Mountain Weekend, Brazil Style

July 9th is a major holiday in São Paulo, honoring a mostly failed attempt at a revolution back in the 1930’s.  Weird?  I thought so too.  Regardless, for us it meant a day off from work which translated into TRIP TIME!

Michael and I, along with 4 other awesome couples, headed Northeast towards São Luiz do Paraitinga for a weekend in the mountains.  We rented a cool farm property in the middle of nowhere.  There was a “main house” that had the kitchen/dining area, some living space, etc. and then there were little rooms spread out through the property.  The property & area was really beautiful – as in, we had a legit waterfall in the backyard – but the amenities were pretty basic – as in, no hot water – as in, I only showered oncein 3 days.  The main luxury of the rental, in my opinion, was that the caretakers did dishes & cleaned for us AND brought us fresh milk from the cows every morning along with fresh cheese made from the cows’ milk.  Pretty cool, right?

Backyard Waterfall

We ventured into town one day and walked around.  

Although charming, there was not too much going on, so to entertain ourselves, we cooked a lot, watched the guys jump in the freezing cold waterfall, played lots of games and stacked lots of cups…

an innocent game that turned into a 5 person, 3 round, round-robin tournament. Round 1: best out of 3. Round 2: best out of 5. Round 3: best out of 7. Undisputed Winner: Jeff Yurecko.

The highlight of the trip, however, was the glorious day we spent at Fazenda Catuçaba.  One of the couples on the trip – Suzanna & Jeff – had spent a year working on this farm and helping build it into the amazing property that it is is now.

Because the staff at Fazenda Catuçaba loves Jeff & Suzanna so much, they were incredibly warm and welcoming to our whole crew. And they allowed us to spend a day horseback riding through their amazing mountains, taking in the breathtaking views.

scared smiles…

Michael…deathly allergic to horses. Watching us saddle-up from a safe distance before hiking the property by foot.

Nervous but ready to go!

Our fearless leader, Jeff.


The view from the top is always the best

Such a great trip.  Big thanks to Suzanna & Jeff for taking us to Fazenda Catuçaba and huge thanks to April for doing a ton of the heavy-lifting and planning of the trip.  For more pics and details, check out April’s blog post on the weekend.

**Most photo credit goes to either April or Jana — thanks girls!!**

FAQ: SP Weather

Question:  What is the weather like in São Paulo?  

Short Answer:  Wet, but pretty good.

Long Answer:  Our seasons are on the opposite schedule from the states.  São Paulo summers are hot (90s) with tropical STORMS every afternoon (ish) that last about an hour or so.  Our apartment doesn’t have air conditioning though, so it will feel pretty hot here.  Especially for me since I usually spend a fair amount of time at home.

The winters are more “misty” with lots of light rain.  It gets down to the 50s and 60s but so far (we are currently at the US equivalent to the end of January), it is just now dropping down into the 60s.  The tricky thing about winter though is that no one has heating here so once it gets chilly, it’s hard to warm yourself up.  Thankfully I had some Swiss Miss and instant apple cider in our shipment.  🙂

FAQ: Brazilian Fashion

Question:  Brazilian Fashion?

Short Answer: More is More.

Long Answer:  Unless you’re talking about swimsuit material, Brazilians seem to think more is more when it comes to fashion.  The style is to look “done up” all the time.  Heels, tight jeans, tight tops, nails done, lipstick on, hair dyed…  This might sound good but unfortunately I think that usually it’s a total bust.  Lots of effort, little execution.

Moreover, it is weird for me to come from a place like SF where the trendiest thing to wear to the grocery store was your LuluLemon workout clothes, a messy poney, and a NorthFace fleece.  Here, people just don’t walk around in workout gear unless they are *gasp* literally working out.  Well shoot – if I did that I would never get to wear the stuff!

Also, even though the annual rainfall here is incredibly high, they don’t believe in RAINBOOTS.  Apparently these are only reserved for the GUTTER CLEANERS.  Well, I think my Hunter boots are cool no matter what country I’m in, and what’s more, when it rains more here than in Seattle, they are super practical.  I get weird looks EVERY time I wear them but I just smile right back because I’m the one who is DRY.  aka SMART.

Celebrating last night

with fireworks, beers, and a late night with friends and family.  Sound like a typical American 4th of July?  Think again.  It was all in honor of one of the biggest soccer teams in São Paulo, the Corinthians, winning the Copa Libertadores (the biggest South American club competition).  It’s the first time in the history of the team that they have won and it was a BIG deal.  Literally the entire city was watching, and it was at 10 o’clock at night, mind you.  The culture around soccer is amazing here.  I mean, would anyone in the US watch even the Superbowl if it was on a Wed night at 10pm?  Fireworks have been going off since yesterday morning and they still haven’t stopped.  When we walked home after the game last night there were literally things on fire in the street.  No.  Joke.

Here is a little clip of the bar going craaazy when the Corinthians scored their second goal of the game, essentially sealing their win.

PS – Michael has a coworker who went to the game, afterward headed to the stadium where the team returned after the game, then went out RIOTING in the streets.  He went home at 6:30am, showered, and headed off for work.  Brazilians take their soccer SERIOUSLY.