By Mark Taylor
October 20th, 2005

When I first arrived in Brazil, other than battling with Portuguese, there was also the battle of trying to understand other colloquialisms that are used to communicate.

One example of this is the commonly used interjection psiu” (pronounced “pseeuu” or something like this). It is primarily used when someone’s trying to catch your attention, although at first I thought they were trying to shoot me with a blowdart or do an impression of a flat tyre.

Another similar sounding interjection is “shiu” (pronounced something like “sheeuu”). Rather than trying to catch your attention this is usually the opposite, and is a lighthearted attempt at basically telling you to “shut up”. In Britain at least there’s a a similar noise “shoo”, mostly for quite literally shooing say an animal away.

Usually used as an exclamation there’s “opa” (pronounced something like “op-ah”). It can be spoken in many situations, for example if you almost trip over, or even if you’re showing happiness as your mug of beer arrives. Of course it might be mistaken for a hiccup.

It’s also interesting to see how onomatopoeic words vary between English and Brazilian Portuguese. For example birds don’t go “tweet tweet” or “cheep cheep”, they go “piu-piu” (pronounced something like “peeoo-peeoo”). Piu-Piu is also the character that English speakers will know as Tweety, from the cartoon with Sylvester the cat.

Some more examples of this. A dog doesn’t bark “woof woof”, he goes “au au”. As my wife often reminds me in reference to our dog, he does speak Portuguese after all. Ducks go “qu qu”, a somewhat similar version of “quack quack”. A rooster does a somewhat similarly complex “cocoricó” as opposed to a “cockledoodledoo”. Last but not least, a pig goes “croinh croinh” which again is similar to an “oink oink”.

Can you think of any more interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia to educate us with? If so send an email to

Readers Comments:

When my wife first arrived in the US she would sneeze differently than Americans. When Americans sneeze “Ahhh-Cheww!!!”, but when Brazilians sneeze it sounds like “ha-chinha”!!! something about those “inhus” and “inhas” it always needs to be added!!!

— Eric Czerwinski

Re your article on exclamations and animals sounds- ‘ufa’ means ‘phew’. You didn’t put that one in. Also, “aie”, means “ouch” or’ah!’ (imagination helps with the second meaning!)

— Justin Fredrickson

Apparently, “ups” is used instead of “oops.” My Brazilian girlfriend sent me an email the other day that included the sentence, “ups….and you?” I was thinking of the package delivery company and couldn’t understand what the hell “Brown” had to do with me asking her how she slept. She quickly cleared things up and now I’m a smarter man.

— Bradley

Very interesting article. It’s so fun to learn about the slang in different languages. I especially love learning about onomatopoeias in other languages. I’ve been learning Spanish for about a year and a half now, and I speak it pretty well, so now I’m trying out Portuguese. I think it’s absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I will go into a Portuguese chat room and I’ve seen some really interesting onomatopoeias. For example, when they want to express laughter, they will say one of three things… “rsrsrsrs”, “kkkkkkkkk”, “kskksks”, or (the strangest one) “auhsauhsauhs.” I can understand how the first three could be laughter, but not the last one.

— Daren

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

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

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October 27, 2009

Practice English with friends, enjoy a pint of Guinness, and hear Sweet Home São Paulo play your favorite rock and roll classics. What better way to celebrate Halloween? This party has been organized in partnership with Come meet Morcegão himself and members of the Speak Up staff. Halloween costumes are optional.

29th October @ 9pm
Finnegan’s Pub
Rua Cristiano Viana, 358
(Pinheiros) São Paulo, SP

R$10 cover charge. To reserve a table, call Finnegan’s at (11) 3062-3232.

