By Ricky Skelton
It seems like from most places in Rio, Cristo looms above, waving at you to stop. You can’t miss him, he even lights up at night, appearing suspended in the black sky like a Mediterranean David Copperfield if the stars are covered by high clouds. So how is he so difficult to find for yourself? Is it a Carioca conspiracy to ensure tourists use taxis? It works for me. I will definitely be doing it that way next time. A three hour journey is a little too much when it can probably be done in twenty minutes.

We set off from the edge of the laguna in Barra, with the directions fresh in at least three of our minds. We made it up the hill to the forest on top ok, but could never find our way to the correct road. A little puzzling when there are only two roads on top of the mountain. The low cloud didn’t help. It wasn’t until we’d dropped below the level of it and could see the Maracana below us that we realised we were on the opposite side of the hill from where we started out, and so very, very lost. One person we stopped on the side of the road had told us we had 17km to drive to get to Cristo. How this happened, we don’t know. Then we ended up at the bottom of the hill, arriving at dead-ends and train tracks, before finding a monkey forest with signposts for the top.

Brazilian directions are a story in themselves, suffice to say that not every local knows the way to Christ the Redeemer. In fact, out of a total of 382 people we questioned for our survey in that three hour journey, only a group of kids on bikes knew the exact way. But as they were kids on bikes, and wanted money for joining us in the car and guiding us there (there were already six big people crammed into a rental car the size of a shopping trolley), we didn’t trust them and went the other way through the favela (never as scary as people in the press seem to think). They were still sat on their bikes at the junction, looking bemusedly at us as we came around the corner half an hour later. There’s a valuable lesson about trust in there somewhere, but it would take me too long to find it.

So, the statue itself. And the view from there, what can I say that hasn’t been said a million times before? How about Nothing? Not many people say that because not many people see that. The cloud was heavy, sitting on his shoulders like the weight of the world. We couldn’t see that far though. His shoulders, his head, his arms, his body, even his cloak, all were shrouded in mist. Three hours of driving to see a pair of concrete feet. Fantastic.

Quick! Get the camera back out! He’s here! The cloud miraculously parted for a brief half a minute, and there he was looking down at us, spookily appearing and then hiding forever in the grey swirls. Late afternoon isn’t the best time to arrive, even if you did intend to get there at midday. Pão de Aucar would have to wait for another day. We didn’t trust our sense of direction enough to find it within three days. Obviously the fresh early morning air would be the best time to wave back to him, and say hello to the city. I will be going again, tenho certeza, but next time I will definitely get a taxi up the hill early in the morning. Not being an early kind of person, it would make more sense to go there straight from a club. I used to do it regularly to get to work, so I can definitely manage my next Cristo trip this way. As long as its clear. Being drunk at sunrise by one of the world’s most famous landmarks, looking out over one of the world’s best cities, sounds like a great start to a day.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/

Previous articles by Ricky:

Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By Mark Taylor
Christmas time here in Brazil is a rather curious affair. For starters it has that odd air that Christmas in any equatorial or some southern hemispherical countries have… that is it’s hot! That doesn’t feel quite right for someone who’s used to Jack Frost nipping at his nose. Because it’s summertime here Christmas and New Year’s are popular times for people to take a holiday, and often the cities end up feeling a little like a ghost town. Often beforehand though the traffic and chaos reaches a peak in what’s usually summed as Fim de Ano”, literally the end of the year.

There’s something quite strange about seeing shops, houses and apartments festooned in lights, Father Christmases, and ornaments, and even more so fake snow and icicles. Here in São Paulo at least many people will go to great effort to decorate their houses and apartment buildings. A competition is run in the city for the best decorated building and many try their best to win it. One of the most famous “houses” that does this is a colonial style mansion on Av. Paulista owned by Itau bank. The effort they go to is incredible, with weeks of preparation and construction. The end result this year includes Christmas carol singing mannequins, and even a fake snow storm every few minutes. These houses often attract many visitors.

Christmas customs here in Brazil differ a little as well, at least to those I’m used to in the UK. For starters the main Christmas meal is a large dinner on Christmas Eve, known as the “noite de Natal” in Portuguese, that is Christmas night. Although turkey is often on the menu, there tends to be a whole range of foods on offer for the meal, including both hot and cold dishes. Here in São Paulo at least one of the Christmas dessert staples is Panettone, an Italian import that is a light sponge cake with mixed fruit. Although other versions are becoming more popular, with either chocolate drops, cherries, or chocolate layers. It’s common to see towering stacks of Panettone, which are packaged in cardboard boxes, in the supermarkets.

Christmas presents are exchanged either during the evening following the meal, or for those who don’t fall asleep they’re exchanged at midnight. In my experience presents tend to be a little less exuberant, at least based on what I’m used to in Europe and North America, although perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing with the Western Christmas excess.

