Published Dec. 30, 2013
Brazil announced that it will increase the IOF financial tax on Brazilians spending abroad to include other forms of payment such as Debit cards, Travelers Checks, Pre-paid Credit Cards and ATM withdrawals.
Brazilian credit cards were already subject to a 6.38% IOF tax on foreign transactions, which encouraged those travelling abroad to use alternative means of payment with IOF of just 0.38%.
However as from Dec. 28, all of these other means of payments will have a 6.38% IOF surcharge. Buying foreign currency (in cash) within Brazil seems to be the only exception, with IOF remaining at 0.38%.
The motivation behind the change is to bring all forms of foreign spending by Brazilians into line, and to curb Brazilians spending abroad in general, with a view to strengthening the Brazilian real, currently trading at around BRL2.36/dlr.
This new measure mostly affects Brazilians or those who do not have a foreign credit card. For foreigners living in Brazil you just need to remember if you are travelling abroad, or buying anything on a foreign website (Amazon etc.), to use your foreign credit card.
Also we do not believe this measure will impact the use of foreign ATM cards to withdraw cash in Brazil as you are effectively buying reais, as opposed to buying dollars, and this helps strengthen the local currency.
On a positive note, for foreigners living and working in Brazil, this measure will help support the local currency which is good news for those earning in Brazilian reais.

Merry Christmas everyone!! As promised, today we announce the winner of our “Gringo Moments” in Brazil Competition. We had over 100 entries and some great stories, so thanks to all who participated. We hope to compile the best entries, along with illustrations, into book form over coming months. We‘ll keep you updated on how that comes along. Now to the winner..drumrolls.. the funniest and most original Gringo story, goes to “Cooked Goose” sent by Ben Cherrington from the UK. Congratulations and Merry Christmas Ben, thanks for a great and original story. Your iPad is waiting for you!! You can read Ben‘s entry below, along with the best of the rest.

Cooked Goose
This happened to a friend of mine. We’ll call him “Dave”. We were going to the Seu Jorge concert at Fundao Progresso in Lapa, and were told tickets were half price if you brought a kilo of food such as rice or beans. When we arrived, Dave was standing there with a giant pan full of a kilo of rice which he had cooked and brought to the show. I’ve never seen a security guard laugh so much.

Hungry Man
In a typical conversation in Portuguese years ago with a number of Brazilians present, I was asked if I was enjoying all the different food that Brazil has to offer. Still thinking in English and translating most of the time I responded that I was eating everything. “Eu como todas”. I didn’t figure out for a long time why that cracked them up but they were howling with laughter.

You can Call me Al
I had just arrived at my pousada in Parati. The owner, a lovely guy, proceeded to point out on the map all the cool things to do in Parati, the good restaurants, boat cruises etc. All in Portuguese of course. After a long chat he said, if there’s anything else I can help you with just “me chama Ramal”. As he was leaving our room, I thought wow that Ramal is a really nice guy and I commented this to my Brazilian fiance. Suddenly I remembered something I needed to ask him, so I ran out the door calling out Ramal! Ramal! I have something else I need to ask you. The guy looked at me in a very confused way.

Size Does Matter
When I arrived in Brazil from England in 1999 it was January, very hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees and there were so many mosquitoes. I was living and teaching in an English school and one day a staff member at the school asked me (in Portuguese) what I thought of São Paulo. There were lots of other teachers sitting in the staff lounge and I replied in Portuguese, trying my very hardest to speak correctly – “Eu estou gostando muito, s que tenho muito problema com os PENISLONGOS”.

Black Box
I had just moved to BH and was still learning Portuguese. My girlfriend had bought me a fanny pack/money belt to use instead of my backpack. The next day I could not find where she had left it. I was trying to ask her mother if she had seen it but I could not recall the word pochete and after racking my brain trying to remember, came up with what I thought was the word…buceta. Her mother had a weird look on her face as I explained while gesturing at the crotch/waist area where the pochete would be worn. I continued on, voc pode colocar coisas dentro dela ! More weird looks from the mother, so I added one final thing, preta! At which point she just cut me off and told me to ask my girlfriend when she got back.

