November 30, 2007

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 comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.


I have really enjoyed all the answers to questions in this section, but I have one of my own. I visited Brazil back in June and July and will be returning. Something that I found strange was that most people don’t seem to have washing macines. I understand this in the poorer areas, because here in the United States people don’t always own one either. But even in the nice buildings lining Paulista, I observed many people doing their washing by hand. Why? Also, since people don’t have machines, why are there not more laundromats where you can pay a little to do your own washing instead of the dry-cleaner only places that are expensive?
I am worried about this since I will be there for a while and am not so good at doing my washing by hand. Plus, jeans just don’t reshape if they don’t get their half hour of dryer time!

Thank You!


Kristen, hi!

Question: Are you sure you haven’t seen any washing machine where they’re washing by hand?

I ask you this because most people do have a washing machine in Brazil. People do wash clothes by hand when it comes to delicate items, such as silk, lingerie, that favorite shirt etc. Although maybe it would be better if I said by a “maid’s hands”. Most people have someone to clean, cook and do laundry for R$50 a day! If you need it everyday that drops to around R$25.

Unlike the US, where no one I ever met had a laundry machine or a maid, in Brazil both are really accessible. That’s why we don’t have laundromats. (And I’m with you, I really miss them) But… this is Brazil, a place where people pay, not much, for every service they need; dry-cleaners are a service you won’t need.

It is not common but possible for you to find condos with a laundry, and that certainly could happen around Paulista, considering that many of it’s buildings are filled with students.

I don’t know how long you will stay but consider buying both laundry and a dryer. You can sell them later on, the Brazilian equivalanet of eBay.

Check out, or, where laundry machines can be found for R$600. Dryers are more or less the same, but you can live without one, Kristen, althought I know what you mean about jeans…

To help on your search:

washing machine = maquina de lavar roupa or lavadora de roupa.
dryer machine = maquina de secar roupa or secadora de roupa.

Last important thing: Searching for “maquinas de lavar” you will find something called “tanquinho”. Ignore it.

Beijos, boa sorte, and pls come back to ask if you need so.

Vanessa T. Bauer

Readers comments:

Im still in Brazil, and have been here for about two months, staying in 10 or more houses, hotels, pousadas and hostels, and where I am now is the only place with what I would call a washing machine – the same as we have in England.

Even saying that, it doesnt seem to function as well as the ones I was using back home in terms of getting stains etc out of clothing. All of the other places had what they called a washing machine outside – which was basically a large bin which you fill with water beforehand, and when the clothes are inside, it moves the water (and therefore the clothes) around. My girlfriend (Brazilian, who thinks that washing clothes is different here as well after living in New Zealand for 18 months, and then in the UK for another 18 months after meeting me) taught me that after this washing machine, any marks on the clothing are removed by taking the clothes to wash by hand – for this the houses usually have either a double or triple sink, one of which is sloped with a washboardtype surface, and scrubbing with a brush, before rinsing in a sink full of water three times!

I have seen the washing machinesin Lojas Americanos for about R$600, but they are not the same as what we have in England. Also, there, all but the very poor/unwilling wash clothes themselves have washing machines, it is certainly not a rare thing! Lastly, in my house, the house I was brought up in, the houses of every single friend and family member I have ever been in, we use hot water, usually 40c (as anything above that the enzymes in the washing powder denature and are rendered ineffective!), and most stains (including grease and pretty much everything else, obviously there are a few exceptions) can be removed by a simple wash and spin dry cycle, taking about 20 minutes, even by the most inexperienced operator!
One more thing, and I know this is largely unrelated, electronics are massively expensive here! Things that we buy for around 70GBP are being sold for R$700-obviously this is an extreme example, but I havent yet encountered an electronic item that is being sold for less here than in England. Typically, using the exchange rate I got (when the pound was low, 3 reais for 1 pound), consumer technology is double the price. Presumably this is due to tax…?
Jon, Somerset, England

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 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 questions in this article series:

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
November 27, 2009

Yes, Brazil produces coffee. A lot of it. About four out of every ten cups that go down the throats of the world’s coffee drinkers came from Brazilian beans. Most of that was commercial grade, a polite way of saying mediocre. It’s the stuff that sits on your favorite American supermarket’s shelf in the big tin cans. In Brazil, it’s the brew you drink at your favorite pe sujo for a few cents. A really good cup of coffee comes from specialty coffees,” which is a polite way of saying, the good stuff.

