Chica's Blog

Nina July 02 2022, 0 Comments

2023

Nina's last chapter.ūüĖ§ūü§ć
Don't cry just yet, it doesn't end as bad as it sounds.
If you don't know Nina, she is a dog who belongs to a a street dweller in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. I have been visiting and sharing her adventures with my customers for 8 years now.
Nina has DEFINITELY a special something, so many people love her a lot, every time she got sick there was a line of people to help her. And she brought a lot of attention to her mom (who passed a couple of years ago) and dad, but they never got ready to be helped. They lived on the beach and had a few addictions, so many times I would look for them to find them passed out on the sand or sidewalk and Nina on the watch out. She would come to me, hang for a few minutes and go back to her favorite person: her dad.
So this latest trip I had a feeling I would not see her, it wasn't a bad feeling though. I usually go to the beach right away looking for her, but this time I took my sweet time. When I finally made it to the area where the group of homeless hangs out, I asked about her and they gave me an address, I thought it was where they were panhandling now. But turns out her dad died, which was coming - after his partner of 10 years on the street died, he became worse with drugs and violent - and Nina got adopted by a lady who always helped her. Nina now lives in a super nice apartment, overlooking the ocean with the best food and vet care.
I know she misses her dad, but she was getting up there in years and she had taken care of him long enough, he rested and she deserves her rest in style.
So unless I get luck and run into them we won't be seeing Nina again. I am a bit sad but extremely relieved she has a home.
Thank you for following her story with me for all these years. I appreciate you guys!

2019

This is Nina. I met her over 3 years ago on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, I was going through a bad break up back in the US in which I was losing my heart... My dog Mina.
So when I met Nina, running free on the white sands of Copacabana, being such a happy beach bum I fell in love, she looked well taken care of, good weight, ears clean, nails cut, nice collar, after asking around I found out she belonged to an alcoholic, drug addicted homeless couple who usually hangs out on the same spot on Copacabana beach. Apparently neighborhood dog lovers and vets helped them take care of her.
You may have many questions, why not help the couple? Many people have tried and failed, they aren't ready.
Why not take the dog? She absolutely ADORES them, and they like her, she is also their protector and means to get more money and food. On one of my trips the guy got sick and went to a public hospital for a couple of days, the other homeless people were taking care of her but she was restless, crying, trying to cross the streets, looking everywhere. He was dry for a week or two after that, we talked, I told him she dependes on him that he had to be more careful, he told me he depends on her and that he would... But a few days later he was back in the bottle.
I always look for her first thing on my trips to Rio. I ask around, I walk to their regular begging spots until I find her. I help them out the little I can.
I had never been away for this long, so today when I spotted her sleeping next to them on the sidewalk my heart screamed a million happy songs. I almost got run over crossing the street and I had a huge smile and tears down my cheeks when she came to me tail wagging, lips curled up in a funny smile. We hang out for a bit, I petted her and told her I had missed her so. She never looks for food, she just makes me happy for the little time we spend together.
The couple was sleeping nearby and never woke up, I told her to go back to them before I left and she did. I always leave behind a little piece of my heart when I leave her, praying she will be there the next time.
There are so many beautiful love stories out there. I am glad I have this one.

June 2019 

 

2021

After the pandemic, she was there, healthy and a bit chunky, it has been 5 years since I fell in love with her. I got to see her a few times, the homeless couple she watches over is doing the same, drinking and begging. If one day I feel she is too old to live on the streets I will talk to them and think of an alternative, for now, they are her life and she acts like their mama, that is her mission and I won't get in her way. For people who haven't seen my posts about Nina: her owners were offered help many times but they are not ready yet to change their lifestyle.

January 2021

December 2021

2022

I went to the beach as soon as I finished breakfast with my dad the morning I got to Rio and she wasn't on the beach. After a few trips, a beach vendor finally told me they had been kicked out that spot because the guy had become violent to others. I spent hours walking up and down the streets of Copacabana looking for them and finally, yesterday, I see her, guarding over the owners who were passed out on a sidewalk as usual. I called she came to me and we sat there for a while, I was crying with relief, she loves being petted but always goes back to her couple. While I was petting her some people walking by gave me puzzled looks, but most smiled and some talked to her, they know her name. She looks older, gray but clean, well fed. The "tribe of Nina" must know her new spot and they are still caring for them.

