Archive for August, 2014


August 25, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Today I had two meetings and then played around for the rest of the day. photo (7)The layout of the city is really confusing and taxis are expensive. I got to visit Arena Amazonia, which was all boarded up now that the world cup is over. Today was my last full day for this survey – tomorrow at this time I’ll be at the airport! Tomorrow I have one more meeting and then a few phone calls to make. I hope you are well.

Love, Annie

Weekend in Manaus

August 25, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you had a nice weekend. Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Manaus. There isn’t too much to do here, so I went to the mall to get gifts to give during my meetings on Monday. 20140823_204022The city is grittier than the others were. It’s hotter, less developed, and a little dirtier. It feels more like a central american or caribbean city. In the night, I went out in the historic center of town, near the iconic Teatro Amazonas. I had the taxi drop me at Bar do Armando, a famous bar for locals and tourists alike. It was crowded, so I walked around the open square and ate dinner outside at a restaurant called Casa do Pensador. I drank and ate and thought. The service was so slow. After dinner I went back to Bar do Armando and listened to the live music. It was a guy with a guitar. He was so good, I couldn’t leave so I walked around and sat around on various benches. One totally drunk guy came up to me and kept telling me how sorry he was for everything. He was particularly sorry that I had to be here for work. It’s 20140823_223630not that bad!! I hung out for a little near a guy from Venezuela and a guy from Chile. The guy from Venezuela offered me acid.

20140824_103057I thought he has got to be kidding but then he took a baggie out of his wallet and a scissors out of no where and started cutting a larger tab into a smaller tab. Err, no thanks.

There was a very loud electronica concert near my hotel and it was bumping pretty difficult to fall asleep. 20140823_220221This morning I woke up very early to go on a tour of the encontro das aguas (meeting of the waters – the Amazonas River and and Rio Negro) and other things. We also went on a canoe tour and checked out some enormous water lillies. The tour was really fun. In that picture you can see the water with two distinct colors. I hung out by myself and with a guy from Shanghai who works for Motorola but was here on business. I learned a lot about cell phones and international cell phone markets. People are really excited when you’ve been to their hometown. I’m lucky to be able to connect with so many people in this way.

This afternoon I had a taxi driver who jammed out SO hard to that jason derulo and snoop dog song. 20140819_134654A lot of the taxi drivers here sing and groove to the radio. Many have their own music on a USB drive. I tried to tell this particular driver (and I think I was successful) that the music he is listening to is the exact same music we listen to in the states (and also that I really like snoop dogg). He had no idea and was very surprised at both of these things. This evening, I went back to the centro area and tried a local soup of green vegetables and shrimp, and then ended up eating for dinner beer and fried pastries. I was lucky to find a table at this popular fish and chips restaurant featuring local fishes. They brought me the wrong thing twice before getting it right. Tomorrow, work! By the way, the last picture is from a traditional lunch spot in Copacabana in Rio.

Love, Annie

Ciao Ciao, Rio

August 23, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m headed to Manaus tomorrow after a fantastic week here in Rio de Janeiro. This is my favorite city of my survey career. Yesterday I did some work in the morning in Leblon, which is right near Ipanema where I am staying, and walked back to the hotel. For lunch I had a bento box at an interesting, very modern Japanese style lunch spot that sells its dishes in small servings and you can just get however many you want. Four fit nicely on the tray. It’s cool. After lunch headed to the lagoa for a nice run. There’s an 8-kilometer route around a big lake located approximately five blocks from my hotel. It’s so beautiful. After running around the lake, I drank from a coconut (they sell coconuts with straws everywhere) and then walked six blocks to the beach where I walked along the beach and had a maracuja (passionfruit) caiprinha. During dinner, I sat next to the former CFO of coca cola in Brasil who was also sitting alone. He was retired and spends half his time in Rio and the other half in Montevideo, Uruguay, his hometown. He knew about my company and our surveys. HA!

Today (technically my day off) I finished my work, ate a little cup of acai, and went for another run around the lake. photo (6)I ran in the opposite direction (clockwise, this time) and it was even nicer. After that, I put on my bathing suit and spent the afternoon at the beach. I read and ate a frango (chicken) sandwich at my favorite stand. And of course drank another caipirinha. After the beach, I packed my bag and headed out to dinner at Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa neighborhood to try Feijoada (finally). It was so good. I walked up the street from the restaurant for a little bit after eating, and saw a guy that I had rode the bus with a few days before – he was working at one of the bars! I wouldn’t normally recognize someone from the bus, but it was kind of a bumpy/weird bus ride and we had kind of looked at each other when some of other riders were raising their voices. Also he was extremely good looking and had a huge tribal tattoo so it was memorable. I went in and got some beer. Turns out this guy is Uruguayan, not Brazilian, but is living in Santa Teresa. It was such a chill place.