Not surprisingly, the good stuff, specialty coffees, cost more.

The economics of the coffee trade can be summed up in seven little words: “The best beans bring the best prices.”

For decades Brazil has been content to dominate the lower price end of the world coffee market – if not content, then at least resigned. But in recent years a lot of people in and out of Brazil have been working to change that.

Part of the problem – some say a big part of it – is simply perception. Brazilian coffee is thought to trade on the economics of quantity over quality. Changing that has been an uphill, but not impossible, battle.

At the very high end of the quality crusade is Brazil’s Caf Jacu, some of the best and certainly most expensive coffee that lands in your cup in an unusual way. It is among the most “special” of all specialty coffees and at 220 Reais a pound, retail in Brazil, it ranks among the world’s most expensive. Only the ripest, brightest red, juiciest coffee “berries” – the fruity cover of the bean within, somewhat resembling a cherry – are first carefully selected by a tough judge, Brazil’s Jacu bird. It spies and eats only the largest, best berries. It takes the fruit but 20 minutes to pass through the bird’s digestive tract and is left as odorless deposits at the base of the coffee tree, often from the very plant from which the berry came. The droppings are collected, dried, cleaned and stored in their parchment for up to three months.

Obviously, the supply of Jacu brew is necessarily limited but the world’s thirst for specialty coffees is not. Enter TransFair USA and its 5,000 Brazilian Fair Trade Certified coffee farmers. Their farms are smallholding family operations, seldom more than seven hectares. TransFair USA has connected them through their co-ops and producer organizations with a program called The Responsible Sourcing Partnership that joins Brazilian and international forces, public and private. It is a collaboration among TransFairUSA, USAID, Walmart Stores, Brazil’s Sebrae – Minas Gerais and farmers in the three major coffee-producing states of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and São Paulo. (Pictured left: the Jacu bird eating a coffee bean)

Fair Trade certification puts hardworking small farmers into the high-stakes universe of producing top quality world-class coffee. It helps farmers organize into democratic organizations. It introduces improved growing and processing techniques and helps build wider market access. Part of the bigger profits can go toward improving production and meeting community needs like building schools and health care and dental clinics. The Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project invests in helping Brazilian Fair Trade Certified farmers and their organizations produce and market more coffee every year.

Last year 4.3 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified Brazilian coffee was sold to the US. This year it will be more than 5 million pounds and exports to the rest of the world could end up being double that figure.

And equally important, the Partnership’s collaborative marketing helps bring Brazilian Fair Trade Certified Coffee into the consciousness as well as the cups of the world.

To be certified, farmers and their organizations are helped by TransFair USA to meet high international quality standards while growing coffee in the most environmentally friendly way. That means organic or well on the way there. In return these smallholding farmers bypass the local, national and international middlemen and get direct entre into the US market. They are also guaranteed a fair minimum price regardless of fluctuations in the world price. Buyers pay a small per pound premium that goes directly back to the producing organizations of origin which apply it to member-determined projects like better schools, health care and even interest-free home loans.

In this, the second year of the Partnership, it sponsored its Second Annual International Fair Trade Certified Cupping Contest in Machado, Minas Gerais, earlier this month. Coffee from 139 of the best farmers among the twelve certified Fair Trade coffee producer organizations were pared down to 41 semi-finalists to face the international jury. 18 finalists, eight in the natural coffee category (no water used in processing) and ten in the processed category went on to an award ceremony in Belo Horizonte. The top three winners in each category took away $R1,500, $R1,000 and $R500, respectively, contributed by Banco Bradesco and handed out by an award committee headed by US Embassy Charg d’Affairs, Lisa Kubiske which included Paulo Mindlin, Walmart Brazil’s Director of Social Responsibility and Gilman Rodrigues, Minas Gerais Secretary of Agriculture. The top winner in the processed coffee category also received a coffee depulper contributed by Brazilian manufacturer, Pinhalense. (Pictured right: the judges decide a winner. Taken by Juliano D’Angelo)

An Internet auction of the top-judged brews will take place early next year. If last year’s contest is any predictor, prices are expected to climb well above the best international level. And with this contest for coffee excellence, it is hoped Brazil’s reputation for quality, not just quantity, will also take another step forward in the international coffee world. And that won’t be just for the birds.

