By Maria A Petit
October 30, 2012

There is nothing more exhilarating than experiencing a city for the first time and if you throw in a new language even better.

I studied Portuguese many years ago with a Carioca (person from Rio Janeiro) and consider myself relatively fluent. However years without practicing and acquisitions of other languages have left me amusingly confused to say the least.

Upon landing in São Paulo it became very obvious, Paulistas (person from São Paulo) speak a lot faster than Cariocas. It’s literally Portuguese on speed. The ‘J’ in JAM made sure I hit the ground running though even before I landed in São Paulo, Brazil from Dubai, UAE with a full on social itinerary packed with lunches, dinners and networking events. She even entrusted me with her car keys on the 2nd day so that I could meet with a friend across town. Throwing me in the deep end of the chaotic jam-packed streets of São Paulo. With navigation system in tow I dashed off.

Unfortunately en-route I encountered a roadwork detour, which found me asking random strangers on the street for directions. The amusing part though was when I spoke Portuguese to them and they replied, sorry I don’t speak English”. Finally I shouted “That’s great because I’m speaking Portuguese!!!”

I somehow managed to make it to my lunch meeting Brazilian style 40 minutes late. My Emirates pilot friend speaks no Portuguese so I happily took over with the waiter. And so when the waiter asked, “what would you like to drink?” I answered very self-assured “mai obrigada” aka water thank you. The trouble is which I only realized much later is that “mai” is water in Arabic not Portuguese and “mai/me” in Portuguese means mother. So I literally said, “mother please”. The waiter did serve me water though because after I spoke he said “agua?” to which I replied “si”. Trouble is “agua” means water in Spanish too so I thought he was speaking to me in Spanish since I had told him I was from Venezuela. You got that?

For my first Friday night in São Paulo, the “J” in JAM organized a girl’s night out with her closest friends. At dinner I sat next to Juliane a Brazilian from Minas Gerais who gave me the inside scoop on the Brazilian nightlife-dating scene. Her exact words “I never left a night club in Brazil without kissing someone. However when I was in university in the USA it was totally different. You text for like 3 months before you even kiss.” Additionally, she pointed out that Brazilian women have zero scruples when it comes to “taken” men. Which is why Brazilian women in a relationship cling to their men like birds perched on them, never leaving their sight.

After a fabulous dinner we were off to a private ‘club’ party hosted by a friend of a friend in what appeared to be the ground floor of an office building in Itaim. Where the scene that Juliane had described clearly unfolded. The “couples” stood out radically as the women literally held on to their men for dear life, their heels almost never touching the floor perched on the look out for predators. We joked they probably held their pee for hours for fear of leaving their men on their own for a minute. It goes without saying that the men themselves perpetuate this behavior due to their reputation as cheaters. The good news is that the single men are easy to spot, or so we thought, not that we were hunting.

We were at the bar for our round of Sake Caipirinhas when we asked a guy standing next to us if he would be so kind to take a picture of us girls. A harmless request really except the battery went off on our iPhone, so we asked if he could take a picture on his iPhone and then email it to us. Well you can imagine the scene when his girlfriend rocked up and there he was taking a picture of a group of girls on his iPhone. A feisty 5 Brazilian babe on the verge of a nervous breakdown shouting “Oi! O que voc est fazendo?!! Este o meu homem!!” aka “Hey! What are you doing?!! This is my man!!” Explanations lost on deaf ears as we just walked away and continued with our evening.

In the midst of an incredible DJ set we took a break outside in the smoking area. Where we encountered 4 bodyguards surrounding “Ronaldo… THE Ronaldo”. The name sounded familiar, football came to mind but I was oblivious to the magnitude of his notoriety. Shamelessly I just walked over to get the scoop from the bodyguard, “so who is that?” He looked at me like I was from Mars. He said “Ronaldo” in a matter a fact way. I followed it up with “which one?” He didn’t think it was amusing but pointed to the fat guy anyways. This Ronaldo (Ronaldo Lus Nazrio de Lima) as suppose to the six-pack one is considered one of the best players of all time. He is one of only three men to have won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times along with Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo became the highest goal scorer in the entire history of the World Cup with his fifteenth goal.

All in all a very eventful 1st Friday night in São Paulo.

Maria is a Venezuelan-born American living in São Paulo, Brazil. She has a BA in Finance, Multinational Business and Spanish from Florida State University. She initiated her career at Motorola Inc. as their Europe, Middle East and Africa MDb Commercial Director, leaving in 2009. This was followed by an 18 month sabbatical during which she Co-Founded JAM Language Ltd., studied Arabic and taught English in Sana’a, Yemen, played polo in Argentina and Mexico, in addition to travel stints in Jordan, Spain, USA, Norway, Kenya and Morocco. She returned to Dubai, UAE in 2010 joining Al Habtoor Trading Enterprises as Commercial Director until Spring 2012. Her languages of choice are English, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese. Most recently she co-founded SP Night Market. Maria oversees Sales and Marketing for JAM Language Ltd. Contact Maria at maria.petit@jamlanguage.com

By Josmar Lopes
October 30, 2012

Over the past few seasons there has been an explosion of films, television series, stage treatments, and animated features exploring the make-believe world of fairy tales – with more still to come.