Click below to see more entries:

Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I
Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part II
Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part III

Just one week left to submit your entry for our Gringo” moment in Brazil competition. It can be short, just a brief description of a moment when you mixed up your Portuguese to give a slightly different meaning than intended. We already have quite a few entries related to difficulty pronouncing “po” and “coco”, so try to come up with something different!!! You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry. First prize a brand new Apple iPad mini, for pick up in São Paulo. For more information and entry form click here.

Love Them Coconuts
In a typical conversation in Portuguese years ago with a number of Brazilians, I was asked if I was enjoying all the different foods and fruits that Brazil has to offer. I really did enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables here and being an adventurous spirit I was trying as much new stuff as possible. Still thinking in English and translating most of the time I responded that I was eating everything. “Eu como todas”. I didn’t figure out for a long time why that cracked them up but they were howling with laughter as I accidentally said I have sex with everyone.

Big Boy
When I arrived in Brazil from England in 1999 it was January, very hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees and there were so many mosquitoes. I was living and teaching in an English school and one day a staff member at the school asked me (in Portuguese) what I thought of São Paulo. There were lots of other teachers sitting in the staff lounge and I replied in portuguese, trying my very hardest to speak correctly – “Eu estou gostando muito, s que tenho muito problema com os PENISLONGOS”. (I am enjoying it alot, only I have alot of problems with the long penises!) I should have said “pernilongos”!

Eye Opener
It happened at a gas station in Braslia where I took my car to change the “motor oil”. At that time I was not so good in Portuguese, so I practiced the phrase “troca de leo” at home but when I said at gas station everyone started laughing and calling their other colleagues to share it, and I was standing there clueless, unaware what was happening… Then one of them came to me and explained that it’s because that the way I said it sounded like “troca de OLHO” or “I want to change my EYE”.

Odd Ball
I am originally from Mexico, lived all my adult life in the United States, and recently moved to Brazil. I speak Spanish and English. So when the family of a friend from work invited me for a wonderful meal, and churrasco, I was thinking that by using my Spanish, rather than English, I could get my point across easier. When my friend’s mother came out with the dessert (sobremesa), after tasting it, I politely said to her: “el bolo esta exquisito” She had been all smiles through the whole evening, but she had a different expression when I blurted that!
I quickly learnt that, while in Spanish ‘exquisito’ is really good, tasty…In Portuguese, it is almost, exactly the opposite! In fact if you are a male, and they say that about you…watch out!

The Perfect Gift
One of my more memorable blunders with Portuguese took place in a busy shopping centre in São Paulo. My Brazilian girlfriend and I were out Christmas shopping and she had just asked me for suggestions about what to buy her father. I happened to know that he really likes a Portuguese wine called “Periquita” so I shouted up to her on the busy escalator. “Eu sei! Seu pai gosta muito de Periquita!” What I didn’t know was that while in European Portuguese “Periquita”, is a half decent red wine, in Brazilian Portuguese it is slang for a woman’s private parts.

Click below to see more entries:

Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I
Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part II

Here are some of the best entries so far for our Gringo” moments in Brazil competition. You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry and be in with a chance to win an Apple iPad mini. For more information click here.

Slippery When Wet
This was told by a friend. He had just arrived in São Paulo and wasn&#145t too sure what to expect. Some Brazilian friends invited him to their country home. After a nice BBQ and some beers he decided to cool off with a shower in their outdoor facilities. He was lathering his hair with shampoo when he felt something slithery rub up against his leg. His mind immediately flashed back to an earlier conversation about local wildlife, including snakes!! He panicked and rushed out screaming to the garden area, stark naked. Imagine his embarrassment when he discovered it was just the rubber hose that hangs off most Brazilian shower heads.

Oh Sorry, Blow me
On my first week of moving to S.P I had my first trip on the buses here. As I was making my way towards the back I bumped into an old lady of about 70. As my Portuguese is very basic I made an attempt to apologize. So I turned, smiled and said “De chupa”. She gave me the dirtiest look as I walked away. I just presumed she was angry for bumping into her. It was only when I went home and explained everything that I was told what I had said.