Christmas day then tends to be a more relaxed affair, where the recycled remains of the Christmas Eve banquet are eaten. On my first gloriously sunny Christmas Day in Brazil I spent some of it under a waterfall with my wife’s cousins, which was certainly very different to a typically soggy British Christmas stuck in front of the TV watching The Great Escape.

Unlike some countries the day after Christmas day, typically referred to as Boxing day, is not a public holiday in Brazil. So those who aren’t on holiday return to work.

New Year’s Eve also has a set of traditions. Like most countries there’s many parties and celebrations, often centred around beaches. Large areas of the beach are typically staked out and filled with fireworks ready for the stroke of midnight, as Brazilians typically will take any excuse to set off fireworks.

One particular Brazilian New Year’s superstition is the wearing of different colours to try and bring something you desire in the New Year. For example white is the most common colour worn and is supposed to bring peace for the New Year (note that the colour worn extends right through to underwear!). Other colours are slowly becoming more fashionable, including yellow to bring money, green to bring hope, and pink/red to bring love.

In the northeast presents and flowers are thrown into the sea to Yemanja, the Candomble goddess of the sea (Candomble is a religion that was brought by the African slaves to Brazil several hundred years ago).

Those at the beach often carry out another superstition, first to make a wish, then to walk into the water and jump seven waves. Then the individual has to walk backwards out of the water and the wish will supposedly come true in the new year.

So these are some of the traditions I’ve encountered. Have you got specific Christmas or New Year’s traditions where you live in Brazil, or have you noticed other differences with what you’re used to in your home country? If so send me an email and I’ll add them to the article.

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

By Robert Eugene DiPaolo
You might think that the fastest and easiest way to get a permanent visa in Brazil would be to marry a Brazilian. However, there is actually a more efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil. And one that does not require you to make a lifetime commitment, or an emotion-based decision undertaken in the throes of passion on the way to the airport on the day your tourist visa is set to expire.

In an apparent effort to attract individual investments in Brazil, Brazil’s National Immigration Council, or the NIC, in October 2004, issued Resolution 60/04 regarding the issuance of permanent visas to individual foreign investors. This Resolution, which replaced Resolution 28 from November 1998, reduced the amount of money a foreign individual is required to invest in Brazil to obtain a permanent residency visa from US$200,000 to US$50,000, making this an affordable, efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil.

This new regulation actually gives foreign investors two options. The first option, which we will refer to as Option 1″ allows the foreign investor to obtain a permanent visa by investing US$50,000 or more in Brazil. The second option, which we will refer to as “Option 2” permits the foreign individual to invest less than US$50,000 in connection with the submission of a plan to create at least ten new jobs in the five year period following the date of such investment. In either case, the funds must be invested into a newly formed or an existing Brazilian company and employed in productive activities in Brazil.

There a few things that you should know about this permanent visa for foreign investors. First, while it is referred to in the resolution as a “permanent visa”, it is actually something less than permanent. In fact, this permanent visa expires after five years. At the end of five years the law allows the investor to renew the visa by demonstrating that he or she continues to be an investor in Brazil and presenting documentation in connection therewith. Given that it has been less than five years since this resolution was enacted, the process by which such renewal will be granted is not yet clear. However, since the sole requirement in terms of the use of the invested funds is that they be deployed toward productive activities in Brazil, it’s reasonable to anticipate that the investment must remain in Brazil and be deployed during such five year period into some productive activity, such as opening a new business, participating in an existing business, or purchasing a piece of real estate. With respect to Option 2, it’s reasonable to anticipate that at the end of such five year period, the investor will need to have created at least ten jobs in Brazil as specified in his or her investment plan.

The second thing you should understand about this visa is that while the criteria to obtain a visa pursuant to Option 1 are completely objective, the criteria pursuant to Option 2 are completely subjective. Under Option 1, if you invest US$50,000 or more in a new or existing company, properly register the investment in Brazil, and apply for the visa, you will be issued the residency visa. Unlike many other things in Brazil, the process is fairly straightforward. Under Option 2 however, the new law does not provide any guidelines regarding what criteria should be used to evaluate the investor’s plan to create ten new jobs in Brazil, or what amount of money less than US$50,000 would be considered reasonable to do so. As a result, the NIC’s evaluation and decision is completely discretionary. This means that the review of a visa application pursuant to Option 2 will take much longer and that decisions pursuant thereto will likely not be uniform so as to provide any real guidance for the would be investor to follow. So, if you don’t happen to have US$50,000 to invest in Brazil, marriage may prove to be your best option. If however you do, then this is the most convenient and efficient way to secure permanent residency in Brazil.

