May 30, 2010

Meet Don Fenstermaker who has lived in Brazil for 5 years. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

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

I was born in Toledo, Ohio, but spent most of my life working from Texas or Florida. I sold my business in 2002, purchased a motor home and toured the United States.

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

I arrived in early 2005 with my partner to visit his family, stayed with his friends in Cabo Frio, on the beach. Fell in love with the place. The apartment on the floor below us was for sale. Three bedrooms, two baths, furnished, less than 50,000 USD. We bought it, moved in later that year.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

That it was too good to be true. A beautiful country, fabulous beaches, total freedom and health care for all it’s citizens.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Home Depot, Publix Supermarket, their convenience, prices, quality and selection.

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

Getting a drivers license, the three hour written test in Portuguese was a challenge. I discovered the Brazilian way, Jeitinho.

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

Seeing Rio at night from the Sugar Loaf.

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

I feel free here. Over the years I felt our freedoms in the States were being taken away.

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

Anyplace along the beach in Cabo Frio.

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

Not really.

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

The overall attitude of the people, their friendly ways.

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?

I have most of the social basics down, and when on my own I can function, but would be surprised if I am ever come near to being fluent at my age. I am taking lessons, so who knows.

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

Don’t take things too seriously, stress can ruin a good day at the beach.

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

Get a guide good guide book like Lonely Planet.

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

Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
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

May 30, 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.

Great site! So I’ve recently been dating a lovely Brazilian woman, living here in the USA. She’s great but she has this belief that men only cheat and leave and her jealousy is really causing me to worry. On our very first date she made a jealous comment about a woman she saw looking at me from a car as I was walking away. That kind of scared me, I have to admit.

Is this a common thing among Brazilian women? Also, do Brazilian men cheat constantly? I read another answer and you said that a polygamous person would be considered a pervert; but the impression I get is that Brazilian men aren’t very faithful and so Brazilian women are left in a constant state of worry/insecurity.

Also, I’m concerned that if she’s so worried that I’ll reject her for someone else, and then eventually she decides that I won’t, and I’m “safe”, will she immediately lose interest? My gut feeling is that the answer is “yes”, but I’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks

Hello, Sean,

Thanks for coming!

It’s funny you are not the first gringo to ask me about that… so, out of curiosity I just googled and there are 355 statements saying Brazilians are jealous. Not so much really, if you compare with the 7,090 saying Brazilians love soccer.

One should give Google credit, Brazilians love soccer but are Brazilians utterly jealous? According to some sources Brazilians are jealous of everyone and everything and especially of each other.

But being Brazilian maybe that entitles me to say it’s bullshit, right? Statistically speaking, are most Brazilians jealous, is there something like that? I don’t believe being jealous is a countrywide thing; maybe it’s a PMS thing, that’s for sure.

About this belief that your girlfriend has that men cheat… as a woman I must agree with her. But again I think it’s a matter of gender not nationality.

As a friend Sean, I’d tell you she was probably cheated on before, and that must have hurt her a lot, and now she is in love with you and afraid to be cheated on again.

I’m not trying to defend your Brazilian girlfriend, I’m just saying that feeling unsafe and insecure and being jealous is only human, specially when you like someone. Maybe you’re too cute? Now really, talk to her and ask her about the things you’re asking me. Jealousy can be fun but not if it’s crazy. She will understand.

If she doesn’t joke back and you are too cute then send me another letter.

Ps: My name is Vanessa, I’m Brazilian and I’m jealous.

Best regards and good luck.

Vanessa

Readers Comments:

I really like your Ask a Brazilian column. Some really great tips that you have shared!

Today I was reading the rather funny post regarding Jealousy – this is something that I have often discussed with Brazilian & foreign friends a like. As a Brit-Brazilian I have to say that I believe that jealousy is extremely obvious in the dating realm in Brazil, or especially São Paulo where I am from. I have a lot of family and friends in Brazil, have recently moved back to Brazil but grew up in the UK and spent a number of years in Spain and Germany. Comparing the dating and relationships in Europe to Brazil then there is a clear difference about jealousy.

