By Regina Scharf
March 28, 2010

Most Brazilian lullabies and children songs are scary like hell. Some of them are not exactly child-appropriate. Or human-appropriate.

Check this hit parade:

– The big classic Atirei o Pau no Gato”, that says: I hit a cat with a stick, but he didn’t die. Mrs. Chica was surprised by the cat’s cry.

– What about the morbid “A Canoa Virou”: the canoe turned down, because someone let it happen: [name of the kid] didn’t know how to row. If I were a little fish and knew how to swim, I would rescue [the kid] from the bottom of the sea.

– Or the even scarier “Nana nenm”: sleep baby, because Cuca (a forest monster) will come for you. Mammy is in the plantation and daddy is working.

– Or the vaguely racist “Boi da Cara Preta”: Black-faced ox, come for this kid that is afraid of grimaces!

– Or the gloomy “O Cravo Brigou com a Rosa”: Carnation fought with Rose, under a set of stairs. Carnation got hurt and Rose lost her petals. Carnation got sick, Rose came visit. Carnation fainted. Rose began to cry.

– You can also try “Ciranda, Cirandinha”, that says: “the ring you gave me was made of glass and broke. The love that you had for me was not enough and vanished”.

– Or “Samba Lel”: Samba Lel is ill, his head is broken. What he really needs is to be spanked.

You’ve got the spirit.

You don’t have to have a PhD in Psychology to realize you might want to keep your kids away from this songs. Instead, look for Paulo Tatit’s brilliant work – such as “Palavra Cantada” and “pé com pé”. Or maybe, go for Chico Buarque de Hollanda’s “Os Saltimbancos”. Also, check the Cocoricó TV program soundtrack. DeepBrazil.com.

Regina Scharf is a Brazilian journalist and Environmental specialist living in New Mexico.

Previous articles by Regina:

10 Brazilian Drinks as Cool as Caipirinha

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By Marilyn Diggs
March 29, 2010

My ideal getaway is one that combines nature, culture and comfort all in one package. Even better if it’s within a historical Brazilian setting, and better still when it’s ecology-conscience. Check, check and check for Fazenda Capoava, located only 80 km from São Paulo.

History of the Capoava Farm
Today, Fazenda Capoava is a dude ranch, but it began as a farm where food supplies and sugar cane were grown for a colonial community of trailblazers called bandeirantes. Its history lesson begins at the parking lot where guests pass a gigantic white fig tree, referred to in land deeds dating from 1881. Legend says the slaves thought it was sacred and used its wood to make bowls to hold offerings to their deities. The tree was spared when the area around it was cleared to plant sugar and, later, coffee from the late 1800s until 1929. Before it became a tourist destination, it was a dairy farm.

Almost all of the buildings on the premises are original, constructed in the 18th and 19th century. The main house, built in 1740, is the reception area, communal living room, chapel and restaurant. The senzala, or slave quarters, are guest rooms with the original pioneer architecture. The old Granary was transformed into the Cultural Center complete with a library and small museum holding historical photos, tools, folk art and objects from the farm. Guests hold conferences or play games in what was once the coffee warehouse.

Cookery is part of the cultural experience. The excellent quality of homemade cooking, using traditional Brazilian country recipes has made the restaurant a popular stopover for day visitors, as well as fazenda guests.

Ride, Hike, Stroll, Relax in Nature
The 50-acre fazenda holds two lakes, waterfalls, woods and the unusual boulder terrain peculiar to the region around It. Millennia ago, molten volcanic rock seeped through cracks in the earth’s surface, and over time, erosion rounded the edges creating a striking, curious landscape. Horseback riding paths and hiking trails wind through this terrain. Riding lessons on the premises take care of beginners and a forty-horse stable accommodates all riders’ equestrian levels.

For nature lovers, 200-year-old trees, flowering shrubs, an orchid garden and coffee plants decorate the property. An Endangered Species Nursery harbors macaws, toucans, parrots and emus. The Monkey Island forms part of the nursery and has a family of Tufts Capuchins being attended by a team of biologists. As an ongoing project, scarce Brazilian fauna is being planted in its natural habitat on the grounds. Polka dot game hens run harum-scarum, while peacocks, parakeets and other wild birds also keep eyes busy.