Put a Cork In It
Well, I have a bit of trouble with the word “rolha” (corkage fee). So, once I called up an Italian restaurant to find out about their corkage fee policy. An old-school Italian nonna answers the phone. Me: “Boa tarde! Voces tem uma taxa de rola?” which means, “Good afternoon. Do you all have a dick tax?” Of course, her response was both surprise and confusion. “O que???” she says. Me: “A dick tax!” Nonna: “Nao extendi” Me: “Quando um cliente grazer uma garrafa do vinho. Quanto custa?!?!” Nonna: “Ah, sim…a gente nao cobra!” Ha! That’s amore!

Sweet Jesus
My first trip to Brasil, we went to the Statue of Christ. I went to order a beer and I saw the hand sanitizer on the counter. I rubbed some into my hands and then the worker looked at me like I was crazy and took the sanitizer and put it behind her on the shelf. No bother, I thought. The next morning at my friends house, I was first to wake. I was offered coffee by their house maid. Then she offered me acucar. I started laughing and she didn’t know why. I must have had the sweetest hands in Corcovado the day before!!!

Buzz Off
It wasn’t long after I arrived in Brazil. My wife wanted some honey. So immediately went to the store on the next corner. Unfortunately I didn’t look up the word before going there and upon arrival I found myself in a very embarrassing situation. The store-keeper asked me what I wanted and I didn’t know what to say. He realized that I was struggling with the language so he was very patient with me. I drew a bee-hive and made the buzzing noise of the bee as it landed on the bee-hive, He then knew exactly what I wanted. He went into the back of his store and brought out a mosquito spray can!

Following on from Part I, here are some more entries for our Gringo” moments in Brazil competition. You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry and be in with a chance to win an Apple iPad mini. For more information click here.

Cooked Goose
This happened to a friend of mine. We’ll call him “Dave”. We were going to the Seu Jorge concert at Fundacao Progresso in Lapa, and were told tickets were half price if you brought a kilo of food such as rice or beans. When we arrived, Dave was standing there with a giant pan full of a kilo of rice which he had cooked and brought to the show. I’ve never seen a security guard laugh so much.

Apples and Oranges
One day my wife and I were buying groceries at the supermarket. We went to the checkout line and my wife proceeded to the end to bag groceries while I waited by the cashier to pay. As the cashier was scanning the groceries, she came to our bananas. She put them on the scale and looked at me and asked, ” ma n?” Confused, I thought to myself, “Look lady, I know I’m a gringo but even I know these are bananas.” My wife starts to laugh, tells me she’ll explain it to me later, and confirms the cashier’s thought that these were maa. I came to learn that day that Brazil has a type of banana called “banana maa”.

You Put What? Where?
I am married to a Brazilian and live in Brazil for the past seven years. When we were first dating, I took hubby to meet my folks in New Zealand. He speaks great English but on the odd occasion his vocabulary does let him down. Keen to bond with his new girlfriend’s family he was really quite chatty. One of the many conversations with my mother was about different travels and trips he had been on. I was only vaguely listening to the conversation, but when I glanced over at my mum she had a rather disturbed look on her face, and this expression was clearly leaving hubby a bit nervous. Turns out that hubby had told her very matter of factly about how he had got a bad ear infection while on a surfing trip and had had to put “tampons” in his ears every time he went into the water. In Portuguese the direct translation makes sense as “tampo” is a pretty general word for “plug”… However, in English there is really only one place that a tampon should go and it certainly is not in a man’s ear!

Frank and Beans
When we first lived in Recife, we went to a party in Fortaleza where the rich owners showed a video of their trip to Italy. When I saw a handsome well dressed Italian man in Rome on the video, I said loudly – “Os italianos tem um pinto diferente” and everyone cracked up laughing – I should have said Pinta!!
Also later when watching a tennis match, I said “que belo saco” instead of saque! Loud and clear and the wife of the tennis player gave me such a dirty look.

