Living in Brazil I thought would be like having summer all year round. Turned out not to be the case. Last year when we arrived to start our 2 year adventure in Brazil I published a post about the contents of my bag called “In my Bolsa”. We arrived in October and by then we were one month into spring which begins on September 21st. By then it was already really hot, at least for us northerners. So that bikini that was a staple in my bag then….went back into a dark corner of my closet come winter. Even if Brazilian winter has temperatures similar to Swedish summer it just isn’t bikini weather. Even Swedish summer doesn’t offer many opportunities to show off that new bikini and hard earned beach body we work for so hard all spring. So it is now september and spring will be here in a few weeks. It is finally getting warmer again. I had to turn the AC on a few days ago when it was 32 degrees in our living room! It hasn’t been used since April. Even temperatures at night are rising. In May-June-July we have had really cold nights with just 6 or 7 degrees. Brazilian houses in this part of the country are not insulated so inside we had 10-15 degrees. This lasted until the sun rose and it quickly warmed up to 25 or 30 degrees. Anyway; so here is what’s been in my Bolsa May-Sept.
- The bag itself hasn’t changed. I use a light Longchamp bag because it isn’t heavy on its own, its durable, waterproof, and lets face it; this is the land of plastic for a reason. All my pretty leather bags went straight from airfreight box to closet and haven’t seen the light of day since we got here. The heat, sun, rain and dry air destroys everything.
- RNE is the official dokument in which the Brazilian government acknowledges us as residents. In my last post we hadn’t yet received our plastic cards and had to make due with the paper applications.
- My international drivers license. In the first Bolsa post I wrote this: “Araraquara is not a very pedestrian/cycling friendly place and the distances between home, school, gym, friends all require driving so I keep it on me in case I get pulled over by the 3 traffic cops I’ve seen since we got here.” This is all basically still true though I tend to keep it in the car and I’ve actually seen 5 traffic cops now but never been pulled over. I have however gotten a few speeding tickets. They are really strict here and have speed cameras every 20km on highways. In town they put up portable cameras in random places. Most often you will see a guy in a t-shirt and what looks like pyjama pants unload two suitcases from an old jalopy by the side of the road and set up the cameras. Traffic cams in Brazil shoot you from behind so you are never aware when you’ve been caught on camera. Comes as a nice surprise in your mail.
- Mosquito repellents (Plural). My collection of repellent has grown from necessity. Apparently there are different repellents for different blood sucking insects. I discovered this when we vacationed on Ilha Bela in February and I was eaten alive by Borrachudos and Pernilongos even though I liberally sprayed myself with mosquito repellent. Borrachudos and Pernilongos are little mosquito-like insects but smaller and silent. They’re not satisfied with sucking your blood but instead bite off a chunk of meat from your body. The itch and swelling is worse than mosquitobites. After 3 nights of hell I asked the apothecary for something and they gave me a repellent against these little buggers.
- First aid kit. ALWAYS!
- Coins. Besides parking meters not accepting less than R1,60 there are often poor people who try to sell things when you are held hostage at red lights in town. It can be candy for R1 or cleaning rags for a little bit more. On a few occasions I have been approached by beggars on the parking lot.
- A light jacket or sweater During winter, I leave the house around 7 o’clock wearing my jacket and by 08.30 it is too warm for it. Then late at night it goes on again. Brazilians however wear down jackets, hats and mittens in winter.
- Water It doesn’t rain much during winter and the air is really dry so water is still a must have item.
I used to need a charging device in my bag because my phone was quickly drained of battery power with all the google navigating I did in the beginning. That is no longer necessary.
- Wet wipes. Still one of the best discoveries since becoming a parent.
- Lipstuff. Brazilian women are always very made up. The least I can do to blend in is dress my lips. Many times I’ve been mistaken for a Brazilian and every time I have worn lipstick. Coincidence maybe. Could also be the big bumbum thing they’ve got going here. (Bumbum means butt)
- Snacks. Have to feed that “Brazilian bumbum”. No, but I like to keep an even sugarlevel. Most days I am out and about for at least half a day.
In my previous Bolsa post I also had sunglasses, antibacterial gel and a good read put down as NICE to have. Now the sunglasses have relocated permanently to my face, the anti-bacterial gel is clearly not needed here with this stuff at every restaurant and the good read for long waits has been replaced by patience and conversation with other waitees.
So there it is. That’s what I’ve been carrying with me the last few months. Just went outside and was hit by at least 35 degrees and warm winds. Time to retrieve that bikini from the dark corner in my closet.