The third thing you should know about this visa is that there is a lot of misinformation about it, including at the website of Consulate General of Brazil in San Francisco, which confuses the requirements of Option 1 and Option 2. Others have incorrectly assumed that the requirement that the invested funds must be employed in productive activities in Brazil prohibits the investor from purchasing non-commercial real estate, such as a beach house, or other investments which may not seem to have an obvious commercial purpose. The law simply does not specify what “productive activities” means or does not mean, and given that any such purchase will be made through a newly formed or existing company, there is no reason to assume that such purchases would not satisfy the requirements set forth in this resolution. In any event, if you wish to acquire an investor visa, it is advised that you obtain your advice from a competent professional, who is familiar with the law and its related requirements. And if you happen to read Portuguese, you can read the full text of the resolution yourself, which can be easily found by putting “Resoluão Normativa n 60, de 06 de outubro de 2004” into your favorite search engine on the world wide web.

The purpose of this article is not to bore you with all the details regarding the process which you will need to go through to obtain a permanent residency visa by investing in Brazil, from organizing a new company, obtaining your tax payer identity card or Cadastro de Pessosa Fsicas to registering your investment with Banco Central do Brasil, but to provide you with a clear understanding of the legal requirements, and to dispel frequent misunderstandings about them. When you are ready to undertake the task of obtaining a permanent investor visa, your lawyer will guide you through all the steps you will need to take. If you choose Option 1, the process is fairly straight forward and completely objective. However, if you are considering Option 2, which generally speaking is not recommended, you may want to reconsider the marriage option. Just don’t make your decision on the way to the airport on the last day on which your tourist visa is valid. Such a decisions made in the throes of passion often end up being far more costly, not to mention complicated, in the long run.

Mr. DiPaolo is the managing director of The Fidelis Group do Brasil Consultoria, Ltda., a legal/business consultancy specializing in assisting non-Brazilians who want to do business or invest in Brazil and Brazilians who want to do business or invest in the U.S. You can find out more about The Fidelis Group at www.fidelisgroupco.com or contact Mr. DiPaolo directly at dipaolo@fidelisgroupco.com.

Previous articles by Robert:

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 5 – Acquisitions, Investments and Joint Ventures
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 4 – The Despachante
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 3 – Starting Your Business
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 2 – The Variety of Brazilian Companies
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 1

By John Fitzpatrick
President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has made Africa an important part of his foreign policy. He claims that Brazil owes a lot to Africa as much of the country’s wealth was created by black slaves. Lula has visited Africa several times over the last four years. He has reiterated Brazil’s connections and stated that he wants to see African countries get a better deal from the developed world. However, recent events have shown that while Lula is always ready to condemn the West for its treatment of Africans, his condemnation stops short of upsetting African governments which mistreat their own people. Brazil joined undemocratic countries like Cuba, China and various African and Arab states in refusing to support a United Nations resolution condemning the Sudanese government for its policy in the Darfur region where the UN says some 200,000 people have died since 2003. The mainly Arab government has supported militias which have been terrifying the mainly black Christian and animist population in a long-running war against rebels demanding greater autonomy. In this case, Lula has conveniently forgotten Brazil’s debt to the African people and turned his back on Darfur, a region described by the UN as the scene of hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, mass rape, massive forced displacement and other abuses during the past three years.”

We should not be surprised at Brazil’s refusal to condemn the Sudanese government’s behavior. First of all, it will strengthen Brazil’s anti-American credentials with the developing countries Lula professes to represent. Secondly, it could bring a pay-off in terms of trade, as we will see later in this article, and thirdly, it reflects Brazil’s ambiguous record in supporting human rights.

Cuban Precedent
For example, Brazil has never supported UN resolutions condemning human rights violations in Cuba. In this case, Brazil (and many other Latin American countries) has refused to do so in solidarity with Cuba in the face of the American economic blockade which has lasted 40 years. One can understand this since US policy against Cuba has been inconsistent, unfair and ineffective. Richard Nixon, a committed anti-Communist, traveled to China in 1972 to open diplomatic relationships yet no US President has had the courage to start a dialogue with Cuba. This behavior has only strengthened the grip of Communist dictator Fidel Castro and reinforced the widespread anti-Americanism in Brazil and other Latin American countries.

However, the Darfur case is different. Brazil has no historical or cultural links with Sudan. Full diplomatic relations were only established when Sudan set up its embassy in Brasilia two years ago. In fact, it was only this year that Brazil decided to set up an embassy in Khartoum. The Sudanese embassy has an impressive web site in Portuguese and English containing propaganda about Darfur including two anti-American articles published in 2004 and 2005 by the UK papers The Observer and The Guardian. I assume the headlines are original although I would not be surprised if they had been doctored. It is difficult to believe that even a left-wing paper like The Observer would publish a headline like “Darfur Wasnt Genocide and Sudan is not a Terrorist State.”

Blood Money
Lula’s reasons for refusing to back the UN condemnation are more likely to be connected to trade opportunities. The Estado de S. Paulo newspaper published an interview from Geneva with a senior Sudanese finance ministry official in which he said that within a few months an agreement was expected to be signed with Petrobras to allow it to exploit Sudan’s oil reserves. The official said negotiations were at an advanced stage. He added that agreements could also be reached in the sugar sector. An article on the Brazilian foreign ministry site, published by the Agncia de Notcias Brasil-rabe in February this year, says that Brazilian exports to Sudan rose from US$ 7.9 million in 2003 to US$ 48.9 million in 2004 and US$ 69.3 million last year. While this is a big increase, the amount involved is not impressive and promises of big deals in the future often come to nothing. It looks as though Lula is selling his conscience cheaply.