Sweet Potatoes
During one of the many times I was invited to eat just some of the excellent food prepared by the “empregada” working in my wife’s home in Salvador, I caused somewhat of a scene. Why? Well, I politely made a point to compliment the noted “empregada” (in front of many people) on her “great potatoes”. I had yet to learn that “batata” for Brazilians in Bahia connotes the calf area of the human leg. :) So, I was unintentionally complimenting her on her nice legs.

By Sonsoles Navarro
December 4, 2013

Foreigners in São Paulo rarely leave the Itaim-Jardins-Vila Madalena-Moema area. It’s so nice out here compared to the rest of this kind-of-grayish city. Why would you?

But in a city of 20 million inhabitants there’s much more going on outside the expat boundaries. A couple of months ago, I had the chance to live one of the greatest experiences I have had in this city. Just at the end of a glamorous street in presumptuous Morumbi, a more humble favela Paraisopolis begins.

Favelas, world known for their violence and drugs, are also home for a modest working class of the population. And, as a living community, they are also home to an amazing cultural and artistic expression.
Have you ever seen a really eccentric green bike all lit up around Ibirapuera on the weekends? That was Berbela going for a stroll in his craziest invention.

At Paraisopolis, Berbela has its atelier. Berbela is a mechanic that uses his free time to transform old car scrap into art. Berbela is what we could call a “sustainable artist”. His goal is not only to create; his dream is to share his space to teach kids and adults and that even without having a proper education, there’s an opportunity for them.

Further down the street we find our second stop, o Estavo. Without formal education, Estavo built during three decades his castle in the middle of Paraisopolis. Today he continues adding bits and pieces to it. Yet, he had no clue his art had traces of world-known artist Gaud. Since he was discovered by a journalist and a student he’s been better known as “O Gaud Brasileiro”. He and his wife timidly receive us and explain us the story of their home, it is completely breathtaking. The rest? For you to explore!

Sonsoles is an entrepreneur, traveler and consultant, based in São Paulo. She can be contacted on sonsoles@zuvyeffect.com. Visit her site at www.zuvyeffect.com where she compiles transformational travel experiences around Latin America.

By Alison McGowan
December 3, 2013

Casa Zulu was a wonderful surprise. It already came highly recommended by kiting friends, but for some reason I just wasn&#145t expecting to find a beautiful beachfront pousada right near the centre of the small village of Icaraizinho de Amontada (which is so hidden it doesn&#145t even appear on the map). South African /French run, Pousada Casa Zulu has 6 suites in total comprising two floor octagonal chalets and garden rooms, and all are set amongst the leafy tropical gardens. They&#145re very comfortable too; all have airconditioning, flatscreen TV, large box spring beds and excellent power showers in the bathrooms. But what I loved best was having the beach on my doorstep, a lovely swimming pool to lounge around, and the beautiful double height thatched club room.

Pousada Casa Zulu has plenty of competition these days from other pousadas in Icaraizinho. Where it wins hands down from others is in its central location right in the village, in its friendly international atmosphere and in its superb value for money which makes it perfect for solos, kite surfers and families alike. I only got to stay one night at Casa Zulu, which was definitely not enough. I&#145ll be back for sure next year!

Starpoints
* Location near village but also right on the beach
* Personal attention from hosts Roxanne and Edouard
* Beautiful bungalows in leafy gardens

Try a Different Place if…
… you want nightlife or more upmarket luxury

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

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Dreamland Bungalows, Marau Peninsula, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Dona Zilha, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Natur Campeche, Florianpolis, Santa Catarina
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Fim da Trilha, Ilha do Mel (Encantadas), Parana
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta da Piteira Boutique Hotel, Praia do Rosa, Santa Catarina
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Caminho do Rei, Praia do Rosa, Santa Catarina
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila do Patacho, Praia do Patacho, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Sagi Iti, Praia do Sagi, Baia Formosa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Praiagogi Boutique Pousada, Maragogi, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarao Alto Mucuge, Arraial d&#145Ajuda, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Calypso, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Capim Santo, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Maris, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Guesthouse Bianca, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Cool Beans, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Aratinga Inn, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chez les Rois, Manaus, Amazonas
Five Exceptional Beach Destinations in Brazil
Brazil: Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Bahia’s Eco-paradises
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Taruma, Conceicao de Jacarei, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Tanara, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Encanto da Lua, Marau, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Baia Grande, South Pantanal (Miranda), Mato Grosso do Sul
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Palafitas Lodge, Rondonia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, So Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d&#145Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airo, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Cho, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casaro da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