By John Fitzpatrick
October 27, 2009

Everybody in Brazil knows that São Paulo state governor Jose Serra is desperate to become the next President. However, he is playing coy and showing no sense of urgency in gaining the official nomination of his PSDB party. By doing so, he is in danger of losing the big lead he currently enjoys over the likely PT candidate, Dilma Rousseff. As Rousseff is the prodigy of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is currently astonishingly popular, she is in a good position to gain critical mass through her association with him. Serra is a heavyweight politician in comparison with Rousseff and has an impressive track record but he could find this is not enough unless he gets into action soon.

Lula and Rousseff have unofficially gone on the campaign trail and blatantly mixed government business with electioneering. This included a three-day jaunt around the Northeast and Minas Gerais at which Lula inspected various infrastructure projects in his role as President and Rousseff as his chief of staff. Lula’s role as head of state was perilously close to his role as head of the PT and he even virtually admitted at one stage that he was taking part in a comicio” i.e. an election rally. Rousseff was paraded before mass audiences and dubbed for the umpteenth time the “mother of the PAC”, the anagram for the Accelerated Growth Program.

Rousseff knows she still has to make up lots of ground to be the official government candidate and needs to make a breakthrough and raise her standing in opinion polls. Her immediate problem is not actually Serra or the other potential PSDB candidate, Aecio Neves, the governor of Minas Gerais, but Ciro Gomes of the PSB who stood for the presidency in 2002 against Lula and Serra. (Both Gomes and Neves also took part in one of the PAC events alongside Lula and Rousseff, highlighting the strange world of Brazilian politics.)

Gomes is currently ahead of Rousseff in polls and maintains that he will stand so that government supporters have an alternative in case Rousseff does not take off. Gomes was briefly finance minister during the government of President Itamar Franco and replaced Fernando Henrique Cardoso who left to contest the presidency in 1994. He has also been state governor of Ceara and held several ministerial posts under Lula. Despite standing against Lula in the past, he has remained extremely close to him. Gomes also has greater recognition than Rousseff.

Despite Gomes loyalty, Lula wants Rousseff to succeed him and has suggested that Gomes stand as governor of São Paulo. This suggestion has raised the hackles of many leading PT members in São Paulo, including former mayor, Marta Suplicy, who regard Gomes as a predatory Northeastern with no links to São Paulo. The chances are that Lula will get his way just as he foisted Rousseff on an unwilling PT.

Another possible obstacle to Rousseff is, of course, Martina Silva who defected from the PT earlier this year to the Greens (PV). Silva is likely to become the PV presidential candidate and rob Rousseff of the novelty of being a woman candidate. She is also likely to appeal to the large section of the PT that does not want Rousseff.

As for Serra, he has ignored calls from within the PSDB and his allies among the Democrats to speed up the selection process and stamp his name on the candidacy. His strategy may be right as there is still almost a year to go before the election and his current position as state governor is one of the most demanding in Brazil. He could also face criticism from voters who recall that he broke a pledge to see out his term as mayor of São Paulo and resigned half way through his mandate to stand for the governorship.

On the other hand, if he delays too much he could leave the field open to Rousseff and Lula to nibble into his lead. Lula gave a foretaste of what could lie ahead when he made an acid comment on the large number of visits Serra had started to make to the Northeast to raise in profile there and his criticism of government irrigation projects. “I hadnt realized that Serra was so concerned about the Northeast but, as we are so close to the elections, that’s a good sign,” he said.

Rousseff is widely expected to maintain her official role until the legal deadline of April which will give her plenty of scope to bask in further trips with Lula.

One reason for Serra to start moving now is the state of the economy which looks set to boom once again. Most analysts are forecasting growth of 4% to 5% in the coming years and some think there could even be a small increase in GDP this year. Lula will obviously claim credit for every bit of good economic news and Serra will find it hard to respond. He may try and blame Lula for the brief recession which hit Brazil but Lula will easily shrug that off and blame the foreign capitalists and exploiters. Serra will find it tough to exploit economic woes against a background of rising employment, higher wages, falling inequality, the World Cup finals in 2014 and the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

He may raise the issue of corruption within the PT administration and Congress but that will win precious few votes. At the same time, several of Serra’s allies have also been accused of corruption so he will have to be careful how he approaches the issue.