Lula’s craven approach has been condemned within Brazil but only by a small group of newspaper columnists whose views have no weight or influence. No political party has raised the issue and the churches have kept quiet. Brazil has enough problems of its own to tackle and Darfur is far away so Lula will come under no pressure to change his approach.

Finally, this issue highlights once again how Brazil’s black population is not nearly as organized or influential as American’s black population. President George Bush has come under strong pressure from black American and Christian groups – as well as entertainers like George Clooney who has recently visited Darfur – but Brazilian black and Christian groups have been virtually silent. It also shows that the newly-acquired politically correct references Lula made to helping blacks, Indians and women in his victory speech were meaningless.

Note: The sources for this article include the Estado de S. Paulo (15.12.06) and the following sites – United Nations, BBC World Service, Sudanese embassy in Brasilia and Brazilian foreign ministry.

John Fitzpatrick 2006

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Economics and Politics in Brazil – a Tangled Web
Brazil’s Strange Idea of Democracy
Brazil: John Pizzarelli – the Boy from Ipanema
Brazil’s Stock Market: the Path to Riches or Rags?
Brazil: Lula Unlikely to Change Course after His Massive Victory
Brazil: Privatization – Lula and Alckmin Defend the Indefensible
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo features a restaurant in the city centre, some Christmas activities, a recommended film, and a roundup of some other upcoming events.

Fuentes" If you fancy a taste of Spanish cuisine then pay a visit to Fuentes, located in the city centre. The Fuentes family have been in the restaurant business since 1954, when their first restaurant was opened in Bauru. The restaurants have now been managed by 3 generations of the family. Another family tradition has been to maintain only female chefs, a role currently taken by the granddaughter, Dolores Fernandez, of the original chef. The principle behind the dishes at Fuentes is typical of Spanish cuisine, and they tend to serve 2 or 3 people, and are freshly prepared to order. On offer are perennial favourites like seafood paella, with clams, squid, shrimp, chicken, bacon and egg. Other dishes include “camarao a moda”, shrimp covered in catupiry, with Portuguese style potatoes and green rice. Expect to pay around R$30 per person, excluding drinks. Open Monday – Thursday: 11am – 3pm & 6 – 10pm, Friday: 11am – 3:30pm, and Sunday: 11am – 4:30pm. Rua do Seminrio, 149. Centro. Tel. (11) 3228 1680 / 3228 3483. http://www.restaurantefuentes.com.br

Christmas Tree Those who want a little of the Christmas spirit are recommended to visit both the fountains and Christmas tree at Ibirapuera Park. The fountains, located close to the Bandeiras monument, currently have a programme scheduled to music starting at 8:30pm and 9pm. The fountains themselves are also lit, and the music the fountains “dance” to is suitably themed as well. Close to the fountains is an enormous Christmas tree, 60m high. On top of the tree is a red star, inspired by the star of Bethlehem, 7m in size, and weighing 1.5t. The tree itself has 48 angels formed from lights, each 2m in width, with 200 lights used per angel. The tree itself has 500,000 lights, with over 10km of light tubing. The lights of the tree also respond in sequence to the music, which again is suitably themed for the time of year. There are several enormous sculpted presents around the tree, as well as sculptures of angels representing various messages. Ibirapuera Park. Av. Pedro lvares Cabral. Vila Mariana.

Casino Royale The film recommendation this week is Casino Royale (007 – Cassino Royale in Portuguese). Casino Royale takes us back to the beginning of James Bond’s career, as he gains 00 status, loosely based on the book by Ian Fleming. The story opens with Bond tracking a terrorist in Uganda, which leads him to a banker for terrorist organisations, Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre is planning a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale, which will bankrupt his organisation if he loses, so Bond must enter the game to try and destroy Le Chiffre and the terrorists he’s involved with. Casino Royale is the first outing for new James Bond actor Daniel Craig. Generally both Craig and the film have been well received, and it’s recommended for both action and James Bond fans. Rated PG-13 in the USA, and 12A in the UK. IMDB’s page on Casino Royale. GuiaSP’s page on Casino Royale with cinemas and showing times.

Here’s a roundup of some other events happening around São Paulo over the coming weeks: The famous musical Sweet Charity is at Citibank Hall until at least January 21st (tickets R$60 – 120, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). French Canadian group Simple Plan are playing at the Skol Arena on January 20th (tickets R$130 available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). US singer Ben Harper is playing at the Via Funchal on January 22nd and 23rd (tickets R$150 – 300, tel. 3897 4456). UK group Coldplay are playing at Via Funchal on February 26th – 28th (to check ticket availability tel. 3897 4456).

