to shrug off the muscle pains I decided to wake up at noon and take a long walk. The street where my hotel stands is very much like your typical Manila street. There are lots of carinderias, kanto boys, stores etc. In short, the street, far from being the archetypical sterile central business area is alive. I loves it.

With my first proper meal, I can safely say that Sao Paulo is food heaven. Nothing fancy, very rustic and includes the usual suspects of chicharon and the 10,000 ways they can cook beef in this cattle country. And they charge you por kilo. Yup, basically go to the buffet table with a big ass plate, fill it up, then hand it over to the cashier who puts the plate on a weighing scale. Today I ate R$19.12 worth of food.

I then walked the entire length of Avenue Paulista for the whole afternoon. I visited the Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo which is holding an exhibition of Darwin in Brazil. Here, I spent some quality moments watching two turtles getting jiggy with it. And when the museum blurbs said it has the most important collection of western art in the Southern Hemisphere, they really mean it. I got a throbbing hard on as I entered the permanent exhibition area. (There must be a medical term for this condition of getting an erection in a gallery. Oh ha, I moved the turnstile without using my hands. This just shows how I view art - solely for its beauty and the raw emotions it rips from my very being. I don't do art for the intellectual eklat pomposity.)

Anywho, the musuem had lots of Renoirs, Toulouse-Lautrecs, Matisses, Cezannes, Manets and a radiant Turner watercolour. Everything was in Portugese of course so I was lost as to how they managed to acquire such number and quality of pieces. Of course, these painters are known for how easily they convinced women to undress. Sige na iha, hubad na, por art's sake.

Walk, cafe, walk, window shop, walk, cafe - the usual stuff I do wherever I am on a Saturday.

And then I walked into a primary school. The boys were playing football. (Duh, what else? Ano pa nga ba? Alangan naman basketball). Now, who would pass on the chance to play pick-up football in Brazil? Certainly not me. The kids were, I'd say 10 years old. I pushed the goalie aside. Tabi ka totoy. Papakita ko sa inyo ang paano maging tunay na goalie. I've played goalkeeper before in Oxbarrio and these were kids. How hard could it be? Said the brave and foolish Nashman. This kid, seriously, was no more than 4 feet tall. He got the ball, flicked it in mid air, caught it on the tip of his foot, lobbed it, then spun it towards me with the other foot. Goaaaaaal!

Fota, hende lang yun, ang lakas nung pagkakasipa nya kumalog yung makeshift metal goal namin. Tangna, napaihi ako sa takot. I had to make a graceful exit. Totoy, balik ka na dito. Ikaw muna. Rest lang ako, injury time out, with matching overacting....

Needless to say, I spent most of the time BEHIND the makeshift goal, just watching and letting the boys show me how its done. Eww, kababain.

I love the kanto life. Carinderia al Fresco!

Lahat ng parte ng hayup. Wala patawad. Tender juicy to the bone yung paa ng baboy!

Hoy, alam ba yan ni Madir...This seems to be the National sitting posture for couples.

The Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo is a box that levitates in air.

Avenida Paulista is chock full of skyscrapers.

Them boys are good! I think I will hide behind the safety of the metal barrier.

Sao Paulo

Self Portrait: HRO Karl Willem and The Nashman waiting at Heathrow.

My driver from the airport was amazing! Traffic? What traffic? Let's drive on the shoulder at 80km/h.

PA/PR Gromit got us the topfloor room of a chic boutique hotel.

I might as well be in Makati. Nevertheless, off to sleep for a bit before meeting the native species.

Hmmm, looks like I will spend more than 1 day in Sao Paulo. My flight tomorrow doesn't look promising.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Tudo bom Brasil!

The dogs are out to play!

His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem, PA/PR Gromit, and The Nashman are off to Brazil tonight for a two week state visit.

We will be improving our football skills, drinking copious amounts caipirinha, watching the beautiful Paulistas and Cariocas, and dancing Samba with the locals.

Watch out for The Nashman in thongs!

Thursday, 21 June 2007


His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit are happy to introduce Sebastian, our adorable college bear.

If you want a limited edition Sebastian to hug and cherish for the rest of your life, convince us of your undying love and loyalty to HRO Karl Willem, PA/PR Gromit, and The Nashman and we'll send you one.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit and Sebastian.

Sebastian had his debut today in a glittering and decadent garden party.

HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit teach Sebastian the fine art of nicking the cheesecake.

PIMMs. It's delish!