Rustic-chic lodgings
Comfort is top priority at Fazenda Capoava. Guestrooms come in a variety of accommodations, from the secluded chalets on the lake to the main house lodging to the two-story chalets connected in a townhouse fashion. Fireplaces make for comfy nights. Individual room hammocks, an Indian legacy, are great for relaxing after horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tennis or volleyball. Two saunas are available near the pool area.

Weekends are livelier than weekdays, with live music in the evenings, and sunset or full moon horse rides, calendar permitting. Whether you are a city slicker looking for relaxation in the country or a seasoned equestrian at home on the range, Fazenda Capoava offers top-notch rural tourism, Brazilian-style.

For reservations: (0 xx 11) 2118 – 4100 in It or reservas@fazendacapoava.com.br Site: www.mdiggs.com

Previous articles by Marilyn:

Dune Walk in Northeastern Brazil
Everything’s Coming Up Roses in Holambra, the City of Flowers
Around Brazil: Embu Das Artes – History, Headdresses and Handicrafts
Full Steam Ahead! Chilean Vineyards by Train
A Trip to Easter Island: Beyond the Obvious
Atacama Desert, Chile – I Came, I Saw, I Explored
Journey through the Fjords of Patagonia
Around Brazil: Jap Mountains, When Nature Calls
Around Brazil: Living the Amazon
Brazil: A Spa that Takes Care of Body and Soul
Around South America: Puyuhuapi – Chile’s Patagonian Secret
Around South America: Looking for Adventure in Chile’s Patagonia
Around South America: Road Trip through a Forgotten Land – Aisn, Chile
Conquering Cape Horn
Around Brazil: Hang-Gliding Over Rio
Around Brazil: Sailing in Paraty
Santiago: Gateway to the Chilean Experience
The Enchanting Easter Island
Nature and Nurturing in Chile’s Lake Region
Chilean Patagonia: Going to the Ends of the Earth
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 2
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 1
Spending the Night in the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Brazil: Happy Moonlit Trails To You
Brazil: Paradise Found – Fernando de Noronha

March 29, 2010

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Could you tell me how Easter is celebrated in Brazil? Thank you.

— Roger

After Christmas, Easter is the most significant Christian holiday in Brazil. Like most everywhere else, it represents a time of rebirth, new beginnings and chocolate eggs! Time to give chocolate eggs away to anyone we like, relatives, friends, and especially for the kids.

On Good Friday, “Sexta-feira da Paixão”, there’s the traditional Easter Lunch. The meal is usually a delicious Bacalhoada (Cod fish, potatoes, eggs and olive oil).

It can be any fish, the only thing forbidden during Easter is red meat.

Vanessa

What is the common order of name for a married woman? She takes on her husbands surname and keeps her existing surname?

— Don

Yes Don,

That is certainly the common order.

Although of late it is not always the case that a woman will take her husband’s name, like other countries.

Thanks for you question,

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

By Jose Santiago
March 29, 2010

In Brazil, a divorce can only be filed after one year of the Judgment or the Public Deed of Separaão” or Separation of the couple, meaning only once the couple has been legally separated for more than one year can the parties file. In some cases if the couple can prove that they have been living apart from more than two (2) years consecutively they can get automatically divorced, without having to be first separated.

While separated, the parties cannot legally marry again in any state nor in any country, otherwise the Brazilian Courts can impose sanctions on the parties.

Before January 5, 2007 in order to get separated or divorced a couple was always required to hire an attorney and go to the Court System which has always been very bureaucratic and slow, this was mandatory even if it was amicable. However, since then, the Law Number 11.441/2007 created a much cheaper and faster solution, an extra-judicial separation or divorce, meaning the parties do not have to file a lawsuit and go throughout the Judicial process. Nonetheless, the parties must still hire at least one common attorney, which, in this case, is called the Single Intervenient Attorney.

This is how it works: if the couple has no minor nor incapable offspring and has agreed in the dissolution of their marriage and its terms (settlement), you can hire a single or common attorney and a public notary who will act together and execute a Public Deed of Separation or Divorce, which can be achieved in a few days only.

For foreign nationals that live outside Brazil, there is an even better option, you can get your Separation or Divorce through a Power of Attorney. I have already worked in several Separations via Power of Attorney, in other words, parties do not have to be present in Brazil for their Separation nor their Divorce in such cases. Basically they only must retain a single attorney, issue Power of Attorneys, and share all the related costs.