A casual stroll through the neighborhood multiplex will reveal such titles as Mirror, Mirror (with Julia Roberts and comic Nathan Lane) and Snow White and the Huntsman (featuring Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, and Charlize Theron), both major studio releases. The year 2011 brought us the short-lived Red Riding Hood, with rising starlet Amanda Seyfried and veteran scene-stealer Gary Oldman, while the ABC-TV network took a giant step forward in bringing Once Upon a Time to the sparse Sunday-night lineup.

Even the Great White Way – no stranger to fantasy – has served as host to a revival of Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked, a musical variation on the fairy-tale theme, albeit one based on the early life experiences” of the Wicked Witch of the West, a character straight out of the 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz.

Let’s not forget the pice de rsistance of theatrical showpieces: Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, a modern reincarnation of several classic tales, as interpreted by child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, revived anew at New York’s Delacorte Theater, in Central Park, during August 2012.

And don’t get me started on all those animated varieties out there, including such past triumphs as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Puss in Boots, as well as Disney Studio’s Tangled, a delightfully daffy rendition of the Rapunzel story.

So why are we being bombarded with so many fairy tales? There are several reasons for this feast of storybook retellings, some having to do with the poor state of the economy and the longing for simpler, less troubled times. Built-in to their success is the high recognition factor these stories hold for viewers, along with nostalgia for the lost innocence of youth, which fairy tales seem particularly adept at exploiting – the perfect family-friendly combination, one would think.

What most audiences fail to realize, however, is that fairy tales, while appearing to favor children as their target audience, were in fact written by grownups – grownups with a grave message to convey. That message, whether it be “beware of strangers,” or “don’t judge a book by its cover,” has been seen (in this country, at least) through uniquely American eyes.

This begs the question, then, of how other nationalities view these same tales and how they come to grips with their cautionary message.

The answer, if there is any, may be found in Brazil, in what has become one of the most significant and far-reaching theatrical developments of the new millennium: that of the country’s own musical “explosion.”

By this, we do not mean the ceaseless pounding of the samba drum at Carnival time. No, this musical explosion refers to more tuneful matters, i.e., such stage-worthy items as Gypsy, Hair, Sweet Charity, Company, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The Witches of Eastwick, Avenue Q, Spring Awakening and, quite unavoidably, the ever popular Wizard of Oz.

Charles Meller and Claudio Botelho, the Brazilian team responsible for this renewed interest in classic and/or modern stage musicals, have been thriving in Rio de Janeiro for the better part of two decades. So why have we heard so little about them, especially since they happen to be involved with Broadway musicals?

In this writer’s opinion, they are Brazil’s best kept secret. Like most such secrets (including the name of the mysterious Rumpelstiltskin), sooner or later the ground-breaking work of Meller and Botelho is destined to break out from its Brazilian boundaries.

But the question still remains: what can this award-winning team bring to the fore – in the way of musicals, of course – that is uniquely and authentically Brazilian?

Where Have All the Musicals Gone?
Regrettably, there are relatively few of what we can call “Brazilian musicals” to please the paying public. The most logical candidate, Magdalena, by native-born composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose music was adapted for the stage by Chet Forrest and Robert Wright (Song of Norway, Kismet, Grand Hotel), was an unfortunate flop at its 1948 Broadway premiere – although the show’s gorgeous melodies practically demand a rehearing.

Those other “stage plays with music,” by singer/songwriter Chico Buarque de Hollanda (Roda viva, Calabar, Gota d’gua, pera do Malandro), were written in the 1960s and s during more troubled times – that is, those of the Brazilian military dictatorship years, with their government restrictions and concerns over language and content. Chico’s musical excursions were a by-product of that tumultuous era: except for a 2003 revival of pera do Malandro (done, coincidentally, by Meller-Botelho) they have languished in unmerited anonymity.

Fortunately for us, Meller and Botelho’s 7 – O Musical (henceforth known as 7 – The Musical), an original stage conception that premiered in Rio, in September 2007, at the Teatro Joo Caetano, has suffered no such concerns. An instant hit with critics and public alike, 7 – The Musical garnered several prestigious prizes in Brazil, including the APTR (Association of Theater Producers of Rio) Award and the Shell Musical Award for Best Direction, Best Costumes, and Best Lighting.