From my own personal experience: many see jealousy as almost a game or a way to show love. If you are not jealous then you don’t really love your partner – and this goes both ways with men and women. So it has become ingrained in the culture that you should be jealous and should show this to your partner so that he/she knows you love them.

However, now statistically I cannot say whether Brazilian men cheat more than any other nationality, but they certainly talk more about doing so. Plus I know more Brazilian men that have cheated than their North European counterparts (take Italians though and there might be a competition). Put another angle on this, I also know more Brazilian WOMEN that have cheated in comparison to any other nationality, therefore that also says a lot…

So taking into account these observations and the common tendency to think jealousy is a cute way of showing how much you love someone, then you will have this crazy Brazilian girlfriend/boyfriend that cannot stand it if the opposite sex so much as looks in the direction of their partner…

But I completely agree with your conclusion Vanessa, Sean should definitely talk to his girlfriend first and let them know that this is not considered normal in the US. Unless of course, she really has been cheated on previously, in which case there is another dimension to consider…

Anyway, just wanted to add a comment to your post. Hope you don’t mind.

— Ana

I am Scottish and have lived in Brasil for 12 years .

In my opinion Brazilian women are very jealous because men treat their women very poorly.

When was the last time you saw a Brasileiro pull a chair back for this woman at a restaurant or anywhere else for that matter, usually finding their chair and leaving the woman to find her own.

Walking on the outside to protect their woman from the traffic and passing pedestrians, they do not even do this for their children.

The men openly stare at other women as if their woman was not there.

Male conversation regularly includes the amount of women they can be seeing at the same time.

Maybe because there is completion for a man due to the imbalance of men and women, 6 to 1 in some places. So there is always another woman just around the corner.

I live in the north east, Aracaju, and the amount of older, 30’s 40’s women with children and no husband is astounding.

Yes, Brazilian women are jealous and with good reason!!

— Anon

In response to the article Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy, I felt obligated to add my comments. I am an American anthropologist, living in Salvador for three years, married to a wonderful Brasileira, and doing research for a book on Brasil. Interestingly, one of the topics of my research is this very subject. I have been conducting research on common law relationships (i.e., many Brasileiros prefer to live together and have families rather than legally marry); the best of both worlds (i.e., Brasilian men prefer not to marry in order to maintain the option of leaving a relationship when they encounter another women they prefer more, or as is in most cases due to the lack of finances to support a family); the search for fidelity among Brasilian women (the fact that many Brasileiras actually are in a constant state of worry and insecurity because they believe that most Brasileiros “trair”); and marriage to foreigners.

Of course, I agree with you in that it depends on the persons involved and is not a national characteristic. However, this does present an interesting question in terms of whether or not this tendency could be considered an imbedded cultural characteristics and which incidentally happens to be the focus of my research.

At this point, I have found that both Brasilian men and women as well cheat to a large degree particularly among the younger age groups. Also, that the tendency to be overly jealous among Brasileiros (men and women) is a characteristic that exists not only in Brasil but throughout most of Latin America.

Now, there are many causative factors some of which are waning interest after a long period of time in a relationship; the overabundance of single, extremely beautiful women; the boldness of Brasileiras in their attempts to seduce men they find attractive regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not; and the weakness of Brasileiros to resist the lure of infidelity.

Clearly, my research is not nearly complete but certain patterns have definitely been revealed. As for PMS, I had the most difficult of times adjusting in my own relationship and, in my opinion, Sean should be more concerned with PMS than jealousy.

— Neil

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: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
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

By Regina Scharf
May 30, 2010

Brazil is still very far from fulfilling its touristic potential. Despite its 7,500 kilometers (4,300 miles) of coast, the Amazon rainforest, the Igua Falls and the cultural riches, the country attracts less attention than it deserves. Last year, only 6.5 million tourists landed in the country. This seems huge if you remember that this number was a meager 1.5 million in 1990. On the other hand, it is nothing if you compare it to the tourism influx of Spain, a particularly coveted destination but also a much smaller country. Spain attracted 52 million foreigners last year – lower than its average, thanks to the global crisis.