Please note that Congress is currently working on a new law which will end the waiting period to get a divorce, and also end the separation procedure once for all, which will allow couples to get their divorce directly.

Jose C. Santiago
Attorney at Law
Brazil: Advantages and Disadvantages of Importing a Vehicle to Brazil
Changes to Investment Visa Law
How Foreign Individuals Can Invest in the Brazilian Stock Market
Non-Resident Bank Accounts for Foreigners in Brazil
Brazil: General Guidelines for Foreigners who Intend to Open a Brazilian Corporation
Brazil: Myths and Facts Regarding the Investment Visa Program
Brazil: The Importance of a Title Search When Buying Real Estate
Brazil: Restrictions for Foreigners When Buying Rural Properties
Brazil: Having a Child Abroad for US Citizens
Careful When Buying Pre-Construction Properties in Brazil!
Understanding Brazil: Sending Money Home from a Real Estate Deal
The Closing Process in Brazil
Permanent Visas in Brazil
Brazil: International Money Transfers
Brazil: Squatters Rights (Usucapião) – Be Aware!
Brazil: Annual Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number Valid
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 3
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 2
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 1
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 4
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 3
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 2
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 1
8 Reasons to Invest in Brazil’s Real Estate
The Brazilian Resident Investor Program for Foreigners
Brazil: Annual Required Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number
Legal Aspects of Acquiring Real Estate in Brazil

By Alison McGowan
March 29, 2010

On first sight the Pousada Chal Oasis looks like a collection of hippy-like doll’s houses set in a multicoloured school playing ground, and indeed the chalets are small and basic with low entrances and an intriguing mixture of 2 showers- hot and salty and cold and clear. However, to say all this is to ignore the undeniable charm of the place, the warmth of the welcome, and the feeling of tranquility everywhere. Chalets may be small but they are comfortable with air conditioning; the roof may leak in places but the breakfasts are great; you may be totally off the beaten track but the wi-fi works. Sitting here in the thatched restaurant, watching the small boats come and go from the mainland I could happily stay for a while longer.

Galinhos is a small town situated on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and a river”, or more accurately an “arm of the sea” (brao do mar). It can only be reached by buggy from São Miguel do Gostoso/ Natal or by boat from the mainland and the difficulty of access means that few tourists come here except on holiday weekends and even fewer from outside Brazil. With only a few pousadas, no traffic except horse and cart and only a few basic local shops, Galinhos is a sleepy sort of place with great charm, one where locals greet you warmly in the street, and the kids smile and want to play with you. For somewhere beautiful which is really off the beaten track, it is hard to beat.

Not to be Missed
– horse riding
– horse and cart trips
– buggy trip down the beach to São Miguel do Gostoso
– boat trips to Salinas and Capim (dunes)

Starpoints
* location right by the jetty where you arrive
* breakfast and service
* tranquility

Try a Different Place if…
… you want nightlife or action

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

By Mark Taylor

Those who’ve watched the BBC’s comedy programme The Fast Show, which consists of rapid fire comedy sketches hence the name, will be familiar with the sketches about Channel Nuevo”. For those who haven’t seen it, “Channel Nuevo” is a series of sketches about a non-specific TV channel, set somewhere hot and sunny (South or Central America, or even Spain perhaps) and involves low productions values, scantily clad women, peculiar devices for sale, weather reports that are always “scorchio!” (hot!), and regular breaks to salute El Presidente! This sketch often comes to mind for me when watching Brazilian TV, at least it did when I first started watching.

Of course it’s a comedic stereotype, although pretty much all the Brazilian TV channels are not surprisingly struggling with low production values. But it’s not uncommon to see scantily clad women (usually in the background of a less scantily clad male presenter), and it’s also common to see various items (some a little strange) being sold at various hours on some channels. No saluting El Presidente though, at least not any more.

So aside from the stereotypes how is Brazilian TV characterised and how does it differ from TV in other countries? To start with, in Brazil there are several major television networks, such as Globo. Globo essentially has two channels, one traditional and one for news. The remaining channels can be a peculiar mix, such as those related to Evangelical Christianity, or others such as the Rural Channel where it seems to be 24/7 cow auctions.

