For readers in Belo Horizonte there’s a new monthly gathering for English-speaking expats called First Fridays.

The meet up will occur the first Friday of every month in the the Livraria e Caf da Travessa (Av. Getulio Vargas, 1405, in Savassi) at 7pm, starting on Friday, 1 December 2006.

By Joe Lopes
Here is part 8 of Joe’s article about two famous personalities from Brazil, Bidu Sayão and Carmen Miranda. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the end of the article.

Carmen Goes Bananas

As bad as this experience may have been for Bidu, it was nothing compared to the cold shoulder offered by her own callous countrymen to Brazil’s cultural ambassador of the war years, the exciting (and excitable) Carmen Miranda.

The Brazilian Bombshell’s runaway success on the New York stage during the 1939-40 Broadway show season had only begun to whet the appetites of post-Depression era audiences starved for more novel and adventuresome musical fare.

It segued directly into Carmen’s American movie debut in the comedy Down Argentine Way, which starred Betty Grable and Don Ameche. Released in late 1940, this first of several Twentieth Century-Fox productions featuring the exotic performer was an immediate smash with enchanted movie audiences.

Whether she played Argentines, Cubans, Mexicans or Brazilians, film fans clamored for more of Carmen; and the Fox Studios wisely obliged, signing the lively songstress to a generous six-figure salary (her clashes with lecherous studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck, were a highlight of her years there) that would soon make her the highest paid female entertainer in the United States:

Hollywood, it has treated me so nicely, I am ready to faint. As soon as I see Hollywood, I love it!

– Carmen Miranda

But just before her West Coast film career took off in earnest, Carmen and her Bando da Lua paid a return visit to Brazil – and to the Cassino da Urca, the Rio de Janeiro nightspot that was the site of their earliest stage triumphs.

Expecting to be greeted as they had been in the States, i.e. with wide-open warmth and fully appreciative affection, they could not have been more confounded by the chilly atmosphere that waited for them inside.

There have been many theories put forth for Carmen’s overly cool reception at the Urca, from the unusually stuffy society crowd present, which included the wife of conservative strongman Getlio Vargas (allegedly, one of the singer’s former lovers), to the range of material chosen for the affair, an innocuous combination of sambas and Carnival march favorites peppered with Tin Pan Alley pop tunes.

Yet these paltry explanations fail to provide a truly satisfying glimpse into the ambivalent feelings conveyed by Rio nightclub audiences toward the baffled diva and her song troupe. Ostensibly, a common enough fate had befallen Carmen that had also been shared by Bidu Sayão, Carlos Gomes, and several other of their fellow citizens, particularly when confronted with their own notable achievements away from Brazilian soil: that of a tangible and totally unwarranted resentment for having made it big abroad without their country’s approval or consent – as if these were absolutely necessary to affirm one’s position at home, or anywhere else, for that matter.

As sociologist Roberto da Matta once observed about former soccer star Pel, To be successful outside of Brazil is considered a personal offense to Brazilians.” This simple yet insightful analysis was never more accurate than when applied to the seesawing musical endeavors of Carmen Miranda.

Part 9 next week…

Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Two Brazilian Charmers Part 7
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 6
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 5
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 4
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 3
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

By Volker Ruther
This is one in a series of helpful articles by Volker which are a collection of information and experiences about how and where to get documents and permissions, or how to resolve bureaucratic subjects and matters in Brazil as a foreigner.

Note that although the best efforts have been made to ensure the information is valid, we cannot guarantee that it is 100% correct, as the article is based on a mixture of personal experiences and information that has been collected from various sources like Internet sites, official documents and an exchange of experiences with other foreigners in Brazil. Also even Brazilian law is subject to change, and often difficult to interpret.

Always check your own situation via a suitable source e.g. consulate or appropriately qualified lawyer, before proceeding.

To open a bank account (conta bancria” in Portuguese) as a foreigner in Brazil is not very easy. Typically you will need a CPF (Cadastro da Pessoa Fisica) and a long-term visa like a work or permanent visa with the ID card (CIE, Cdula de Identidade de Estrangeiro). For tourists it is impossible to open a bank account in Brazil.

There are two different types of bank accounts for individuals (pessoas fsicas):

  • Conta corrente (checking/current account)
  • Conta de poupana (Savings account)
  • For the checking/current account you will need a regular income, and many banks ask also for a minimum income that will be deposited in the account each month, usually between R$500 – 700. With a checking/current account you will receive a cheque book and a debit card to withdraw cash via the bank’s ATM (note some debit cards will have the ability to draw from linked ATMs, such as those in the Banco24horas system).