There was live music, two guys were singing and playing guitar. I hung out with a girl from England who was also alone and just decided to sit next to me and make friends. She was in Sao Paulo for work but came here for the weekend. After the musicians were finished, they came over and sat with us.  I bought them some beers and we chatted. One was from Mexico and the other from Argentina. They said they met on the street and have just been traveling all around South America playing music and making just enough money to live. Their band is called Arrabal del Sur. They were so jealous of the amount I get to travel. Often I forget how cool it is because I’m so tired after three years. After a few drinks, I left my new friends because I wanted to get home. It may have been a great time to keep hanging out with these people, but I have had more than my fair share of fun here and just wanted to play it safe for my last night.

I hope you have a nice weekend!

Love, Annie

Fun (and work) in Rio de Janeiro

August 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are having a nice week. My time in Rio has been awesome and I’m excited to have a few more days here. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

photo 4 (2)On Saturday night after writing I went to Lapa. I had dinner and capirinhas and met a group of people who work as a crew for a big yacht that is sitting at one of the Marinas here. The rich owner is at his house on land. I think they’ve been here since late April. Two of the crew members were from the Boston area – the captain from Maine and the engineer from Duxbury – so it was nice to speak to them and hear those familiar accents. Other crew members were from Panama, Argentina, etc. Lapa was interesting and had great people watching. I was able to see all sorts of things from my outdoor table.

Sunday morning I woke up and headed to Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) to see the view. I rode the cable car and while on the mountain hung out with a couple from New York. They were trying to find someone to take a decent picture of them and we realized we all spoke English. After the mountain I went with that couple to the “hippy market” (crafts and art market) that they had planned to visit. It was right near my hotel so very convenient and I joined happily. Tphoto 2 (3)here were some pretty cool crafts and some beautiful paintings. The couple bought me a cool bracelet as a gift because I paid for the cab ride (I was going to have to take a cab ride anyway)! For lunch I went to a fancy rustic place where I had a ridiculous burger with walnuts and pears and blue cheese sauce on it – that’s what they recommend. I opted for salad instead of fries.

After that, I spent the afternoon walking along Ipanema and Copacababa beach. photo 1 (3)There are many miles to walk. On Sundays the roads along the beaches are all closed and everyone comes out to chill. Sunday night I went to a great restaurant called ZaZa in the Ipanema neighborhood. I could walk there. One of my drinks (pictured) had vodka, strawberries, hot pepper, basil leaves, coconut water, and cranberry juice, with a rim of white and milk chocolates. YEAH!!

Monday was a work day and I spent all day in the Barra neighborhood at the supermarket and the mall. I went for a run in the afternoon after getting home (after sitting in tons of traffic). In the evening, I went to drink beers and eat bar snacks on Copacabana beach with the boat crew friends I met on Saturday. It was low key and relaxing. Along the beaches there are just kiosks with tables and snacks.

IMG_0999Yesterday was another work day. I had a meeting and then I went around to some hotels and restaurants to collect prices. The evening was especially fun. I went out with a friend I met at the hotel breakfast – a professor of statistics from the US who was here for a few days also for work! We went to Academia de Cachaca – a place not too far from our hotel with a good reputation – for drinks and local food. We had a lot to discuss especially because I had just been to his hometown Delhi!

Today I had some more meetings in the morning and then made some phone calls. photo 3 (2)For lunch I ate a small sandwich at my favorite beachside stand (they know me now) and I had a nice afternoon run along Ipanema beach. It’s so beautiful here, the people are friendly, and it’s a motivating bonus when you run along the beach to look at all the extremely good looking (and not very clothed) men and women. In the evening I took the bus (!) to Santa Teresa to see the Parque das Runias but I didn’t stay very long because it got dark and I didn’t want to be in that neighborhood alone in the dark. It did have a nice view of the city though. I took the bus back successfully and had dinner at a rodizho type of restaurant where they bring around different meats. I tried and did not enjoy chicken heart.

Tomorrow I’m going to (hopefully) finish my work and try the Brazilian dish Feijoada.

Love, Annie

Oi Rio!

August 16, 2014

Hello family and friends, 

I hope you are having a nice weekend. I arrived in Rio de Janeiro late this morning, and it’s very nice to be here. I’m in a good mood. photo (5)The hotel is nicer than expected and it’s one block away from Ipanema beach (!) Today I walked around the beach, ate some shrimps at a famous stand, and then went for a long run all the way up and down Ipanema beach. After my run I drank from a coconut. So far, so good. Now I’m headed out to dinner and then maybe to the Lapa neighborhood! 

Love, Annie 


August 15, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, 

I hope you are well. Campinas is like Stamford, CT of Brazil. It’s about an hour away from Sao Paulo and a hub for businesses. The hotel here is nice and the city is fine.

Yesterday I worked and then walked around the mall because there was nothing else to do and it was (4) This isn’t a tourist city. I don’t have very much to say about it. Today I have four meetings, two of which are over. Tomorrow I go to Rio de Janeiro. I’m very excited to go there. Everyone says it’s really awesome. I have a week there and then three days in Manaus and then I’ll be home a week from Wednesday. Have a nice weekend!

