April 30, 2013

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’m hoping to travel to Brazil this summer but am extremely worried about the “creepy crawlies”!

How likely am I to encounter a snake or scary spider? I’ll be staying in an apartment in Goais but frequently travelling to my partners family’s farm… I’m terrified!!! Help!

— Colleen

Dear Colleen,

Gois is famous for its wildlife and diversity.

If you are in the city, it is very unlikely to come across snakes or big spiders but remember that the state is actually on the border of the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, so it is advisable to protect yourself when visiting rural areas. You can wear long boots and carry a stick if you go trekking, or simply pay attention if you just visit your partner’s family in the farm.

But don’t worry too much because Brazilians who live in such places are fully aware of the risks and will make sure you are protected when visiting them, including parents-in-law.

Rodrigo

Our Brazilian-You-Can-Ask is Rodrigo, the Academic Director of Ask a Brazilian: Dogs
Ask a Brazilian: Visas and Toilets
Ask a Brazilian: Birthdays and Relationships
Ask a Brazilian: Manners and Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
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

By Jeremy Clark
April 30, 2013

Last August 2012 I made my seventh trip to Brazil. My first was in 2003 to Rio, 2004 back to Rio, 2005 to São Paulo, 2006 to Salvador, 2008 to São Paulo, and 2009 to Recife. I just can’t seem to get enough. Every day I spend one hour at the Aroma Caf at the Toronto Yonge Eglinton center finishing off my Portuguese Language text (Eberlein livro laranja). Not by coincidence, every second person in the Caf seems to be from São Paulo. In fact, Toronto is now known as São Paulo North. I think it’s the combination of mystery and adventure that brings me back.

It all started when I worked for my dad one summer on his mine exploration site in Northern Canada on the Coppermine River. We flew north in a single engine Otter bush plane. It was pure adventure with the Crone magnetometer and Spilsbury SSB HF radio. I got hooked and never looked back. Brazil to me is the same, a huge adventure and also a mystery.

When I read David Gann’s book The Lost City of Z” I was totally captivated by the story of the explorer Percival Harrison Fawcett and his disappearance up country close to the Amazon. What I found amazing was the trail of adventurers that went looking for him and clues to his demise. Even as late as 1996, the Autan expedition went in search of information. I tracked down Hermes Leal last September at his office in São Paulo. He wrote a book about Fawcett and the expedition called “Coronel Fawcett: A Verdadeira Historia do Indiana Jones”. He is a busy guy, heading the Brazilian Film Review, but he managed to spend some time with me talking about the expedition.

If I was to design the ideal HF radio link in Brazil, it would be from the Edifcio Itlia in SP to the Upper Xingu. You would start off with the best urban view in Brazil, have a great meal, and then be in the middle of history. Just before the advent of GPS, I studied celestial navigation in order to determine position and bearings in cases where maps were not available. This started a lifelong interest in navigation. One of the things that really interested me about Brazil, was the skill and success of the early Portuguese navigators and their Royal patron Prince Henry the Navigator.

They seemed to have an uncanny ability with charts, compasses and the astrolabe. My Portuguese teacher (teacher Cludia from Gringoes) was able to give me a full list of modern day Brazilian navigators such as Amyr Klink (rowed solo from Africa to Salvador) and Torben Grael. Reading their books really gave me a sense of how incredible some adventurers are.

There is an amazing nautical museum in the Farol da Barra in Salvador. They have a collection of all the early navigational instruments dating back to the 1500s. The Seafarer’s Prayer gives an indication of early hardships: “Senhor, que em vossa vida manifestastes predileão pelo mar; ….”

It seems that on every trip to Brazil, I either start off or end up in São Paulo. I love going to the Livraria Cultura in the Conjunto Nacional on Paulista (they always send me a birthday card). BioRitmo on the top floor offers a part time gym membership, so you can get a great work out and spend the rest of the afternoon reading on an endorphin high. I stock up on books, I like anything to do with sailing, aircraft, adventure etc. I just finished reading Ozires Silva’s history of Embraer, now one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world. Afterwards I hike down to Lorena for a sanduiche beirute and choppe!

References:

1. “The Lost City of Z”, David Gann, Vintage
2. “O Enigma do Coronel Fawcett O Verdadeiro Indiana Jones”, Hermes Leal, Ediouro
3. “Cem Dias entre Cu e Mar”, Amyr Klink, Companhia De Bolso
4. “Lobos do Mar”, Torben Grael, Objetiva
5. “Nas Asas Da Educaão A Trajetória Da Embraer”, Ozires Silva, Elsevier

Jeremy was interviewed as part of our 0 Comments/by

By Jeffrey Jones
April 30, 2013

Anyone visiting for a while or living in Brazil will eventually be tasked with driving. Many people advise a road trip to learn to know the people and areas that you can’t experience by visiting the larger cities. I would wholeheartedly agree with this. Driving by car is a wonderful way to see this magnificent country and the countryside. The enormous size of the country presents both hurdles and opportunities to explore.