By Ricky Skelton
December 3, 2013

‘Whatever you decide, it always ends in pizza.’

So goes the saying for choosing what to eat when out on a Saturday night in Brazil. I’m not sure why particularly, eating pizza in Brazil has always been an underwhelming experience for me. It isn’t the limited choice, the lack of good tomato sauce, black pepper or chilli oil, the three inches of factory ‘mozzarella’, nor the single, lonely topping in the middle that leave as cold as last night’s final slice. I just don’t find going out for a pizza in Brazil an enriching cultural experience. This happens irrespective of whether Brazilians are at the table or not, it could be just or mostly gringoes. I always finish up losing the will to live.

This was brought home to me in fine style once again on a recent trip to Italy. We had a couple of wonderful thin, large pizzas, with Italian wine, sitting at a wooden table with a view of one of the most historic piazzas in Italia, surrounded by works of art, beautiful signoras, with a small band playing Italian accordion classics. On return to Brazil, we were taken to a place with plastic chairs and tables, an enormous television screen or five with the novela and then the football at a volume loud enough to make conversation impossible, and some large pizzas with a whole tube of catupiry… in a car park by the side of a busy city road… and all for at least twice the price.

It goes wrong almost immediately for me, and the larger the group, the quicker it happens. I should learn to order plenty of beers before even sitting down, make sure that I have enough to soften the blow, take the edge off my hunger and get me through the next hour… which is a tortuous one as twelve different people try to decided first what size of pizza they want, then how many toppings will divide them. This part is prevaricating enough, but then the extended discussion of which toppings to have can drive me up the wall. Being an essentially selfish creature who believes that knowledge and laughter are for sharing, while booze and food should be personal battles, this dividing of pizza idea doesn’t work at all for me. And anyway, where is the sense of achievement from cleaning your plate of a whole plate-sized pizza?

There will always be a couple of students or backpackers or vegetarians who insist on a marguerite, then later try to swap it for one of your more interesting choices, aliche or calabresa (ok, maybe not the vegetarians doing that). There will be at least one person, probably more, who suggest one of those bizarre ideas that are only found in Brazil and don’t belong on a pizza – catupiry; lettuce; four odd cheeses; egg; broccoli. It was good fun to be with a genuine real live Italiano in an otherwise quite decent pizzeria and watch his incredulous expression as he looked down the menu. ‘Broccoli? On a pizza…?’ This debate continues for maybe another 45 minutes before a couple of suitably bland compromise candidates are put forward for voting, with the promise of even more blandness to be ordered later if those don’t fill the gap.

By this time I’ve usually lost interest and stick to filling my gap with as much booze as I can in the corner of the table somewhere. The waiters too have usually given up and after eight visits to the table to find the order not ready, they stopped even looking over ten minutes ago. So an hour or more after arriving, the pizzas are delivered to the table. Then comes pizza desert. This one cracks me up as I don’t get it at all, and neither did the Italians. If they thought brocolis were bad, then the chocolate and banana sobremesa pizza all covered with a thick layer of factory mozzarella was too bizarre for him to take. At least he knows where I’m coming from with this.

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

Previous articles by Ricky:

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

By Alastair Kinghorn
December 3, 2013

What difference one might ask could possibly define the Scottishness of being in Brazil, compared say with being English, American or German?

Well I have been mistaken for all three, so from a Brazilian perspective there can`t be a lot to tell us apart, but for me, I can always say that I am from the land of whisky, and that creates an instant link to the land of my fathers.