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, museum, or anywhere else in São Paulo that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

Also if you are a bar, restaurant , or night club owner (or hosting any other form of event that might be of interest to foreigners) that would like to be reviewed by www.gringoes.com, as well as appearing in our entertainment guide, please contact us to arrange a visit. If you would like to submit a weekly entertainment guide for your city we’d be interested to hear from you also.

What’s On Guide, December 11 – December 17 2006
What’s On Guide, December 4 – December 10 2006
What’s On Guide, November 27 – December 3 2006
What’s On Guide, November 20 – November 26 2006
What’s On Guide, November 13 – November 19 2006
What’s On Guide, October 6 – November 12 2006
What’s On Guide, October 30 – November 05 2006
What’s On Guide, October 23 – October 29 2006
What’s On Guide, October 16 – October 22 2006
What’s On Guide, October 9 – October 15 2006
What’s On Guide, September 25 – October 1 2006
What’s On Guide, September 18 – September 24 2006
What’s On Guide, September 11 – September 17 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, August 28 – September 3 2006
What’s On Guide, August 21 – August 27 2006
What’s On Guide, August 14 – August 20 2006
What’s On Guide, August 8 – August 13 2006
What’s On Guide, August 1 – August 7 2006
What’s On Guide, July 24 – July 31 2006
What’s On Guide, July 17 – July 23 2006
What’s On Guide, July 10 – July 16 2006
What’s On Guide, July 3 – July 9 2006
What’s On Guide, June 26 – July 2 2006
What’s On Guide, June 19 – June 25 2006
What’s On Guide, June 12 – June 18 2006
What’s On Guide, June 5 – June 11 2006
What’s On Guide, May 29 – June 4 2006
What’s On Guide, May 22 – May 28 2006
What’s On Guide, May 15 – May 21 2006
What’s On Guide, May 8 – May 14 2006
What’s On Guide, May 1 – May 7 2006
What’s On Guide, April 24 – April 30 2006
What’s On Guide, March 27 – April 2 2006
What’s On Guide, March 20 – March 26 2006
What’s On Guide, March 13 – March 19 2006
What’s On Guide, March 6 – March 12 2006
What’s On Guide, February 20 – March 5 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 06 – February 12 2006
What’s On Guide, January 30 – February 05 2006
What’s On Guide, January 23 – January 29 2006
What’s On Guide, January 16 – January 22 2006

Meet John Milan, from the USA, who has travelled to and works in Brazil, although resides in the USA. Read the following interview where he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I’m American, originally from Pennsylvania, but I’ve spent the past 15 years living and working in a number of cities in Spain, Brazil and the United States. I used to be a professor of economics, but I’m currently running a translation business.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I first visited Brazil in 1993 on vacation and loved it. I had a Brazilian girlfriend at the time (things didn’t work out) who encouraged me to pursue a research grant in the country, which led to my spending 6 months in Brazil studying an economic-development project in 1995, before moving full-time in 1996 to São Paulo, where I started teaching economics at a local university (FAAP).

3. What were your first impressions of Brazil?

Delicately balanced chaos. People who know how to enjoy life. Great weather. Beautiful beaches and rainforests. A country with an incredible amount of unrealized potential (i.e. Brazil is the country of the future.)

4. What do you miss most about home?

Peanut butter, Mountain Dew, the Pittsburgh Steelers, being able to drive a nice car without fear of carjacking, functional government services, accountability

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

That’s a tough one! Over a 10-year period, I had many frustrating experiences, but the top three would probably be: (i) having to wait for 2 years to get my work visa finalized; (ii) being constantly charged the gringo” tax at hotels, restaurants, etc, where there was one price for foreigners and another for Brazilians; and (iii) trying to get a phone line installed in my house in 1996 (when it cost US$2000 to buy a line on the black market, or face an 18-month wait at Telesp).

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Meeting my future wife by accident on the subway in São Paulo at the “Paraiso” station

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

The youthful, upbeat, fun-loving nature of the society

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

Favorite restaurant in SP – “Jardim de Napoli” in Higienopolis (best polpetone in the Western Hemisphere!)

Favorite place to hang out in Brazil – Parati, any time of the year.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

One of my favorite stories is quintessentially Paulistano. I was walking from Avenida Paulista down to a bar in Jardins at around 7 pm one night, to meet up with some friends for drinks. It was just starting to get dark, but there were still people out and about. I came to a block with few people around, and as I passed a large tree near the sidewalk, a street kid (maybe 14 years old) jumped out from behind the tree and tried to tackle me, presumably to take whatever cash I had. This may not sound very funny, but here’s the kicker – I’m 6’8″ and weigh 230 lbs. He never saw me coming. He just bounced off me and into a car parked on the street. He was so surprised that he just looked up sheepishly at me and said “Tio, tem um real?” (“Mister, can you spare a real?”) I just cracked up due to the absurdity of the situation! This kid had just tried to mug me, but when he realized that I was twice his size, he turned infantile and was asking me for a “donation”. I’ll never forget it.(and by the way, I did give him a real)