In short, both Rousseff and Serra have tough challenges to overcome but if Serra thinks he will whip Rousseff merely by pitting his experience against her inexperience he is wrong. Time is marching on and perhaps Serra should realize this.

Not true as he was actually born in the state but left for the Northeast as a child, reversing the normal migration. In any case many politicians have ended up running states where they were not born. Even ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso who comes across as the typical Paulista intellectual from Higienopolis was actually born in Rio de Janeiro.

(c) John Fitzpatrick 2009

John Fitzpatrick is a Scotsman who first visited Brazil more than 20 years ago and has been based in São Paulo since 1995. He is a journalist by profession and runs his own company, Celtic Comunicaes, which provides corporate communications and consultancy services. He can be contacted at

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on

Brazil’s Oil Wealth: Lula’s “New Independence Day” Rally Goes Flat
Will Brazil’s Sarney Fall on His Sword?
Brazil: Lula Starts to Throw His Weight Around
Congress Still Tramples on Brazilians Rights 25 Years After the “Direct Elections Now” Campaign
Hold the Front Page – Brazil’s Interest Rates Head for Single Digits
Around Brazil: The Many Faces of São Paulo – Tips for Newcomers
Brazil: Will Obama Mention the “Brics” or just the “Rics”?
Brazil 2009 – The Year of Living Dangerously
Brazil: São Paulo Mayoral Election – a Foretaste of the Presidential Race?
Looking for Brazil’s Moon Under Water
Brazil’s Lula Finally Stops Playing the Blame Game
Brazil: Coming Up – Serra versus Dilma?
Brazil Becomes Middle Class but Not Bourgeois
Where is Brazil’s Barack Obama?
Brazil: Lula Loses Some of His Moral Luster
Lost Your Job on Wall Street? Head for Brazil!
Brazil: Lula Loves Investment Grade – Whatever That Is
There’s No Business Like Oil Business – in Brazil Anyway
Benefits of Brazil’s Growth Start to Spread
Let Brazilians Sort Out the Problems of the Amazon
Brazil’s Politicians Set to Cash in on Oil and Gas Discoveries
Brazil: Lula Learns the Lesson of Not Planning Ahead
Cops and Robbers Brazilian Style
Brazil: Oscar Freire – São Paulo’s Street of Dreams
Brazil: Lula Called to Account on Tax
Will Lula Leave Brazil in Safe or Unsafe Hands?
Senate Spits in the Face of the Brazilian People
The Lord Mayor Goes Zapping the NYSE in Brazil
Brazil: Economic Boom – Political Gloom
Around Brazil: Natal – Sun, Sand Dunes and Solitude or Hassle, Hustlers and Hookers
ACM – Brazil Will Never See His Like Again
Brazilians Let Politicians Treat Them as Doormats
Senate Chairman Upholds Tradition of Treating Brazil with Contempt
Brits Turn Their Backs on Brazil
Look Out for the New BBC – the Brazilian Broadcasting Corporation
Navel Gazing in Brasilia – Largesse in São Paulo
Brazil’s Politicians Share the Spoils
Cida – A Brazilian Entrepreneur
Ten Top Brazilian Songs to Download on Your iPod
Lula Lets Brazilians Down by Failing to Exercise His Authority
Brazil: Laid Back Lula Finally Gets His Team (Almost) Together
The George W. Bush PR Show Comes to Brazil
Briefing Bush on Brazil the CIA Way
US Authorities Tackle Brazil’s White Collar Criminals
Brazil’s Opposition Parties Try to End Disarray
Lula Faces Arm-Wrestling Contest with New Congress
Brazil Waits for Lula to Return from Holiday
Around Brazil: Santana de Parnaiba
Brazilians Start to Stand Up for Their Rights
Darfur – Brazil’s African Side Show
Economics and Politics in Brazil – a Tangled Web
Brazil’s Strange Idea of Democracy
Brazil: John Pizzarelli – the Boy from Ipanema
Brazil’s Stock Market: the Path to Riches or Rags?
Brazil: Lula Unlikely to Change Course after His Massive Victory
Brazil: Privatization – Lula and Alckmin Defend the Indefensible
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