Love, Annie 

Happy Birthday Bubbie! Tuesday in Curitiba

August 12, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday and today were regular working days here in Curitiba. Today is my Bubbie’s 79th birthday (Happy Birthday Bubbie! I love you!!). Yesterday I worked and went for a long walk. Today I had a few meetings and took a moderate length walk. 

photo 2 (2)One was scheduled at 5:30. By 6:15 the woman had not shown up, so I called her and she said “I’m sooo sorry, I’m still in a meeting and I don’t know when I’ll get out” but she was definitely at a bar. I could hear it. We rescheduled for tomorrow. Tonight I had a nice dinner at a molecular gastronomy restaurant called Poco Tapas. photo (2)The food served was really crazy! I had the tasting menu and ate things like shrimp mousse, a ball of caipirinha that explodes in your mouth with green sugar, and powdered olive oil and tomato. The chef was really nice and had studied gastronomy in Fall River, MA! 

I feel like I’ve been in Curitiba forever. It’s only been four days but I’m so excited to move on. It probably feels longer because this hotel room kind of stinks. Tomorrow after some meetings I’m headed to Campinas, a suburb of Sao Paulo! 

Love, Annie

Working Weekend in Curitiba

August 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. I arrived in Curitiba on Friday afternoon. photo 3I went out to a cool bar called Taj that night and met some people I couldn’t actually converse with because of the language barrier. It was fun but frustrating. Yesterday I worked – I spent the day at Wal-Mart (“wal-marchee” in the Brazilian accent) and a huge mall. photo 5In the evening I worked out even though the gym here is gross and humid and then headed out for dinner. I met a group of people on my way out of the hotel who spoke English. They were Americans that worked for a big international bank and were here for a conference. photo 2 (1)We were walking the same way to dinner so they invited me to eat with them so I did. We went to an Italian restaurant and it was pretty fun. Today I spent the morning at a local fair, which was really nice. The pictures are from the fair. This afternoon I worked. After work I did the #ALSicebucketchallenge and had some laughs with the hotel staff. photo 4They were very hesitant to pour ice water over my head. I donated to ALS research anyway because I didn’t complete my challenge in time and that’s what it’s about. Tonight I ate mediocre Japanese food. Tomorrow, more work.

Love, Annie

Santa Cruz do Sul – Survey Gem

August 8, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. Happy birthday to my Dad and Brother!  And Happy Friday. I’m heading to Curitiba this afternoon. I’ll leave Santa Cruz do Sul around midday and drive two hours to Porto Alegre where I’ll catch the flight to Curitiba. photo (1)I didn’t do too much aside from work but really enjoyed my time here in Santa Cruz do Sul. There are cobblestone streets. The weather was fantastic – crisp and cool like late September in Boston. Everyone is nice, and when you go to the coffee shop, you recognize the people in there because the city is so small and everyone goes to the same few places. photo 1I had the nicest driver yesterday. The work was really easy. On warm nights, everyone sits outside and drinks chopes (draft beers).

I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face when I get prices for car tires… because in Portuguese they are called “pneus”. You pronounce the P. Every city I have to find out about pneus in three different sizes. I’m trying to be an adult about it. I have a lot more car tires to get over the next two and a half weeks.  Last night I had a sushi rodizho – like Fogo de Chao but with sushi. Ha! On my cheque, I saw that I was charged for the rodizho feminina. They charge different prices for men and women! That’s all for now – I’m excited to keep moving.

Love, Annie


Sao Paulo Saida, Hello to Santa Cruz do Sul

August 5, 2014

Oi Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. Saida means “exit”. I had a very nice experience in Sao Paulo. 20140803_141454The work was easy, the food was excellent, and I met nice people. I sat in traffic on Monday for a while, but I expected it so it wasn’t so bad. On Sunday I did a bit of work in the morning and then went to Ibirapuera park where I met up with one of my friends from Friday. We spent the afternoon walking around the park, chatting, and learning Portuguese/English, and then went to a middle eastern food restaurant and to a bar. I tried a “chope” which is the Brazilian draft beer. It was very light and easy to drink. It was an excellent day and I was so happy to have company. Yesterday (Monday) I worked all day – I had meetings starting very early in the morning, ate ceviche for lunch, and then worked in the afternoon. For dinner, I wandered around Itaim Bibi, the neighborhood in which my hotel was located, and found a kind of gastropub where I drank a nice white wine and fruit drink, had some quiche and salad, and beat a hard level of candy crush 🙂

This morning, I got up early and got my flight to Porto Alegre, and from there took a 2.5 hour taxi ride to Santa Cruz do Sul. It was a nice ride and the driver definitely appreciated the coffee I got for him. I had to tell him in Portuguese (!) that I wanted to stop at a coffee store. He didn’t speak any English at all. Estou aprendendo! Santa Cruz do Sul is an extremely pleasant small city. It’s pretty cold here and I am thankful I brought a light jacket. Today I worked all afternoon. It’s too cold for flats without socks but I have to deal with that.  The hotel is clean with nice views and a pretty decent gym! It’s in a great location. I’m about to head out to get a small dinner.

Love, Annie