    If you open a savings account you will receive a card that can only deposit and withdraw cash via the bank’s ATM. No cheques, no general debit card and no credit card.

    ATMs/cash machines are very popular in Brazil. You will find them in every shopping center, in boxes on streets, in commercial areas of larger cities, in Universities and many public buildings. ATMs are used to withdraw and deposit money, pay bills like phone, water, light, mobile phone, credit card or any other bill that has a bar code on it. Note that ATMs often close or reduce withdrawal limits in the early evening to reduce crime.

    Of course you can check the status of your account on the ATM as well as transferring money from your account to any other account within the same bank. In the agencies of many banks there are also ATMs available to print your cheques. The bank fees and charges for the service of the bank are different in each bank. Usually you pay a monthly fee that includes a certain number of cheques and statements. If you print more cheques or statements during a month you will have to pay extra. Note that you should try to negotiate when opening the account for the monthly fees to be waived, althought this will depend on the amounts deposited and the flexibility of the person you’re dealing with.

    Beside ATMs most banks now offer Internet banking for clients, even for clients with a simple savings account. Usually you have to go to the branch where you opened the account to apply for the service. Using Internet banking you can do all the operations that an ATM offers, except for money transfers to accounts in other banks.

    My personal experience about opening a bank account is that you need a lot of patience because it usually depends on the mood of the bank manager if he will open the account for you, particularly with foreigners. Many banks only open accounts for foreigners if they have a permanent visa or a job in Brazil. Therefore it may be necessary to visit several branches until you find a manager who will allow you to open an account.

    If you are married with a Brazilian citizen, you can try to open an account together with your Brazilian spouse, which may be easier then trying to get an account just for you.

    Like many things in Brazil you depend on the manager or the official you are dealing with. If he/she likes you, if he/she is in a good mood, if he/she had a good weekend, aside from how the last match of his/her football team was. It might sound weird but that’s the way things work in Brazil, if you can manage to get into a friendly conversation with the manager or official it will make things much easier and it also will make things possible that weren’t possible in a different bank or with a different official. If you can find a common conversational subject e.g. football, sports, cars, children, etc. to talk with the manager/official before starting the subject you are really interested in it may help your cause.

    To contact Volker, as well as get a copy of his free eBook (PDF) of this information, send an email to mineiro_alemao@hotmail.com.

    Previous articles by Volker:

    Understanding Brazil: Driver’s License
    Understanding Brazil: The CPF
    Understanding Brazil: CTPS – The Work Card
    Understanding Brazil: CIE – Foreigners ID CardUnderstanding Brazil: The Permanent Visa

    By Mark Taylor
    Here is the third part of Mark’s guide to Fernando de Noronha. To read previous parts click the relevant link at the end of the article.

    Getting About
    The island’s transport breaks down into three main methods: buggy rental, taxis and bus.

    Buggies, essentially simple beach buggies, can be rented for around R$100 a day, which can climb to as much as R$200-250 a day when scarce and the peak season. The advantage with a rented buggy is that you can get around the island pretty much wherever and whenever you want, albeit for a cost. A lot of the tracks to beaches are pretty rough, so they are well suited to the purpose.

    Alternatively you can take a taxi, which again are beach buggies and you get to sit on the back of, holding tight to the roll cage. Prices will vary depending on where you want to go, but typically they cost R$10-15 per journey.

    The bus is the cheapest option of all, and is very easy to use as there’s essentially one route from one end of the island to the other. All you need to know is which direction you want to travel in which is indicated on the front of the bus and fairly obvious from the side of the road you’re standing on. A ticket is around R$3.

    Of course you can also walk to some areas depending on how far away you are, and some beaches can only be reached on foot.

    Trips
    If you travel with a package tour company, or have booked accommodation via an agency, the chances are one of the first things you’ll be asked about when arriving at the island are the various trips you can take around the island. Typically this happens on the way to your pousada from the airport, where you’ll have the option to stop off at a short talk. The trips tend to fall into three categories: boat trips, walking tours and water sports.

    Boat Trips
    Boat trips leave from the one and only port on the island, located in the northeast, in the bay of Santo Antnio. The port itself is relatively small, and is also close to the Shark Museum. The trips are worthwhile as you’re very likely to encounter Spinner dolphins which will follow and swim either in front of or alongside the boat. You will also have a chance to see some of the secondary islands up close, including some of the wildlife that inhabits them, primarily birds.

