|Break out the Cosby Knitwear..it's COLD!|
1) YOU HAVE AN EXCUSE NOT TO DO ANYTHING: In Brazil the rain is a perfectly valid excuse not to do anything or go anywhere. Apparently this extends to your place of work, especially if that happens to be my house. The first time I heard a maid play the rain card to explain an absence I was dumbfounded. Since, I have come to expect it. Sure enough on Friday morning as it rained cats, dogs and the full gamut of domestic pets, I got the no-show call from The Help. I've adapted pretty well to the rain excuse myself, and have used it this week to ditch yoga and spinning classes (pretty pathetic since the gym is about 20 metres from my front door) in favour of watching Barbie mermaid films.
2) IF YOU DO ANYTHING AT ALL, IT WILL BE AN ENHANCED EXPERIENCE: Given that most people will NOT be venturing far from home, anything you do decide to undertake will be all the more pleasant. When it rains, the illegal vendors who clog up the pavement with their pirate DVD and remote control stands stay away so you can actually navigate your pushchair from A to B without going mental. I took my kids to swimming class this week and they had semi-private classes since most other children had been kept at home lest they get wet and cold, and shopping at the Hortifruti in Catete was actually bearable because the fogeys who usually shuffle around the shop were all shivering under polyester blankets somewhere.
3) IT'S EASY TO MAKE FRIENDS: If you are new to Brazil and you want to meet other expats, put wellie boots on your kids and take them to the park to jump in the puddles. Without a shadow of a doubt, the only other children you meet will be other foreigners.
4) YOU GET TO COVER UP: All that chocolate left over from Easter and in the last few weeks I've acquired enough spare tyres to set up my own roadside borracharia. It's wonderful to be able to hide it all under sleeves and long layers, without the pressure of having a bikini body ready to break out at any moment. Liberate the body hair and revel in items of clothing salvaged from the 'cold clothes' box at the back of the wardrobe; garments that contain wool yes WOOL (mental note: remember to remind The Help how to hand wash and dry cashmere) and pashminas and socks wonderful socks.
5) YOU GET TO SEE SOME PRICELESS KNITWEAR: If the average Brit possesses one baggy-bottomed bikini and twenty jumpers, the Carioca has the inverse. The knitwear you see when it gets 'cold' here defies belief. Snuggly clothing, because it is rarely used, apparently lasts for generations, and is therefore excused the whims of fashion. You see people wearing patterns and colour combos that would make Bill Cosby proud.
6) IT MAKES YOU FEEL AT HOME: Don't we all love that chilled to the bone feeling that is rewarded by a nice toasted crumpet and a face-burning sit beside the open fire? This cold, wet streak makes me feel right at home. Most of all it reminds me why I'm glad I don't live there...