(Header image: the judge is sniffing in Machado, MG. Taken by Juliano D’Angelo)

Previous articles by Lance:

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 Alison McGowan
November 27, 2009

Pousada 0031 is actually only a 40 minute drive north of Fortaleza, but we were travelling in the opposite direction, and only arrived at the end of an extraordinarily scary but beautiful, 7 hour drive down the beaches from the Pousada Agua de Coco. It would not normally have been so difficult, but the month of April 09 saw the most rain for 24 years and although our travel day dawned hot and sunny, rivers flowing down to the beach had appeared overnight. Only one proved totally impassable but we had some moments” and the relief at finally arriving at the wonderfully welcoming 0031 in Cumbuco was palpable.

Built and run by a Dutch couple since 2007, the 7 suites here are beautifully spacious with queen size beds, polished concrete floors and a Mediterranean, Moroccan, feel. All face onto tropical gardens and a large swimming pool. But it is not really this that makes the place – more the wonderful hospitality (and superb breakfasts) of Roel and Janneke, and the feeling that you really are staying in a home from home, complete with free wi-fi throughout and a help yourself honesty bar. We definitely didn’t want to leave.

About the Location
Cumbuco is a curious place. With miles of sandy beaches and undulating dunes, only 35 kilometres from Fortaleza we had expected it to be at least as spoilt as Lagoinha, and certainly the road along the beach is getting built up with hotels. However the actual fishing village itself retains a remarkably authentic character and the jangadas still grace the beach a few yards from the main square and fish market.

As the Pousada 0031’s literature says, the ideal wind conditions between August and January make Cumbuco one of the most popular places in the world for kite surfing, but even if you are not into that there are plenty of other things to do and places to eat and drink – and of course all those miles of sandy beaches on which to lounge about.

Not to be Missed
– Cumbuco beach
– buggy trip through the sand dunes
– trip to Lagoa Cauipe
– 0031 restaurant in the village (during high season)
– horse riding along the beach and dunes

* Dutch hosts: Roel and Janneke
* lovely spacious apartments
* breakfasts to die for
* only 40 minutes by taxi from Fortaleza

Try a Different Place If…
… you want to be right on the beach, or you prefer deserted places

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: 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 Paul Barnett
November 27, 2009

What the legendary soccer player Pel is to sport in Brazil, the author Clarice is to that country’s literary culture. Stunningly brilliant, beautiful and enigmatic, the daughter of Russian-Jewish migrs achieved instant celebrity at the age of 23 with the publication of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart.” This is how Amazon book reviewer Lauren Nemroff introduced Clarice Lispector in “Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009” referring to Benjamin Moser’s biography Why This World.

Whilst Pel may have been “stunningly brilliant”, it may be stretching the analogy too far with the descriptions of “beautiful and enigmatic”, which Clarice certainly was. She has even been described as, “that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf.” (Salamon, J. (March 11, 2005). An Enigmatic Author Who Can Be Addictive. New York: New York Times).

Of Moser’s Biography Nemroff said, “Now, after years of research on three continents, drawing on previously unknown manuscripts and dozens of interviews, Benjamin Moser demonstrates how Lispector’s art was directly connected to her turbulent life.” and, “Benjamin Moser’s, Why This World makes up for this long drought by offering a detailed and dramatic biography of Lispector’s incredible life and times. Based on new interviews with family and friends, recovered manuscripts, and other fresh sources, Moser crafts a moving and tangible portrait of the famously inscrutable Clarice.”

The New Biography
Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), is recognized as one of Latin America’s greatest writers and is only now being discovered by English readers, surprising given that “Clarice’s beauty, genius, and eccentricity intrigued Brazil virtually from her adolescence.”

Born into a Jewish family amidst the horrors of post-World War I Ukraine, Chaka Lispector was to escape to Brazil in 1922 and be re-named Clarice. She was to spend many of her early years living a humble existence in Northeast Brazil. First in Macaeio, Alagoas, then three years later in the Jewish neighborhood of Boa Vista in Recife, Pernambuco, where a monument to her exists today.