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

Tem lei que pega no Brasil e lei que não pega (there are laws that catch on, and those that don’t). I love that about Brazil, but I could never imagine a law “not catching on” in the US. It’s practically “lo real maravilloso”, as the Spanish would say.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

Well, it’s great now, after spending 8 years trying to teach economics in Portuguese, but it was not easy going at first. I had lots of problems correctly pronouncing the letter “m” at the end of words such as “sem” and “tambem”. And for a long time I used to say “eu foi”, instead of “eu fui”. I have no idea why.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Go native. Learn Portuguese. Hang out with Brazilians. Be open-minded. Be patient. Leave your stress at home. Travel around the country as much as possible (there’s so much to see!) And make sure to experience all the brilliant music and musicians that the country has to offer.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

Eat!!!! There are so many fantastic restaurants in São Paulo that you could spend a month having amazing meals every day. Check out the churrascarias around the city, brunch at Paulista Plaza on Al. Santos on Sundays, Pobre Juan for steaks in Itaim-Bibi, Speranza for pizza in Bexiga, Yamamoto for sushi in Liberdade, Baby Beef Rubayat for all-you-can-eat lunches in Paraiso, etc.

And get out to the bars to hear live music, especially acoustic MPB (Brazilian Pop), Bossa Nova and local rock bands. Vila Madalena has lots of great venues.

You can contact John at john@gipse.com.br.

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

91% Pay Rise for Senators
Senators have awarded themselves a 91% pay rise, amid protest from both some politicians and the public. This takes the monthly salary from R$12,847 to R$24,500. Aside from a R$15,000 monthly payment for incidental expenses. Compared with the minimum wage for the rest of the population of around R$300.

Sanguessugas” Report Complete
A report into the “sanguessugas” (blood suckers), so called due to corruption in purchases of ambulances, has been completed. The report was signed off by several people, including the president, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva. Ten people have been highlighted for charges relating to the report.

Further Flight Delays
Brazil’s beleaguered air passengers were again subject to problems this week when a power failure shut down ATC in Curitiba. Power was restored after one hour but it created a backlog of delays. This week two airlines have warned their pilots to fly defensively in Brazilian airspace. President Lula told reporters, during a trip to Bolivia, that there would be sufficient resources in place by the peak holiday season to assure there would be no problems.

US Pilots Released
The two US pilots, involved in Brazil’s worst air crash, were released last Friday and flew back to the USA. Before leaving they were charged by the Federal Police with reckless endangerment, a crime that carries up to 12 years in prison in Brazil. They were also made to sign documents that confirmed they would return to Brazil for any criminal proceedings. Families of those involved in the crash criticised the return of the pilots, saying it showed a “lack of respect and sensitivity”.

Brazil Bids for 2014 World Cup
This week Brazil made its bid for the 2014 World Cup, which FIFA have said will take place in South America. Brazil is likely to win the bid as they are the only country believed to be able to provide the investment required, although some question this even. FIFA have warned Brazil that they must demonstrate they can provide sufficient investment to the level of previous World Cups.

Daslu Receives Tax Bill
Famous São Paulo store, Daslu, which caters to the rich and famous and sells everything from furniture to helicopters, has received a tax bill of around R$236 million. It relates to lack of paid tax back to 2001.

São Paulo Fashion Week Imposes Age Limit
São Paulo Fashion Week, happening next month, has imposed an age limit of 16 for models that want to participate. This is in addition to models providing a doctor’s certificate to prove they are in good health, following the death of a 21-year old Brazilian model from anorexia.

German Businessman Thwarts Thieves
German businessman, Joao Pedro Wettlauser, who was travelling in Germany was notified by his mobile phone that someone had entered his beach house in Guaruja, in São Paulo state. He logged onto his laptop and was able to view the thief trying on his clothes via the Internet and cameras in the house. He phoned his wife who was in Brazil, who in turn called the police, and the thief was caught mid-stealing.

Intel Muscle in on OLPC
Following delivery last month of the prototypes from the US nonprofit group One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), Intel have said it will donate around 800 of its US$400 “Classmate PCs” for evaluation.”

By Gringo Blogger
Here is part 2 of the Gringo Blogger’s blog about visas and getting married in Brazil. To read part 1 click the relevant link at the bottom of the article.

By way of introduction I’m a foreigner who’s lived in São Paulo city for a few years. I came here for romantic reasons with the hopes of finding a job, like many gringos (only to find out that getting work in Brazil is a near impossible task). So I’m not your typical wealthy gringo. Thankfully I am now working part time in a great job, but am still on the Holy Grail-like quest of finding full time work. I married my girlfriend early last year, so have some idea of the highs and lows of a multicultural relationship.