By Marilyn Diggs
October 27, 2009

One of the poorest states in Brazil is blessed with some of the most astounding landscapes in the country. In Maranhão, white powder dunes reach a height of 40 meters and cradle turquoise and emerald lakes filled by rainwater. The mighty trade winds that can blow up to 70 km/h keep the sand cool, allowing trekkers to kick off their sandals and go native. At sunset, the hanging tangerine ball creates peach, lavender and pale blue nuances across a rolling sea of sand that looks like billowing sheets. This region, advancing 50 km inland from the coast, is called Lenóis Maranhenses (Maranhão Sheets).

Adventure for the Fit
The adventurous have to earn these privileged vistas inside the 155,000 hectare national park. Our extraordinary 15-day trip will be made by plane, bus, car, van, 4×4, dune buggy, motor boat, speed boat, jangada (type of sail boat), schooner, ferry boat, raft, canoe, horse and on foot.

First, we fly to the capital, São Lus – the historical “City of Tiles”- founded by the French in 1612. Then we take a two-hour bus ride into the interior of the state. Dusty towns of roaming goats, pigs, dogs and donkeys whiz by. For the rest of the trip the comfy bus is traded for four-wheel drive vehicles as we discover when we stop at a wide place in the road to board a jardineira – a truck with six chairs attached to a covered, open-sided flatbed (see photo). Once the luggage is tied to the roof, we rumble off onto narrow sand trails between groves of caj trees and high shrubs. Passengers hang on and ride the bumps as we head for the tiny town of Santo Amaro, which sleeps at the edge of the giant sand barrier to the sea.

After 90 minutes, we cross a root beer-colored river in our 4×4 and arrive at a rustic inn. There, mouth-watering regional cuisine, mostly fish and fowl, awaits us. Once satisfied, we head back out to the streets thick with sand and wonder if this town will suffer the same fate as others that became buried when wind paths changed. We wade through mid-calf drifts to the plaza for tapioca ice-cream (made from the manioc root), which customers scoop, weigh and pay for.

Cleansing the Soul
As the outing begins, no one can hide the anticipation of seeing Brazil’s wet Sahara. Near the Gaviota Lake area, ivory mountains of sand appear out of nowhere. We begin the ascent. There is no chance of falling, we realize, because our feet sink knee-deep into the sand as we climb to the top of the first mound. The crest’s surface is firmer. Like six tiny ants we make our way, snap photos, drink water and hold onto hats. There are few tourists in September, which gives us the illusion of being trailblazers in an untouched world. It is a joy of total freedom, like Lawrence of Arabia when Peter OToole trades his army uniform for flowing Bedouin robes and cant help but dance.

The strong wind cools the body and disguises the intensity of the sun. Tiny blowing grains sting unprotected legs. Even though the sand clings to sunscreen, my soul feels as pristine as the white dunes where footprints disappear within minutes. Eventually, we descend a tall slope and submerge into a pure rainwater lagoon. Lounging and floating, we’re imagining our next climb – to the highest pinnacle for the magnificent sunset – that suspended sphere glowing over the billowing sheets that called us here. We will pursue the dunes into the Piau and Cear states, but the impact of Lenóis Maranhenses is a hard act to follow.

Freeway Brasil: Information and reservations office: (11)5088-0999;

Previous articles by Marilyn:

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

By Marilyn Diggs
October 26, 2010

Before I took this off-road adventure into northeastern Brazil, swamps, in my mind, translated dank, dark and dangerous water labyrinths best to be avoided. What I find, however, is jaw dropping – these fascinating mangroves hold unimaginable, exotic life inside surrealist scenery, where marsh fauna ranges from the exquisite and oh-so-cute, to down-right scary. The waterways we explore begin with the Preguias River, which hugs the Lenis Maranhenses sand dunes and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. But this river is only the appetizer before the Paraiba River Delta – home to over 75 islands – and the marshlands on coastal beaches.