Whilst in Recife, her mother died (1930) at the age of forty-two, when Clarice was nine years old. Her father continued to struggle economically, but Clarice was still able to attend the Colgio Hebreo-Idisch-Brasileiro, which taught Hebrew and Yiddish in addition to the usual subjects. In 1932, she gained admission to the Ginsio Pernambucano, the most prestigious secondary school in the state at the time. A year later, she “consciously claimed the desire to write.”

In 1935, Pedro Lispector decided to move his family to the then-capital, Rio de Janeiro, where he hoped to find greater prosperity for them. There Clarice became a law student seeking justice for prisoners and then a journalist.

Around 1943, around the time of her marriage to a diplomat she published her first book, the critically acclaimed Near to the Wild Heart. Success in her career was not reflected in her challenging family and personal life. She had a longtime love for the homosexual poet Lcio Cardoso among others, and one of her sons was diagnosed as schizophrenic fostering a growing sense of isolation in her.

Several of Lispectors works relate to her time in Northeast Brazil. Perhaps most famous of them was her last novel, The Hour of the Star, whose main character Macaba, a poor typist from Alagoas who is lost and isolated in Rio de Janeiro. This character, one of the most famous in Brazilian literature, has a name that refers to the Maccabees, and represents one of the very few explicit Jewish references in her work. The book focuses on Brazilian poverty and being marginalized.

Soon after The Hour of the Star was published, Lispector was diagnosed as having inoperable ovarian cancer. She died on the eve of her 57th birthday and was buried on December 11, 1977, at the Jewish Cemetery of Caj in Rio de Janeiro.

Benjamin Moser will be signing copies of his biography at Livraria Cultura bookshop in Recife on Saturday 28th November from 7.30pm

The author gratefully acknowledges the many sources that were consulted in the writing of this article. While they provide the foundation, the interpretation and opinion are entirely those of the author.

First published on Brazil: Mangue Bit – A Music Movement with National Impact
Brazil: Francisco Brennand – Sculptor of Sensual, Natural and Mythological Art
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November 25, 2008

Classic rock and roast turkey at Finnegan’s Irish Pub
Thursday, November 27, at 9 p.m.
Rua Cristiano Viana, 358 – Pinheiros
São Paulo, São Paulo
Reserve a table: (11) 3062-3232
R$9 cover charge

For future gigs refer to

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John Fitzpatrick
November 25, 2008

This year’s Brazilian Formula One race was one of the most exciting ever. The local hero, Felipe Massa, was heading for the championship when only 70 meters from the finishing post, his rival Lewis Hamilton sneaked ahead of another and finished in fifth place, thereby ensuring that he gained enough points to become the world champion. The Englishman’s victory was a bitter blow for Brazilian fans, especially as it happened on their home ground. Among those watching was Viviane Senna, whose brother, Ayrton Senna, is still regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Grand Prix racing. His death at mola on May 1, 1994 was a great shock and millions of people filled the streets of São Paulo for his funeral cortege. Viviane Senna has ensured that her brother’s name lives on, not just as a sporting champion but also as someone who cared about ending the social inequality which blights Brazil. In November 1994 the Ayrton Senna Foundation was founded to create opportunities and help educate children and young people in cooperation with companies, governments, town halls, schools, universities and NGOs. Since then, it has helped more than nine million children and young people obtain access to educational opportunities. In this interview, Viviane Senna talks about Ayrton’s Senna’s dream, the work of the Foundation and how the private and public sector have cooperated to make it a success.

John Fitzpatrick: Why did you decide to focus the Institute’s work on education and child development?

Viviane Senna: My family took the decision to found the Institute to try and fulfill Ayrton’s wish to offer educational opportunities to children and young people. This arose from a conversation we had in March 1994 in which Ayrton spoke about a project which would be broad and well structured. Another reason was our belief that education is the best way of transforming an individual’s potential into skills for life.

How did you manage to obtain such impressive results – more than nine million children and adolescents attended, over 468,00 teachers trained and around 1,400 towns reached?