With an appropriately atmospheric score (bordering on the sinister) by prolific jazz-funk artist Ed Motta, remarkably cogent lyrics and musical direction by Claudio Botelho, and Charles Meller’s exceptionally insightful book, 7 (or Sete, in Portuguese) steered a musically dark path, and psychologically inspired course, through the same fairy-tale minefield as Into the Woods.

To these ears, 7 – The Musical is much closer in story and looks (if not in sound) to the Grand Guignol realm of Sondheim’s earlier Sweeney Todd. Set in a fantasyland “Rio of the mind” – not your grandfather’s Rio, we assure you – the show brilliantly captures the same late Victorian-era aesthetic (via sets, makeup, hair, and costume design) as Sweeney, with enough inventive dialogue and melodramatic plot machinations to satisfy the most rapacious Sondheim fan (this author among them). On the whole, the musical’s story line is made to order for this type of treatment.

But what of the plot? Staying true to our fairy-tale format, 7 – The Musical is an adult version of (you guessed it) the classic story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with additional material drawn from other thrice-told tales, most notably Rapunzel and Cinderella.

There are, in fact, a host of women to deal with here – seven, in all – as well as seven men, seven wishes, seven good years, seven bad years, seven musicians in the pit (including the conductor), and all manner of representations of the number “seven,” just as in the Brothers Grimm.

Let’s Hear From the Boys
To enlighten readers further concerning the genesis of this fascinating work, I called upon 7 – The Musical‘s lyricist and musical director, Claudio Botelho. A native of Araguari, Minas Gerais, and one of Brazil’s top translators and adapters of all things musical, Claudio is an expert in the field of theater music and popular song. We discussed his musical’s development, including its standing as (quite possibly) one of the finest shows in Brazilian musical-theater memory.

“Ed Motta was a friend of ours,” Claudio recalled, “ever since he came to see our production of Sondheim’s Company in 2001. One day in 2004, Ed called me and said he had a few musical themes which he felt were very theatrical, so he invited [me and Charles] to his home to listen to them. He had about twelve songs with no lyrics at all, just melodies and harmonies… We were immediately ecstatic, with the feeling that we had something extraordinarily new in terms of music in our hands, but no plot, no story, nothing, just the music.”

So that’s it! Ed Motta was the fellow responsible. Through Claudio’s help, I contacted Motta directly and obtained his views on the project.

“I called Claudio and asked him that I really would like to show [him and Charles] my Broadway-inspired tunes,” Motta told me. “They liked the atmosphere and they know the language very well, so it makes me more than proud and happy [what they did].”

“Who got the idea of doing a story based on a modern version of Snow White?” I inquired.

“This idea was Charles and Claudio’s,” he responded. “I just wrote the tunes before and made some suggestions about the music. My thing was strictly musical, Charles [did] the direction and Claudio, like the Renaissance man that he is, did everything else. I wrote some instrumental passages and overture, underture, etc. I worked a little bit with the original cast, singing together and playing piano.”

Claudio concurred: “Charles went home with a CD of all those tunes and after two days, we started to talk about a story. It simply came out of the blue: Charles had in mind a woman who lost her lover and went to look for a witch to find a way to get him back through magic. That was the only story line. From there to Snow White, to Mistress A, to all it [eventually] became – it took three years of work. I started to write some lyrics to the songs based on the very tiny story line we had [developed]… You could say that the story grew around the songs.”

Ah, yes, those marvelous songs. I asked Ed Motta if he had any notion of the music’s dark and somber nature.

“I think some of the tunes do have this dark atmosphere,” Ed replied, “but there are happy waltzes and classic Broadway ‘Can-Can’ as well. I have been writing these musical-esque tunes for a long time, usually it was just for my pleasure since my main audience knows me because of my soul-jazz tunes.”

“Who was it who decided on Snow White?” I asked.

Claudio answered: “Charles is the guy who created the characters and also the one who had the idea to approach our story to Snow White’s story, and especially trying to steer in the middle of it. ‘ had many versions before we arrived at the first cast reading. When we invited the main stars, we didn’t have the finished script yet. The idea of Mistress A came after we received a big ‘YES’ from Ida Gomes, who was very famous in Brazil for being the voice of many witches in Portuguese-dubbed TV movies. Ida was also the Brazilian voice of actress Bette Davis, so when she said she wanted to work with us, in spite of what we had for her – she never read one line of the play before the first day of rehearsals – we understood she would be an Old Witch in the story.”

That’s quite a vote of confidence, I thought, considering there were no lines whatsoever for a star of Ida Gomes’ magnitude to refer to, nor was there a finished plot to base her actions on.

“The same [thing] happened when Rogria, the actress [1] who played Dona Odette, the owner of a bordello, accepted to do the show under the same conditions.”
Absolutely astounding!