Stunning and Precious
Seated on the cabin roof of a shallow, wooden passenger boat, three of us head into the heart of the Delta. The skipper kills the motor and we watch. Sunset in the swamps can be a festival of color if you know where to go. Before the sun puts on its extravaganza, birds soar home to roost in select trees. Mature scarlet ibis (guars) fly overhead in flocks with their grey young, who have not yet eaten enough crabs to turn their feathers red. These beautiful birds share their tree hotel with white herons and rare blue ones. At the slightest hint of danger, flapping red, white, blue and grey fill the skies, against a glowing backdrop. (See Scarlet Ibis, oil painting above by Marilyn Diggs)

After a few days we leave the Delta behind, as we head into seahorse habitat along the coast. Unlike the stunning guars, it is not so easy to find seahorses. I opt to ride a spirited horse across dunes, along beaches and then onto dusty country roads to Mangue Seco, 7 km from Jericoacoara Resort in Cear state. Arriving at an isolated local restaurant, I squish along marshy paths with owner Marcio to a canoe docked in a saltwater inlet river. As he guides us gondolier-style along the bank, I learn that the female seahorse lays her eggs, and then the male ingests them, incubating the young in his belly until they are born. Only one in five baby seahorses survives. The twisted tree roots along the banks are perfect anchors for the fish’s tail to wrap around so it wont be swept away by currents. Using a sawed-off, plastic Coke bottle, Marcio scoops up a seahorse – it’s an eight-inch, grey, pregnant male (see photo to left). After a quick photo shoot, he is carefully returned to the exact location from where he was taken, since these fish live in pairs and are territorial. We collect more – orange, green but no albino – and gently pour each one back.

Startling and Bizarre
On the next outing, our motor boat’s loud engine stops moaning and we drift into dense vegetation where tangled white roots meet shallow brackish water. The guide’s eyes dart back and forth hunting for camouflaged marvels – monkeys, Kingfishers, lizards. Suddenly, we spot pea-sized eyes above the water. They belong to a four-eyed fish that locals call traioto (anabelps anableps). Dividing the two-pupils in each eye, located on top of its head, is a membrane so it can see below and above the water surface at the same time. Spooked, the long, silver fish skims the water surface and disappears. These fish can also jump very high. We’re glad this one doesn’t. Another one appears. It is 12 inches long and floats dangerously close to a submerged alligator, who ignores it, for now.

Colorful birds and exotic fish are but a sampling of the surprises awaiting you in Brazil’s tropical marshlands, where swamps hold much more than the alligators and monkeys.

Freeway Brasil: Information and reservations office: 5088-0999;

Marilyn Diggs is an American living in Brazil for over twenty years. She is a freelance writer, artist, lecturer and author of nine books – two about Brazilian art history. As an art reporter and travel writer she has two monthly columns in Sunday News, Brazil’s English language newspaper that circulates in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. She has written for the Miami Herald and Museum International , a UNESCO publication. Marilyn has a degree in Latin American Studies and is often contracted by intercultural training services to give talks on expat challenges.

Previous articles by Marilyn:

Brazil: Head for the Hills for an Authentic Festa Junina
Fazenda Capoava: Tourism – Brazilian Style
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

By Ricky Skelton
October 26, 2010

The 2010 elections in Brazil threw up many stories, some of which seemed to pass the foreign news agencies by a little. Dilma Rousseff not quite becoming Brazil’s first female president was the dominant story, while Green Party eco-warrior Marina Silva quietly impressed just about everybody with a dignified campaign and exit. She might make a bigger splash in 2014, especially if she can associate her campaign with a successful Brazil team winning the World Cup on home soil.

Romario and Bebeto can look to reform their 1994 World Cup winning Seleao strike partnership as Rio de Janeiro Federal Deputy and State Deputy respectively. Neither made rocking baby cradles in celebration as far as anybody knows. Romario was once memorably described as playing football &#145like a lizard slithering across the rocks&#145. This kind of ability could come in very useful when it comes to a life in Brazilian politics.

The &#145comedy&#145 angle of the campaign was provided by Tiririca, a kind of unfunny clown who has his own TV shows and has appeared on others. Knowing that being an unfunny clown does not preclude a person from taking part in politics in Brazil, he declared himself for the post of Federal Deputy for São Paulo with a winning campaign slogan. &#145What is it that a Federal Deputy does anyway? In truth, I don&#145t know. But vote for me and I will tell you&#145. Well over a million people voted for him, comfortably the most votes won by any Federal Deputy in the whole of Brazil, and the second most in São Paulo State history. Whether such honesty can find a place in Brasilia remains to be seen, as it appears moves have already been made to keep him out of there. Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, to call him by his real name, has unfortunately already had his honesty called into question. Perhaps his declaration that &#145Worse than it is now, it won&#145t remain&#145 rubbed a few people up the wrong way. He also declared his ability to read and write as sufficiently high to enter into Brazilian politics, which requires an exam to be passed, when in reality this son of the Ceara coast in the north-east may have the kind of literacy level to be expected from somebody who began working in a Brazilian circus at the age of eight. Perhaps it is true, or perhaps this voting power has frightened those in his way who have turned to the dark arts in order to keep out this true Clown of the People.

Tiririca can always learn to read and write properly of course, although it may be a little too late for him. Such a lack of literacy earlier in life has been no barrier to Marina Silva’s political career as yet. Another issue that appears not to have been a barrier for our hero is that he was once prosecuted for racism, after one of his &#145comedy&#145 songs compared a black woman’s hair to a brillo pad and said that she smelt worse than a gamba. Children’s entertainment such as this could be the future of Brazil with him pulling the puppet strings in Brasilia.

That Tiririca was not the biggest clown with shady history involved in the Brazilian General Election of 2010 should not be a big surprise to anybody who has ever lived in Brazil, and taken a passing interest in the politics of the country. Or even watched a novela. The election story that should embarrass Brazil more than that of Tiririca is still that of Fernando Collor.

Fernando Collor de Mellor, 32nd President of the Federal Republic of Brazil from March 1990 to December 1992, puts the achievements of Tiririca and every other Brazilian politician in the shade. After the huge Globo TV Network helped to bring him to power in order to prevent Lula’s first bid being successful, Fernando immediately disappeared on holiday for 6 weeks. His brief period of office was characterised by his right hand man and accountant PC Farias helping to salt away billions of dollars from the federal coffers into their own secret accounts. After being impeached in 1992, he later ran away to Miami and was there when his old friend Farias was murdered in 1996. Once the time to prosecute him had run out, he returned to Brazil, and in 2002 tried once again to become the Governor of Alagoas State. He failed, but in 2006 he was voted in as a Senator instead, after professing support for his erstwhile rival Lula. He failed in his run for Governor in 2010, although he did manage to win almost 400,000 votes, at 30% a reasonable effort in such a small state.

Whether the ongoing amazement that is Collor’s durable political career lasts longer than that of the professional clown remains to be seen, but whatever happens you can be sure that the 2014 election and the preceding World Cup shenanigans will throw up more over-the-top, highly unrealistic stories of greed, power, corruption and lies that will outshine even the most ridiculous novela. Such is the world of Brazilian politics.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at

Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Oktoberfest Parade in Blumenau
Cultural Brazil: The Alambique
Around Brazil: Whale-Watching in Santa Catarina
Brazil: Tainha Time
Deported from Brazil? Part 2
Deported from Brazil? Part 1
Brazil: The President in Florianpolis
Swine Flu in South America?
The Best Club in Brazil…?
The Great Brazilian Animal-Off (Land)
Understanding Brazil: Giving Directions
Understanding Brazil: Driving
Understanding Brazil: Farra do Boi
Brazil: Catching Flu&#145
Around Brazil: Garopaba
Understanding Brazil: Funerals
Brazil: Bernie the Berne
Around Brazil: Journey to the Amazon Jungle
Around Brazil: Crazy Town Ceremonies
Around Brazil: Crazy Town
Around Brazil: Manaus
Around Brazil: Santarem & Alter do Chao
Around Brazil: Amazon Swarms and Amazon Storms
Understanding Brazil: Playing Pool
Around Brazil: Gurup
Around South America: Peninsula Valdes
Around South America: Patagonia
Around South America: Montevideo, Uruguay
Around Brazil: The Amazon
Around South America: Bariloche, Argentina
Understanding Gringoes: Drinking
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 2
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 1
Understanding Brazil: The Kids
Brazil v Argentina: Buying Beer
Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes
Around Brazil: So Luis
Teaching English in Brazil
Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses
Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem
Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By Alison McGowan
October 26, 2010

Pousada Naturalia is only one of around 140 pousadas on Ilha Grande, so there are an awful lot to choose from, and most of the websites look great. However the island is a relatively new tourist destination due to the existence on the island of a maximum security prison, until 1992, and many of the pousadas are still run on a fairly amateur basis. This has its good side, reflected in the lack of commercialism and the reasonable prices on the island, but it does mean that in many cases it is difficult to get an answer to your emails and few people speak good English. Pousada Naturalia in this respect is head and shoulders above those in the same price range, due to the very personable, professional and linguistically gifted Manager, Henrique, who is a font of information on where to go, what to do and how to do it!.

We were lucky with the weather when we visited but I, for one, would have been quite happy just relaxing in the hammock on the terrace, listening to the waves or hanging out in the breakfast area downstairs even if we had not been able to chill out on the beach, a couple of minutes away.

Ilha Grande is a tropical paradise. The largest oceanic island in Brazil, it was first discovered in 1502, and has been, in turn, a magnet for pirates, a major staging point for the slave trade, and home to the infamous maximum security prison of Dois Rios. Despite its incredible natural beauty and proximity to Rio, the island only really became a tourist destination after the explosion of the prison in 1992, and there is still only a small local population of 6,000.

The main town, Abrao, has a medical centre, police, fire brigade and tourist office and some 140 pousadas, but there are no motor vehicles, no roads (unless you count dirt tracks), no hotels, banks or shopping centres. Leave your stress at home and enjoy the countless deserted beaches, the excellent diving or the fabulous hikes around the island. It really is a magical place.

Not To Be Missed
– Dom Mario`s for good value Brazilian food;
– Bossa Nova for vegetarian options and good pasta
– hikes over to Lopes Mendes beach and Dois Rios
– boat trips to Lagoa Azul and round the island

Pousada Starpoints
* fabulous views from well appointed rooms with great showers
* wonderfully attentive service
* excellent value for money

Try a different place if…
you don`t feel comfortable walking home from dinner along a beach or you want a pool

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on Visit her site at

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, So Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d&#145Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airo, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
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 Cho, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casaro 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 Clare Bolton
October 26, 2010

It was the phrase, You know how to lambada, right?”, that should have rung the first alarm bells. Tonight I had a language exchange coffee with a very sweet if somewhat snaggle-toothed Brazilian guy – an hour spent talking in Portuguese, in which we covered such key issues as what I had done yesterday and, um, how to pronounce words in Portuguese, and an hour in English, in which, shall we say, the conversation was more wide-ranging in subject matter.