In my blog I’m just documenting some of the day-to-day events that happen to me, amusing or not, to give an impression of what it’s like for a gringo living in the bustling metropolis of São Paulo, and Brazil in general. It’s at times also meant as a tongue in cheek look at gringo life, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Staying Illegally
Just prior to the exit date expiring I made a return trip to the UK while my wife was away on business. It seemed like it might be the last chance for a while to visit my family, at least for me to visit them, although the trip ended up being very stressful. For starters it was right at the end of my exit date, I had one week left before it expired. My wife checked with the Federal Police, and they said that the week would be usable for any return, that is I could leave the country and return at any point in the next 6 months or so for one week. That reassured me that I’d at least get back into the country, but when I left Brazil and was going through passport control the Federal Policeman on duty inspected my passport and congratulated me, in English, on being sensible enough to leave while I was still there legally. This worried me, and I became unsure that the first advice we’d received from the Federal Police would be correct, something that’s not that unusual genearlly speaking. I then managed to catch the flu while in the UK, so spent two weeks nursing this and worrying about whether I’d be let back into Brazil.

The stress reached a peak on the flight back, and the peak peaked when I was waiting in the line for passport control. Just like in the movies I had this third person view of myself looking very shifty and dripping with sweat. The passport control queue dragged, as it tends to at Guarulhos airport, but eventually I reached the Federal Policeman as a super stressed wreck. I handed over my passport, tried to smile and say something pleasant in Portuguese. Although I suspect the stress worked my smile into the grimace of a lunatic, and my Portuguese was probably incoherent, hence I probably ended up looking like a babbling madman. My worries began to melt away when the policeman stifled a yawn, it was an early Sunday morning after all. He opened the first blank page he could find in my passport, stamped it, and handed the passport back. I walked off to baggage claim with a beaming smile, clutching my passport as if it were an Olympic gold medal.

So for the next 8 months or so I stayed in São Paulo, with an undercurrent of unease. I wasn’t expecting the police to come banging on my door, nor was I expecting to be arrested in the street, but when you’re staying somewhere illegally there’s always that nagging worry at the back of your mind. As the uncomplicated chorus from the song Illegal Alien, by Genesis, says It’s no fun being an illegal alien. No, it’s no fun being an illegal alien”.

Part 3 next week…

Do you have any comments on Gringo Blogger’s blog? If so send them to mark@www.gringoes.com and we’ll add them to the article.

Previous articles by Gringo Blogger:

Brazil Blog: Visas and Marriage Part 1
Brazil Blog: Job Problems, Financial Blues and Decision Time
Brazil Blog: Studying
Brazil Blog: The Cleaner
Brazil Blog: Dealing With Doctors
Brazil Blog: Showers
Brazil Blog: Dia Dos Namorados
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 3
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 2
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 1
Brazil Blog: Feira Frustration

By Ricky Skelton
Brazilians don’t appear to be lazy, at least not to my eyes. Unlike at home, there aren’t many people who do absolutely nothing. This might be a product of the welfare system, but even the streetkids juggle to get money. Everyone else is at least trying to sell something, and what they sell varies greatly. I enjoy seeing what people are hawking at the major road junctions. It makes me wonder just how many people set off for work in their cars first thing in the morning and got halfway there before realising ‘Oh no! I’ve forgotten my binoculars! Where the hell can I buy a new pair around here? Aha! What a stroke of luck!’ Or how many of them gnaw their way through the plastic steering wheel covers due to the stress of driving in such a Metropolis. Perhaps the binoculars are to see the front of the traffic jam. One thing I haven’t seen is the (probably male only) drivers portable toilet for use in traffic that I saw in Bangkok. Perhaps I should import some.

It’s not an easy job though, selling glove puppets in the middle of a 10-lane highway, which is probably why the sellers have adapted their tactics. On public transport in Brazil, you will always see at least one seller per journey entering the carriage or the bus, distributing their wares to the passengers, and collecting them up shortly after giving a speech about the benefits of rubber hairbands. I find it hard to understand why people are willing to hold some goabinha for a while without wanting to buy it. Will the smell encourage them to buy it? Personally, I know immediately that I don’t want to buy some chocolate, especially if has been through the hands of 18 different people in the last half an hour in the sweltering heat of the number 856. But at least on the buses it seems possible to travel for free just by pretending to sell some combs. I don’t know if the sellers have licences but they seem to get on at the back without paying. It might take a few trips to complete an already long journey, but at least you can save R$2, and maybe even make a bit of money on the side from those combs. Also, you know there is an easy way to get rid of unwanted presents or goods on public transport – a litter of puppies say – if necessary. You can climb on the back, place them on people’s knees, and then make an emotional speech to encourage people to buy something they didn’t realise they wanted.