    Some of the longer boat trips will also take you to the more difficult to access beaches, stopping off to allow snorkelling.

    Walking Tours
    The walking tours can vary from a few hours to an entire day, and will typically involve visiting one or more beaches. Some of the trips can actually be pretty exhausting and require that you are fairly agile. Others may involve getting up before dawn, for example to watch the many dolphins that frequent the island arrive from their ocean-going trips during the night.

    Most if not all the tours are worthwhile and can be a rapid way to get around and see a lot of the island. Some of the beach visits will involve snorkelling, for those who want, led by a guide. While snorkelling you will of course get to see many types of fish, as well as octopi, turtles and other marine life.

    Part 4 next week…

    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 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 Ricky Skelton
    You can do it in an hour, but what a waste. The slower, the better if you take the scenic route along the Costa Verde. Unfortunately for me, I only had two nights to spare. I’d liked to have spent three months going up that coast. We missed out Ilha Bela and hit the Coast at Ubatuba. Even the journey down there from the highway is spectacular, especially if you’re fresh of the boat as I was. Trees with beautifully vivid purple and white flowers border the road, in the middle of the Mata Atlantica, with bending roads through the sights and smells of the forest. It’s hard to resist stopping every five minutes, but it was Brazil. I needed to feel the sand between my toes and the white water fizzing around my ankles. I needed to be on a beach within 48 hours of quitting work at home.

    It happened to, and life was Good. Surfing as the sun went down on Praia Grande, eating fresh seafood moqueca later, waking up to my first huge pousada breakfast and trying three or four strange fruits, my first 24 hours in the country was a resounding success. I drove as well, which wasn’t such a shock on the coast road like it would be in the centre of Sampa or Rio. We cruised along, stopping at waterfalls and more pristine beaches, getting advice from the locals and drinking fresh agua de coco.

    We dragged ourselves onwards to Trinidade, with its Moby Dick rock guarding the beach. More new experiences of Jaca, Aai and Brazilian students on holiday. Like them, we drank beer on the beach, one of life’s simplest, simple pleasures. It has to be a good day if you can end it sitting on a beach as the stars come out, and drinking a beer to the sound of waves hitting the shore. What more do you need in life than to be able to do that? If we needed anything else, the trollied locals staggering up and down the beach giggling provided free entertainment.

    Time was tight, so we could only afford a quick trip around Paraty next day, but it was enough to appreciate why it always makes it as one of the guidebook photos with its coloured houses on the cobbled streets, and coloured boats in the harbour framed by the dark green hills. Too much great seafood went untasted there. We had to get to Rio before the end of the day.

    But not without stopping in a tiny bar with a big view. Somewhere at the top of a headland is a sign pointing up a dirt track. Take the dents in the bottom of your car, it’s worth it. The bar has shade, cold beer, running water, and a view for miles across the bay and the islands dotting it. Ignore the nuclear power station on the far side, it’s enough distance away to not bother you. The owner of the bar may proudly tell you the story of how he built it all from scratch. With his bare hands. All of it.

    Big Regret Number 1 of Brazil was not having the time to check out Ilha Grande. Hopefully cars still won’t have arrived on the island by the time I eventually get there. It sounds like a good place to get lost for a week or two of nothing. More yellow sand, blue sky, turquoise sea and green trees and too much black tarmac to make it to Rio without eating. We pulled off the highway down into a small town with a beach. It was called The Town That Time Forgot. At one time, it may have been a place to escape from Rio. Now, we had skilfully managed to find the only place along the whole coast that isn’t worth stopping in. I’ve never seen anywhere so out of place among so many other beautiful spots. It looked like an English seaside town in February – empty old fairground rides creaking listlessly in the breeze – but with sun. There were people on the beach sunbathing amongst the litter. We ordered some food from a bar where the people creaked listlessly in the breeze. Some fatty fried meat and very oily chips. At least we had a view of the sea.

    Not for long. Our view was interrupted by a train. Not just any train, but a rusty goods train heading as reluctantly along the tracks between us and the sea, as the town was heading into the 21st century. It was still passing as we laughed our way out of town, clanking slowly to who knows where. It probably still is.

    Previous articles by Ricky:

    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?

    This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo features a bar in Vila Olimpia, an exhibition at MAM, this week’s recommended film, and a roundup of some other upcoming events.