“I’m telling you this to say that we didn’t know where the play would go at the very beginning. Having the cast – a dream cast for us! – inspired many of the characters. Mistress A was definitely written for Ida Gomes, a dear and wonderful friend, who died between the Rio and São Paulo run of the show. I miss her very much. She was one of the most excited companions we had in ‘.”

The other participants in Claudio’s “dream cast” were screen veteran Zez Motta as Dona Carmen, jazz singer and performing artist Eliana Pittman as Dona Rosa, and powerhouse actress Alessandra Maestrini as Amelia.

“There is really no other Brazilian musical like this that I know of,” I cheerfully exclaimed.

“You’re right,” Claudio continued, “there’s nothing like ‘ here [in Brazil], and I dare to say it’s really something new in terms of writing for the musical stage. Of course, you can feel a Sondheim-esque atmosphere in everything, and also one can find traces of Into the Woods in the plot, but I think our story has nothing to do with that. It’s much more (in my opinion) a story like [Sondheim’s] Passion… It’s about love and loss, about being left by the one you love, about losing your mind for someone else.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” was my immediate reaction – a perfect way to end a fable by Aesop, but a theme for a Brazilian fairy-tale musical?

“There [are] also traces of Wicked,” he went on, “in the sense that it’s a story that tries to ‘explain’ why the witch is evil, or how she became evil in the same way Wicked [does] with The Wizard of Oz story. But I think those works – Into the Woods and Wicked – are sensational shows [in themselves] with the aim being the plot itself, not the characters.”

Elaborating on this key point, Claudio described further: “Our show is about this woman [Amelia] who’s abandoned by the man [Herculano] she loves, who is capable of doing anything – even killing – to get him back… the show plays inside of Amelia’s mind, like one long hallucination of hers… the whole story is just one ‘Memento’ [Author’s note: Spoiler Alert ahead!], of that old, destroyed woman waiting for a train with that young girl at the beginning.”

Having seen the show on DVD, read the original Portuguese script, translated it into English, and heard the music in my head – over and over and over again – I was convinced that Claudio and his partner, Charles, had a potential hit on their hands. Did I say hit? No, a masterpiece!

What’s in a Name?
The first thing that struck me about their show was how the story, dialogue, music and lyrics all worked off one another; how the situations they developed were guided along – first this way, then that way – by what the characters “imagined” they wanted from their lives.

Not only that, but the characters’ names and their individual quirks and personalities – I had no doubt these had some sort of relevance to the plot. Was I on to something here?

“The characters were named to create the idea of what’s good and what’s evil,” explained Claudio. “The ‘good’ is represented by Clara, Alvaro, and Bianca… Those are perfect people, beautiful, ageless… In opposition to all the other main characters are Amelia (the eternal sufferer), Odette (the fake French prostitute), Rosa (the fake good fairy), and Carmen (the gypsy who could die or kill for love). We were also inspired by this very Brazilian thing [of the] witches, who are called “mes de santo,” or those people who can ‘bring a man back in seven days.’ In one of Dona Carmen’s first lines, she says, ‘I’ll bring your man back in seven days’ (also her last line in the show). The audience used to simply laugh out loud [at this] because we see these kinds of things on every street corner in Rio.”

That’s fascinating! This brought up another issue: in the original Portuguese version, there are a couple of anachronisms. For example, Maracan Stadium is mentioned; telephones are used in several key scenes; someone takes a photograph with a camera, etc. The question I had for Claudio was whether these anachronisms were done on purpose, because from the look of the costumes I concluded the period of the drama was set in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Claudio was happy to elaborate on the above: “The story should be ex-temporal, in other words favoring no specific time period. Our aim was to tell a fairy tale in a Rio de Janeiro where snowflakes fall and Guanabara Bay freezes over. The Big Clock without the hands (at the beginning of Act I and end of Act II), that is lowered onto the set, should transmit the idea there is no precise time period involved. It’s left open-ended, so I can see where there might be some confusion.”

Yes, that makes sense. What about the stadium and those other anachronisms?

“The [use of] Maracan Stadium and other cultural references to Rio,” he continued, “are an attempt to keep Rio as the locale for the story where everything takes place. This is important, in that Amelia comes to Rio in search of her husband Herculano, in the same manner as Herculano keeps Bianca [the girl he left Amelia for] under lock and key in a suburb of Rio, away from the big city (or away from ‘temptation’) – much like Rapunzel locked away in her tower for her own ‘safety.’ It’s important as well that Bianca gets lost in Rio’s streets, as if she becomes seduced by a city that attracts her, so much so that she gets lost in it (in a spell weaved by Dona Carmen).”

“What about the young people who went to see the show?” I inquired. “Did they enjoy the challenge of trying to figure it all out, what actually was going on?”