According to the Brazilian Tourism Ministry, last year 5.3 billion dollars were spent by foreign tourists in Brazil. This industry is responsible for at least 2 million jobs, a number that could triple if we include informal jobs plus bars and restaurants. Again, this may look good, but note that Brazilian tourists spent 10.89 billion dollars abroad in 2010. So, we are better exporters than importers of tourism.

There are several reasons that might explain the relative lack of interest for Brazilian attractions. First, the fact that Brazil is seen as a dangerous destination (the drug business, kidnappings and other sorts of crimes are broadly covered by the international media). Secondly, for many decades the Brazilian government made a very poor job in advertising the country’s beauty. Most of the material distributed abroad in the 70s and 80s would display naked ladies by the beach or dancing during Carnival. This stimulated sexual tourism and, somehow, may have scared families and conservative travelers. Embratur, the federal agency responsible for the promotion of tourism, has progressed considerably in this department (see picture to left from 2009). Then, you have the chronic problem of lack of infrastructure (almost no railway system, roads that are not always in good shape) and of professionals poorly trained to offer a good service in hotels and restaurants. Also, here, there was considerable improvement in the last decades.

In December, the Brazilian government announced its Plano Aquarela 2020 (Watercolor Plan 2020) that aims to double the number of foreign visitors in the next ten years. The 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, that will be hosted by the country, should be instrumental to reach this target.

Also in December, the government published the results of a yearly poll of foreign tourists interviewed in airports. It tries to detects how the country’s image is evolving. According to the 2009 poll:

– 45% of the interviewees said the the population is the best attraction factor of Brazil
– 23% mentioned the natural beauty
– 18% prefered the beaches and the ocean
– 14% chose the weather
– 9% chose the diversity
– 68% considered the quality of the products and services offered high or very high
– 63% used the internet as their main source of information to organize the trip

All in all, Brazil seems to be well positioned to, finally, attract a larger number of visitors and boost an industry that can grow considerably.

Republished with kind permission from Brazilian Baroque
10 Unforgettable Brazilian Dishes You’ve Never Heard Of
How to Talk to a Brazilian

By Alison McGowan
May 30, 2010

Pousada do Capão definitely classifies as one of the most hidden of all the hidden pousadas, set in 38,000 square metres of rolling green land just outside the village of São Gonalo do Rio das Pedras near Diamantina in Minas Gerais.

There are 4 rooms in the main house and eight chalets dotted around the grounds, each with its own veranda and hammock. Rooms themselves are basic, and none have TV, air-conditioning, heating or a fridge, but they are spacious and comfortable nevertheless, with good lighting, excellent showers, and a wonderful sense of peace.

Inside the main house, guests mingle round the communal table over breakfast and dinner, sharing stories and chatting to Brazilian/American hosts, Marcinha and Peter. Peter is a former chef and his combination of local ingredients together with a formidable knowledge of interesting global cuisine makes for some mouth-wateringly excellent dishes.

Although only 34 kilometres from Diamantina it takes a good hour and a half to get to the Pousada do Capão as it is all dirt road along what was formerly the Estrada Real or “Royal Way”. However the trip in itself is worthwhile for the amazing scenery and the arrival in the pousada is just a continuation of a wonderful day. This would be an ideal base in the future for a yoga retreat a painting holiday, or a historical road trip, but for the moment it’s just a great base for foodies or for exploring the surrounding countryside or just for chilling out. We will definitely be back!

The colonial village of São Gonalo do Rio das Pedras is a rare and hidden gem – a place where time seems to have stood still for centuries. This is a place where visitors are greeted with a smile, where everybody knows everybody, where traditional crafts still survive, folklore and medicinal remedies are passed down through the generations and where the whole village turns out for the festivities of Nossa Senhora do Rosario and the Frango Caipira (free-range chicken!).

