By Alastair Kinghorn
May 13, 2014

One of the bugbears of modern society in Britain was the overly paternalistic attitude towards Health and Safety. To my mind, reared as it was on the heaving decks of merchant navy ships in the 1960`s, it has taken away a sense of self-responsibility and replaced it with a labyrinthine network of legislation, inspectors and method-statements. Remove the individual’s habit of having to think for himself and you enter a world of automatons: programmed to perform, and soon unable to think the unthinkable, that is, what if the method statement is wrong?” The image of a crowd plunging like Lemmings over a cliff where someone has inadvertently replaced the `Keep Away` sign with Step this way, was firmly fixed in my mind.

Those cares were soon to be replaced by other more immediate concerns when I closed a chapter of my life by departing British shores in order to begin an adventurous one in Brazil. You only have to attempt to walk down a street here in order to realise that a Brazilian adventure can very easily become a misadventure.

No, I am not referring to being assaulted, kidnapped, raped, murdered or becoming the victim of a hit-and-run traffic accident – although all of those fates are possible and in some areas depressingly probable. Dangers here come in many forms, some of which are much more prosaic and unexpected than others, and it is for that reason that I have chosen to write about them today.

Be warned, those of you who have been led to believe that pavements should be smooth and even with no tripping hazards more than 25mm in height! In Brazil it is perfectly possible to disappear into a pothole, find your way completely blocked, thus forcing you to step into traffic, or to enter an area beneath overhead activity involving heavy weights being swung precariously from equipment that would dazzle the eyes of a health and safety inspector with the profusion of its dangers.

I shall leave the subject of food hygiene for another day and march on to the little park, where children might expect to play without a care for anything other than the simple pleasures of childhood. Only to find the area thick with weeds which conceal broken glass, sharps and a variety of hazards associated with Brazilian wildlife. The equipment is, needless to say, “perigoso”.

For the student of perilous behaviour there can be no better place to observe extremes of risk-taking, than a Brazilian building site. Clad in shorts and flip-flops, men operate power tools free from the baggage of circuit breakers, goggles, gloves or masks. They wield great loads, in excess of 100kg, as if spinal vertebrae were made of nothing less than titanium. Climb heights and handle heavy objects there without any form of harness, tether or guard rail and no one below them is anything less than oblivious to the danger of falling objects.

Be glad therefore that Gringos are not expected to embark upon such activities without a safety net and a culture of responsible behaviour. Be aware too that the unfortunate victims of accidents here are extremely unlikely to receive anything in the form of compensation for injuries sustained.

In Brazil the individual must take each and every risk that life here throws at them unflinchingly, if they are to remain employed, and when the monster threatens to devour them they must laugh into his face and carry on regardless.

And so it came to pass on a balmy Saturday afternoon that I was nonchalantly riding my motorcycle towards home when I came upon a horse grazing the verge. “Nothing particularly unusual about that”, I thought, but failed to notice the thin, taught cord around its neck stretched at chest-height across the road, straining as it was to reach the tender leaves just beyond reach on the opposite side of the road. All of this I noticed only in the moment before impact! Even at only 40 km/hr I was going to suffer a very nasty accident in about 5 microseconds unless… I ducked! Phew!

Maybe health and safety isn’t such a bad idea after all!

2014 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 ’86; due to recession in the Highlands. Worked in commercial architects practices in London during the ‘Yuppie’ 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 Brazil: Modestia
A Fora de Prazo
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May 13, 2014

Meet Mike Jewell who has lived in Brazil over 15 years. Read the following interview in which Mike tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I live in Sorocaba, São Paulo. My wife and I moved here in January of 1997. I am a pastor.

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

We came to Brazil to help start churches.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Back in ’97; everything was an adventure. The language was definitely our biggest challenge. We spent nine months in language school that first year.

4. What do you miss most about home?

We miss our family. Our three girls and their families live there.

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

As mentioned, the language has been the toughest. However, the way things are done here often drives me nuts. But we have learned to take each twist as it comes.