The skills you need to deal with driving in the country are vastly different than what one experiences in the USA or Western Europe. The traffic laws and the way traffic is supposed to flow are similar, but that is where the similarities end. To drive safely in Brazil, one needs to understand the nuances of both city and highway driving. There are things to take into consideration for everything from the ideal time to be on the road, navigation, and general safety. To start off with, a Brazilian driver’s license is not required for the tourist. You only need your passport and home country driver’s license. If however, you are in the country for more than 180 days, you must apply for a national driver’s license. Renting a car is relatively similar to anywhere else. The major cities have major car rental companies at the airport, and for the first time Brazilian driver, an airport is a good place to start from.

Driving in Cities – Safety
Driving in cities can be haphazard. Traffic can be fast paced and difficult to deal with. It is very important to drive defensively, and check your blind spots every time you make a turn. Motorcycles are a common hazard, typically ready to pass you on the inside of a turn, and catch you unaware.

When approaching intersections, use common sense. Keep your air conditioning on and windows rolled up. Keep valuables out of sight, and make sure to have a few Reals handy in case someone manages to accost you and demand money while stopped. Motorcycles are also often responsible for theft on the road in this manner. If you have spent any time walking in Brazilian cities at night, you know not to expect drivers to stop at red lights. Be sure to do the same yourself. Stick to the main roads. They are safer and allow should allow you to get where you need to go the quickest. There is no need to try a shortcut.

Lastly, when parking in cities where you are not in a pay lot, be sure to carry a few Reals on you. There are many places where people will charge you to park on the street. In exchange for watching your car, you have to pay them upon leaving, or risk a rock through the window. It’s not all bad however. It does maintain a certain level of security for the car, and in some cases, you can pay to have your car washed while you are parked.

Driving on the Highways
While 4 lane highways exist, Brazil, like the US, has many 2 lane highways with a shoulder that is available to use when someone wants to pass you. My impression of Brazilian drivers, is that they make Italian drivers in Europe look like amateur risk takers, and it is reflected in the statistics. An article by 3 Norwegian tourists on their way back from Buzios were navigated into the Mare favela in Rio de Janeiro. The driver was shot, but fortunately survived.

If you’re going to use a GPS system, do your homework and write down the route you’re planning to travel.

Summary
Hopefully this essay will provide you with some tips to stay safe and enjoy yourself on the roads in Brazil. Do your research on where you are going, how you are going to get there, and take the necessary precautions.

Travel safe!”

Make plans NOW with your friends to join the American Society Community at the 2013 GALA Dinner/Dance/Auction on Friday, May 10, 2013 at the Buffet Colonial in Moema!

Tickets are on sale at the American Society office for R$325 per person. Tables seat eight and we encourage you to gather your friends and buy a table. If you are single, or your spouse is out of town, (or you have no friends), we will have a SINGLES table or two! Get dolled up and come join in the fun! The event is a buffet style dinner with lots of auctioning, eating, dancing and cocktailing the entire evening. You won’t be stuck the whole evening next to a boring person on your left or right!

It promises to be an evening of fun and proceeds will support Projeto Sol, SPACE and AmSoc activities!

Don’t miss out! The event will sell out at 400 tickets! Contact the amsoc office by 5182-2074 or amsoc1@amsoc.com.br to purchase your tickets NOW!!

American Society of São Paulo
0 Comments/by

By Maria A Petit
April 30, 2013

Recently on the Gringoes forum there was a very controversial post titled Reasons Why I hate Brazil”. To this I say you really need to get out more. The place (São Paulo at least) is really entertaining! Last week I struck gold with two off the beaten path adventures.

On Thursday I had a decadent and delicious dinner among friends with Priscila Gomide, Brazilian Lingerie Designer and Wilbert Sanchez, Founder of Plug N Work (Voted one of the 9 best places to Co-work in São Paulo). Towards the end of the evening one of the guys mentioned their security guard at work had told them how they were the referee for a “Fight Club” and how the event was on that night at midnight. I immediately had flashes of the movie “Fight Club” so when asked if I wanted to drop in before calling it a night I debated whether I was willing to get a black eye and possibly a few teeth knocked out. Curiosity always gets the best of me and I thought it a small price to pay to get into this underground scene. Yes, I’m gullible I really did think WE were going to do the actual fighting.