Surrounding the village is an area of extraordinary natural beauty, of crazy rock formations, caves, waterfalls and pre-historic paintings and the whole region forms part of the historical diamond and gold circuit. The Estrada Real-or Royal Way, built in the early 18th century, passes through São Gonalo en-route from Diamantina to Serro, Ouro Preto, Tiradentes and finally Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and although much of the road itself is now just a dirt track, the villages it passes en-route are testament to a time when this was one of the richest places on earth. For lovers of history, geology, and local culture you could not find a richer region to visit in Brazil – or one that is so wonderfully unspoilt.

Not To Be Missed
– village of São Goncalo do Rio das Pedras
– trekking to Pico do Itambe/Serra do Raio
– pedra da Rapadura/Grota Seca waterfall
– traditional cachaca distillery Velha Serrana
– festival of Nossa Senhora do Rosario in October
– festival of frango caipira (free range chicken) in November
– handicrafts: rugs, embroidery, tapestry
– natural cosmetics: soaps shampoos, lotions & conditioners

Starpoints
* beautiful location and spacious grounds
* atmosphere of peace and tranquility
* amazing gourmet food included in price
* Peter & Marcia and staff

Try a Different Place if…
…if you don’t have a car or you want a fast internet connection

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 d’Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airão, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, 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 Stephen Thompson
May 30, 2010

An The Lula Football Curse and the Lula Olympic Nightmare
Are China and Brazil Ganging up on Google?
China-Brazil Relations: Amnesia or Ingratitude?
Running After My Boss
Brazil: Run for your life!
If God is a Brazilian…
Amazon Exhibition in Tokyo
Other Places to Speak Portuguese (Apart From Brazil): Macau
Brazilian Music in Translation
China is Quite Popular in Brazil These Days
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 1
Brazil: What’s in a Name?
Brazil: Go East, Young Man
Brazil: This Is The Life I’ve Always Wanted
Brazil: Stolen Computer
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 2
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 1
Getting your Brazilian Steak Fix in China
Brazil: Birth and Dying
Imaginary Voyages to Brazil
Brazil: Probably the Best Country in the World to Live In
Great Brazilian Inventions: The Kilo Restaurant
Brazil: Things you wanted to know… and will never know!
Brazil: Expensive, Trendy, and Extremely Beautiful
Brazil: Not Really British Enough
Package Holidays to Brazil are Back On Track
Brazil: Reverse Culture Shock
Brazil: The Legal System
Brazil: Saying Goodbye to a Bilingual Kid
How to get Brazilian Citizenship
Getting Work in Brazil
Acquiring and Running a Small Business in Brazil
Brazil: To Free Or Not To Free
Brazil: Trail Biking in Chapada Diamantinha
Brazil: So Near, but So Far Apart
How to Get Into University in Brazil
The Pleasure of Driving a Car in Brazil
Brazil: The Bairro of Flamengo in Ro de Janeiro
Brazil: The Information Technology Law
Managing a Brazilian bank account
Brazil’s Middle Class Ruled By Political Apathy

By Jose Santiago
May 30, 2010

The new real estate rental law, known in Brazil as Nova Lei do Inquilinato” came into effect on January 25, 2010 and since then it must be applied to both new and old rental/lease agreements of real estate properties all over Brazil. Here are the major changes between landlord and tenant created by this new law:

1. The tenant who did not provide the landlord with any contract guarantee (such as “fiana, seguro fiana or cauão”) is subject to a lawsuit whereby he or she must pay the landlord within 15 days. No other legal remedies are available to tenant, either pay or be evicted. Before this new law an agreement without a guarantee would take a landlord forever to be able evict a tenant;

2. Currently if a tenant is behind only one payment they are already subject to an eviction lawsuit and have 15 days to pay or be evicted;

3. In the case that the tenant decides to rescind the agreement before its term, he or she will have to pay a fine proportional to the period left before the contract expires;

4. Landlords now have to pay to tenants an indemnification if they rescind the contract before its term, according to the cases already prescribed by the old law, such as for his or her own use/necessity.

With these new rules more landlords will offer properties to more tenants, and there will be less bureaucracy and red tape. Landlords will now start offering their properties without the necessity of any rental guarantee, which will help not only the real estate market, but also anyone looking for a real estate property for rent.