    Opereta"Those who think they’re the next Pavarotti or Madonna will want to pay a visit to Opereta, one of the better karaoke bars, located in Vila Olimpia. Opereta is quite small, but this gives it a cosy atmosphere, and there’s a mezzanine floor that similar to the ground floor gives a good view of the latest singing victim (and can be booked for birthday parties and events). There’s also an unusually shaped conical vinyl roof, which is brought down to a drain inside the bar. It must be quite something in the rain! Like all karaoke bars it has a clientele that varies from the drunken singers, through to those who you feel must practice at home. For the singers, you have a choice of screens to read your words from, and depending on the type of disc chosen you may also get to see yourself on camera behind the words, assuming that doesn’t put you off to much. The bar has national songs, as well as some in Japanese, and a good range of International tracks in English. On Wednesday’s some tracks are recorded and you are able to buy a CD of yourself singing, as well as having a possible visit from the so called “Pirata da Alegra”, the Pirate of Happiness. The web site has both some previously recorded tracks and a video of the bar. Reasonably priced snacks are available, as well as a typical selection of drinks. Open Tuesday – Sunday: 6pm – close. Rua das Fiandeiras, 572. Vila Olimpia. Tel. (11) 3842 0368. http://www.opereta.com.br

    Concreta '56; - A Raiz da FormatThe Museu Arte Moderno (MAM) has an exhibition on something that may seem rather dull, concrete. The exhibition is titled Concreta ’56; – A Raiz da Forma (Concrete ’56; – the Root of the Form), and is a second take on the first ever exhibition on the most used construction material that took place in 1956. 26 sculptors, as well as 27 designers, will have works on show, including Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro and Ivan Serpa. The works will show some of the unusual possibilities with the versatile material. Free entry. Exhibition Ends December 10th. Ibirapuera Park (Door 3). Av. Pedro Alvares Cabral. Tel. 5085 1300. Open Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm. http://www.mam.org.br

    The DepartedThis week’s film recommendation is The Departed (Os Infiltrados in Portuguese). Directed by Martin Scorsese, and written by William Monahan, Sui Fai Mak and Felix Chong, it tells the story of infiltration of the US police force by the Irish mafia. At the same time though the Irish Mafia is being infiltrated by a police cadet. Inevitably the story ends up with both infiltrators being conflicted in their duties, while the time ticks away to their discovery. The film stars Jack Nicholson as the mafia boss, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon as the infiltrators, among others. The film has been very well received, and is seen as a return to Scorsese in his Goodfellas era. Recommended for fans of cop thrillers. Rated R in the USA, and 18 in the UK.
    IMDB’s page on The Departed. GuiaSP’s page on the Departed 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 December 17th (tickets R$60 – 120, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). British rock veterans Deep Purple play some of their greatest hits, such as “Smoke on the Water”, at Tom Brasil on November 28th and 29th (tickets R$100 – 200, Ingresso Rpido tel. 2163 2000). The National Dance Company of Spain bring three presentations to São Paulo betewen November 30th and December 3rd (tickets R$40 – 100, tel 3032 3098 or 6163 5087). Blues guitarist BB King comes to the Bourbon Street Jazz club on December 2nd and 3rd, and the Via Funchal on December 4th (tickets are R$900 for Bourbon Street tel. 3897 4456, for Via Funchal tickets are R$95 – 480, tel. 5095 6100). German DJ Chris Liebing is the main attraction at Circuito no Lago in São Bernardo do Campo on December 3rd (tickets R$35 – 50, tel. 3089 6999). English group The Cult return to Brazil on December 7th and 8th at Credicard Hall (tickets R$90 – 240 available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.br). US group De La Soul have a show at SESC Santo Andr on December 9th and 10th (tickets R$5 and 10, tel. 4469 1200).

    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, October 13 – November 19 2006
    What’s On Guide, October 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

    By Pat Moraes
    My husband and I really enjoy reading the Gringoes Newsletter and now would like to do our part and share a current experience. We are recently retired and this will be our second year of spending the North American winter in the tropical Brazilian sunshine. Last year we purchased an apartment in São Jose dos Campos, São Paulo and had it remodeled to our taste. We bought our major appliances, dining set, living room couches, beds, etc in São Jose dos Campos, but we have not had much luck finding comfortable recliners that we liked. My husband who was a skinny young Brazilian kid when he arrived thirty seven years ago is now built like the average middle aged American and I am a Gringa gordinha” by nature. We felt that there were a few household items and bric-a-brac that we would like to have to make things feel more like home, and we wanted to ship two older bicycles and biking gear rather than trying to find them in Brazil.

    Through Globo International TV we became aware of a moving company “Confianca Moving” that specializes in moving to Brazil. The interesting thing about this company is that you have the choice between shipping anything from one small box to a whole container. In order to have the items picked up at your residence and delivered to your destination in Brazil the minimum amount of shipping is three cubic meters. This is what we chose to do.

    If you are a Brazilian returning to Brazil one of the requirements for doing this is to obtain an “Atestado de Residencia”, which is a document from the Brazilian Consulate that states that you have been residing outside of Brazil for at least a year. We had to send the consulate my husband’s Brazilian passport, copy of our ticket to Brazil, and copies of utility bills proving we have been in the US at least a year. The cost of the document was US$15.00. The consulates no longer provide any kind of document having to do with clearing customs. I believe that there is a similar procedure for foreigners moving to Brazil.

    The cost was under US$1400 for three cubic meters of packed boxes, insurance and an agent in Brazil. If there are any customs duties we will have to pay them in Brazil so we hope that there are no unpleasant surprises in this respect. We don’t expect to have any problems because our items are mostly used except for the recliners which were not expensive and we are not shipping any major appliances or anything electronic.

    Obviously since we have to pay for three cubic meters in order to get delivery we wanted to make sure that we used up as much of the space as possible without going over the limit. We measured and measured and measured again, added a few boxes and kept on measuring. Finally we reached two and a half cubic meters. It seemed excessive to go out and buy things we probably won’t need just to use up the space, so we purchased two simple wheel chairs in boxes to donate to charities in our area. We found these at a company called “Harbour Freight” and they were priced at US$179 each. We had seen them on sale earlier in the year for US$109, so we asked for and got the sale price. They are pretty decent chairs and a small price to pay to improve someone’s life. The moving agents came yesterday and picked up our boxes. So far everyone we have dealt with has been informative, courteous and helpful. The expected time of arrival of our goods in Brazil is 90 days, as the end of the year is a busy time for the ports. We have been told that we will be able to track our shipment on line, but we don’t have the information on that yet.

    So far, this has been a satisfying experience for us. We will continue to report on the progress as time goes on. I guess now we have something to look forward to, provided that the ship gets there, there is no strike at the port of Santos, that the longshoremen are not too concerned about Carnival, the delivery truck doesn’t get a blown out tire, and that they deliver on the day they promise.”

    By Joe Lopes
    Here is part 7 of Joe’s article about two famous personalities from Brazil, Bidu Sayão and Carmen Miranda. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the end of the article.

    The High Price of Fame in Brazil

    Blame It on Rio
    They booed. The audience had actually booed. It was unheard of, absurd to say the least, yet it was true. But how could it have happened in Rio, and, most disturbingly of all, to Bidu Sayão, the operatic sweetheart of the Southern Hemisphere?

    Not five months had passed since the stylish Brazilian singer’s appearance at the Metropolitan Opera House had caused a minor stir, and was labeled the surprise hit of the 1936-37 season. Miss Sayão triumphed as a Manon should,” wrote New York Times critic Olin Downes of her mid-winter debut, “by manners, youth and charm, and by the way in which [her] voice became the vehicle of dramatic expression.”

    Bidu had been chosen by the Met to assume the repertory of the recently retired Spanish soprano Lucrezia Bori, and within weeks of her initial engagement she was assigned the lead role in La Traviata, followed quickly by her first La Bohme.

    Now with many US opera companies on hiatus until the fall, Bidu was free to enjoy the warmer waters of her tropical port city and its own extensive concert and opera-going season. Her ambitions there were modest, in the extreme: to please her many fans and admirers, as she always had, at Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal.

    She had lately performed in the opera Il Guarany by Gomes, and was scheduled to sing the smaller but no less showier secondary part of Micaela in Carmen, starring the celebrated Italian mezzo Gabriella Besanzoni, a past veteran of many a South American production of the work and a mainstay at the Municipal since 1918.

    Called “badly-behaved and impertinent” by the Met’s onetime director Giulio Gatti-Casazza, the high-strung Besanzoni had lucked into a society marriage with Brazilian industrialist Henrique Lage back in 1925. This tended to keep the temperamental diva anchored to the capital, with the Teatro Municipal serving as her homeport.

    Upon leaving the stage in 1939, she turned to teaching to take up her spare time. As an instructor, it was widely rumored that the Roman native was a superior judge of vocal talent – one of her prize pupils would turn out to be the Carioca baritone Paulo Fortes.

    There was ample evidence to suggest by all of this that the July 1937 performance of Carmen in Rio would be a far from routine affair, if not a fairly exciting one. What actually transpired onstage could not by any means be considered unexpected, but the passage of time, muddled individual motives, and even sketchier personal recollections have a way of blurring the finer details of how and why certain events took shape.

    The indisputable facts, though, were these: unable to cope with Bidu’s recent string of successes, the feisty mezzo-soprano organized a demonstration by the members of her claque to boo the little prima donna into submission, and on her home turf.

    Her boisterous negative campaign fizzled, however, as the entire theater soon got wind of the plot. After Micaela’s moving third act solo, the audience erupted into a steady stream of applause that purportedly drowned out the noisy offenders, who proceeded to beat a hasty retreat from the peanut gallery.

    Badly shaken by the incident, Bidu was overheard to have declared that she would refuse all future offers to sing in Rio de Janeiro, and, for that matter, in Brazil, too.

    Despite claims to the contrary, the soprano rethought her earlier position and thankfully returned to her native land on a few occasions near the end of the forties. She gave her last complete performance at the Teatro Municipal in 1950, as Mim in La Bohme, but after that painful Carmen she would most heartily agree to become a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s roster of artists-the only one from South America.

    Aside from the poor reception in Rio, there were other, more valid justifications for her decision to depart for friendlier Northern corridors, one of which was to be closer to Met baritone Giuseppe Danise, the long-awaited love of her life; but the main reason was the volatile political situation of pre-World War Two Europe.

    For Bidu, this did not necessarily translate into a moratorium on her stepping onto Brazil’s stages, but it did pose a serious threat to anyone bound for European opera houses, regardless of national origin. As it was, the escalating global conflict had put a severe damper on most foreign classical pursuits, in essence restricting the coloratura and other paid professionals to the safer venues of North America for the duration of the war.

    Still, the sad truth remained that Bidu Sayão was hurt, and it showed in her deliberate avoidance of Brazil as a routine layover spot.

    As for Besanzoni, she would stay noticeably closed-mouth on the subject of her actions on that particular evening. We can only speculate at this point as to her convoluted reasoning behind them.

    They indeed had a lot to do with the perceptive singer’s suspicion of an unofficial snub by the Metropolitan Opera during the 1919-1920 seasons, a period in which she was asked to take on many of the same roles as the house’s resident workhorse, the stalwart Austro-Hungarian artist Margarete Matzenauer.

    According to various accounts, Besanzoni became convinced that her Teutonic rival had somehow bribed the claque to despoil her every Met appearance. Curiously, reviews from that time seem to corroborate this notion: there is a marked indication that an organized and clearly exaggerated favoritism for Matzenauer was at the heart of the anti-Besanzoni faction; and, in the Italian’s own blunt assessment of events, “the ‘German’ did everything in her power, including the impossible, to prevent me from being hired by the Metropolitan.”

    Her past ill treatment in the Manhattan press, plus the unfavorable reaction of Met Opera audiences, might well have gone a long way toward fanning the mezzo’s future flames of envy with regard to Bidu’s growing popularity there.

    We may never know for certain, but Besanzoni’s overly paranoid sensibilities do serve to explain some of the later green-eyed behavior attributed to her and unreasonably extended to the tiny Brazilian warbler.

    Part 8 next week…

    Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes

    A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

    To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 6
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 5
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 4
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 3
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
    Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
    Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
    Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
    Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
    Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
    Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
    A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
    The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
    Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
    Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

    Meet Allison Glick, from the USA, who has travelled to and worked in Brazil. Read the following interview where she tells us about some 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.?

    My name is Allison Glick and I am from Orange Lake, Florida. I breed Arabian show horses and spend my days preparing them to show. Arabians are a very international breed and with this occupation, I travel all of the time and have spent long periods of time in Brazil, with the horses.

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

    The first time I visited Brazil was in 1992. I had a friend from Brazil that I met through the Arabian horses, as her horses were at a US Trainer’s farm the same time my horses were. We became fast friends. Since she had been to the United States many times, she was eager to share her country with me. I enjoyed it very much and have met so many fellow Arabian horse enthusiasts there, so now I have found a way to incorporate my occupation into traveling to Brazil. I have been there many, many times now and go multiple times every year. I have spent long periods of time there taking care of horses that we have exported and readying them for shows and that is how I have learned the most about the culture of Brazil!!

