Sunday, October 31, 2010

We love Niterói

Only 13 kilometers separate Niterói from Rio de Janeiro, but on most days we feel a world away. It’s quieter, it’s cleaner, it’s safer and we have wonderful views of Rio!

I’m going to take a page out of Zezinho da Rocinha’s playbook and proudly toot our horn as residents of Niterói. My inspiration comes from the inauguration of a new tourism logo just released by neltur, the local tourism agency, and their contest in cooperation with the city currently underway to come up with a new tourism slogan – with GREAT prizes for the winner.

Many indexes identify Niterói as one of the best cities in Brazil in which to live and work.

Niterói is the most literate county in the country, according to data from INEP (Ministry of Education/2000). It has the highest rate of school attendance among 7 to 14 year olds (97.52%). The average number of years kids stay in school is 9.5, with a literacy rate of 96.4% among those over 15 years of age.

According to the Third Human Development Index (HDI) of Brazil, Niterói offers its residents top level health care prevention and basic sanitation services. The municipality is one of only a few in Brazil to have 100% of its area supplied with treated drinking water and 75% of its household waste is collected and treated in a broad sewage network that includes five sewage treatment plants. (The national average for treated sewage is 20%.)

Here are a few more stats:

• Area: 129 km²
• Population: 474,002 inhabitants (2007 data - IBGE)
• Population density: 3,504 inhabitants/km²
• Average altitude: 5 meters above sea level
• Year the city was founded: 1573
• The coast has 11 kilometers of beach

Luiz is launching into a new enthusiasm for being a local tour guide. While taking state-funded classes that focus on Rio, he is excited about showing visitors around our home town as well.

While I’m not ready to tattoo a mural of Niterói on my legs (only you can go that far, Zezinho) I do enjoy reveling in our good fortune to be living in a city with such a high quality of life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Make an effort - VOTE on Tuesday

You remember this ad from the 2008 US elections. It still applies. It blows my mind that some folks think a return to Republican leadership is somehow a return to the good ol’ days. Hello!?

Sunday is Election Day here in Brazil to settle the presidential runoff between a politician who is center-left in his politics and a politician who is left-left in her politics.  (The latter is likely to win.)  Other issues aside, the choice is not all that different, policy-wise.

In the US, the Democratic politicians may suck at getting things accomplished, but the Republicans are down right dangerous. The choice could not be more dramatic.

Sigh. Train wreck. It’s gonna be a train wreck.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gay Pride parade in Rocinha

 Wow.  But why am I surprised? 

On Sunday, October 24th, we attended the first-ever Gay Pride Parade in the Rocinha favela in Rio.  What a hoot!  We arrived early, met up with our friend Zezinho, enjoyed a few beers/sodas, and then made our way to the PERFECT location to watch it all.

Zezinho (with a mural of Rocinha tatooed on his legs) with two friends.

Hats off to Zezinho for scoping out the PERFECT SPOT!

OK, so the official time mentioned for when the parade was to begin was 2:00 p.m. – but remember, we are in Brazil, after all.  Things really got going around 3:30 p.m.

No matter.  We had our spot.  It included benches.  It was across the street from a barzinho (with a toilet).  We could see everything coming and going.  We definitely felt the crescendo of enthusiasm and excitement throughout the day.

Very happy baby gay guy all dolled up for the event.

It was wonderful.  Queer folk, neighborhood folk, young folk, flamboyant folk – they were all there.  An ear-splitting trio electrico anchored the parade with pop and funk favorites, plus microphone-hogging drag queens.  The crowd bounced up and down endlessly.

So cool.  So fun.

A famous gay radio personality was swamped with folks wanting a picture.

Life is exceptionally hard for the residents of Rocinha, make no mistake about it.  Living conditions for many residents are shocking to most outsiders.  Any opportunity for upward mobility is less than scarce.  But the joy expressed during this parade; the pride in one’s community:  THIS IS THE REASON I love Brazilians so much.

There is a commitment to joyfulness, no matter the circumstance.  You gotta love that!

A switchback in the road really shows off the croud.

Shout out to Zezinho and his two friends, plus my bud Amanda for making the day so amazing.

It’s not over – the Rio Gay Pride Parade is set for Sunday, November 14th on Copacabana Beach.  Be there or be square!