For foreigners or residents, even temporary residents in Brazil, it has always been impossible to get one of the rental guarantees in Brazil. This caused problems in finding and also renting a property here, unless, of course, someone would give their property as collateral (“fiador”) to the Landlord as guarantee, which is not common at all.

However, now the rental process has been simplified and the eviction lawsuits have been clarified it will make landlords less strict. They will not ask for the old guarantees that always created barriers and headaches when finding and renting a property in Brazil.

Jose C. Santiago
Attorney at Law
Brazil: The 2010 Income Tax Return Rule Changes
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

May 10, 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 would like to know if indeed most Brazilian women get Brazilian waxes. In the USA, this is a small minority of women, and American men are more accustomed to the “natural” female body during intimacy. However, would Brazilian men find that shocking? Would they be put off if a woman did not have a Brazilian wax?

— Melanie

Hello Melanie,

Yes, indeed most Brazilians do wax. Not exactly in the way you call the Brazilian wax but most wax, yes, definitely.

Now, if Brazilians men would find it shocking not to wax… I don’t think so. That would be weird right? You shouldn’t worry about that I think.

Thanks for your question,

Vanessa

I was in Santos/Gruaruja,SP. for approximately 4 months. I really enjoyed my stay but was somewhat taken aback on the cost of everyday items that we utilize on a daily basis (i.e. electronics). I say, things here in the US are very accessible and less expensive. Could you please explain the reason for this.

— Yesenia

Hi, Yesenia,

You’re right, electronics are, compared to the US, very expensive here in Brazil. I don’t know all the reasons exactly, but there are taxes on electronics imports, that must double the price, and also the taxes over the electronic industry in very high. Brazil’s National ICT Policy went through some major changes over the past two decades. These changes corresponded with the major political shifts in the government.

Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
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

By Lance Belville
May 10, 2010

The San Francisco International Film Festival’s Founder’s Directing Award, annually awarded to a master of world cinema, went to Brazil’s Walter Salles this year (pictured left and below). It places him in the company of the world’s greatest film directors including previous winners Akira Kurasawa, Robert Bresson and Satyajit Ray.

While the body of Salles’ internationally recognized work hardly puts him into such elite company, at least quantity-wise, it would be hard to imagine a man of the cinema with more erudition and warm humanity in his work on screen and off than the well-spoken Salles.

He appeared and accepted his award before an enthusiastic house at the San Francisco award ceremony with unassuming grace. He delivered a few off-the-cuff remarks and, later, fielded questions from the audience with an easy command of a wide range of cultural references that bespoke his deep philosophical commitment to the life of the mind. It was a revealing look into the cinematic credos of an exciting and often challenging filmmaker. The ceremony also included a short montage of his work, a 7-minute short film and the showing of a work-in-progress.

At the heart of his artistic vision, as he described it to this audience, is his view of life as a journey that all must make toward self-awareness and a place, spiritual and geographic. Politically, he believes that Brazil in the 1990’s, when he began his directing career, can be seen as a collective journey from the chaotic days of 25 years of military dictatorship. He sees Brazil as a country that is itself on a journey toward social and economic justice for all its citizens.

According to Salles, “Human beings are nomads, leaving a record behind. Look at the cave painting at Lascaux. And the Odyssey, it is a road story.”

His preoccupation with people on the move was on display in the rough cut of a work-in-progress documentary about the people and places behind Jack Kerouac’s road novel, On The Road. Salles had been mulling over the idea for more than a decade with offers to make a feature film version of the novel itself appearing and disappearing over the years. Then, in 2008, he took a film crew and went on the Kerouac road, traveling to the places in the book and along the way interviewing people who knew Kerouac at the time and a few who didn’t but know and love the book.

Salles speculated that this travel theme that illuminates his life and his films comes from his childhood and adolescence when he, himself was “on the road.” His father was a diplomat and he lived in many countries including spending his early adolescence in Paris. “Drifting from latitude to latitude gives me a kind of Rashomon point of view.”

Salles relates that at first he hated Paris, but he came to love it, all the while yearning for his return to a permanent place and home in Brazil. It was a search and a yearning that he feels has never left him. And indeed, his best-known films, Central Station and Motorcycle Diaries, were both in a sense “road pictures,” about people finding themselves through travel.

