Archive for February, 2018


February 21, 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. It’s been a short but productive few days in Brasilia with not too much to report. I’m nearly finished with the survey and will work with the concierge to make some phone calls today for complicated auto services. Then I’ll go to Rio de Janeiro!


There’s a great craft beer scene here in Brasilia and I went on a successful mission yesterday afternoon to a different area of town find some bottles of this local beer I’ve been enjoying. I’m very excited to share them with some friends back home.

I’ve been speaking lots of Portuguese. It’s easy (and necessary) to practice here because most people don’t speak any English, so it’s Portuguese or nothing at all. In other places, people will start speaking English if they can once they hear my slow phrases, but here it’s not possible. Everyone has been so patient, encouraging, and helpful in conversation. Also, mobile data has been working well, so if I need to look up a word, google translate is available. Portuguese is my favorite language to hear. I love the particular sounds and melody of it. My ears and brain are feeling very pleased.


I had an acai bowl at lunch to save room to have the rodizio with all different meats at dinner. I tried many different types of meat including a chicken heart, which I didn’t like, but the rest were good. It was an interesting experiment to have a bite of many different cuts at once as they are all so different. And I learned “medium rare,” “mal passado.”





Olá novamente! Working in Brasília

February 18, 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again! Hope you are well. I’m writing from Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. This trip is a short, unexpected survey and I’ll be here and in Rio de Janeiro this week.


If you’ve been following this blog you may remember that I went to Brazil before, three and a half years ago in the summer of 2014. I am excited head back to one of my favorite cities, Rio, where I will be especially careful due to new security concerns (the military is policing the streets after an increase in violence) and explore this new one, Brasilia.


The flights went smoothly, maybe even better than average. The flight attendant gave me two vodkas for the price of one on the flight to Miami, I watched Men’s Olympic figure skating at a restaurant during my layover, and then I was switched to the exit row 18 on the flight to Brasilia. 18 is a lucky number, and exit row seats have a lot of room.


Arrival was also smooth and the hotel is nice. It was about noon after I showered and got ready for the day so I went exploring the monuments. It’s the middle of the winter in Boston, and it was fantastic to walk around in the warmth. I wore a hat and sunscreen on my face, but some other parts got burned.


I saw a really cool exhibit at the national museum, including some enchanting surrealistic photo realism paintings by Fábio Magalhães (warning: click this to see his site only if you don’t mind a lot of gore) and visited the metropolitan cathedral, the national congress, etc. all along one center strip of this planned city. Many of the monuments and buildings in the city are designed by Oscar Niemeyer. After wandering for a few hours I was getting really tired and ready for a late lunch.


I ubered (so easy!) to one of the survey malls to eat lunch, drink a delicious lunch beer, and then work in the afternoon. After working, I got a pedicure. I usually try to get nails done or hair wash and dry in different places. This one was great! It’s fascinating how different cultures approach these treatments. This was also a good way to stay up, to kick jet lag in the rear.


Then I went home, explored the hotel, had a small dinner, and slept so well, for so long. One thing I really like about survey. Without normal pressures of life, I sleep a ton. I woke up a bit confused about the time. All of a sudden, the clocks said two different things. I learned later today was “fall back” a change in daylight savings time. Fortunately, time didn’t really matter today.


After slowly getting up, I had breakfast at Casa do Pão de Queijo (house of cheese bread – see above) and then went to work in a supermarket and then in the upscale Iguatemi mall. Dinner was at Fogo de Chão, which is convenient because it’s near my hotel) but I wasn’t hungry enough for rodizio so enjoyed the extensive salad bar. I’ll try all the different meats another day. Boa noite!