So don’t be alarmed if, after a power-nap on a Brazilian bus, metro or train, you wake up to find a plastic turtle on wheels on your lap, or a baby crocodile looking up at you with Bambi eyes. It’s all part of a day’s work for the sellers in Brazil.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/

Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By Richard Conti
Now you all know that no one has more nice things to say about Brazil then this gringo. I still believe Brazil is the best choice for us to look for that retirement and or vacation property. As I have always tried to be fair and opened minded and love all your responses to my articles I do feel the necessity to bring a few things to light that may be of dire importance to some if not interesting to others.

As you know for the past two years I have been investigating as well as in negotiations for a few pieces of land in Brazil. As an American I have always been thrilled with Beach front property and thought it was always valued much more than other properties, even oceanview properties that were not directly on the beach. This is NOT always true and certainly not the case these days in Brazil as well as in many other Countries I am sorry to report.

Although we know the obvious reasons that beach Property has always been more attractive in the past here in the USA as well as elsewhere in my endeavor to find the ideal property many new facts have come to light that are disturbing to say the least. Many many folks simply do not understand or know what is going on around the world and Brazil is no exception.

Through my many trips and endless meetings with real estate people, property owners and local government employees and officials I have learned much. I have been blessed to have met some of the nicest most up front honest people any one person could hope to meet in Brazil.

At first I learned the obvious, despite many claims by others, that Brazil’s beaches are public domain. This means if you buy a property on the beach you have absolutely no say what goes on outside your door. Anyone can practically camp out or party outside your door at any given hour or time for as long as they like and you have little or more then likely no say in the matter at all. This is very disturbing to myself and many many others seeking a quiet sanctuary from the everyday world. Another fact is that foreigners with few exceptions cannot actually outright own beachfront property, as a Brazilian Citizen is required to be part and party to ownership of such lands. There are also very stringent laws governing such lands as far as building and environmental issues. They are agressively enforced by an agency called Ibama. Not to be toyed with or reckoned with when you are trying to bend a law and certainly not when you are trying to break a law in Brazil. You Will NOT get away with it! God only knows you may at first but one day it will come back to haunt you maybe sooner then later in fact.

Many sellers will promise you the world and fill you with lots of false information and many a buyer has realized this unfortunately when it was too late and could not do what they had dreamed of doing with their newly bought beach front properties. As a matter of fact one buyer I hear found out after building a house that he did not even own the land it was built on as it was considered owned by the government and a Navy area.

Aside from this there is a little thing going on these days called global Warming”. Now as an American I have seen and know that most Americans do not take too much heed in such warnings, but in other Countries including Brazil they are taken very seriously indeed. As a matter of fact you will hear the term “Erosion Area” being used more and more by city hall employees and real estate people, who are avoiding it more and more when dealing with beachfront properties.

It is a known fact that seas are rising and beach areas are eroding and there is little you can do about this when and if it happens to your property. Insurance companies in Brazil? Forget it you don’t have a chance. As a result of these obvious occurrences pricing has changed and oceanview properties are becoming much more desirable then beach front because of the lack of these erosion problems. We in fact have abandoned all thoughts of a beachfront property and for good reasons too. We did our research and we have found that not only have seas risen but beaches have also gotten smaller not only in Brazil but here in the USA as well.

As a matter of fact take special precautions with beach areas in Brazil that are quite a distance from a city, such as 45 minutes or more. These areas for some reason seem to be especially prone to these problems which I have seen firsthand in Brazil. This is probably part and party to why they are still remote areas and have never been developed as much as other areas. I do not know this to be a true fact but I cannot help but consider it as a reason and a distinct possibilty as well.

So what I am trying to say here is be cautious of these people trying to sell you a dream Property in Brazil in areas like Natal and Fortaleza, especially where there have been serious reports of sea levels rising in the recent past. I have not heard of serious problems in other areas yet but people still are cautious of such properties in their areas as well and the term “erosion area” continues to pop up more and more these days at city hall and you should contact an honest person there who can advise you of such a connection with any property you may be considering. To say the least it may not be listed as such yet but surely may be listed as such in the near future as no one seems to know exactly what impact “global Warming” will have and when. I for one am not willing to chance my future on such a thing and I am sure real estate people and sellers are not at all concerned about the future, especially yours once they have your money.

Be careful of who you deal with. Question all that they tell you and above all, let the buyer beware!

Richard is an American born and raised in New York City in the shadows of the once towering World Trade Center. He now lives in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. He is presently doing design work and general contracting, but his dream is to complete his private community in João Pessoa, Brazil, and to move there with his Brazilian girlfriend. Once there he wants to devote time to building many many more projects with Americans and Brazilians in mind. In his spare time he wants to write many many more enjoyable articles for www.gringoes.com for you all to enjoy. If you want to contact Richard by email then send to guyfrmbk@adelphia.net.

Previous articles by Richard:

The US Real Estate Bubble has moved South to Brazil Part 2
The US Real Estate Bubble has moved South to Brazil Part 1
Thoughts of Brazil and João Pessoa Part 2
Thoughts of Brazil and João Pessoa Part 1
Brazil is Looking Better and Better Everyday
Brazil’s Best Kept Secret