The Salles’ Paris apartment was above a kind of art house cinema and the 12-year-old Walter soon took to sneaking down as often as possible to catch the flicks. So often, in fact, that the manager often let him in without paying. It was probably what turned his imagination and his considerable drive toward the making of films.

The search for place as a key to self-discovery finds an extension Salles’ conviction that film is collaborative creation, another Salles theme in his award ceremony remarks. Linha de Passe, his 2008 film, which was also shown at the festival, illustrates this strand in the fabric of Salles’ work. He co-directed it with theatre director Daniela Thomas with whom he has co-directed before. All but one of the crew behind the camera were cinema newcomers, a strategy he has also employed before. And the actors in front of the camera were likewise newcomers, with the exception of Vincius de Oliveira. He was a newcomer himself twelve years earlier playing Josu, the lost little boy in Central Station.

Salles has often used newcomers. He has a record of being vividly interested in helping to develop the coming generation of cinema artists. But on a more personal note he feels that, “The enthusiasm and daring of newcomers is almost as good as experience.” He is willing to gamble his own vast experience and resources on the drive and enthusiasm of his newcomers. On a more personal note, he said that he and co-director Thomas filming Linha de Passe in 2008 wanted to recapture the excitement of their first film together, the 1995 Foreign Land, when they themselves were excited newcomers. The gamble paid off for Salles and his youthful collaborators at the Cannes Film Festival. Although an experienced stage actress, film first timer Sandra Corvelon, playing the mother of the four struggling brothers in Linha de Passe, won Best Actress honors and Salles and Thomas were nominated for the Palme d’Or.

Linha de Passe is also playing in this film festival, although it is a two-year-old film and the festival usually features more recent output. Salles described this picture, too, as a kind of road film. It is the story of a family of four half brothers and their hard-working mother, Cleuza. All are struggling together to find themselves and their place in the São Paulo megalopolis.

Although the story takes place within the confines of the family’s tiny favela home and the streets and apartments of São Paulo, it is very much the road picture that Salles describes it as being. All move forward toward a destiny for which they dream, sweat and steal. One of the brothers is a motorcycle delivery boy, a dangerous job that is wheels on pavement, literally as well as symbolically as fast and dangerous as the lives being lived around him.

Another brother works in a gas station and literally services the cars that are passing along the streets of the city. This brother’s own traveling is spiritual as he struggles to find and hold his fundamentalist Christian faith.

The Vincius de Oliveira character is that of a talented young soccer player desperately trying to run, kick and bribe his way into the professional ranks. His journey is across the turf of soccer fields until frustration sends him out into the streets and into the apartment of drug-taking middle class Paulistas.

The youngest of the four brothers, a dark-skinned twelve-year-old, searches for his father whom he never saw but knows was dark skinned and drove a bus. The kid rides buses through the city at all hours of the day and night, studying the darkest drivers hoping to discover his long-lost daddy. He ends by taking an empty bus himself and driving it toward his own future.

The picture ends with the now-jobless filling station attendant brother, bereft of faith and employment, nevertheless striding his way toward his uncertain future and the future of his siblings proclaiming, “Walk! Walk! Walk!”

The traveling theme is darker and more intense in Linha de Passe than in either Central Station or Diaries. Its strongest moments are as moving and often more disturbing than anything in Salles’ two previous films.

Salles’ willingness to share his time and resources extends to producing emerging Latin American directing talent. He produced Karim Ainouz’s first feature, Madam Sat, about Rio’s Lapa celebrated transvestite prostitute and was one of the producers on Fernando Meirelles’ international blockbuster, City of God, both in the same year, 2002!

The award ceremony opened with a 7-minute Salles short celebrating an interest in film, seen through the eyes of Salles (approximately!) 8-month old baby.

In recent years Brazil has regained its respected place in world cinema. Walter Salles is one of the important talents that helped bring this about.

Previous articles by Lance:

San Francisco Film Festival Features Six Brazilian films – Part 1
From the Birds to Fair Trade Certified Producers’ Brew, Brazil’s Best Coffee Gains Acclaim
They’ve Got An Awful Lot of Coffee In Brazil – And It’s Going Fair Trade!
Brazil: Then And Now Rondonia
Brazil: Nova Jerusalem’s Passion Play
Brazil: Up a Piece of Mountain to See a Batch of Theatre
Brazil: Mossoró’s Biggest Play on Earth Heads for Guinness Book of World Records
Brazil: House of Sand Impresses at San Francisco International Film Festival
Brazil: Lower City Helps Kick Off San Francisco International Film Festival
Brazil’s Kayapó Tribe
San Francisco International Film Festival: ALMOST BROTHERS Adds More Fans To Its List of International Devotees
San Francisco International Film Festival: Nelson Friere Documentary Enchants Audiences
San Francisco International Film Festival: Three Brazilian Films

By Stephen Thompson
May 10, 2010

It’s World Cup time again and we’re getting ready for some fun. The Brazilian team has been playing well and should play entertaining football, and I’m hoping to find a mega-screen on the beach to watch it at. South Africa’s will be the last cup before the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. The two countries have interesting similarities; they are joint-world champions for violent crime and social injustice. Both are classified as flawed democracies by the Economist Democracy Index. In both, white minorities control most of the wealth – despite the end of apartheid and eight years of Workers Party government. The poor find distraction from social exclusion through sport and carnival, while governments distract attention from their failure to pursue political reform with expensive events, when their education and health services desperately need more investment.

How will South African authorities protect fans from violent crime? The Brazilian authorities will be interested, presumably. Nervous Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has promised no mercy” for criminals during the games. They will pull out all stops – emergency services are to be diverted to venues, despite leaving the population uncovered.

Brazil has four years to come to a solution to similar problems. The government wants to create a good impression, to promote investment and tourism. Helicopters being shot down in Rio when the world’s media is here will not help this. Will they deal with crime by addressing the roots of the problem, such as lack of opportunity for poor people? Or attempt to cover it up with a massive heavy police presence, backed up by the Army? Lula came to power promising “zero hunger”, a slogan adapted from “tough on crime” New York major Guiliani with his “zero tolerance” on minor crime. Tramps were thrown in jail for street drinking and litterers got heavy fines. Now Brazil has invited Guiliani to Rio to help Lula clean up Rio. Do they really think they can start by stamping out jaywalking in Brazilian favelas? It’s hard to argue with making sure everybody had enough food to eat, but this is a completely different approach.

Unfortunately this kind of scenario is all too familiar and to be expected. In the run-up to the last Olympics in Beijing, the authorities suppressed dissent, restricted access to the country, and swept up undesirables including sex workers and street traders, while all the time promising greater openness. They justified this in the name of patriotism. The government spent 44 billion on the Games, even though 35 million of their citizens have live on less than US$120 per year. The money spent was equivalent to 10 years income for each one of these poorest people.

Now Brazil has signed up to both the football World Cup and the Olympics. As one former Brazilian professional soccer player said recently, “they steal from the public funds during normal times, imagine what they’ll do with all contracts for infrastructure. If it costs a million to build something, they’ll put in a bill for 3 million”.

Brazil has only recently paid off national debts which crippled investment on education for two decades. In the 1970s, governments built up massive debts with expensive projects such as the trans-Amazonian Highway. Now their pockets are flush from the commodities boom, they are at it again, with not one but two ruinously expensive, corruption fuelling mega-events.

Lula claims to represent the poor at home and developing countries abroad, but he acts more like a Roman emperor, pacifying his population with bread and circuses. He offers the poor “popular broadband” services, while cosying up to Fidel Castro, who doesn’t allow the Cuban people to have an Internet connection at all.

No one can blame Lula for loving football or supporting his favourite team, Corinthians, and there’s nothing wrong with his frequent use of football metaphors in his political speech. To borrow his style, he is now in the last minutes of injury time, and he has just scored two own goals against his team. The next coach to take over the Brazilian team will have ample reason to curse him in the dressing room.