So you can imagine how nervous I was when we pulled up to ambulances parked outside. Once inside though I was very relieved to know I was only going to be a spectator. However the scene was just as visceral as I had imagined it. Among a crowd of very muscular men and the one off “girlfriend” stood a crazy looking cage. Inside the cage there were no rules and it was all sweat, blood and tears. I found myself totally captivated by the intensity and rawness of the fight scene unraveling before me. Equally as entertaining were the thick plump girls that came out in practically bikinis with cardboard signs to signal round 1, round 2 and round 3. This spontaneous diversion got me home almost at 3AM. The next day was a little rough but I was grateful to have all my teeth

By Saturday though I was ready for the next adventure. Again it started very innocently with a sophisticated dinner at Eau, the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s French restaurant. The dishes were rich from Foie Gras with Chocolate to Duck Confit. Chef Laurent Herv totally delighted us with his dishes even accommodating my request for classic chocolate mousse even though it was not on the menu. By the end of dinner stuffed and happy our party started tossing out “balada” (nightclub) possibilities. Among them was Nefertitti, which conveniently located five minutes away in Brooklin seemed like the best idea. The person to remain anonymous just discretely mentioned it was a swingers club.

I had never been to a swingers club nor did I have any idea what that really meant but I was way too curious to turn the idea down. So there we were the three of us. The first question we were asked at the door was “who is a couple?” We were all singles really but since the price for couples was way more at R$150 per couple instead of the R$300/person we immediately agreed to pretend to be madly coupled up. We walked in around 1AM and what we found was a typical nightclub set-up, a bar, a DJ booth, a dance floor and some sofas and tables nothing shockingly out of the ordinary. We had heard there were “rooms” and a labyrinth so we quickly went exploring.

To our disappointment all we found were empty rooms and yes a labyrinth with us walking through it… hurray! We went back to the main room where the crowd was a little off and extremely eclectic, picture a sample of just about every stereotype you can think of. Making the best of the night we found ourselves dancing away on the dance floor. And shortly thereafter things got interesting. Women in the crowd starting pulling their skirts up to showcase their knickers and their asses while frolicking around the poles scattered throughout the nightclub. Scenes unraveled with couples kissing and a few going down on one another or at least pretending to. Then dramatically the lighting changed, the dance floor raised above the ground and voila we found ourselves watching an erotica show; the best pole dancing and male strip show I have ever seen (not that I’ve seen many). The show must have lasted almost 30 minutes after which the dance floor had emptied out a bit. Where had all the people gone I wondered, so I enticed my friends to take the tour of the rooms again. This time we saw A LOT of naked people having sex. Some in cages, some in dark corners, some in a movie theater like room with porn playing on a big screen, some in private locked rooms but you could still hear everything that was going on (reminded me of a Halloween Haunted House and wondered whether there was a recording playing only to make it sound like there were people having sex behind those private doors, but I don’t think so… everything seemed pretty legitimate).

Last there was the labyrinth now crowded with people groping at any opportunity, you had to be on your ultimate guard. At this point we thought it wise to make a quick exit and call it a night. After, I went on their website where the tag line reads “NEFERTITTI – “Onde tudo e permitido, mas nada e obrigatório.” (Nefertitti – where everything is allowed but nothing is mandatory). I thought it summed it up nicely. São Paulo is just waiting to be discovered, so get out and experience it!

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 SP Night Market. Maria oversees Sales and Marketing for JAM Language Ltd. Contact Maria at maria.petit@jamlanguage.com

Previous articles by Maria:

São Paulo, Brazil – Take 7 Carnaval 5 minutes in heaven
São Paulo, Brazil – Take 3 CPF “eee”
0 Comments/by

April 30, 2013

Meet Hunter Peak who moved to Brazil recently. Read the following interview in which Hunter 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 Hunter Peak and I’m from North Carolina, USA. In the US I worked with transportation and logistics, here in Brazil I teach English. I lived in Belo Horizonte for 2 years and I have been living in a small mining town in Par for a bit over a year. I met my wife when she was visiting friends in the states about 10 years or so I guess.

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

I moved to Brazil in February 2010 with my wife. I first visited Brazil (specifically Belo Horizonte) in 2008. We originally came so that she could finish her last year in college. We fully intended on returning to the US after about a year or so, but once I realized how much I enjoyed life here we decided to make a go of it in BH.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Hmm… I was pretty much in awe of every difference between here and the US. From small things… those pesky wax napkins to big things like the architectural differences. My first few months in Belo Horizonte were spent walking around and exploring nearly everyday. I was taken aback by the differences here not only because of the language and cultural barriers, but also the size of Belo Horizonte compared to the smaller towns that I had lived in previously.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Besides family and friends the thing I miss most are the numerous food types available in the states. Tennessee football is pretty high up on the list as well. But all in all there isn’t much that I find myself missing.