Viviane Senna: The first project we carried out was rather limited and I began to realize within a short time that isolated actions like this would not bring about the changes that Brazil needed. The problem facing Brazil is the enormous social inequality and this demanded action on a large scale. For this reason we created, set up and assessed educational solutions adapted to the municipal and state education systems. The aim was to increase the impact and create changes in the medium term in all the schools involved. These solutions are also created in such a way that they can be applied in any part of Brazil, a country with immense cultural and social diversity. Our proposals respect this diversity at the same time as they provide good quality public education for boys and girls. To achieve this, we rely on partnerships with municipal and state governments which provide the structure and the teachers. This increases the number of children who benefit considerably.

Can you give some examples?

Viviane Senna: We set up programs to combat illiteracy among students who have to repeat their lessons and help other pupils get up to speed and into a class in line with their ages. These programs are being carried out in many cities and also in the states of Pernambuco, Paraba, Tocantins, Sergipe and Mato Grosso.

What are the Institute’s current programs?

Viviane Senna: We have a total of nine educational solutions, including the two programs already mentioned. Four are directly related to formal education, i.e. they influence the day to day life of the student and the school of the first four series – primary schools. The other two focus on administration which is the key for success in achieving quality education as far as we are concerned. This translates into using efficient management tools within the educational authority departments and schools to accompany the learning of the student in real time. Another program is aimed at educating children and young people who are outside school and, finally, we have two programs in the educational and technology areas – the Connected School and Connected Community. These improve the learning process as they take an interdisciplinary approach. One involves partner NGOs which look after poor communities and opens educational space for young people and adults to insert them into the digital world, thereby developing skills to prepare them to the competitive world of work.

Do you have bureaucratic problems in your relations with the governments, other organizations and NGOs?

Viviane Senna: Bureaucracy certainly exists in Brazil but we have always had a positive relationship with the public authorities. Problems have been resolved because the parties involved have a real interest in making things work. As we do not receive nor pass on resources to the government at any level, bureaucracy does not play such a large part. What makes the partnership a success is the mutual cooperation and commitment. Our work with NGOs and universities is highly successful and all sides are completely committed to the cause.

How do you raise your resources?

Viviane Senna: In 14 years of activity the Institute has invested around R$ 161 million (around US$ 80 million at the current exchange rate) in educational programs. Some of these funds come from receiving 100% of the royalties from the use of the Ayrton and Senninha images which my family has granted to the Institute. Another part is generated from partnerships with socially responsible companies such as Bradesco Capitalizaes, Microsoft, Vale do Rio Doce, Votorantim, Citigroup, HP Invent, Vivo, Martins, Neoenergia, Lide/EDH, Lilly, Tribanco, IBM, FedEx, Grendene and Credicard/Citi. We started receiving donations from individuals a year ago. Anyone who wants to become involved with our cause can access our site, register and start working with us. The address is

When you began, did you think that almost 14 years later the Institute would still exist and be as successful as it is?

Viviane Senna: Actually, I didn’t really know where I would be today but I did believe we would have made progress and helped reduce social inequality through education. I did not imagine that it would reach this size but I have always believed in the Institute and in my brothers’ dream.

Do you expect the Institute to be still in existence in 15 years time?

Viviane Senna: I hope the situation will be much better by then and that the government will create efficient public policies for education. We are working just now so that one day the Institute will no longer need to exist.

Is there international interest in the Institute’s work?

Viviane Senna: Some companies have contacted us to license the image of Ayrton, whether to help directly or by providing resources for educational programs. Hublot is an example of licensing the image outside Brazil. Microsoft and HP have been impressed by the high quality education we are helping provide new generations and are also working with us. In the technical sphere, we are approached by other NGOS and international universities which see our work as being efficient and serious. We received the Cathedra in Education and Human Development” title from Unesco, the first time an NGO has received this recognition. It is usually presented to universities and centers of knowledge creation. This unparallel event made us an international benchmark, raised our profile and strengthened our work.

You met Lewis Hamilton recently. What did you talk about?

Viviane Senna: We spoke about the Formula One and the similarity between his driving style and that of my brother. He is a differentiated driver, charismatic and very talented. He spoke about his affection and admiration for Ayrton Senna.

What is the best recollection you have of the Institute’s work?

Viviane Senna: It is difficult to recall the best moments because I am involved emotionally in all the work. However, seeing my brother’s dream become a reality and learning about the children who have had their lives transformed because they received opportunities is gratifying. This is my main pride: to know that every day a boy or a girl discovers that he or she is capable of learning, being successful in school and building a better future.

How important do you think the private sector is in helping Brazil face its social problems through social responsibility initiatives?

Viviane Senna: The private sector is an indispensable part of a triangle of social transformation involving the public, private and voluntary sector. Each one has its role to play and should not do the work of the other. For these reasons, companies which are good at running their businesses should try and do so on the social side. They should place resources in large-scale causes with solutions which have been built on well-founded strategies, pre-established goals, regular assessment and are constantly focused on results. By doing so, the companies will ensure that social questions receive the attention they deserve and that resources which have been well invested and managed will bring efficient results.

John Fitzpatrick 2008

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site He can be contacted at

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on

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 Kari Winn
November 25, 2008

About Salvador de Bahia
Located on the northeast coast of Brazil in a region of tropical rainforests, Salvador is historically known as ‘São Salvador da Baia de Todos os Santos’ (or Holy Savior of All Saints Bay). As the third most populous Brazilian city, Salvador is known in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture. The metro area is one of the wealthiest in the north-eastern region of the country, and over 80% of the population has some Black African ancestry, making for a heady mix of cultures and traditions.

Salvador’s Deputado Luis Eduardo Magalhaes International Airport is one of Brazil’s main airports, receiving many direct flights from Europe and North America. As the airport is 28km from the city centre via the Paralela expressway, travellers are advised to take either a taxi or urban bus. Additionally, Salvador’s long-distance bus station is in the middle the middle of the new city, 14km from downtown, and scheduled buses arrive from all over the country daily.

Hostels in Brazil, particularly in Salvador, are one of the most economical options when travelling throughout South America. Prices start at just over $7.00 for a shared room option, with a private room ringing in at around a very reasonable $10.00.

As a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, the Historic Centre of Salvador represents an excellent depiction of the 16th century, and is also recognised as the first capital of Portuguese America. Salvador’s considerable wealth during colonial times is reflected in its palaces, churches and convents, and a walk around the older parts of the city will uncover a wealth of wonderful architecture. Also recommended are the Arte Sacra and Abelardo Rodrigues museums, housing the biggest collection of sacra art in the whole country.

The local cuisine in Salvador reflects the African heritage of its inhabitants, and centres on spicy, seafood-based concoctions. Traditional dishes can be found everywhere, with some of the best flavours and deals coming from the local street vendors. Sample acaraje, a fried ball of black-eyed peas served with caruru, an okra, onion, shrimp, peanut and palm oil condiment. Don’t miss the chance to sample any variety of moqueca (and there are many), a thick, fiery seafood stew.

About the Author – Before joining HostelBookers in 2008, Kari Winn contributed many food and music titles as well as following her passion for world travel, including

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November 19, 2008

Meet Barry Elliott who first moved to Brazil from Canada as a teenager, and then returned a few years later. 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’m originally from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, Canada. I like sports, mainly basketball and soccer. I enjoy movies, not to be critical but for the entertainment. I work as a Technical Support analyst. I love going to the feira, sampling the fresh fruit and having a few pasties.

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

I arrived for the first time in Brazil in 1990 as a teenager. My parents were missionaries and I actually did not want to come to Brazil at first. (just getting used to my new school and friends) I finished high school and then went back to Canada. I was back and forth between the two countries (because I met my wife in SP) and finally arrived to settle down in 1998

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

My first impressions of Brazil were that there were a lot of people and that São Paulo was a bit grey. I was used to open spaces and lots of green and hardly anyone around.

4. What do you miss most about home?

My family, I have some nephews that are funny kids. If you are talking about food or things, I could say I miss watching NHL playoffs and Mary Browns. (something like KFC)

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

The most frustrating experience has been with a bank. Other than that everything is tranquilo”.

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

Most memorable, is a hotel I stayed in, in Florianopolis, that had a view of the bridge and ocean, the sun came up and was shining off it and I thought to my self this is paradise. When so many Brazilians think “viajar pra fora” is the thing to do, Brazil has so many places that are worth it.

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

I love the people, the ease you have to start up a conversation, I wouldn’t trade that for anything, and the fact that even if everything is going bad, you can always get a smile from someone.

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

I like Frans Caf, nice to sit down and have a chat. Ibirapuera is the best place to be for me because I like to stay active, early Saturday morning basketball is the greatest.

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

One day I was visiting some friends at work at there was a passeata on the street, we were trying to get across the street through the people but couldn’t so we just joined in. I don’t even now what we were protesting about, we just needed to get back to work and they were going in that direction…

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

The way people look at life. Enough said

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’m sorry to say that I’m fluent in Portuguese now, because I lived 6 years in Portugal when I was younger. Because I had watched novelas in Portugal all I had to do was change the accent and watch out for some words that are not the same.

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

The same advice I was given. Do what the people do so you won’t look out of place. Don’t be afraid to speak Portuguese either, people will help.

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

In São Paulo, walk Av. Paulista at night and stop off at a Frans and have a Pão de Batata com requeijão. Visit Ibirapuera and relax. Go to Florianopolis!! Go visit the amazing beaches they have. Visit as much of Brazil as you can.

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

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

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

November 19, 2008

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.

Several years ago, I read an article about the Philippines in which the author described well-to-do ladies casually tossing trash to the floor of a department store as one bit of evidence of a damaged culture. As I recall, the article described a real closeness to friends and family but a rather casual indifference to the society at large. I have certainly noticed a lot of Brazilians dropping trash on the ground, including where there were trash receptables nearby. I’ve seen drivers throw papers, coconuts and bags of trash out of car windows. I’ve also seen drivers park and block other cars for long periods of time. Yet, Brazilians are also known as more warm and generous to friends and family members than are people in the USA and Europe. I guess the trash issue bothers me since it’s linked to sanitation. What gives? Thanks.

— Steve


Maybe we should mention the indifference to the society before society indifference? What other reason for not taking out the trash but ignorance?

About that article, I don’t know where you live in Brazil, but it can vary a lot. At least South and South-East well-to-do-ladies were too well educated to “casually toss a trash to the floor of Daslu”. But I believe even well educated people can throw papers out of car windows. I’ve seen it in São Paulo, not to mention Belm do Par.

Belm is the city you stop by on your way to the Amazon. You would think a place like that should be so very concerned about the environment (not to mention sanitation) but people have no idea, Steve. Trash cans seem to be invisible. You see, this wood market must be a hell of a business! No one seems worried about people getting smart over there (or anywhere). Smart people wouldn’t allow that centenary tree on the Port, which I have seen, heading to the USA. Tons of them! All illegal.

Smart people wouldn’t allow many things.

Anyways, something fun for you to know, the floor might be full of trash but Brazilians are neat freaks. Ask anyone you know that works for Unilever which country sells more soap/person/year: Brazil! Brazilians smell good, rich and poor it doesn’t matter. We take at least 2 showers a day. Of course except for the one’s that have no shower… I don’t know how many exactly. Millions?

Thanks a lot for you question,


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 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: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

November 19, 2008

We would like to invite you to the Paraiba Paradise Association Christmas party that will take place on the 14th December 2008 at the Sagarana Restaurant in Cabo Branco. Address Av Cabe Branco 3056, Joao Pessoa, telephone number (83) 3247 5055/6434

Its easy to get to, at the end of Epitacio Pessoa, turn right at the bust of Admiral Tamandare and take a very pleasant drive down Ave Cabo Branco. The restaurant is after the Hotel Farao and before Hotel IBIS.

It will start at 12:30 pm and finish around 7pm. There is a very large secure, sheltered car park and a play area for the children with a trampoline, drawing tables and pens and paper.

There will be a large shaded area reserved for us.

You do not need to be a member of the association to come along as it is really for people to meet up, make new friends and contacts. Please feel free to bring along any other people.

We have arranged for a local band to play so there will be a small cover charge of R$5 per person (over the age of 18) to cover the cost of the band and other expenses. You only need to pay on the day, when you arrive.

There is a special simplified menu for ease of ordering as well as the standard menu where you can get meals for two for under R$40.

As always at these get togethers, an area will be set aside for a book and DVD swap. If you intend to take one try and bring one too so others can benefit.

If you have any suggestions or comments about the event then contact the Arquipélago restaurant June 2008

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