“The São Paulo audience (a younger one than the public in Rio) came to see the show many, many times,” replied Claudio, “always looking for signs and hints of plot threads and twists, and information about the characters in it, writing about the story in blogs and online discussion groups about the symbols present, etc.”

Now that’s impressive! The fact that young people were interested in the outcome of a musical show told me that 7 – The Musical would have a thriving theatrical life outside of Brazil, and a financially prosperous one, at that.

“Making ‘ was an absolutely electric experience for all of us! It’s a fairy tale that takes place in a Rio de Janeiro of the imagination: a dark Rio, somber, evil, distrustful. Carmen’s song inviting Bianca in Act I to ‘lose herself’ in the city’s beauty is a type of siren song leading her to her own death (in the manner of Odysseus).”

We could all get “lost” in the score and story line of 7 – The Musical, I wondered aloud to myself. It was obvious from my conversation with both Ed Motta and Claudio Botelho that their musical was as rich, authentic and thoroughly Brazilian a work as any I’ve come to know.

In the program booklet to the original Rio run of the show, both Claudio and Charles expressed the challenge that lay before them in practical terms: “Does Brazilian musical theater exist? Is it possible to reach that point without excessive self-pride and/or nostalgia for the past? Without the necessity of placing samba on every platform? A mulata in every scene? The Brazilian ‘way of doing things’ as a reflection on what came before?

“I believe that everything we’ve done to this point was, in actuality, a preparation for where we arrived with 7 – The Musical. It’s our voice, our discourse, all of it is there. There’ll be other productions, for certain, but this work is our most important showcase because it’s ours, in every sense of the term.”

I had many more questions for Claudio Botelho, but they’ll have to wait. Right now, he’s working to put English-language subtitles on the DVD of 7 – The Musical. Who knows? Maybe some Broadway producer will take a fancy to his show. And maybe it will come to New York’s Great White Way… or London’s West End.

Then – and only then – will we see if fairy tales can come true. It’s definitely something to wish for.

[1] Author’s note: Rogria is the stage name of renowned female impersonator Astolfo Barroso Pinto.

Copyright 2012 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Meet the Real “Music Man” of Brazilian Musical Theater – Ed Motta
Deep “Throats” and The Return of Gerald Thomas
Orpheus Ascending: Recent Revival of Orfeu in Rio
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 3
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 2
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 1
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 17
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 16
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 15
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 14
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 13
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 12
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 11
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 10
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 9
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 8
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 7
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 6
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 5
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 4
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 3
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 2
Brazil: “Tristeza No Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 1
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 3
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 4
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 3
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 2
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 1
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 5
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 4
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 3
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 2
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 1
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 4
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 3
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 2
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 1
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 6
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 5
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 4
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 3
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 2
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 1
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 2
Misunderstanding Brazil’s National Anthem: A Crash-Course in the Hymn of the Nation
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 1
Theater, the Brecht of Life: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera, Part II
A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 2
A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 1
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 5
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 4
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 3
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 2
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 1
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 11
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 10
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 9
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 8
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 7
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 6
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 5
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 4
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 3
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

October 30, 2012

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Maria Cristina Skowronski Flynn. Read on as Maria 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 from Rio de Janeiro, Carioca! I am a real estate house hunter specialist at www.belavistario.com for those who are relocating to Rio.

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

The main obstacles are the bureaucracy that you will face on simple things from paying a bill at a bank (if you do not have an online Brazilian bank account) to understanding certain things you want. You need to have the jeitinho” which is a special way in handling/talking/acting to achieve your goal. Because Brazil is not so tough on laws like other countries, many of the things you need have to be negotiated… if you do not have the mind or the will to do it, you can be frustrated. Also, Portuguese is not an easy language… Brazilians speak fast, but are always willing to help! Certain bills here are expensive like bank fees, credit cards, internet, cell phone… you will get frustrated if you compare to where you come from. Also, accepting that it is OK to have a servant, a cleaning lady, an “empregada” (maid) can be looked at first as a wrong thing (“we would never have people serving me where I come from”, “this is wrong”, “it’s snobby”, or “it’s a sign that I am or she is not self-sufficient”) can be an obstacle if you see it as “normal in Brazil”. Help in Brazil is cheap, workers are not slaves, they get paid, they are part of the family, they love what they do and you pay them and give them a job and dignity, just like any other job.

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

I think that the main mistake is trying to compare where you lived with where you will live. If you compare you will always blame, get upset and get frustrated. Don’t do that, just accept that this is where you live now and you will get the most out of it. Brazilians are friendly, welcoming and helpful. Don’t think you can resolve everything by yourself, ask for help, hire help if needed. Another mistake is to be closed minded. Be open minded and you will be happier.