`You like whiskey?` I often ask. The reply is usually a loud affirmative from Brasileiros and a sour face from Brasileiras. I proudly explain the difference between malt and `cooking` whiskies and the exorbitant prices charged for the more mediocre brands sold in Brazilian supermarkets.

Then the inevitable questions arise about the `saia xadrez`. It`s not a skirt, but a kilt I remonstrate with all of the national pride that I can muster, but to no avail.

They are more interested in knowing if anything is worn underneath, but Brazilian etiquette denies a straight question on such a sensitive subject, so the conversation moves on to the subject of weather.

`Isn`t it very cold there?` They often ask. Yes, but you get used to it I reply. No one believes this in Brazil. How could you possibly get used to sub zero temperatures and snow, especially when wearing a skirt!

Then the more enlightened enquire as to what language is spoken in Scotland. This is a complicated one to answer correctly, since it requires a perception about the Scots idiom and some grasp of Scottish geography. I have evolved an explanation that describes Gaelic as being a more ancient language that is now mainly confined to the west of Scotland and the islands. This is usually met with a blank look, since History and Geography are subjects that are little understood in Brazil. My example of `Slange ava`! is more easily absorbed. When I then explain that English is spoken by the majority, albeit in a way similar to the Portuguese spoken in Bahia, this again manages to bridge the gap between our cultures and a common bond is quickly forged . A rendition of `Lang may yer lum reek` usually has them in fits of laughter!
Then, emboldened by camaraderie, the more inquisitive sportsmen will ask about Scottish football and the relationship with the game played south of the border… Yes, we do have some rivalry, I acknowledge… similar to Brazil and Argentina! This meets with instant approval and a sympathetic look that betrays more understanding than is polite to mention.

Occasionally the subject of nationality crops up. Now this is one that I have not managed to get across after six years of trying. This topic usually begins with a statement.

`You are Scottish` …Yes!
`But what is your country? …Scotland of course….
`But you say that on your identity card, it is written British?` …Yes, but…
`What does it say on your passport?` ….United Kingdom I reply.

I sense a complete and utter inability to explain the subtleties of 500 years of British history and the complex geography of the British Isles!

It`s a very long story I tell them, and swiftly move on to haggis!

2013 Alastair Kinghorn

Alastair is an expat originally from Scotland now living in rural south eastern Brazil close to the city of São Paulo. He has led a variety of lives since leaving school at the tender age of seventeen. In the merchant navy he spent six years travelling the world including a trip to Rio and Santos in 1971. He then tried his hand doing a series of jobs in London as;- Mini Cab driver, Fashion allocator, Warehouse manager, Meat factory worker, before deciding to become an architect. He then went north to the Scottish Highlands for the next six years. Worked there as an architect, and as skipper of a pollution control vessel on the Moray Firth. He opened a shop selling stationary and art supplies. Started an arts group with an annual exhibition, became a member of the Community Council and ran as candidate in local elections, before returning south to London in due to recession in the Highlands. Worked in commercial architects practices in London during the &#145Yuppie&#145 years, before yet another recession hit the construction industry. Entered Local Government as an Estate Surveyor for Westminster City Council, then as Technical Manager for Camden and finally Repair Centre Manager for Greenwich. Took early retirement in 2006 and emigrated here to Brazil. Settled in Peruibe SP for three years before moving to Pedro de Toledo in the foot-hills of the Jureia mountains. Married and divorced three times I spend my time between my sitio, working part-time in a local imobiliaria, writing, photography and listening to classical music. Alastair decided to create AlastairsBrazilianBlog because there is so much to tell about this beautiful land and its wonderful people.

We would like to hear about your best/funniest Gringo” moment in Brazil. The best entry will win an Apple iPad mini (16GB, Wi-Fi, White), to be announced on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 2013). Prize must be collected in São Paulo. Runner up stories will be published on the website. We are also working on building a mobile App to help you connect with other foreigners in Brazil, so please complete the full questionnaire in order to qualify (scroll down to the bottom and make sure to fill in contact details).