Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dengue fever. Natal's rainy season has started early which means more mosquitos and sooner than people expected. Sadly, this also means more disease and Natal is suffering a dengue outbreak. So, here's hoping we don't get it - Amy got it last year and it is nasty. There is no vaccine and even when you do have it you can only really treat the symptoms. Prayers for health for us all, please!

(Having said that, we've been hearing a lot from our friends in the UK about endless viruses and bugs that their kids have got in the winter months. We have been very healthy here, actually, and rarely have any colds of flu).

Weekend away. The week's just seem to get busier. I have a lot to do before Saturday and what's keeping me going is the thought of a weekend away with Rach. Next Monday is a public holiday and Steve and Celia will babysit Nelsinho while Rach and I steal away for one final break before the arrival of baby 2. We have a place booked in a hotel close to the gorgeous town of Pipa, 1 hour south on the coast.

New supermarket. I did a recent survey with my students and found that the most popular and trusted supermarket in Natal is the Brazilian-owned Nordestão ("the big north-eastern"). As it happens this is where we shop although that's only because it's the closest and cheapest. A few days ago we tried out Bompreço ("good price") with their new store just a couple of hundred yards away from Nordestão. Here is my review:
selection: better than Nordestão. Seemed to have nicer cereal and more kinds of vegetables (still no fresh mushrooms, asparagus or celery, though). They did have a Garfield book (in Portuguese) which I immediately bought. I had never seen anything like that in Nordestão.
value: OK, but not as cheap as the big N.
ambience: quiet, clean, new, as nobody is shopping there yet.
bags: bagger who bagged at a similar bags-per-item ratio to the Nordestão bagger. Bags were more flimsy and broke when taking the things from the car.
parking: ample and free.
choice of piped music: odd (but so is Nordestão, to be fair)

Overall 7/10. Not enough to forever change from my proven and known brand, but when I know Nordestão will be busy, I'll definitely be coming back to Bompreço for the convenience of having no crowds.

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