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

Living all over the world and being in contact with many nationalities, I have some observations (but I can’t generalize). I see Americans as more rigid, by the book, more disciplined, less “jogo de cintura” (which means literally hip game, which in essence means that they are harder to break the mold. When you have “jogo de cintura” you “go with the flow”). I see Europeans, especially German and French as more explorers, more well-mannered, more well-dressed. They date Brazilian women, they buy apartments in Rio, they love Rio and want to live here forever. They want to “blend in” to the “povo” or people. I see Latin Americans as more easygoing and they understand right away the culture and lifestyle. I see the Polish as having a great sense of humor, and very catholic and friendly. Japanese, Koreans, Chinese are more cocooned in their own community and very rarely blend in unless they have longtime friends. Australians are fun, friendly, and party goers!

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

The American accent is the easiest to understand, but the English from Great Britain is so elegant.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

As a Brazilian I tend to prefer to feel more “at home” then to think a place is just gorgeous. I think Portugal is a great place to visit. It has our language, they always welcome Brazilians, they have phenomenal food and beautiful and historical Places. I like culture, old world feeling mixed with the new generation, the ocean and a sense of history, past and elegance. Portugal for me reunites all of this quality.

7. Favourite foreign food?

French food, but nothing is quite better than homemade “rice and beans” from Rio.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

Now I am reading many books. I do not have one that I love but the Unbearable Lightness of Being from Milan Kundera when I was 25 made a huge impact on me. I am now reading two books: “Raising Beb” and “A Essncia do Estilo”. A favorite band is any great bossa nova trio or band. A great movie, I guess I would say “The Sound of Music” and “Breakfast at Tiffany”.

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

Hummm, because I am married to an American, the major difference that seems to impact our lives more now is the different upbringing of 2 different countries (I was raised in Rio and he was raised in California). Different culture, lifestyle, social class, religion and upbringing will play a huge roll in your dating, marriage and how you raise your children. My advice for the ladies and gentleman out there is one simple rule “make sure you know exactly where you want to raise your kids and whether you want to stay with your family from childhood around or not when you settle down. Based on that you can start dating your future husband and wife ?”

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

I do not a specific incident, but I do have a culture shock that becomes “unshocked” once they are living in Brazil. One of the commentaries I always hear and I mentioned above is the fact that in Brazil having “help” is normal. I have clients who swear that they will never have a maid, cleaning lady, driver or cook. They spend hours over a beer trying to tell me and my co-workers how much they think this is absurd bla, bla… After months of living in Rio they all hire a cleaning lady or “faxineira”, a cook “cozinheira” and an ironing lady “passadeira”… and they call me saying how happy they are because NOW they have more time to enjoy life, date and not have to worry with house affairs. That’s how they become totally immersed in the culture. I love it.

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

Do what your locals do (go buy your fruits at the farmer’s market, dress like a Brazilian (informal), participate in social gatherings, parties… relax.
And
Get informed of where you to go (online, books, videos, movies, talk to a friend etc).

Remember, Brazilians are the nicest and warmest culture on earth. You will love living, visiting or dating here.

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:

Antonia Sales
Augusto Gomes
Tatiane Silva
Regina Scharf
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

São Paulo’s only micro-brewery produces 5000 liters of beer per month and serves its five home-brewed varieties in three environments: the brewery on the first floor, the bar on the second, and the restaurant on the third. On Tuesday, October 30, the cervejaria will hold it’s very first Gringo Night,” a get-together that welcomes beer-lovers from around the world! Live music with Rodrigo Haddad and The Pure Country Band. Cover charge in the bar area: R$12.

When: Tuesday, October 30, at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Av. Pedroso de Morais, 604 – Pinheiros
São Paulo, SP

Site: Website

By Joe Naab
October 9, 2012

Looking for Brazilian Scuba Diving? Hidden way offshore in the Atlantic, nearly two-hours by plane, is the small, gorgeous and nearly uninhabited island of Fernando de Noronha. I had never heard of it before I got here and I expect that few foreigners and even many Brazilians have never heard of it, either. Let me share the basics.

Fernando de Noronha is simply stunning. Due to the careful preservation of this island, there are only 3500 inhabitants and only they and their families are permitted to live there. Not even Brazilians can simply up and move there. The island contains 17 square kilometers of land. Tourism is restricted to about 1000 tourists at a time. In order to discourage tourists from staying long, a daily tax is paid that doubles in value each week. For example, when I was there the daily tax was R$14. Let’s guess that today, five years later, it’s about R$20. So, for your first week there you&#145d pay R$140 in the occupation tax. If you stay an extra week, you&#145d pay R$280 (R$40 per day). For a third week you&#145d pay R$560 and so on, doubling every week..

The Features of Fernando de Noronha
Let me list here for you in a series of bullet points some of the awesome features of this island.