Also – don’t forget our campaign to raise funds to support Tio Lino’s after-school program and art school.  We are buying art and school supplies for Tio Lino’s efforts directly supporting Rocinha’s kids.  Check it out.

My friend Amanda has written code for a dynamic button that provides links to both the origianl post about the fundraising campaign as well as a link to make a donation.  If you want to help us out, check out the button in the sidebar and post it on your blog.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Riotur guide in training

 Many, many folks have expressed concern that Rio “has a lot of work to do” before the 2011 International Military Olympics (largest “Olympic” games), the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, all to be hosted in Rio.  It is definitely a real concern.

Riotur, the official City governmental tourism agency is sponsoring a series of training courses for those interested in being certified Tour Guides in the future.  Everything is free.  The training includes: tips on the use of language (friendly/helpful), customer service, attitude, reminders about ecological/green efforts, the history of the City, etc. 

Luiz has been taking this course.  It is a brief 80 hour course that grants a basic level certificate for would-be guides that can be called on when the City gets stuffed with visitors.  Given his 20 years of work experience in the hospitality industry in the US, Luiz is a star among his classmates (we are not surprised).

Beyond that there is also a year long technical course at Antônio Prado Júnior State College (also free) that drills down into the many details of the City, it’s history, regional tourism hot spots, sports and entertainment, etc.  This four day a week course awards a first rate certificate as a Riotur Guide. 

In true Brazil style, students of this course are provided lunch and bus transportation costs to and from the college.  Luiz is excited about taking this course.

There are several excursions included in the one year course (to Paraty, Petropolis, Ouro Preto, Ilha Grande, etc.) that do have costs associated with them, but basically just to cover transportation, housing and meals.  The costs are minimal and students get intensive instruction on the destination cities as well as time to practice their skills on excursion busses keeping travelers engaged.

The state college course emphasizes the need to speak at least one language in addition to Portuguese; English, French or Spanish are preferred.

All in all it is a great effort by the local government to prepare for the coming onslaught.

Good job Rio.

And we are about to have an official Riotur Guide in the family.  Work it!  Discounts here we come!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Supporting the children in Rocinha – a donation request

In a community like Rocinha, a favela in Rio with more than 300,000 poor residents, it is impossible for a couple of folks like Luiz and I to be tremendously helpful. We are just two. The most common advice given to us is: “Get over yourself.” But we are determined to support the kids in Rocinha who are choosing art and education over hopelessness.

I learned long ago that it is not about the individual. We have to team up. In our desire to help out the kids in Rocinha, Luiz and I are teaming with our friend Zezinho and his long time friend and artist/activist Tio Lino. And we are asking you, the reader, to team up with us as well. Several new friends in Brazil have expressed interest in getting involved –I would also like to make a particular appeal to my dear friends and others in the United States. Won’t you join us?

First some background. Favelas are ridiculously dense, poor communities in Brazil, usually found along the perimeter of larger towns and cities. The infrastructure is make-shift, houses are often constructed by the residents themselves, clean water and electricity hook-ups are typically improvised, if present. In most cases these communities exist without municipal support (no sewers, no bus service, little to no police patrols, etc.).

Rocinha is the oldest and largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. With more than 300,000 residents, 6,000 businesses as well as many nonprofit organizations, this community has grown beyond its early days of haphazard housing into an organized, self-governing community thriving on the hillsides between Zona Sul and Barra de Tijuca.

Everyday life is electric in Rocinha, but running on scarce resources. For those of us looking to help support people/families who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised in Rio/Brazil, Rocinha is in many ways ground zero.

After some concerted, advance legwork, Luiz and I have partnered with Zezinho, a resident of Rocinha, and will be focusing our efforts on supporting the drop-in education and art space run by Tio Lino. I’ve posted about some of this in the past, so please follow the links for more background information.

Let me introduce you to Tio Lino (Uncle Lino). Tio is a life-long resident and activist in Rocinha who draws you in within the first few seconds of meeting him. His easy smile and gentle, steady gaze undermine any startling impressions otherwise communicated by his large, imposing frame. He is gentleness personified – and the children who always surround him reflect this fact. While not a father himself, Tio Lino has mastered the language of children – and they can’t get enough of him. It is magical to watch.

Tio is an accomplished contemporary artist. He works in various media: paint, ceramics, cardboard, bottle caps, discarded CDs, whatever is available, most of which has been recycled. At age 64 he has been sharing his love of art and his commitment to children’s lives for more than 30 years. For most of that time he has opened his home in Rocinha, hosting an after school homework club followed by art classes into the night. Painted on the front of his studio is the invitation: “Trade your weapon for a paint brush.”

Tio’s efforts have attracted other adults who volunteer to help supervise and educate the children. (Tio Lino now lives in a nearby apartment bought for him by a foreign tourist whose life was saved by Tio after a surfing accident.) Tio does not earn a salary for his efforts. He survives on his pension.

In any given week hundreds of neighborhood children will visit Tio Lino’s studio, practice their math and reading and work on a painting of their family, their neighborhood, or of surfing at the beach. Tio tries to provide beverages for the kids, and occasionally a snack. Activities mirror the festivals throughout the year.

Tio Lino’s art studio is a licensed Non-Governmental Organization (nonprofit).
Very recently the relentless weather got the better of Tio’s house and part of the roof collapsed, closing one of the art rooms he used for the children’s activities. The building has since been condemned and is now slated to be rebuilt. Today he is renting a tiny, one room storefront a few blocks up the narrow pathway from his earlier location. The children have followed him to his new location as sure as day follows night.

Here’s where we come in. Tio and his colleagues will do the work each night in his studio. They will continue to provide an alternative to drug trafficking, violence and hopelessness for the local children. Tio will continue to inspire and encourage his young charges.

What we can do is make sure they have paper, paint, brushes, pencils, rulers, magic markers, tape, glue, glitter, string, color pipe cleaners, wire, water colors, etc. Better yet, let’s support the children with school supplies like simple backpacks, spiral notebooks, pens and pencils, erasers, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, etc.

We can do that. It’s not the flashiest act of support, but it is what Tio Lino says he needs most. He specifically requests we not send him money. He would like to receive materials that keep his education and art space functioning. We can do that.

Here’s how you can join our Rocinha Art and School Supplies Project. I’ve opened a Pay Pal account. There is a donation link to that account in the right column of this blog. Donating is simple, fast and takes just a few minutes. Please think about how you would like to help. Go to the link and donate $20, $50, $100 or more.

Luiz and I will gather the funds raised and shop at a discount art and office supplies store (Caçula, for you locals) for the things Tio Lino has requested. Then we will deliver them to him personally. Depending on the volume of responses to this appeal we will also stuff string backpacks with school supplies which Tio will then distribute as Christmas gifts to the children.

You have my word that every cent donated will go to support Tio Lino’s efforts. I will make blog posts that document what we have received and how it has been spent, including pictures.

I’m happy to report that already one fellow blogger has donated R$50. (Thanks Peggy.) Won’t you please consider joining our effort? Here is a chance to stretch a modest contribution halfway around the world. A little will go a long way!

A note to my good friends in the United States: You didn’t really think my previous 20 years of fundraising activity was going to come to a close just because I moved to Brazil? I’m still hitting you up for a contribution in support of the activities I’m involved in. Forgive me, but then, this is a really good cause. I can’t get you a tax deduction on this one, but with the exchange rate (1 US$ = 1.7 R$) you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck!

Please – give it some thought. If you are inclined, please post a link to this request on your Face Book page or otherwise forward an email to your friends. This is an exciting opportunity to help some particularly needy children – and to keep them out of trouble.

Now go click on the donate button in the right column.

For Tio Lino, Zezinho, Luiz and I – and all of the children who rely on Tio every week – THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brazil's good luck charms

Attracting good luck, and thus more money, is pretty much a common-wisdom charm practice by lots of folks here.

For example, we have a ceramic penguin that sits atop our refrigerator (note: not on a shelf, not on a table, not on a window sill – on top of the refrigerator). S/he is supposed to bring us more money. We wait anxiously for these results.

Luiz’s aunt gave us a couple of bay leaves a while back. We are to keep them in our wallet. They will bring us money. We have compromised – they are pinned to the bulletin board in our kitchen. (No money just yet, as far as we can tell. But maybe we have broken the charm by not keeping them in our wallets.)

Last year a good friend surrendered his good luck (money) charm to us. It is a tiny glass bottle filled with salt and draped with tiny ribbons holding various charms (bought in the North East of the country). Apparently it was not working for him, so he gave it to us. We have it sitting on a shelf in the kitchen. No money yet. But we are hopeful.

There are an endless number of “simpatias” and charms that are meant to bring about desired results. I only wish they worked. Our apartment has an inordinate number of these jingo-lingoes. And yet we wait…

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It totally gets better

Dan Savage is saving LGBT lives; plain and simple. If you have ever thought that one person could not make a difference, think again. I am referring to his recently launched “It gets better” YouTube video project that has exploded across the internet.

It’s rare that I repeat a topic or repost something. But some things just move me too much to stay quiet. Plus, I put all this effort into this blog so if I want to step up onto a soap box now and again – that’s my privilege. Right?

Anyway – I posted a while back about the “It gets better” project posting videos on YouTube targeting hopeful and reassuring personal messages to LGBT youth who are finding it so difficult to make it through another day of teasing, bullying and rejection that they are considering suicide.

I just checked in again with the project and was inspired by more videos. Hope and support are coming in from all corners. Congratulations Dan, you have quite literally changed the landscape for LGBT and questioning youth. Bravo.

If you have yet to link to this project on your Facebook or Orkut page, please do. It may save a life.

UPDATE: Looks who's joining the effort.  This makes me a proud voter for President Obama.  Thanks everyone who emailed me the link to this video within hours of it hitting the net.

Huevos Rancheros baby!

Yesterday I cooked up a big batch of refried beans and roasted some kick**s salsa.  When Luiz came home from his Riotur Guide training class he looked at the stove and asked "Have you invited guests for dinner?" Yeah, I made a lot.  Oops.

We ate some terrific fajitas for dinner.  Then when I woke up this morning I had a brain storm about lunch: huevos rancheros!

A quick run to the grocery store for an avacado and I'm good to go.  Yum!  TexMex two days in a row.

My MIL is borrowing our camera while she visits Natal and Recife, so I swiped the photo from here.  And you may recall that the recipes have been posted previously here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brazil Game Show

One of my translation clients is the management team at Brazil Game Show. These guys are putting together the largest video game convention in South America, which will happen in Rio on November 20th and 21st.  It is in its third year.

It’s been a real education for me. The last time I played a video game with any enthusiasm it was Pac Man (seriously). This whole video game technology parade has been passing me by. Technology in general moves way too fast for me to keep up.

I don’t own a smart phone. Most of the buttons on our TV remote are a mystery to me. I need to cook lunch for Amanda (and invite her over to help me) every time I want to try something new on my computer. And until about three weeks ago I had NEVER sent a text message. (I know… be nice… I’m learning…)

So translating marketing materials, press releases and sales contracts for the Brazil Game Show folks has been a journey through the looking glass. Thank goodness for Google search. Some of the words I’ve discovered are only words in the video game universe.

All that aside, I do want to plug the event. It will be heaven on earth for video game enthusiasts. The event will take over the SulAmérica convention center in Rio and feature all the big names in the industry. Plus there will be competitions, free gaming, lectures and hired sexy women in scanty outfits that are supposed to excite the guys. (I keep reminding my clients that 10% of their target audience is gay, so they may want to hire some sexy men in tiny Speedos, but they’re not buying it. LOL)

So if this is your cup of tea, c’mon by. I’ll be working the VIP lounge speaking English with the trade executives flying in from overseas.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Luisa Maita - Alento

Here's an invitation to listen to a rising star in new Brazilian music.  (Not sure who thought a test pattern was the best way to open a music video, but hey.  The video is a fun glimpse of parts of São Paulo.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Favela Tours in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro

Our friend Zezinho

This topic often draws a polarized conversation among those who want to go on a tour or have gone on a tour and loved it vs. those who find the very idea of a “poverty” tour offensive and would never go on one.

Recently I have had a bit of a change of heart on the subject. For the past 10 years, since I first started coming to Brazil, I have been an ardent opponent of favela tours. I’m a regular poster at some travel boards and have expressed my opinion as such repeatedly there. But then I met Zezinho in Rocinha.

Zezinho, as many of you know, runs his own favela tour (more like a social experience) operation in Rocinha, where he was born and raised. I reached out to him because I want to organize an effort to support the community in some simple way. But to do that effectively I would need to meet people active in a community program and evaluate how I might be of service.

So I asked Zezinho to meet with me and talk about with which programs it might be worth partnering. Naturally, the first bit of our conversation was about the controversy surrounding favela tours. I have long held that poverty tourism is offensive and frankly speaks poorly of those who wish to visit the poor and take pictures of their “other-ness.”

Zezinho could not agree more with this assessment. But as a life-long resident of Rochinha (with a brief break during which he lived in the United Sates) he also knows first hand how it feels to be an invisible resident of Rio and one onto which shallow and ignorant stereotypes are projected by the media, local citizens and tourists alike. All of Rocinha is not miserable and certainly all of the residents are not violent criminals. Every day is not a struggle to avoid flying bullets.

When you walk with Zezinho through his neighborhood and others within Rocinha (it is a community of more than 54,000 homes and 300,000 residents) it is all about mutual respect. He is quick to lay down ground rules about picture taking, some to avoid conflict with those who do not want their picture taken, and some out of respect for people simply going about their daily lives and not needing a gringo (or whomever) gawking at their activities.

Zezinho brings people into his community to help put an honest and actual face on the residents who live there. He speaks directly to the myths and prejudices that people often bring with them on a tour. And he insists on mutual respect. He is a true ambassador.

To hear him tell it, the very act of entering the community with respect, engaging with the residents (not staying on a jeep and taking pictures through a closed window) and stopping for lunch or a beer (spending some money locally) you are in effect saying to the community: “I see you. I respect you.” Reaching out to make contact, rather than treating the trip like a day at the zoo is the key to a meaningful and positive tour of a favela.

Slow down, get out and walk, stop for a meal, talk with people you may meet, contribute to the local economy.

Through his efforts Zezinho is inspiring visitors to become little ambassadors for Rocinha when they leave and return to their home.

All that said, I am personally committed to going the next step in terms of supporting the residents of Rocinha. Luiz and I met with Zezinho again a few days ago and then walked to the art studio of Tio Lino. We spent an hour or so talking with Tio Lino about his 30+ years of community service in Rocinha teaching art, in its many forms, to children.

Tio Lino has quite a story, and his impact on the children in his little corner of the immense community that is Rocinha is remarkable. We have a plan for getting involved.

Luiz and I are teaming up with Zezinho to support Tio Lino’s direct services. There is much to say about that – and it will be posted at a later date. Stay tuned.

In the mean time – what are your thoughts about the phenomenon that is “favela tours” in Rio?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You know you are in Brazil when

You know you are in Brazil when people question the authenticity of a government agency website because it seems too well done for a government website.

There is a blogger in Niterói who blogs about all things Niterói. His most recent post lists all the locations (every neighborhood) and contact information for Military Police offices, kiosks (mini-offices), Civil Police offices, and the main training facility for the Military Police.

When he gets to directing readers to the new website for the 12th Battalion of the Military Police he offers a caution:

“A few months ago, they launched the website of the 12th Military Police Battalion (Niterói):, as well as an official Twitter feed. As the address is not “.gov” and the site is too well done, too much for a government agency (unfortunately so), we suspect its authenticity. We tried to contact the 12th Battalion by telephone, but no one answered.”

It's more likely they have a new, young computer wiz kid on staff and are exceeding expectation in the web design department.  The site looks a little too thorough for a practical joke.  But I guess local confidence is slow to catch up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blogger meet-up report back

The blogger meet-up was great.
Today was not a classic Carioca beach day. The weather report put the max temp at about 78 degrees F. I like to think of it as if we lived in Massachusetts. Like we had a cabin on the Cape. It’s getting on into the fall. Everyone loves to go to the cabin, but the weather is a bit foreboding. But – damnit – we are going to go to the cabin one more time, and enjoy the Cape once again, before we have to close it up for the winter.

There we were today on the beach in Itaipú. All smiles. The sun was strong. The sky was blue. But the nasty wind kept buffeting us all afternoon. It is still early spring. In fact, the wind was tricking us into thinking that we were not getting a strong dose of sun rays. The smart among us kept reapplying sunscreen. Others just kept frying with a cool breeze convincing them all was just fine.