You can contract Stephen via stephenthompson@hotmail.com.

To read previous articles by Stephen click the links below:

Are China and Brazil Ganging up on Google?
China-Brazil Relations: Amnesia or Ingratitude?
Running After My Boss
Brazil: Run for your life!
If God is a Brazilian…
Amazon Exhibition in Tokyo
Other Places to Speak Portuguese (Apart From Brazil): Macau
Brazilian Music in Translation
China is Quite Popular in Brazil These Days
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 1
Brazil: What’s in a Name?
Brazil: Go East, Young Man
Brazil: This Is The Life I’ve Always Wanted
Brazil: Stolen Computer
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 2
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 1
Getting your Brazilian Steak Fix in China
Brazil: Birth and Dying
Imaginary Voyages to Brazil
Brazil: Probably the Best Country in the World to Live In
Great Brazilian Inventions: The Kilo Restaurant
Brazil: Things you wanted to know… and will never know!
Brazil: Expensive, Trendy, and Extremely Beautiful
Brazil: Not Really British Enough
Package Holidays to Brazil are Back On Track
Brazil: Reverse Culture Shock
Brazil: The Legal System
Brazil: Saying Goodbye to a Bilingual Kid
How to get Brazilian Citizenship
Getting Work in Brazil
Acquiring and Running a Small Business in Brazil
Brazil: To Free Or Not To Free
Brazil: Trail Biking in Chapada Diamantinha
Brazil: So Near, but So Far Apart
How to Get Into University in Brazil
The Pleasure of Driving a Car in Brazil
Brazil: The Bairro of Flamengo in Ro de Janeiro
Brazil: The Information Technology Law
Managing a Brazilian bank account
Brazil’s Middle Class Ruled By Political Apathy

By Alison McGowan
May 10, 2010

What a wonderful surprise! The Pousada Luar do Rosario already came highly recommended by pousada owners and travellers alike, but we were not expecting such a wonderful welcome from hosts Margot and Gaia, or the rustic beauty of the pousada itself, the amazing views from both sides of the pousada – or indeed Margot’s superb home-made pasta!

The 9 suites here are all basic, and none have air conditioning, fans or fridges (the latter mainly because of fluctuations in electricity), but all are clean and comfortable with wonderful sheets, sweet-smelling towels and locally made natural beauty products. Downstairs there is a cozy lounge/library where guests mingle and chat over an excellent glass of wine before drifting though to the restaurant for dinner.

As I sit writing this, swaying in a hammock overlooking the colonial rooftops of Milho Verde silhouetted against the Serra do Espinhao mountains shrouded in early morning mist it is difficult to imagine a place I would rather be.

Milho Verde only became widely known (in Brazil at least) in 1981 when Milton Nascimento, one of Brazil’s most famous singers, used a picture of the Nossa Senhora do Rosario church on the cover of his LP “Caador de mim”. Outside of Brazil it is of course the town is still almost completely unknown – a hidden gem in the district of Serro, around 50 kms of dirt road south of Diamnatina and around 60 kms north of Serro itself.

Like all the colonial villages on the Estrada real, or Royal Way, Milho Verde has a history. It was officially founded in 1711 when the Portuguese crown installed a checkpoint and taxpoint for diamonds leaving the city of Arraial do Tijuco (Diamantina) and it was in Milho Verde that the legendary black slave Chica da Silva, was born, a woman who would subsequently become the most powerful person in Diamantina.

Nestling between the Serra do Espinhao on one side and the state national park of Pico de Itambe on the other, this is an area of exceptional natural beauty, and the village, outside holidays and festivals is just a sleepy place where travellers are still greeted with a smile. You won’t find a bank here, most phones don’t work, internet connection precarious and public transport is limited to one bus a day in each direction. But if you want to escape to somewhere beautifully and peacefully hidden, then this is the place to visit. Come now before they asphalt the road!

Not To Be Missed
– hospitality of hosts, Margot and Gaia
– location on the famous square of N. S. do Rosario
– locally made natural beauty products
– amazing mountain views
– Margot’s pasta

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 Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
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