    • The marine life is spectacular. Loads of gorgeous fish, large and small, sharks (docile), dolphins, manta rays, moray eels, angel fish, sea turtles and so much more.
  • Crystal clear visibility, often at distances of 60 meters. Usually, for half the year one side of the island has amazing visibility, and then this changes to the other side of the island the other half of the year.
  • Fernando de Noronha is home to the world’s largest spinner dolphin colony, numbering in the thousands or possibly in excess of 10,000. One of the best day trips is to get up before sunrise to be shuttled from your pousada to the cliffs above the beach where the dolphins return from feeding all night in the open sea. As the sun rises, you see the dolphins return in great numbers, leaping about and spinning playfully. Binoculars will be provided, but they may not be of great quality and you may have to share, so consider bringing your own.
  • Though not a regular thing, we saw a large whale, a humpback I think, but I could have it wrong, and our small scuba diving boat drifted to with about 30 feet of it. We all dove in with our snorkel gear, but we startled it and it took off quickly in descent.
  • The snorkeling is as good or better than the scuba. This is because there is incredible marine life very close to shore on many of the beaches. Unlike scuba diving, you are not limited by time due to the air in your tank, nor are you obligated to follow the leader, even if you&#145d like to stay and observe something for a while longer. Also, colors are much more brilliant in shallow water.
  • Though there is very limited nightlife, there is one popular gathering place called Praia do Cachorro, where there is a bar, restaurant and live forr music every night.
  • The beaches are gorgeous and often deserted due to the restrictions on how many people can be on this island at a time. Because I live in Florianpolis and have daily access to equally gorgeous and often deserted beaches, when I was in Noronha I focused on the Marine life, scuba diving and snorkeling every day. We don&#145t have that kind of marine life and visibility here.
  • Fernando de Noronha is home to Brazil’s largest sea turtle colony. There is an important project on-going to restore and grow the sea turtle population. They are very heavily concentrated on one beach, Praia do Sueste, where you can snorkel with them, see dozens of them and swim alongside of them.
  • Take the all-day full island jeep tour. You&#145ll likely be in a caravan of jeeps with one to three dozen people, touring the full island and stopping at many of the beaches with time to snorkel and time for a great seafood lunch.
  • During the summer months of January through March, there is world class surfing, with waves of 3-4 meters.

How to Arrange Your Trip
You will likely fly to Noronho out of the cities of either Natal or Recife. Both of these cities are also great places to visit so you can combine visits to several places if you have the time. The trip to Noronha is most often bought as a package that includes your pousada (bed and breakfast) and airfare. Once there, I noted that the pousada where I stayed had a daily rate half that of what I was charged through the tourist agency, and next time I will book directly with them.

In Closing
I encourage you to jump into Google Images and Youtube and to search for “Fernando de Noronha” to see photos and videos of this marvelous place. I&#145ll leave you with a few videos to wet your appetite. Enjoy!

Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He is presently working on a near-coastal, countryside real estate subdivision project outside the city of Florianpolis, Santa Catarina. He can be found at http://brazilforlife.com and reached by email at info@brazilforlife.com. His Youtube channel is called BrazilforLifeTV.

Previous articles by Joe:

Six Myths Associated with the Brazil Business Investor Permanent Visa
Forro – Getting Started with Brazilian Partner Dancing
Making Super Smoothies With Acai for Optimum Health
Add Thousands of Brazilian Portuguese Words to Your Vocabulary Right Now
How to Work and Support Yourself in Brazil

By Ed Catchpole
October 9, 2012

As a benchmark of development Brazilians like to compare their country with the United States. Their reasoning is pretty convincing and goes something like this: Brazil and the US are roughly the same size (Brazilians will remind you that Brazil is in fact larger than the Continental USA), both are vibrant democracies, both achieved independence from European colonizers at around the same time, both are abundant in natural resources and have huge labor forces.

Brazilians used to wonder why their country is not more like its North American counterpart. Not anymore. There is a real sense here that Brazil is finally fulfilling its potential and is indeed becoming another USA. The United States circa 1964.

That was the year that President Lyndon Baines Johnson first presented his idea of the Great Society at Ohio University. This became a series of social programmes intended to eliminate poverty and racial injustice in the United States. Some of the changes then implemented such as Medicare and federal education funding still exist today.

The most ambitious and far-reaching part of the Great Society was its War on Poverty which made major amendments to social security, significantly increasing benefits and expanding coverage. By 1970 the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line had fallen from just over 22% to 12%. Between 1961 and 1968 the American economy grew at an average rate of 4.5% per year.

Today, Brazil is experiencing very similar changes.

Through its version of the Great Society, which includes the flagship programmes such as Bolsa Familia and Brasil – Sem Miseria (Brazil – Without Misery) Brazil is witnessing developments remarkably similar to those implemented in the States 50 years ago. They are having the same effect. The number of Brazilians living below the poverty line fell from 28% in 2003 to 22% in 2010.

While the Great Society sought to fight poverty and enfranchise Afro-Americans in the United States, in Brazil disenfranchisement is mostly regional not racial. That is why Brazil’s War on Poverty has had the most pronounced effect on its very own version of the Deep South – the Nordeste (the region made up of the states of Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia, Ceara, Maranho and Rio Grande do Norte). Brazilians who used to be disenfranchised have finally become consumers for the first time and millions are clambering out of abject poverty with the support of the Federal Government and a booming economy.

Of course, there is much more still to do; improvements need to be made to infrastructure and education, in addition to political and tax reform. Challenging certainly, but not beyond the realms of possibility, after all, the USA faced significant obstacles in the sixties and early seventies such as the Vietnam War and the 1973 Oil Crisis. It then took further ten years of reform and Reganomics, all under the shadow of the Cold War, to propel the US to economic superstardom.

Brazil’s GDP now stands at the adjusted figure for the US in 1951, so there is a long way to go, but there is no doubt Brazilians firmly believe their time has come.

Evidently, they are not alone, a recent article in ISTOE magazine highlights a growing problem for the Brazilian Policia Federal, where just like in the US, Coyotes – or their Brazilian counterparts the Coiotes – are making big money smuggling foreigners into the country. There have been cases of groups of Haitians, Koreans, Chinese and Bengalis paying up to USD 10,000 to make the perilous journey into Brazil from Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay to work in the megacity of São Paulo and take their part in the Brazilian Dream.

Previous articles by Ed:

Brazil: Don&#145t Stop the Party
Brazil: Super Toucans and Little Freddy Seaside
Brazil: Adventures in Portuguese

October 9, 2012

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.

Hi I would like to ask a couple of questions if I may. I was reading your article this time about Business Visas, as I have been trying to find out how to get a Permanent Visa. I am married to a Brazilian Lady and have asked a number of times how do I get a Permanent Visa so I can stay in the country longer than 120 days. I&#145m told I can&#145t at least until we have been married for five years. Also I wanted to open a bank account as I have a CPF card but again Im told I can&#145t, I wanted to buy a home there and spend my summers in Brazil but everyone is making things difficult. Am I being mislead? Do you have any suggestions other than the Business Visa? Thanks for your time

— Jay in the USA

Hi Jay,

You should be able to get a Permanency Visa based on your marriage. Check with the nearest Brazilian consulate to you in the USA, as this process is usually completed quickest outside of Brazil.

The 5 year figure sounds like it might be confused with the citizenship requirement, for which you need to live in Brazil for 5 years.

Opening a bank account in Brazil is needlessly complicated, and is often a case of the branch manager’s decision. Although in theoretical terms only the minimum of ID is required, it is often a lot more e.g. further proof of address, visa, passport.

Best of luck,

Marco

Why don&#145t Brazilians flush toilet paper down the toilet when they&#145re done with it?

At first, I followed the local custom, but after a while, I suspected there was no reason why toilet paper couldn&#145t be flushed there, just as it is in the USA. So I started flushing my used toilet paper and I&#145ve not had any problem.

— Lance

Hi Lance,

Brazilian toilets clog! Typically if you go to to the toilet in Brazil and flush the toilet paper it will eventually all emerge back and… well, you will not flush your toilet paper anymore.

Where is the toilet you found that has no such problem? Can I go there?

Vanessa Agricola

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

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Meu Amor
Ask a Brazilian: Birthdays and Relationships
Ask a Brazilian: Tourism and Gestures
Ask a Brazilian: Manners and Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Missed Dates
Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Couples and Separate Rooms
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: São Paulo Safety
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
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

October 9, 2012

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Antonia Sales. Read on as Antonia 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 from Cear, it`s in the northeast of Brazil.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?
I suppose the language and the cultural habits are tricky things when foreigners arrive in Brazil.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?
Foreigners usually don`t try to adapt themselves to the way Brazilians live. I compare this, for example, when Brazilians travel abroad, we usually have to adapt ourselves to the differences.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?
The lack of sense of humour is for sure one of the main characteristics when talking about foreigners.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?
I studied American English, but in fact I prefer British accent.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?
I loved London. I am totally in love with this lovely city.

7. Favourite foreign food?
Mexican food.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?
Maroon 5.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?
I really don`t know this answer, I mean I have never dated a foreigner, but I suppose that the formality in foreigners causes a little troube when talking about dating.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?
Once, I was in Germany and I tried to buy some products in the supermarket. But then, in the end the cashier couldn`t speak English and I couldn`t understand German. By gestures, I understood that my credit card wasn`t accepted in that supermarket.

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?
I would ask them to try to be a little bit more smiling and talkative, good characteristics of Brazilian people.

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 Gomes
Tatiane Silva
Regina Scharf
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