    3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

    My first thought was what a dichotomy Brazil is. I found parts of Brazil to be so unbelievably busy, while other parts were so laid back. I saw so much wealth (in my dealings with the people owning the show horses) and so much poverty. I saw so many young people and so many old people. Overall, my first impression was amazement!!! It is very vast!!!!

    4. What do you miss most about home?

    When I am staying in Brazil for a continued period of time, I really miss the organization of everything in the US. I am a planner and get quite frustrated by the fly by the seat of your pants” attitude in Brazil. In a way, it is refreshing, but in another, it is soooooooo frustrating. I also always miss modern plumbing!!! Everywhere you go in Brazil has a different way to flush a toilet and it becomes quite a challenge at times – not to mention the toilet paper in the trash cans…

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

    I have had many, but they basically boil down to the same thing – not being able to get a direct answer to a question. When you ask someone something in Brazil, even if you have a command of Portuguese, rarely do you get a yes or no answer. It usually takes about 10 times longer than it should and usually 4-5 other people end up getting involved and you walk away more confused then when you started!!!

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

    I spent 6 weeks in Brazil, not working, visiting a Brazilian boyfriend, and enjoying life as a Brazilian does. I went to work with him, made dinner with him, relaxed with him, and visited his family with him. It was amazing the passion these people have toward their everyday lives!!

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

    I love the Brazilian people and how they view life. I love how they always ask about our lives. They take time to LIVE their lives and are not always frantic, obsessed with work. Of course, these are generalizations, but for the most part, I would describe Brazilians that way. I find Brazil to be a very spiritual place. There is so much enchanting beauty there… the land and it’s people!

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

    The “Fig” restaurant in the City of São Paulo (Figueira Rubaiyat)… it’s ambience is great, wine list extensive, and the food quite good. The gargantuan fig tree in the center of the restaurant is amazing and it’s greenhouse-like feel and it’s lighting makes for an interesting, yet intimate, setting!

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

    The first time I went to Brazil, I was only 21. I am 5’10;” (1.78m), with ice blue eyes and blonde hair. I am of Swedish descent. The first day I went out on the town in São Paulo, I did not realize what a spectacle I would be. I had on makeup (normal amount for an American my age, but obviously more than most Brazilians wore at that time) and large hoop earrings in my ears, which had been pierced multiple times. People kept staring, which in Brazil is not considered rude like it is in the States. I remember walking on the beach that day in SP and they even stopped the soccer game so that they could investigate just what I was. They would get right in my face and then talk about me, like I wasn’t there. My girlfriend was laughing hysterically. As the day went on, I started doing things to blend in a bit more… I started my day feeling so excited about being amongst the Brazilians, and ended it with a large hat on my head, my makeup wiped off, sunglasses, and no jewelry! Things have changed now, but back then, I really felt like a foreigner!!!!

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

    I find Brazilians to care a lot about their appearances. Again, this is a generalization, but one thing I really noticed. I find their physical fitness to be far superior to our’s in the States. My girlfriend in Brazil is just amazed that we have access to so many great things and we don’t take advantage of it. When she wears blue jeans, they are usually bejeweled and paired with heels and fancy belts. She can’t fathom wearing tennis shoes, outside of being at the gym. The women, in particular, take very good care of themselves – nails always manicured, shiny hair, toned figures. I don’t know if it is because they don’t have as easy access to things as Americans do, but Brazilians seem to be very physical people, always walking!!!!

    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?

    My Portuguese is still not too good. I can understand it, but speaking it is a different story!!! My mouth just can’t utter some of those sounds. Basically, my rule of thumb is just to add an “ee” sound at the end of many words, and you have a good chance of having it come out sounding remotely correct! I will never get the name “João” to sound how the Brazilians pronounce it! Can’t quite get that nasal thing down correctly!

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

    Enjoy the people, their food, and their culture. It is nice to understand the basics of the Portuguese language. Also, remember, as enchanting as this place is, don’t let down your guard on your security. Brazil is not the United States when it comes to safety!

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

    Sit somewhere and watch the interactions amongst Brazilians. They are very sincere and touchy and it is nice to see so much humanity. They often seem very excited, but I think that goes in hand with how they live their lives with vigor. You will never see so many hands flying around! Enjoy the hugeness of a place like São Paulo, but explore the beauty of a place like Buzios. Enjoy the local flavor anywhere you venture! Don’t miss the cheese bread and the wonderful beer in Brazil. CAREFULLY experience a passion fruit caipirinha! Buy great shoes!

    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:

    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

    Lula Pushing Infrastructure Projects Forward in Second Term
    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is planning to hire more government workers and change environmental law to push ahead around 120 stalled infrastructure projects. The projects are a mix of transport, pipelines, dams, hydroelectric and nuclear power generation. Most have been stalled by confusing environmental law.

    VW Find Agreement with 1,500 Workers
    Around 1,500 workers at Volkswagen’s oldest factory in Brazil, in São Bernardo, São Paulo, have agreed to accept early retirement in an attempt at restructuring and increasing profitability. Expensive labour costs have been highlighted as the cause, and the factory was blighted with strikes prior to this agreement being made.

    ATC Likely Cause
    It’s now looking likely that the cause of Brazil’s worst air crash, between a private Embraer Legacy and Gol Boeing over the Amazon, was air traffic control (ATC). Transcripts of the controllers have shown that the plane was directed to 37,000 feet, the incorrect altitude. Although the transcripts also show unanswered communications between both the jets and ATC for around 30 minutes before the crash, which have yet to be explained. The two US pilots are still being told they can’t leave Brazil, after around a two month wait, and are still under siege” from the press in a hotel in Rio. This Wednesday the Allied Pilots Association of the United States issued a statement asking for their release. Both the pilots lawyer and other lawyers have said they cannot be held legally in Brazil, although this has not prevented the situation so far. The detention has gone under the spotlight again, now that it seems very unlikely the pilots were at fault.

    ATC Problems Cause Delays to Continue
    The Air Force commander in charge of Brazil’s air traffic control system, run by the military, has promised disgruntled passengers that the delays will be resolved before Christmas. Over half the flights in Brazil were delayed at least 30 minutes or more on Wednesday of this week. In one incident 40 annoyed passengers marched onto a landing strip in Curitiba to protest against a 10-hour delay.

    US Lawyers Add to Suit in Worst Air Crash
    US lawyers have added a second lawsuit to that filed against Honeywell electronics, makers of the anti-collision systems onboard the planes involved, blamed for contributing to the cause of the crash. The second lawsuit adds 22 victims.

    Lula Opens First Ethanol-Biodiesel Plant
    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva opened Brazil’s first plant that creates both ethanol and biodiesel fuel.

    Microsoft Promotes Xbox 360
    Microsoft’s Latin America division is planning to market the Xbox 360 in Brazil, despite the small market there partly due to high import taxes putting the console out of the reach of most consumers, and the low average salary being another major factor. Despite this Microsoft have set the retail price at R$3000 (US$1400), around 3 times the average salary, and also more than 3 times the cost of the console in the USA. The console can be bought through unofficial channels for less than R$2000. Games are another cost factor, retailing at around R$160 each.

    Enterprise Ireland Open Office in Brazil
    Michel Martin, Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced this week the opening of Enterprise Ireland’s first new overseas office in São Paulo.

    Unemployment Rate Falls
    The unemployment rate has fallen to a nine month low, according to the national statistics agency. The rate is currently 9.8% in the six largest metropolitan areas, compared with 9.6% in October 2005.

    Senate Delay Foreign Pay-TV
    PMDB Senator Ney Suassuna withdrew a senate proposal that would allow foreign companies to own more than 50% state in Brazilian TV companies. Communications Minister Helio Costa said the bill had been withdrawn after a disagreement over legislation.

    Two Gay Men to Adopt Girl
    Two gay men in São Paulo have been given permission to both be able to adopt a girl. One of the gay men was already her legally adopted guardian. To date only gay women have been granted adoptions rights, albeit only twice before.

    Woman Arrested Over Racial Slur
    Brazilian hairdresser, Lucimar da Silva, 35, was arrested at Guarulhos airport after racially insulting a black intern who had told her to wait at the back of the queue, after she cut in front. Prosecutors are deciding whether to file charges which could carry one to three years in prison.

    Brazil Kitten-Puppies Proven Fakes
    A Brazilian woman who believed her cat had mated with a dog and produced a mixed breed had her theory proven incorrect after DNA testing showed the resulting animals were 100% puppies. It’s believed that the cat was nursing the puppies after the litter was left by a dog.”