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

There hasn’t been ONE single frustrating thing, more like death by a thousand cuts. Littering, loud funk music, people showing up late, long lines, etc. tend to get on my nerves. Sometimes I have my bad days where it really gets to me, but the majority of the time I try to stay positive.

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

My second day in Brazil I went to Cruzeiro vs Flamengo with my wife. One of her friends is an avid Cruzeiro supporter and he got us tickets to the game. When we got into the stadium he pulled me aside and took me to sit with him and his friends. They are members of an orginized fan group here called Torcida Fanati-Cruz. I sat next to the guys banging the drums, waving the flags and in the middle of a singing cheering mob. It was great! Since then I have traveled to SP, Rio, Sete Lagaos and Paraguay to watch Cruzeiro games.

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

I have been a huge soccer fan my entire life and I really love living in a soccer culture. In reality, living in a different culture in general has been amazing. That was one of the reasons we decided to move here in addition to my wife finishing her degree. To get to live in and learn about another culture has been a tremendous experience. I have really gotten to meet some amazing people as well.

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

In BH I really enjoy going to Casa Cheio at Mercado Central or a bar called Rima dos Sabores. In our current town in Par we don’t have too many options so we tend to cook a lot at home and invite friends over.

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

I was really on a misto quente and suco de abaxi kick when I first arrived. One day I ordered misto quente com abacaxi” without saying suco… my pineapple, ham, and cheese sandwich was as tasty as it was shocking!

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

HA! There are so many things… but the whole Brazilian way of showing up late for everything is the one that stands out at the moment.

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?

Now that I am living in jungle land far away from other gringos my Portuguese has improved quite a bit. My first two years in Brazil I spoke a lot of English, moving up here quickly put a stop to that! Getting the gender of things correct is always a struggle, and there was the time I asked for horse when I meant to say charcoal for one…

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

Come with an open mind. Don’t expect life to be the same as your in homeland. Be patient.

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

My only experience with SP was going to a game at Morumbi, but in BH I suggest going to Mercado Central, visiting the Sunday morning fair on Afonso Pena, and of course going to a Cruzeiro game.

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:

Ryan Griffin – USA
Maya Bell – New Zealand
Rob McDonell – Australia
Scott Hudson – Australia
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Rich Sallade – USA
Michael Smyth – UK
Chris Caballero – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Meredith Noll – USA
Mike Smith – UK
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Don Fenstermaker – 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

April 30, 2013

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Adriana Schmidt Raub. Read on as Adriana 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 São Paulo city – born and raised. I majored in Hotel Management at Cornell University in the USA but started a small ecotourism agency called Your Way or at adriana@yourway.com.br.

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:

Kledson Pires
Juliana Barroso
Maria Cristina Skowronski Flynn
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

April 9, 2013

Meet Priya Ferreira who moved to Brazil recently. 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.?

I’m from the UK and lived in London for 15 years before moving to Brazil. I used to work in international public relations in the healthcare sector, which was very hectic and high-pressured but also a wonderful experience and enabled me to travel the world in the name of work. I have two children with my Brazilian husband, Gabriela (3 years) and Rafael (10 months).

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

I arrived here in October 2012. I came because my husband is from here and we were both ready for a change from the pace of life in London, now that we have young children. I was also tired of the cold, never-ending winters, grey skies and fighting my way onto commuter trains!

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

I first came as a tourist a few years before I met my husband. I was bowled over by the natural beauty of the country, the diversity of the different regions in terms of culture, geography, cuisines and the mix of ethnicities. I am of mixed heritage, so I felt comfortable here. I never imagined I’d end up living here.

4. What do you miss most about home?

It has to be the obvious ones like very dear family members and friends. That and also not being able to walk everywhere due to the oppressive heat in my town and everything being very geared towards driving. People think I’m a bit eccentric trying to walk places all the time.

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

There have been lots, to be honest. The biggest one is probably the ongoing bureaucratic nightmare of trying to sort out our residency documents. We have days when we go round in circles to about 5 different local government offices getting told wrong information, the machine is broken etc. Our original birth and marriage certificates have been on a journey of their own to various governmental offices around Brazil and even back to the Brazilian Consulate in London. Now a local cartorio has decided to keep them forever because it’s the law.