Peggy with her two friends (shame on me for not recalling their unusual [to me] names, one from France now living in Rio and one from Switzerland, also in Rio. My bad. Wonderful folks) and Rachel with husband and two adorable sons in tow (her husband is adorable, too). And I brought my beaux Luiz as well.

We missed you Linds and Jean - and others.
It was great to converse in English, learn the details of our pasts and desired futures, and share a lunch on the beach together. We have so much in common and so much to share. That was clear. Great time!

Itaipú beach made an impression on folks. After everyone left to return home Luiz and I hung out for another hour or so to see the evening approach and the beach calm.

It was a terrific afternoon and one that brought us all a bit closer.

See you all (and others) next time.

See you at the beach today

[This was the post that was supposed to go up this morning - but my internet was down.  Here it is anyway - I hate to waste a post.]

OK, so the weather is not perfect beach weather.  But we still have the day off and we still want to get together.  AND - it aint over 'til it's over.  The sun is up and strong - while the wind persists.  It is not Carioca beach weather, but we are a different breed.

Come join us.

Luiz and I will leave a bit early to commandeer a couple tables.  It is still a holiday and this is a popular family beach, so I totally expect it to be busy today.

I'm taking some balloons that I will fasten to our umbrella so you can find us.

All you need is what's on your back, some money and perhaps a sweater for later in the afternoon and for the ride home.  Everything you could need is available at the beach.

See you there!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surprise Party

This is hysterical. Check it out.

American Apple Pie

There is an inverse relationship between the length of time associated with cold weather outside and the time spent in the kitchen. As such, today I sought to make a traditional Gringo Apple Pie - complete with a second crust over the top.  There are thousands of "grandma's classic'' recipes out there for this.  Here's one I came up with.

Granny Smith apples come at a premium here. They’re imported. But I bought them anyway. I also picked up some Bartlett pears and golden raisins to round out the flavors. The use of pears may not be so traditional, but I had an itch.

While Luiz slept – he enjoys his afternoon napizinho – I peeled and sliced the apples and pears. Since my oven runs hot and I did not want to burn the crust, I pre-cooked the apple, etc. filling. Just a little. [Also, whenever any cooked food has a hint of texture still lingering, my Brazilian family and friends comment “Is this raw?” – so I am trying to head that off at the pass.]

After I rolled out the pie dough I dumped the filling into the shell. It looked like not quite enough apples –I was trying to not over do things and I guess I under-shot. Oh well.

Then I topped the pie with crust number 2. After cutting a few holes to let the steam out, I put it into a hot oven for nearly an hour.

There is no way to combine these ingredients and not get a delicious result. But presentation is everything when you are trying to excite your Brazilian relatives to love your U.S. American classic dessert.  For my eye it missed the mark some, but here in the land of no pies, people still loved it (visually and otherwise).

Here is the recipe:

Make a double pie crust, one for the bottom and one for the top.

The filling:

I used 5 Granny Smith apples and three Bartlett pears. I could have added three additional apples. The filling could have been more robust.
5 – 8 tart apples (depending on the size of your pie dish)
3 Bartlett pears
2/3 cup golden raisins
juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugar – more or less

Peel and slice apples and pears. Combine everything. Cook over low heat stirring frequently and tasting to correct seasoning. Do not over cook. You are just getting the filling cooked a bit so as to not over bake the pie crust when you bake the whole deal.

The crust:

The divided pie dough (top and bottom crust) should at this point be separated, in a plasitc bag and in the refrigerator temporarily.

Roll out the bottom crust and place it into the pie pan. Leave a little hanging over the edges.

Fill the crust with the delicious filling. Moisten the edge so as to seal the top crust when it is placed on top. Roll out and then place the top crust onto the pie. Fold the extra lower crust over the edge of the top crust. Crimp the top and bottom dough together using a fork, your fingers, or however your grandmother taught you.

Cut a few vents into the top dough to allow the steam to escape.  Place the pie into a hot oven for nearly an hour.

When everything looks and smells perfect – take it out and, after a few minutes, enjoy a terrific piece of apple pie!

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream are a good idea, but in our house they are forbidden foods, unfortunately.

And we got to use this cute anti-fly netting thingy we picked up in São Lourenço.

Note: Luiz and I did not eat half the pie already.  We took a huge slice over to Zozó.  LOL.