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

Our daughter met and married her husband here. I was privileged to do the wedding. Great fun!

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

The people and the weather! Both are lovely!

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

We don’t go out much. But we do enjoy churrascaria every now and then.

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

I have a ton! Some dealing with the language and others dealing with culture. One short one I can share here. We had been warned about how bad the crime was here. One night we were sleeping and I heard a huge thump on our bedroom wall. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest as I lept from the bed and got this huge butcher knife! I crept from our bedroom and made my way to the backyard. Only to find that a big gourd had fallen off a vine near our bedroom wall! Whew!

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

The lack of legal recourse for the common guy. And the seeming, Oh Well. What can we do about it anyway?” attitude.

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

I have been here for 17 years and am still discovering new words daily. For instance just today I learned that the word for cement mixer, betoneira is not pronounced, Bay-tor-nay-ra. I also have a lot of trouble with masculine and feminine. City names are often incredibly difficult. Examples are Barueri, Itanhaem and Itapetininga often stop me in my tracks!

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

Be friendly, watch your wallet and be willing to learn the language and culture. Brazilians are more than willing to help.

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

SP has a great Japanese district, The Italia building is the tallest and a must see. Just being in SP is overwhelming. Ride the Metro and train. Take a bus to the Praa da S to see the huge Catholic church and some cool trinkets booths. Go to Embu. It is trendy and a great tourist spot. The beach is just about an hour away too

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:

Sheldon Feingold – USA
Joseph Low – USA
Hunter Peak – USA
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

By Alison McGowan
May 13, 2014

What a wonderful way to start a trip to Bahia: the Villa Inglesa. This is a brand new 7 room pousada which doesn’t even have a sign outside the door yet, but it is definitely all there in terms of comfort and only moments away from beach, lighthouse, bars and all the local restaurants.

The creation of London Neil Manning, this is a pousada with a very special individual charm. The patios and small garden are dotted about with tables and sunshades and the free wi-fi is perfect for catching up on your blog or your emails whilst still leaving you feeling incredibly lazy.

Suites themselves are not huge but they have everything you want like excellent beds, bed linen, good lighting, wardrobes, Split” airconditioning and ceiling fans. In the bathroom amongst other things you’ll find an excellent power shower to cool you down.

Villa Inglesa came highly recommended by Sean, the owner of Pousada Estrela do Mar just round the corner but I wasn’t sure what it would be like as it was brand new and didn’t have any guest reviews. What I found totally exceeded expectations, a perfect place to base youself for a few action packed days in Salvador.

About the Location
Salvador is simultaneously hot, chilled and laid back. And nothing like the south of Brazil! Home to the largest influx of slaves in the country (nearly five million between the 16th and 19th centuries) its population remains predominantly black and local customs reflect and incorporate African traditions in religion, culture, dance and dress.

The city has grown tremendously over the last thirty years, and with a population that is now well over 3 million the usual problems have all arisen. For many years the historical centre around the Pelourinho was a no-go area and the area around Barra also went into a steep decline. However many of the historical buildings in the centre have now been refurbished, policing is much better and recently the Barra area around the pousada seems to have gained a completely new lease of life, with a pedestrian only promenade and lots of new bars opening. One thing is for sure – the vibe in Salvador is something else completely, and the tropical spirit in the air totally contagious.

Not to be Missed
– Visit to the Pelourinho with English speaking guide Fernando: R$125
– Side trip to Praia do Forte and Imbassai beaches: R$250 for 2
– Chill on Barra beach 5 minutes walk away or Porto da Barra beach 10 mins away
– Visit to Igreja/church of Bomfim and the the port of Ribeira
– All day tour with tour bus which goes from the farol/lighthouse nearby

Pousada Starpoints
* Personal hospitality from Neil
* Excellent location and nice chill out space
* Newly refurbished with top quality materials

Try a Different Place if…
… you don’t like small dogs or want somewhere more formal

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