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

I was on holiday in the Pantanal with my husband and parents, staying in a beautiful and remote lodge. We had one of those unforgettable nights where someone built a large campfire and a mix of local Brazilians and people from all over the world sat around drinking caipirinhas and passing around a guitar, all taking turns to sing songs from their own countries and join in with a few familiar ones like the Beatles and La Bamba. It was a special night that went on into the early hours.

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

Really friendly, warm, helpful and spontaneous people. Never feeling cold. Fresh produce, especially all the tropical fruits and vegetables.

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

I don’t get to eat out much due to having little ones, but a few of my in-laws are farmers and the best meals I’ve had are on the farm with real ‘caipira’ cooking, done on the wood burning stoves. The produce is very fresh and organic, plucked straight from the fields and the cow/chicken/pig slaughtered right in front of us!

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

My mum had been visiting and on the way back from Goiania airport, we got stuck in some major police/gang incident on the motorway, complete with police hanging out of helicopters with their machine guns. My 3 year old waves to the nearest helicopter and pipes up from the back of the car bye grandma, have a lovely flight!”.

That and managing to reverse the ‘camionete’ into the garage door at 6:30am last week. The neighbours all came running to help. They thought a ‘ladrao’ had been trying to get in!

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

I think people are much more spontaneous here than back home. In London, it was much more about checking diaries and booking to meet friends weeks or even months in advance, by email or text, only to sometimes have the person cancel by text on the day. Here, people seem to avoid all that by rarely planning and just turning up. I find them really helpful here too – they join in with whatever you are doing – hanging up washing, cooking, bathing children etc.

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?

Conversationally its fine, but I really need to learn the grammar properly. I was alone quite a bit in the early months so had to very quickly start doing a lot of stuff on my own such as taking the children to the doctors, hospitals, register my daughter at school, ‘fofocas’ with the neighbours, mother-in-law, that sort of thing.

Things I just can’t pronounce:
– The difference between grandmother and grandfather (avó and av)
– the difference between coconut and poo (cco and coc)
– my daughter’s school sent a confusing note the other day about checking for ‘piolhos’ (headlice) and donating any old ‘pilhas’ (batteries). I got it all mixed up with the word for contraception and told the teacher I’d put some ‘pilulas’ in my 3 year-old’s school bag.

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

Come with an open mind and an open heart. Don’t expect things to be the same and function as they do back home.

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

Hire a car and do a road trip, stopping off wherever you feel like and avoid some of the obvious touristy places. I’ve had some of my best trips in Brazil doing this. Last month we did a crazy road trip of over 2000 kms in two weeks, crossing Goias, Minas Gerais and Bahia with the little ones being complete angels jn the back of the car and it was absolutely brilliant

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:

Rami Alhames – Syria
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Jennifer Souza – USA
Bill Holloway – USA
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
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

April 2, 2013

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.

My question is about Brazilians and their dogs. I have lived in São Paulo and Santos for four years and I have never seen such angry, loud, neurotic, barking dogs in my life. They bark all day in the apartment or house and since they live in such close quarters and eveyone keeps their windows open, hot or cold, you hear dogs barking from several blocks away. The very few times I have seen a Brazilian attempt to quiet their dog, they yank at the leash and yell at the dog to stop barking… that is a clear message to the dog saying, “if you can bark (talk loud), I can bark”. I see the people sitting around talking on the street or in the park and the dog just keeps barking like an annoying child and the owner says nothing. Brazilians may be very humane when it comes to their love of dogs and adopting the homeless, however, they do not know how to discipline them… same as their lack of disciplinary skills for children.

— Robert

Hi Robert,

Well, I live in a place where there are plenty, plenty of dogs. But I do not have the same problem of the barking dogs, maybe because my building is old, and better constructed, so I do not hear them, or maybe because luckily there are no dogs at my floor. Instead my complaint is that the owners do not pick up their poops with the readily available bags sitting by them at the yard, but that is another story.

In regards to the barking, you are correct, brazillians talk to their pets, and since they do not care much about the barking bothering others, they just talk louder to their pets. It is really another cultural fact, just like raising the children, brazillians raise their kids and dogs differently.

Kind regards,

Teresa

Our Brazilian-You-Can-Ask is Teresa Cristina Asfour, a graduate in Computer Science and Post-Graduate in Project Management. She lived for 12 years in the USA working for a multinational IT company, and now lives in Brasilia – DF, working for the federal government. She can be reached by email at tecris@hotmail.com.

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: Visas and Toilets
Ask a Brazilian: Birthdays and Relationships
Ask a Brazilian: Manners and Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
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