Depois de nossa aula de portugues, uma aula de Zouk. For the uninitiated – of which I am a proud if recent non-member – zouk is a lambada-based modern dance, in which music from all over the world is blended with the base 1-2-3 of lambada to create a deeply sexy, hair twirling frenzy of impressiveness. I’m still unsure how verb conjugating segued into this, but still, Sunday night at the Buena Vista club is zouk night, I now know.

Suffice to say zouk doesn’t flow naturally in my British veins. Which is doubly hard because on that side of the pond I’m an OK dancer. What I lack in ability I make up for in energy and a remarkable recall for crappy 80s songs, enabling me to look like I’m reacting well to the beat when in fact I’m simply responding to deeply entrenched cues from my otherwise-useless memory. That trick is proving less useful over ‘ere.

So I’ve been bumped from centre-of-the-floor show-off to foot-shuffler by the wall, and man is it a bumpy ride down. Still, I loved the Buena Vista: the dancing is so good it is half-club, half-show, and the atmosphere was brilliantly vibrant, with everyone loving the beat and there just to dance. (And maybe flirt a little.)

And all sober. Wow, that’s a difference to clubbing in England – the wonderfully patient Joao couldn’t see any logic behind my initial refusals at 9.30 to go dancing because ‘I had work in the morning’ – and indeed, I’m home sober at 11.30 and as fit for work as I otherwise would have been. Sure, many people had a beer or two, but far from everyone, and absolutely no-one seemed drunk. Joao was driving, and saw nothing strange in that.

Also, while Brazil is rightly famed for its obsession with beauty – drogerias are everywhere and packed to the ceiling with face creams and hair products and lotions and potions – that comes second to dancing. So some real specimens of unloveliness – cross-eyed, bulging belly, and such an unfortunate penchant for bandanas that he was wearing three, was my fave – could easily dance with some beauties of girls if they could produce the moves. And while it is sexy it is not sexual, something every fibre of my British being really struggles to compute. At the end, the guy kisses the girl’s hands, they both smile and say thanks, and that’s that.

However, I’m not sure I like the model that the girls who want to dance but are partner-less hang around the edge of the floor waiting to be asked. I mean, I see that the zoukers have to go in two by two, but the firm gender roles not only mean I had to bring out the no-need-to-elaborate excuse ‘obrigada, nao, sou ingles’ on a number of occasions, but also just feel wrong. That’s Latin America, I guess.

So now as well as Portuguese, I should learn samba, capoeira, and zouk. I desperately want to be able to do this stuff – standing helplessly at the side of the floor is just not my thing, even with a gentlemanly local guide – and so my only option is lessons, and perhaps a lot of praying. If only there was some way I could download all of the Bangles lyrics and fill that freed-up mental space with the magical knowledge of how to follow gracefully (yes, I know), “feel the music in my hips”, and not duck out in overwhelming embarrassment after 15 seconds. I hope they have good teachers.

UK-born Clare Bolton is a business journalist who has covered Latin America for five years, and recently decided that writing about Brazil would be both easier and more fun from Brazil. An adopted Londoner, she has been based in São Paulo since September, and is making the city her home for a year or so. You can read Clare’s blog here:

Our next São Paulo meet up will return on Thursday, Nov. 11 from 8pm at the very cool and relaxing bar/restaurant called Chacara Santa Cecilia in Pinheiros. The meet up is being organized by Tania Magalnic, a well-traveled Brazilian currently living in São Paulo and married to a Dutch citizen. The meet up will be a very informal/casual event, free of charge (except for what you consume), with the objective of getting to know and socialize with other like-minded individuals. Please let us know if you plan on attending the meet up, including a short introduction of yourself and guests (age, nationality, profession etc.) so we can get idea of numbers and profile to expect. We also welcome suggestions for future meet ups/events.

Where: Chacara Santa Cecilia
Rua Ferreira de Araujo 601, Pinheiros

When: Nov. 11 (Thursday) from 8p.m.

Cost: Entrance free. You pay what you consume.

Confirmation: Please confirm presence by email to and check a few days before the event for any changes to date or venue.