I do have a couple of places I could take her if they ever gave to me, but I don't know if she would be happy, she is extremely attached to them. One of my customers were right when she pointed out, they are her "kids", her responsibility nd she takes it very seriously. I thought about putting my Brazilian number on her collar, but I risk having the wrong people contact me with scams.

So for now I go on loving her, offering the couple help (many people have tried), tare not ready to take and trying to be grateful to have met such  special dog.

July 2022

 


Cas'Amazonia June 30 2022, 0 Comments

COMING SOON!

Casa do Celso June 30 2022, 0 Comments

COMING SOON!

River community Lim√£o do Curu√°. December 19 2021, 0 Comments

The riverside community of Lim√£o do Curu√°, located in the Bailique archipelago, state of Amap√°, is a village of about 140 residents. It is a local reference in the extraction of pracaxi oil and, over the years, it has developed innovations in the process, such as the no cooking the seeds and using an artisanal press, with two wooden boards, made by the residents themselves. With these innovations, the extractors of this community increased their production scale and, consequently, the sale of this oil.

Since the men usually leave small villages either to work in larger cities, or in fishing or river transport of goods to the main local ports, the women stay behind. The harvesting and production of pracaxi in this community is exclusively done by women.

Meetings and analyses of results.

Local producer peeling seeds.

Different parts of the production process.

Their oil is beautiful and great quality, and I love the idea of bringing money to the women of a small river community.

These past two years because of all the difficulties they are still facing due to the pandemic, the production was small and the cost to bring this oil to the cities to export was very high, therefore I only got a small amount and I am selling it in only two sizes since the price is way higher. If you are interested in larger amount contact me. By next year their production and transport will probably normalize and I will be able to carry both pracaxis at the same price.

This video was from the first time I was working with them, check it out!


My Favorite Dessert - Cuscuz June 13 2021, 1 Comment

I am not going to go on and on about this recipe, the first time I ate this was from a beach vendor, after a great surfing session. So yesterday when my aunt said she makes a great cuscuz I immediately asked for a list and went to the supermarket.

This recipe is basically a sophisticated tapioca pudding, but OH!! so much better!

I am giving you some of the amounts in metrical system, all you need is to converte it online.

TAPIOCA GRANULATED - 500 g

SUGAR - 1/2 cup (more if you like it really sweet).

MILK - 1 to 1.25 liter.

SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK - 1 can (395 g)

COCONUT MILK  - 200 ml

COCONUT FLAKES - 100 to 200 g (unsweetened, dehydrated).

FOR TOPPING:

COCONUT FLAKES -  sweetened - usually softer - or unsweetened, to taste, if you can find coconut shavings get some!

FOR SERVING:

CONDENSED MILK - to taste

Make sure you have a spot in your fridge.

Mix: Tapioca, milk (if you think you will like it a bit softer use more milk, for a firmer texture use just one litter), coconut milk, half of condensed milk can, unsweetened coconut flakes and sugar. Mix it all very well and put in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 hours depending on how cold your fridge gets.

After it is firm, take it out and mix it again, break the big pieces, make a paste of it again, after mixing well even it out and top it with the rest of the condensed milk and the "toppings" coconut.

After an hour or two take it out, cut into big pieces and serve it with even more condensed milk on top.

You can adjust this recipe in so many ways from the amount of sugar, to the type of coconut flakes. I have had vegan cuscuz and it is just as amazing, just go use a good thick vegan milk and coconut condensed milk!!

Perfect Summer dessert! Try it out and let me know! 


A little bit of our history. January 20 2016, 0 Comments

This is the map of Brazil, I marked with arrows my hometown of Rio de Janeiro and up north, Belem, the place I usually visit when I go to the Amazon forest. They are about 1500 miles apart - about the distance from Miami to Maine.

Even though I was born in a big city and raised to be a beach girl, my parents would always take me to the beautiful forests of Rio (we have the largest urban forest in the world) where I learned to appreciate every aspect of being in contact with Nature, even the bugs.

In 2010 I decided to stop in Manaus, a Brazilian city in the heart of the Amazon forest, for a couple of days on my way to Rio. It was in this trip a street vendor offered me Pracaxi Oil, I was having a horrible melasma at the time and trying all sorts of chemical treatments. Four weeks after starting with the Pracaxi I decided I had to, somehow, share the many amazing Amazon products with more people. And five years later Rainforest Chica is doing just that! It is extremely exciting and rewarding!

 


Capoeira. January 10 2016, 0 Comments

Capoeira - an Afro-Brazilian fight style. The slaves brought to Brazil weren't allowed to train fighting. But since there is a solution for every problem, they incorporated dancing and music to their fight moves, tricking their owners into thinking they were just dancing. As cool and peaceful as it looks, Capoeira can be deadly in a street fight, just imagine one of these kicks hitting someone in the face.

Most capoeira schools do street demonstrations and it always amazes me the moves they can do inside a small circle without hitting anyone watching. 


Buying exotic oils and butters. January 06 2016, 1 Comment

When buying an exotic oil (or butter) our first instinct is choosing by the price. Unfortunately, even if you are on a budget, you definitely should be more careful with this choice. 
Most of our exotic fats come from parts of the world that have little to no regulation on this market. And the FDA knows very little and is way too busy to be really effective. As long as it says "vegetable oil" and "for external use only" chances are, the product is entering the country.
The FDA isn't even regulating the whole "organic" thing for cosmetics. Anyone can slap an "organic" on the description of a product and charge you a couple more bucks.

Things that can go wrong with exotic fats:

  • they can be mixed with cheaper oils or butters.

  • they can be produced by other methods than cold pressing, losing a lot of their properties.

  • they can be contaminated with undesirable stuff - eww!

  • they can be using slave-like working conditions.

  • their plantations can be destroying forests and animals.

  • their plantations may use a BUNCH of chemicals, stuff we sell to other countries because they are illegal here.


When buying a new oil or butter contact the shop, ask questions. Make sure they sound like they know what they are talking about. It doesn't matter if you are buying 1 oz. or 10 kgs. Ask where the product comes from, how it is produced, how it is harvested, if it is cold pressed, unrefined. If not wild harvested, if it is organic. Ask questions, wait for the answers, then make your decision!

It is your body, you only get one. Be very kind to it!

This post is also on my FORUM, please check it out and share your ideas and experiences with us!


Market Ver-O-Peso, Belem January 02 2016, 0 Comments

mercado ver-o-peso belem rainforest chica

The Ver-o-Peso Market is located in Belém, capital city of the state of Pará, in the north area of Brazil. It is considered the largest open-air market of Latin America and supplies the city with various types of food and medicinal herbs from the interior of the Amazon forest, mainly provided through the river.

It is called "Ver-o-Peso" following a colonial era tradition, since the tax collector's main post was located there, which was called "Casa do Haver-o-peso" ("Have-the-Weight House"). It was there that the taxes over goods brought from the Amazon forests, rivers and countryside should be paid to the Portuguese crown, but only after their weight was measured, hence the name, which later suffered a contraction. It is one of the oldest markets in Brazil.

I was reading a few bad reviews on Trip Advisor, and I can't deny it, they are right, the place does smell, it is loud, not too pretty, very crowded at times, no one speaks English and if you don't pay attention and follow the usual "traveling to South America" rules, you will lose your wallet. Still, one of the coolest places I have ever been, and all the gringos I met there, agreed with me (strangely enough, most of the bad reviews came from Brazilians).

The market is located in the old part of the town, by the port and besides a big old warehouse, it is open air covered by big fixed tents. There you can find: fruits, veggies, herbs, oils, cures, candles, folk medicine, dried meats and fresh fish, jewelry and crafts and a bunch of little kiosks selling quick food and drinks: croquettes, beer, juices, sandwiches and the local favorite, their staple food: fried fish an acai. 

mercado ver-o-peso belem rainforest chica

They usually serve a fish called "filhote" which literally translates to "tiny son" but, ironically, is a huge fresh water fish that can reach up to 600 lbs. They eat it pan fried with a light flour coat. Their acai is just the pulp blended with water. As I was sitting there eating it for the first time, the locals were trying to teach me how to eat it, asking questions and cheering me on. 

    

Mangoes, starfruit, cupuacu and passion fruit pulp (in the yellow bags).