Like any country, Brazil has its popular programmes, but these can be markedly different from other countries. One popular style of programme runs an entire afternoon during the weekend, and are designed as entertainment for all the family e.g. “Faustão” or “Caldeirão do Huck” (Huck’s Cauldron). The programmes are headed up by very well paid and famous celebrities, and are often a mix of quizzes, celebrity interviews, and popular music. Another peculiar favorite is a late night programme called “Ratinho” (Little Rat) referring again to the nickname of the male presenter who heads up the programme. It’s a mix of surreal and slapstick comedy, jokes, sometimes mixed up with political comment coming from Ratinho, usually to lascivious applause from the audience. One programme that is recommended, and an unusual and intelligent departure from some of the former, is Fantastico, if your Portuguese is up to it. Showing Sunday evening on Globo’s channel, it’s a news magazine programme covering both national and international items which are presented in relatively quick succession with often incisive reporting and interesting stories, more so than most if not all similar programmes I remember from the UK. The news programmes here as well are generally quite good, and aside from the national news are often internationally focused.

A group of programmes that aren’t markedly different, and would be hard to miss after just a few hours of channel surfing, are the “Novelas”, namely soap operas. These couldn’t be absent from a discussion of Brazilian TV. These are produced in an almost factory-like regularity from the likes of Globo, and like Mexican soap operas are famed around the world (for soap opera fans of course). A large number of Brazilians will be sitting in front of their TV at the appointed time, 5 days a week for some of the more popular soap operas, to try and catch up on the latest goings on. Soap operas can be lavish affairs, and are increasingly lavish often in the first few episodes. The recent soap opera “Senhora do Destino” featured an opening recreation of 60s Brazil, including sets, cars etc. all done to great effect. Then the story moved to present day and it became somewhat more normal and similar to its predecessors. There’s a cadre of celebrity actors and actresses who will move from one soap opera to the next, often reprising similar types of roles.

So if your Portuguese is up to it, and you want to while away a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, then you might want to tune into Caldeirão do Huck or Faustão. If you are missing your country of origin’s soap opera(s), then perhaps you can cure the absence with a dose of say Belissima. For some decent comedy try Casseta Planeta, or if you want something a little more intellectual then try tuning into Fantastico.

I should add that my experience is based on the typical viewing of a lower to middle class Brazilian family, namely my in-laws that I stayed with for over a year. I’m sure experiences will vary, and there are many channels out there to be surfed and explored.

What programmes do you enjoy watching on TV in Brazil? Send me an email and I’ll add your comment to the article.

Reader’s Comments:

…you forgot, in your article about Brazilian TV, to mention Jo Soares, TV Globo, every night from Monday to Friday, one of the best talk shows on Brazilian TV, well, at least, I think so.
— Mailha

Hi, Mark, liked your article. One correction about ‘The Fast Show’ – it’s called ‘Chanel 9’ (‘pronounced ‘shanel nain’). It’s more likely to be set in a southern European country than a Latin American one, as it is frighteningly similar to Spain’s TVE and Italy’s RAI.

I’ve watched bits of Record TV on satellite in the UK, and it’s nice to be able to see telenovelas in the original Portuguese (growing up in Southeast Asia I’ve seen them dubbed in Chinese, Malay and Indonesian!)

I haven’t been to Brazil yet, but know that it ain’t like Portugal, where people will offer to speak in English if you can’t understand them. That said, at least Brazilians actually pronounce vowels, which makes listening comprehension so much easier.

Abraos

— Ken

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

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 Eleanor Stanford
March 10, 2010

Just so you don’t think we’re completely negligent parents, recently we had our baby’s first doctor’s appointment.

We got a referral for a homeopathic pediatrician, which we were pretty excited about, given what we’d heard about medicine in general in Brazil (basically that it’s still practiced like it’s the 1950s).

Pediatricians always give a remedinho” – a little medicine – even if there’s nothing wrong with the child, just so the parents feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

Doctors generally don’t feel the need to explain the reasoning behind any treatment, and parents are generally content to accept it.

So we had high hopes for our homeopath, even though his office was all the way on the other side of the city, and thus necessitated navigating Salvador’s traffic, the multilane, crisscrossing highways that rarely have street signs.

The doctor was a white-haired dude in a white coat. He barely looked up from his notepad or changed inflection as he took a cursory medical history.

Then he rubbed his hands with alcohol gel, examined the baby, and weighed him.

He asked if we had vaccinated him, and I was prepared for more condescending scare tactics like the ones I’d been subject to in the States.

I guess even the homeopaths here follow the party line, I thought.

