The new Casa Pedro on Olegário Maciel is great: the first one I've been to whose snack area actually has tables and chairs and the aisles are wide enough one can actually browse! Some interesting and noteworthy finds:
Mexican chili powder, arrowroot powder (araruta), what I think might be brewer's yeast, dried French lavender, much more affordable pine nuts (pinoli, though they use another name as well)...
There's a book hanging on the wall as you come in that is supposed to have all their products listed with uses, origins, ingredients and what not. When in doubt about the translation of a spice or flour, ask to see the book!
Prices are outrageous. I can't wait for my once-yearly shopping spree in the United States. I walked into a local store the other day to look at a cute color-blocked top. It was just a cotton stretch tee shirt, rather thin and unremarkable other than for the print. They wanted R$195. I said, "Huh, is this really almost R$200? That's an awful lot for a tee shirt."
Saleslady responds with a cheery, "Oh, no worries. You can do payments!"
Gulp. I fear for the Brazilian economy when a shirt that is half a minimum salary is considered a good buy because you can pay it off in 10 easy payment of only 20 or 25 a month!
I'm truly appalled at the sidewalk situation in Barra. Cars park in the pedestrian walkways and drive along the sidewalks to such a degree that it's not safe to walk in my neighborhood anywhere. Unless there are trees. Thankfully, we have lots of trees growing in the middle of the sidewalks, which makes it tough to hold hands and take a romantic stroll, but at least it cuts down on the madcap drivers who think that it's perfectly acceptable to veer off the street and drive half a block down the sidewalk before parking crookedly in front of the bank. (You wouldn't guess it, but Brazil does actually require a psychological evaluation before they'll issue you a driver's license!) And of course, there's the forever dangerous Passarela da Barra, where you are spared the speeding traffic on the highway only to be deposited in a praça with no exit, unless you're willing to jaywalk among the cars attempting to merge onto said speeding highway. Beautiful, intelligent city planners that we have. Do I sound grumpy? It's only because I've seen death swerving towards me, oh, a few dozen times since we moved here. Anyone know how to get a traffic light installed in this city?