I had never seen quite a few fruits and veggies they sold there, while they do have the southern imported apples, grapes, watermelon and oranges, and some local known ones, like passion-fruit, guava, mangoes, soursop, the most fun part is walking around checking out all their exotic goodness. I felt like a kid in a toy shop, I asked questions, touched everything and, of course, bought a bunch of different stuff. I have videos of me trying some of them on my YouTube channel. While most of them are quite good, I don't recommend that amount of exotic fruits in one sitting... It may cause a week long war in your belly (caused in mine, and by then I was in Rio for Carnaval! I had no time for that!)

   

Pupunha, a little fruit that needs to be cooked and tastes like potatoes and the locals like to eat for breakfast with black coffee,  local boys selling fruits.

    

Separating Cupuacu's pulp from its seeds is hard task and needs to be done with scissors - Bacuri. was quite interesting, strong smell and taste, not bad, just like nothing I have had before. A lot of the fruits from the north have thick, strong skins and white pulps strongly attached to the seeds.

      

Dried meat and fresh fish. The meat comes from the south of the country, the fish is locally caught and sold daily at the market and to restaurants. They don't use fridges for their fish, they lay them on a counter and use a thin layer of ice on top. It gets less weird the longer you visit, and by the third time you eat fish there, you don't worry about it anymore... 

      

Tons of Brazil-nut and cashews, seeing these usually expensive snacks being sold for the price of peanuts, makes you go a little overboard. I was walking around with 5 kg bags. Grapes and apples brought from the south of the country and the local guava usually cultivated in community farms.

     

Their jewelry are made from seeds, fish scales and leather. They are colorful and either made by indigenous tribes or inspired by them.

mercado ver-o-peso belem rainforest chica

Me, in white, probably bugging that bacuri vendor with a thousand questions.

The market has the, mostly commercial, old part of the town on one side, the river on the other, little bay with the boats that bring their goods on one end  and the main historical port on the other.

It is an amazing place for the open minded and I hope to, one day, plan a Rainforest Chica group trip to Belem with friends and customers! 


Summer Tips From A Brazilian - Because We Know Summer!! July 03 2015, 0 Comments

#1
Soak your hair with fresh water before jumping in ocean or pool. Wet hair will absorb less water, therefore less chlorine or salt.
Rinse with fresh water again every time.

#2
Scrub your body before tanning, I use Passion Fruit Oil (light, calming, easy to rinse off) and raw sugar. Scrubbing will remove the dead skin and leave you new skin ready for an even tan.

#3
Dark skin also needs Summer care as it is more prone to having hyper-pigmentation problems. Just because you were born with more melanin on your skin, it does not mean you can skip hydrating, scrubbing and protecting.

#4
If you hair is chemically treated either by straightening or dying, you need extra care. Wet you hair (fresh water) before the beach/pool, apply a good oil (I like Brazil Nut for thin or blonde hair, and Ojon or Pracaxi for dark or thicker hair) and make a bum with a good hair tie that won't break or get stuck in your hair. Wear a hat.

#5
Most of us don't have the famous Brazilian butt, including most Brazilian girls. But we can work with what we have.
Do squats - 10 to 20 every time you go to the bathroom.
Massage your legs and butt - massaging stimulates the circulation an helps with many issues we have in that area. ANDIROBA oil was proven to help prevent cellulite.
Even if you have no intention of ever wearing a Brazilian bikini, choose well. A bathing suit that is too big on your butt just makes your butt look bigger. That extra fabric hanging back there is not flattering AT ALL! Try to buy something that is cut like a V (it can be a big V) on the back NOT a U. Trust me on that.
Drink water, lots of it!

#6
Curls, coils and kinks also want to have fun! But they are so fragile!
Again, wet your hair before the beach/pool, apply a good oil (I like cupuacu/murumuru/pracaxi combo) avoiding the scalp if you have oily scalp. If your hair is long enough, make a loose braid, if not, take advantage of cute bandanas and scarfs! If you have very short hair protect your scalp, a sunburned scalp is not fun!

#7
Have fun, don't just sit there roasting. Go for a swim, for a walk, go beachcombing, bring your hula hoop to the beach (I am assuming everyone has one), bring games, a snorkel, try something new.
Most Americans just have few warm months out of the year, make the most it.
If you are drinking alcohol make sure to still drink water.

RAINFOREST CHICA WISHES YOU A BEAUTIFUL TANNED SUMMER!

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