But when we explicitly asked what his philosophy on vaccinations was, he opened up a bit more. Technically I’m not allowed to advocate against them, he said, but no, I don’t believe in them, and my own son isn’t vaccinated.

He went on to tell us what the vaccine schedule here is, and which might be the more urgent ones to get, if you do vaccinate.

I actually felt more informed and empowered than I had before the appointment.

And while he wasn’t exactly a scintillating personality, the doc did kind of grow on me.

At the end, he did give us our little remedinho – a homeopathic prescription for bug bites, one for the baby’s digestion, and another in case we decide to vaccinate, to help mitigate any potential reactions.

We congratulated ourselves for finding the office among the labyrinthine medical buildings, for understanding the doctor’s Portuguese, for generally being such responsible parents.

Republished with kind permission from www.thegoldenpapaya.com.

Previous articles by Eleanor:

Brazil: The Nanny

By Kieran Gartlan
March 10, 2010

A big thanks to everyone who attended last week’s meet up at

To read about our previous meet ups:

www.gringoes.com São Paulo Meet up “debrief”

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March 10, 2010

It is once again time to find out who will call themselves the most knowledgeable person in São Paulo for the rest of this year, via the Annual Brains of São Paulo competition organized by the Round Table Brazil No.1 – São Paulo.

This fundraiser is a Trivial Pursuits type of quiz for teams of four with questions on eight different subjects such as Sports, History, Current Affairs, General Knowledge and so on.

The 2010 Brains of São Paulo competition will be held this year at the St. Francis College, Rua Blgica, 399 – Jd. Europa on Saturday March 20th from 18:00 prompt.

As always, all proceeds will go to the Charity Fund of the Round Table Brasil No.1 – São Paulo, which supports various charitable projects, in and around São Paulo. In the past these included several orphanages, homes for children with AIDS or cancer, social projects in favelas like pre-school projects and day-care centers for children of working women.

All support is greatly appreciated and even if you are unable to participate we would be grateful if you could pass on the details of the Brains Night to others (or even make a donation!).

Entries for the Brains Night are limited to about 40 teams on a first come, first serve basis, so enter now to guarantee your place.

The cost of entry is R$25 per contestant (free t-shirt included), payable on the night.

If you wish to enter, please complete the form on the website at

0 Comments/by

March 9, 2010

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I’d like to ask what is the general policy on tipping in Brazil?

My limited experience is that you don’t normally tip taxi drivers or waiters unlike the UK where it is expected but delivery men seem to expect a tip. Is this correct and is there anybody else that I should or should not tip?

Thanks,

— John

Hello John,

You’re right, taxi drivers don’t receive a tip, but it’s nice to leave the change. Normally you tip waiters 10%, but be aware that it’s often already included in the bill. Delivery drivers should be tipped also, usually R$5 is good enough. Similarly for the gas station attendant.

As for the rest, you should evaluate if there’s a need to tip or not. I try to tip everyone I can, of course if I’m already paying a good price for the service I don’t bother, for example the people that come to fix the Internet, but everyone else expect some change. There’s no-one you should not tip.

I hope it helps,

Thanks for your question,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

Years ago as I drove into my laneway in Salvador I saw workers from the municipality cutting the grass on my street. After I entered the house, which is surrounded by high wall, the intercom rang. The audio was not good and my Portuguese at the time was even worse. I heard somebody ask for what I thought was “agua” and assumed it was the parched workers asking me if I could bring them water.

I went to the gate with water and cups. I opened the door and handed water to the two men standing there. They looked at me with blank stares, sheepishly drank the water and left. I saw them get into a garbage truck and drive off. The grass-cutters, meanwhile, were still hard at work.

It was only after mentioning to my Brazilian wife the garbage collectors’ strange expressions when being given water that she realized what had happened. When she stopped laughing she explained the garbage collectors were asking for their annual tip (it was just before Christmas). I had mistakenly heard a request for water. Our garbage wasn’t picked up for the next week or so and my wife’s family still laughs at that story almost a decade later.

— David

David! That hysterical! Thanks for sharing. ‘Aguaaaa’. You have mentioned something important, during Christmas you SHOULD tip everyone that does anything for you monthly. Like the “porteiro”, the garbage service, mail service etc. It is nice to give a good tip like R$100,00, if you can of course, or even a Panetone, or a bottle of wine… you know… something nice, that represents a good Thank You for the entire year. Best Rgds

— Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers