August 23, 2011

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Regina Scharf. Read on as Regina tells us about her impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

I am a Paulista – born and raised in São Paulo, where I lived most of my life (apart from two years in Paris and, now, seven in New Mexico, US). I am a journalist, consultant and translator specialized in sustainability. I have been covering environmental topics since the late eighties and I write for several Brazilian magazines. Plus, I am working with the United Nations Environment Program, a few corporations and non profits. But, these days, my pet project is Deep Brazil, a website that offers cool, reliable info about the country in English.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

Immigrating is never easy, even for those willing to, with a job or some savings, and able to speak the local language. There is a whole culture from which you are initially excluded, a series of codes you have to learn to interpret. This can be really fun, but also challenging.
As many of Gringoes’ readers frequently point out, bureaucracy is a big barrier for those who move to Brazil. It is tough to obtain financing, create an enterprise, hire workers. Also, in many circumstances, information is not readily available – not on the web, not on the phone, not anywhere. In fact, I wrote about all that recently in a post named

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

I think certain books can act as shortcuts to understanding the country. Check this list post – Getting to Know Brazil – a Reading Tour written by Jim Shattuck, an American that lives in Rio. It might give you some ideas. Also, allow yourself to interact with Brazilians, even if you don’t speak the language. Don’t worry if your accent is bad or if you lack vocabulary. There is no better way to perfect your Portuguese.

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@www.gringoes.com.

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

Rebecca Carvalho
Augusto Uehara
Ana da Silva
Daniel Bertorelli
Marco Cassol
Ana Clark
Vanessa Agricola
Ubiratan S. Malta
Brescia Terra
Renata Andraus
Ana Vitoria Joly
Helio Araujo
Adriano Abila
Anderson Ferreira
Sandra Partridge
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Flavius Ferrari
Daniela Ribeiro
Adriano Gomes
Alexandre
Elizabeth Sacknus
Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

August 23, 2011

Meet Michael Smyth who moved to Brazil ten years ago. 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.?

My name is Michael Smyth. I was born just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland and grew up there and on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. I’ve been living in Paraty for 8 years now and run a hiking and kayaking tour company Danielle Carner – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jeff Eddington – USA
Rod Saunders – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

By Bob Moser
August 23, 2011

For American ex-pats who still ache on Sunday afternoons for our brand of football, I’m offering the best remedy possible while living in São Paulo: A local Ex-pats Fantasy Football League.

I’ve been a fantasy football fanatic since my early teens, and long for the camaraderie that stems from weekly competition with coworkers or friends through fantasy football. This will be the third year of the São Paulo Ex-Pats Fantasy Football League, and we have a few openings to fill due to past owners moving away.

For those who’ve never played fantasy football, 10 or 12 coworkers, classmates or friends (we prefer these even numbers) form a league together, with each person as owner” of their team. The group gathers for a live draft together, often at a restaurant, house or office, where owners take turns drafting real NFL players to fill their teams. Draft night is usually the most fun part of the whole season, as the group setting invites jokes, heckling and optimism for every owner who walks out thinking they drafted a championship-caliber squad.

Then during each week of the NFL season (17 weeks, Sept. 10-Jan. 3), your team will face off against another owner’s team, with each owner choosing his best players to start. Those players earn points based on how they perform in the real NFL games that weekend, and your team earns a “W” if it amasses more points than your opponent’s team.

If you have never played fantasy football, no worries. The winner of our league in the first year was playing for the first time, and in year 2 a rookie got third place. They made the effort to read up and study beforehand, but caught quite a bit of luck along the way as well, which is usually the deciding factor in this game, anyways. As long as you care enough to read about the NFL results each week online, I will help all new owners prepare before the draft, offering a variety of Web sites where you’ll find fantasy tips and “cheat sheets” that rank NFL players based on their expected fantasy performance.

To keep league members interested and competitive through the whole season, each owner will pay an entrance fee, likely R$100 this year. The fees would stay within the league, used to buy pizza for draft night, and as a cash prize for the league winner.

We’re going to hold our live draft together on the weekend of Sept. 3-4 (one of those days), so you would need to make sure you have that weekend free in SP. If interested, e-mail me ASAP at bobmoser333@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

By Stephen Thompson
August 23, 2011

The BRIC concept has always seemed contrived to me, and now that I visited all five BRIC countries, I can base my refutation on personal evidence. True, I only spent one day in India, but how much do these economists know about Brazil, Russia, India and China? The BRIC acronym calls to mind construction and growth and has taken on a life of its own; the BRIC countries, or the BRICS with South Africa tacked on, are now holding regular conferences and attempting to form joint policy as if they had something more in common than the happy coincidence of belonging to the same acronym.

The original motive for formulation of the BRIC concept by Jim O’Neill in a 2001 paper entitled Building Better Global Economic BRICs” was that they shared common characteristics: large populations, large land masses, and thus potential for rapid growth. Goldman Sachs weighed in, arguing that by 2050 the combined BRIC economies could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world. (Currently they account for more than a quarter of the world’s land area and more than 40% of the world’s population)

But how much do China, India, Russia and Brazil really have in common? True, they both have large land areas, but there the similarities end. The main link between them is found in the huge commodity boom, and in this they are trading partners, with Brazil and Russia supplying the enormous appetites of China and to a lesser extent, India. As a result Brazil in particular suffers from wild fluctuations in its exchange rate, the curse of many resource rich nations. The commodity price boom has pushed the exchange rate up again, damaging national industries and generating a consumer boom of imported goods. Basking in unmerited popularity, the government has seen fit to put urgently-needed reform on hold until the next crisis. Brazil also differs from China in other ways: it is sparsely populated, rich in raw materials, has few natural hazards, good relations with its neighbours, and a political culture which leans towards excess liberty since the end of the dictatorship.

China on the other hand is overpopulated and has a shortage of land and of almost everything else, except people. It is frequently devastated by droughts, floods, typhoons and earthquakes and has fought wars with all its neighbours in recent decades. Its government is dictatorial and corrupt but also cunning, pragmatic and ambitious. After three decades of communist totalitarianism, it did the world’s most successful policy U-turn and now presides over a growing capitalist economy. One of China’s best policy decisions was to link the Yuan to the dollar at a low exchange rate.

As for Russia, how can it be classified as a developing country in the same category as India? Russia was the economic powerhouse which outdid Nazi Germany in the second year, building so many planes and aeroplanes that Churchill said the Russians “tore the guts out of the German Army”. In the 1950s the Soviet Union put the first man in space. Russia is more a de-industrialised nation than a developing one. It lost its industries during the hyper-deflation of the 1990s, when Boris Yelstin and other ex-communists asset-stripped the country. It is sparsely populated and its population is actually falling. Not long after Putin’s coup, Russia began to suffer from a commodity boom, cushioning the corrupt and despotic elite from real challenges to power, and allowing it to bask in popular approval. Putin and his mafia gang seem to have little ambition other than to continue to enjoy their privileges and it is hard to see Russia become anything other than another oil-igarchy.

Like China, India is poor in anything except people, and like China it suffers from traditional cultures which hinder development, only more so. But it has the massive advantage of being a democracy with freedom of information and free speech which will help it overtake China in the long run. It has not made the mistake of trying to artificially lower its population with over-zealous family planning and now has more young workers and consumers than China. Indians are known for their entrepreneurialism around the world.

If we were to smash the BRIC in two, we would have to put India and China in one half and Russia and Brazil on the other. The greatest resource of India and China are their people, and it is this which has sucked in foreign capital to make China the factory of the world. The Chinese government has played its hand well in this respect, extracting favourable conditions such as technology transfers from western companies desperate to get a piece of the billion-strong market. China has invested heavily in infrastructure, building whole metro systems in several cities in just a decade.

Brazil and Russia are on the opposite end of the scale. They have lots of land and small populations and suffer from the resource curse. Elites postpone political reform while the dollars flow in from commodities like oil, gas and minerals.

Alternatively, we could group India and Brazil together, as they are both failed democracies which prove that democracy on its own is not successful when it contends with a culture of corruption. Both have large under castes of former slaves who have not been incorporated into mainstream society. Russia and China both suffer from political traditions of despotism.

Either way, we seem stuck with the BRIC rubric for now. Other nations have been invited, and Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey all seem to qualify, but the economists can’t think up good new acronyms to include them.

NB. Goldman’s Sachs BRIC notion initially included Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, but the R.U.B.I.S.C acronym did not fly so well.

You can contact Stephen via stephenthompson@hotmail.com.

To read previous articles by Stephen click the links below:

Brazil: 10 Years After
Reinforcing Stereotypes of Brazilians
The Lula Football Curse and the Lula Olympic Nightmare
Are China and Brazil Ganging up on Google?
China-Brazil Relations: Amnesia or Ingratitude?
Running After My Boss
Brazil: Run for your life!
If God is a Brazilian…
Amazon Exhibition in Tokyo
Other Places to Speak Portuguese (Apart From Brazil): Macau
Brazilian Music in Translation
China is Quite Popular in Brazil These Days
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: Physical Fitness and Personal Training in São Paulo Part 1
Brazil: What’s in a Name?
Brazil: Go East, Young Man
Brazil: This Is The Life I’ve Always Wanted
Brazil: Stolen Computer
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 2
My First Business Failure in Brazil Part 1
Getting your Brazilian Steak Fix in China
Brazil: Birth and Dying
Imaginary Voyages to Brazil
Brazil: Probably the Best Country in the World to Live In
Great Brazilian Inventions: The Kilo Restaurant
Brazil: Things you wanted to know… and will never know!
Brazil: Expensive, Trendy, and Extremely Beautiful
Brazil: Not Really British Enough
Package Holidays to Brazil are Back On Track
Brazil: Reverse Culture Shock
Brazil: The Legal System
Brazil: Saying Goodbye to a Bilingual Kid
How to get Brazilian Citizenship
Getting Work in Brazil
Acquiring and Running a Small Business in Brazil
Brazil: To Free Or Not To Free
Brazil: Trail Biking in Chapada Diamantinha
Brazil: So Near, but So Far Apart
How to Get Into University in Brazil
The Pleasure of Driving a Car in Brazil
Brazil: The Bairro of Flamengo in Ro de Janeiro
Brazil: The Information Technology Law
Managing a Brazilian bank account
Brazil’s Middle Class Ruled By Political Apathy

By Alison McGowan
August 23, 2011

Pousada Chez les Rois was a wonderful find – an oasis of calm in one of the best areas of the city, half an hour from the airport, 4kms from the centre of Manaus and easy walking distance from shops, restaurants, gyms and even a spa. The 10 bedrooms here are fairly basic but all have en-suite shower rooms, frigobar, TVs and wi-fi internet access which works! Breakfasts are taken by a beautiful pool set in tropical gardens – a wonderful way to start the day and a great place to chill out in the late afternoon and evening when you get back from your day trips out.

Everyone asks about the name, Chez les Rois, which is practically unpronounceable in Portuguese, but curiously it has nothing to do with kings and there is no French connection” in the pousada at all. But I’ll let them tell you the story. Suffice it to say the beautiful mansion was originally the family home of well known Amazonian guide Miguel Rocha da Silva and the pousada has been run for the last 6 years by his son Mauro who carries on the tradition of imparting hospitality, generosity and local knowledge to pousada guests, with his whole raison d’tre the desire to help people live their dreams. I definitely could have stayed a few days longer to explore the faded glory of Manaus, to see just a tiny bit of the massive surrounding rainforest, to buy beautiful wood hand carvings swim with the dolphins and, in the process, realise a few of my own dreams.

Manaus had a a glorious heyday at the height of the rubber boom at the end of the 19th century and there are still vestiges of its former glory evident in the Theatro Amazonas and a few surrounding buildings. Regrettably little else has survived though, and what is worth seeing in the city itself will not take you more than a couple of hours. What is extraordinary here of course is something else entirely: the confluence of the two huge rivers Solimes, and Negro which together become the Amazon, the bustle of the riverboats and the extraordinary sense of space and grandeur. Go out to the “meeting of the waters” where the black Rio Negro meets the brown River Solimes, or take a boat along the banks of the river or up to Lake Janauari to see the flora and fauna, the birds, butterflies and dolphins. Now those are unforgettable experiences

Not To Be Missed
– Theatro Amazonas opera house
– Mercado Municipal
– Museu do Seringau (rubber tappers museum)
– Boat trip to meeting of the waters and Lake Janauari
– Visits to the local riverbank communities
– Swimming with pink dolphins in Acajatuba
– Local handicrafts at Fundacao Almerinda Malaquias in Novo Airao

Starpoints
* Location in the heart of the Manaus- best area of town
* Owner Mauro and his excellent staff
* Help with planning local trips
* Peace and tranquillity by the pool

Try a different place if…
… you want a jungle lodge or a luxury pousada; this is a city pousada

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

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Bahia’s Eco-paradises
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Tanara, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, São Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

August 23, 2011

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

I’d like to know what Brazilians think of the asylum given to Cesare Battisti. Do they think giving asylum to a convicted terrorist and murderer will affect their demands to become a permanent member of the security counsel of the UN and what impact it will have on their relationship with Italy, a long standing partner of Brazil, and origin of many Brazilians themselves. Does this not send out a message that Brazil is a haven for criminals?

— Emile

Nice question! I love the topic, though I am not so political to give you the proper answer maybe, and to also understand what the hell is going on with the Battisti case. My opinion is, before anything else, Battisti must have good friends in Brasilia, and that keeps him well protected in this ‘heaven’ you mention about. Now, I can’t tell you what friends they are, and why they are so close, and what else is involved in that friendship. Is that… money? Partnership? Who could say for sure? Journalists, the newspapers, no decent Brazilian agrees with that idea. Do not confuse Brazilians with some of our corrupt politicos. I don’t know where are you from, but if you are American, I’m sure it wouldn’t be correct to compare you with George Bush, right? In my personal opinion, I think Battisti should go to hell. Heaven isn’t for him.

Best regards,

Vanessa

I have some questions about Brazilian men and romance.

Well to start off, my boyfriend is from Brazil and I am from the US, however my parents are Guatemalan. Therefore I am an American Hispanic because I was born here and lived here all my life, but my parents taught me Spanish. I know English and Spanish and a little Portuguese. I love my boyfriend and he loves me too, we one day wish to get married.

My question is, what do Brazilian men think of American Hispanics? Do Brazilian men cheat? Do they like Latinas born in America? Do they see us more as American or as Hispanic people from Spanish speaking countries? Do they not care and love whoever they love?

Thanks! Obrigada! :)

— Deya

Hello Deya,

I can see you are worried about your Brazilian boyfriend, but I can’t understand why.

You ask me what Brazilian men think of American Hispanics? I think, as any men elsewhere, they think that they are gorgeous, sexy women. That’s all they think. I have some friends living in Miami and they were never as happy as with the Columbianas they met there. I even remember some of they said they are the sexiest women alive! Also, Deya, listen, he is Brazilian, don’t you know about Brazil? No one is 100% white or black in Brazil. This doesn’t matter. I can tell you for sure, a Brazilian man doesn’t care where you are from. (Unless you have a mustache :)

Now, do Brazilian men cheat? Well, well, well, some of them yes. Some say the majority of them. There is even a guy that wrote for us that is studying about that and he says definitely. But really, truly, I disagree. There’s no such thing as all Brazilian men cheat. At all. People are different, so are Brazilian men. So, if you trust your boyfriend, keep it that way, cos he might be this one great guy that doesn’t cheat, and happens to be from Brazil and also happens to loves you.

Good luck with everything,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

Regarding the question about Battisti, in the answer, there is an understandable misinterpretation of the word “haven” for “heaven” (i.e. “…Brazil is a haven for criminals”).

While “heaven” obviously would mean “cu” in Portuguese, the word “haven” actually means “refgio” or “porto seguro”. In other words, the question asks whether giving asylum to Battisti would give the impression of Brazil being a “refgio” for criminals. Not heaven. Just a detail, but an important one in this case.

— John

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

Previous articles in this series:

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

August 2, 2011

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Rebecca Carvalho. Read on as Rebecca tells us about her impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

My name is Rebecca Carvalho, I’m from Recife, PE, and I’ve graduated from Lawrence University, WI, with a B.A in English. I currently live in Palo Alto, CA, and work as a freelance journalist and novelist. Last fall I contributed to a war memory anthology, Operation Legacy. This project was an initiative of the NGO Old Glory Honor Flight, which flies WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials. The money raised from selling this book will help keep this opportunity possible. My work, along with other volunteers, was to interview a war veteran. The transcription of that interview is now part of the anthology.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

I wouldn’t call it obstacle, but perhaps the main challenge a foreigner would face in Brazil is the language. That applies to anybody interested in visiting a foreign place. Even when you already have a good grasp of the language and the culture of a certain state, slang and cultural in-jokes will definitely leave a foreigner confused and frustrated to some extent. Also, there are expressions one speaks in a certain language that the literal translation does not exist in Portuguese (and vice-versa). Although communicating can be frustrating, I suggest foreigners to rely on asking and observing.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but all foreigners in general often show a high level of confidence when visiting a new place. At home we are very careful and aware of the dangers, for instance, of walking on the street alone at a certain time. When we are abroad, however, our excitement steals our sense of self-preservation. It is good to be excited and open when traveling abroad, but my biggest advice to any foreigner is to be always careful and, perhaps, to immerse in reading the news from that destination a month or so prior to visiting it.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

I do not like to reinforce stereotypes. I believe every person is different, no matter where he / she is coming from. I will speak, then, for myself. I would say, humbly, that based on my narrow experience I got the impression that Americans are very careful with their time. For instance, while most of us in Brazil sit down for at least an hour during lunch, most Americans I met would prefer to have a sandwich while doing work or during a meeting. One shouldn’t approach this from a who’s right / wrong?” perspective, because the amount of time one devotes to a certain meal is just a cultural and personal decision.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

Perhaps the American accent with all its variations, because I am already used to it.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

I think my favorite place will always be Washington D.C. because it was the first place I’ve been to in the U.S. and because of the memories. The first time I came to the United States was in 2007 as a member of the Youth Ambassadors program, which is an initiative of the U.S. Embassy in Brazil. We were 25 high school students interested in volunteering and youth activism, and the YA program was the first opportunity we had until then to know that we had a voice and that there were people interested in hearing our ideas. In D.C. we gave speeches at high schools, met with congressmen, with diplomats, with the former First Lady, Laura Bush. We visited the memorials and other places, and even had a chance to go inside the White House. It was a great opportunity and the memories of that trip will always keep D.C. as this extraordinary place I will always respect.

7. Favourite foreign food?

I love french toast and pancakes, and everything that is sweet. Perhaps pancakes aren’t that uncommon in Brazil, but they are definitely foreign to my family.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

I don’t think I have a favorite band, but I often listen to the work of composers like James Horner and Alexandre Desplat. My favorite book will always be the Diary of Anne Frank, which changed my life and a book I bring with me wherever I go. My favorite movie at the moment is Mary & Max, which is an adorable Australian claymation feature.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

Not answered.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?

This is a story that will definitely make two of my friends mad if they ever hear I am telling it to you. For literary purposes, and for the sake of my neck, I will simply call my friends T and M, who are respectively from Bangladesh and from Burma. It was our second week, I think, at Lawrence University and we still needed certain things to help us better adjust to our new rooms and to life abroad in general. We, then, decided to go to a nearby mall, but we had no idea how to get there. We had been there with the other international students a week earlier, but with the help of a bus rented to drive us around during Welcome Week. At the bus station a friendly lady helped us figure out which bus we were supposed to take. We took the bus and stepped out at a certain destination.

We soon realized that all places in the United States sort of looked the same, and that the market place was not the mall we were looking for. What to do? We decided to walk to the mall. The idea was to continue walking the way our bus had gone, and nothing would go wrong, correct? We walked in line by the road for an hour. It was a windy day, our jackets were too thin, and we could barely hear each other because of the noise of the cars nearby and the wind that was always blowing our words away. T was in front of me, so I had to yell to her that we were not supposed to be walking by the road. She would yell “why?” back, and whatever I explained wouldn’t reach her ears. M, doing her best to follow us, looked uncertain throughout the whole journey, but she was too polite to complain. We walked and walked, and couldn’t find the mall. We were deciding what to do when a police car reached us. “Oh no, see… I told you we were not supposed to be here,” I whispered to T.

The police officer was a very nice lady ready to help. We told her our dilemma, and she was kind enough to offer us a ride to the mall, which turned out to be a block away from where we had given up our goal (a good moral lesson, I suppose). The drive to the mall was very interesting. We told her that we were international students and talked about our countries until we got to the mall. M, sitting next to me, looked mortified. “This is a police car,” she whispered to me, and I realized that although we weren’t criminals, perhaps she was feeling guilty through osmosis.

At the end of the day, when we were safe at Lawrence University, we swore to never tell this story to others. It was way too embarrassing. But I think it was an adventure worth talking about… now that I am miles away from my friends and safe from the retaliation that might come if they hear I am spreading this story to the rest of the world through Gringoes.

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

The best way to understand the Brazilian people and our culture is to be around Brazilians. Most Brazilians are extremely open to foreigners and ready to show their understanding of the culture. Enjoy the opportunity to talk with them even if you barely understand the language. I would also recommend to read more news about the destination you’ll be visiting prior to your trip and to watch more Brazilian TV shows. When I moved to the U.S. I was sorry that I had not thought about immersing myself in the culture before I traveled. One can actually learn a lot about the worries, the beliefs, the frustrations of a certain place from simply reading the news and even from trivial TV shows they produce.

My email address is rebeccamcc7@gmail.com. I also kept a blog during my years at Lawrence University to describe my experiences abroad.

Feel free to read http://historiasdalawrence.blogspot.com/ and to contact me.

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@www.gringoes.com.

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

Augusto Uehara
Ana da Silva
Daniel Bertorelli
Marco Cassol
Ana Clark
Vanessa Agricola
Ubiratan S. Malta
Brescia Terra
Renata Andraus
Ana Vitoria Joly
Helio Araujo
Adriano Abila
Anderson Ferreira
Sandra Partridge
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Flavius Ferrari
Daniela Ribeiro
Adriano Gomes
Alexandre
Elizabeth Sacknus
Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

By Alison McGowan
August 2, 2011

Alter do Chao, Par
The beaches of the Amazon make for a particularly special treat, because they are a phenomenon that only occurs in July through to November, when the rivers are at their lowest. The beach at Alter do Chao, Par is probably the prettiest of them all. With beach bars at your disposal, you can relax on the beach with your feet in the water and eating fresh, fried fish from the barracos, whilst marvelling at the fact you are in the middle of the jungle. Hotel BeloAlter is a beautiful eco-lodge 15 minutes walk along the beach and by far the best place to stay in the area.

Ilha de Toque Toque, São Sebastião, São Paulo
Ilha de Toque Toque in São Sebastião, São Paulo is an area of extraordinary natural beauty with waterfalls, mountains and the Atlantic forest giving way to ocean, bays and sandy beaches. Beaches Toque Toque Grande and Calhetas are idyllic. This is also home to Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, which if you are in search of peace and quiet in lovely surroundings, is the place to be. It even has an exclusive beachside area on Toque Toque beach.

Boipeba Island, Bahia
Boipeba island in Bahia is the embodiment of paradise. Located to the South of Salvador, the island just has miles and miles of deserted, unspoilt sandy beaches, interrupted by the occasional fishing village and small shacks selling beer and coconut water. But essentially it is just you and the ocean and it is the ultimate place to chill. Pousada Santa Clara, Pousada Mangabeiras are excellent pousadas just outside the main village. If you want to venture a bit more off the beaten track then check out Morere beach where Pousada Mangueira is located.

Costa dos Corais, Alagoas
The Costa dos Corais coast, famously known as Alagoas’ ecological route, is an incredible beach destination. In the north at the top of the route is Porto de Pedras. For those who appreciate natural surrounds, walking and a really chilled out pace, this is a great place to visit. If you stay at Pousada Patacho, you are only 20 minutes away from the historic village of Porto de Pedras. Further along the coast is Praia do Toque, dotted with coconut plantations and is truly picturesque. On this beach you will find Pousada da Amendoeira. Waking up here and looking out on to the ocean feels like a dream!

Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro
Ilha Grande in Rio de Janeiro state is a tropical paradise. The largest oceanic island in Brazil. Here you can leave your stress at home and enjoy the countless deserted beaches, the excellent diving or the fabulous hikes around the island, over to Lopes Mendes beach and Dois Rios. It is a magical place. In the main town of Abraao good pousada options include Pousada Naturalia and Pousada Aratinga Inn and for a more secluded hideaway, a boat ride away, is Praia Vermelha and Vila PedraMar.

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

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Taruma, Conceicao de Jacarei, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Encanto da Lua, Marau, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Baia Grande, South Pantanal (Miranda), Mato Grosso do Sul
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Palafitas Lodge, Rondonia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d’Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airão, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

By Ricky Skelton
August 2, 2011

Back to this one again.

If prevention is better than cure, I find that often in Brazil, cure isn’t considered either. Instead, a resigned shrug of the shoulders and another repetition of ‘O que a gente pode fazer?’. The answer across many of Brazil’s problems is ‘Quite a lot more actually, and quite easily’.

This attitude can be seem from the macro – the dictatorships and blatant political corruption – to the micro… or the mosquito.

Brazil’s relationship with the mosquito has baffled me for years. The basics of prevention don’t exist, and the cure is not so effective. Across the whole spectrum of Brazilian residences, from favela houses to apartments to enormous beach mansions, passing through top class hotels and cosy pousadas along the way, hardly any windows or doors have any mosquito protection covering them. Now in the poorer areas, this is to be expected, people can’t afford to spend money on home improvements from the salario minimo, not when there is food to buy for the table. At the higher levels though, you would expect to find brand new luxury condominiums to spend a little extra and use the kind of fly-doors that you see on all but the poorest homes in suburban North America.

It isn’t like Brazil doesn’t have any mosquitoes. They have beasts here! When you have a country that includes most of the largest rainforest and largest wetlands on earth in the Amazon and Pantanal areas, and a coastal strip of Atlantic Rainforest, you’d think that by now Brazil would have worked out a better system. It must be disheartening to find your brand new R$1 million apartment infested with mosquitoes despite being 10 floors up, and patio doors that must be kept closed, as these kind of developments tend to be built on reclaimed flood plain land on the edge of the cities.

No, instead of including nets on newly installed windows and doors, Brazilians spend regular fortunes on sprays, plug-ins, oils, repellents and the new traffic light sellers’ dream – the Mosquito Tennis Racket. These latest are a wonderfully sadistic addition to the list of curatives. You plug them in to charge and then can spend many a happy hour chasing mosquitoes and other insects around your pad, practising your forehands and backhands along the way, and also avoiding smears of blood up and down your white walls. Catching the mosquitoes is much easier, and if your racquet is fully charged, the resulting fireworks, smoking and eventual complete vaporisation of the enemy never fails to entertain. If not charged up enough, the insects fall to the floor, performs a few backspins, then sometimes fly off again.

Of course, the easiest way to prevent mosquitoes is to repel them completely, no need to waste time chasing them around your apartment. The active ingredient in many insect repellents comes from the oil of the citronella plant, close cousin of lemon-grass. Both are indigenous to Brazil, and both are criminally under used, one only in a tea instead of cooking as with Thai food, the other is mainly produced for use in the chemical industries. In all my years in Brazil I think I have come across citronella liberally planted at the bottom of the trees in only one open-air restaurant. Despite being in the middle of the mato, nothing bit me all night. A friend in Floripa has a plant outside his shop, which backs on to the lagoon, yet we’ve spent many a happy hour talking and drinking there while he stays open in the evening with no sign of our little friends.

There is a serious point to this nonsense. It isn’t just the irritation factor of mosquitoes, but the spread of malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and more that could be prevented with just a little house plant outside the doors and windows of every house in Brazil. Just a little propaganda during middle of the evening novela to make people aware, R$5 on the seeds or a little plant and we’re away.

Having experienced the effects that the 2008 Dengue Epidemic in Rio de Janeiro had on tourist numbers across the whole of the country, then Brazil’s Golden Decade could be seriously at risk of becoming Brazil’s Crisis Decade if one easily preventable dengue outbreak were to erupt in the months leading up to the World Cup or Olympics. I wouldn’t risk it myself. Prevention is always better than cure.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/

Previous articles by Ricky:

Reader comments:

I disagree that prevention is not an important part of the mosquito problem in Brazil. In February while I was visiting a friend in São Jose dos Campos, in a lower income part of the city, a government person came to the house to inspect it to see if any mosquito breeding places were present. We were told to do something about a flower vase.

Screens are just not a part of the culture in Brazil and on high rise buildings I don’t think they are needed above the 1st few floors.

— Don

Previous articles by Ricky:

Understanding Brazil: The Pub
Understanding Brazil: Protesting
Understanding Brazil: General Elections
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 Florianópolis
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’
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: São 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?

August 2, 2011

Meet Danielle Carner who recently moved to Brazil. Read the following interview in which she tells us about some of her 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.?

My name is Danielle Carner. I am a 21 year old University student from Kansas City Missouri. I spend my time teaching English, learning Portuguese, and finishing my studies.

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

I arrived in Brazil about 3 months ago. I was studying psychology in Kansas City, where I grew up. I had seen the same places, the same things, and the same people for the past 20 years. My dad moved here about 4 years ago. He would tell me what a beautiful place it was here. I was not happy with the normal routine of my life. So I picked up and moved in the middle of the semester.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

I had visited Rio a year or so ago and stayed in a hostel. I saw the favelas and I had heard the stories. But really I try to keep a positive outlook. I love Brazil. MY first impression was amazement. They have worn off by now as I am settling down. I live in Campinas. The place is very clean. I remember being astonished at the fact that people had maids and cooks. I was also very impressed by the inclusivity, warmest, and hospitality of the people. I was greeted with flowers and kisses at the airport. My first impressions were that everyone wanted to be my friend and help me.

4. What do you miss most about home?

I don’t miss a whole lot. But I do miss the drying machine. It takes two days for my jeans to dry, and a week for my sheets to dry. I really miss Walmart, I did not think I would ever support or miss the place but living in today’s society, the prices of chapstick, mascara, book, and electronics are really expensive here. I also miss how fast I could get a hold of someone on my cell phone. But as I adjust to the culture. These things are not really important to me anymore.

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

In general, time. When I arrived I was an American at heart. I arrived at least 10-15 minutes early to any meeting, social, business, or to class; sometimes even earlier. I have found the Brazilian concept of time a nuisance. People tend to run a bit late. I have found if you schedule something for 10 it could mean 10:45, or it could be 2. This is very typical. Also I have found that canceling at the last minute or not even caring to show up is very typical. I am a teacher, a student, and I have a good social life and this is very frustrating to me when I am used to being on time.

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

I was once on a bus from Soasas to Cambui and I was obviously a gringa. I walked onto the bus and I had no idea how the bus system worked (old women sit in the front and don’t pay; everyone else pays in the middle and sits in the back). A young guy about my age in the middle was taking money and playing American Hip Hop music on his cell phone. I walked up to pay and stumbled through my Portuguese. I just wanted to get to make it to my class. He keeps staring at me. The bus fills up with people. I was nervous. I do not know what I am doing, or where I am going. This guy is looking at me. I have a class to teach in an hour. Then he changes the song to Your Beautiful” by James Blunt…” And says listen to the lyrics. I am blushing because I am the only one who understands what is going on. Also a dear friend of mine bought a pair of shoes for me the second week I was here for no apparent reason. It was just because. I have never seen so many people give so many gifts before.

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

The generosity, kindness, and warmth. The people here are always willing to help.

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

Oh, that’s tough. I have so many. Campinas is very unique. There are a few places I like to go. I have a few nice per kilo restaurants my friends/coworkers and I like to visit for lunch, and a few nice restaurants I have been to for dinner I would recommend. I also have had a good time at a few of the clubs here.

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

Ha, yes. Many! Just yesterday I was in a very fancy French restaurant. After having a nice dinner and a conversational English class, my student and I were walking around the restaurant looking at the wines. We asked to go in and see the wines. However, I did not realize there was a glass door there and walked right into it. Or the time I was at the gym talking in English and then in Portuguese this guy came up to me stunned and asked are you American or are you Brazilian?

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

The sense of time is a huge difference here. Back home in the United States it was a mainstream cultural thing to be on time. Here, most people arrive late to most activities except to a futebol game and it is not much of a bother. Sometimes people will cancel plans and not tell me. I also find the men here to be strikingly more forward. The idea of marriage has been brought up at least twice since I have been here. People here tend to be generally more helpful and generally more social. People here work to live and not live to work. Back home in America I feel that we can live our lives on a schedule here, it’s by what do you have to do then ok, what do you want to do. You have to learn to be very flexible with you time here. Sometimes you end up waiting hours for people or a meeting to happen, if it even happens.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most
difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly
confuse?

My Portuguese is coming along great. I actually prefer to speak in Portuguese because I am living here. I prefer to be immersed in the culture. I have found that many Brazilians want to practice their English. At first, I found it very helpful for me because I needed to get around. Then I did not want to speak in English I wanted to speak in Portuguese. Now I speak which ever language comes up. I still prefer Portuguese because I want to learn the language and become fluent in it. Now, I spend my days half and half, when I am not working, or studying, I am trying to learning the language.

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

Calma. Enjoy yourself. Immerse yourself in the language and culture and try to enjoy it for what it is. It is the most respectful thing you can do and it’s a lot of fun once you get going.

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

Depends on your age, but I would recommend going to a soccer game. Visit the beach, go to the mall, go to a bar, go to a Brazilian BBQ.

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

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

Jaya Green – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jeff Eddington – USA
Rod Saunders – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia