By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
February 6, 2016

So you have finally decided to go the legendary Carnival party in Rio and see what the hype is all about. I guarantee you will soon get caught up in the spirit of Carnival and fall in love with Brazil. But before you go, there are a few things you should be aware of. With this is mind, we have compiled some tips so you can enjoy the party to the fullest.

1. Learn some basic words and expressions in Portuguese. As most Brazilians don’t speak English, this will help you a lot with your communication. Also, Brazilians really appreciate when foreigners attempt to speak Portuguese, no matter how badly they do it.

2. Buy your flight in advance. There will be many tourists coming from all over the world to Rio, which causes flights to fill and prices to increase.

3. Book your hostel/hotel in advance as well, as it becomes harder and harder to find accommodation as the Carnival approaches.

4. If you want to watch Carnival, go to the Sambadrome. If you want to be in the thick of the action, take the party to the streets and keep an eye out for the “blocos”, which are foot parades where people dance through the streets to the beat played by a samba band on top of a truck.

5. If you go to the Sambadrome to watch the parade, the best views are from the ground level seats, the terrace seats, and the “camarote” if you are willing to pay a higher price.

6. Watch out for your safety. Don’t wear expensive jewelry and keep an eye out for pickpockets. It is also a good idea to wear a money belt or to keep some emergency money in your underwear or bra. If you are bringing a camera, keep it out of sight. Be aware of where you are going as well, as some areas are extremely unsafe for tourists. Also, avoid getting blackout drunk, as that will make you an easy target.

7. If you are a man looking to hook up with local girls, be respectful in your approach. There is a difference between being direct and being forceful, and you should not cross that line.

8. Banks close during Carnival, and cash machines often run dry. To avoid running out of money, keep a stash in the place where you are staying.

9. If you are hungry, “por kilo” restaurants are a good choice. In these restaurants, you fill up your plate from a buffet and pay according to the weight of your food. These places are cheap and the food is usually tasty.

10. If you are partying in the streets, keep your mobile phone and other electronics inside a plastic bag. Trucks will often spray water into partygoers to offer some relief from the heat.

11. Don’t forget to exchange your money. Although some shops and vendors accept dollars and euros for their products, they will charge you much more than if you use reais.

12. Prepare yourself for high temperatures and lots of sun. Bring sunscreen and don’t forget to drink water, especially if you are plan to drink alcohol.

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com.

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
February 6, 2016

Brazilian cuisine is extremely rich and diverse, being influenced by Portuguese colonizers, African slaves, Brazilian natives and immigrants from all over the world. Below, we have compiled a list of some of the best dishes the country has to offer.

1. Feijoadafeijoada
One of the most traditional Brazilian dishes, feijoada is a stew of black beans, beef and pork that is as delicious as it is caloric. Depending on where you eat feijoada, different parts of the pork are used. One can find feijoadas with pork ribs, ears, tails, sausages and much more. Some common additional ingredients are rice, farofa, oranges and kale, but one can find an enormous variety of ingredients in feijoadas from different places. This tasty stew is not only simple to make but also makes for a true feast. For those that enjoy a hearty meal and are not worried about the calories, I would recommend jumping at the opportunity to try feijoada.

2. Farofa
Another staple from Brazilian culinary, farofa is a mixture of toasted cassava flour that is eaten through all the country. By itself, it doesn’t have much to offer, but it can be fried with many different ingredients. It also goes extremely well with rice and beans, which are the essential Brazilian foods. Some common ingredients to be cooked with farofa are sausages, eggs, bacon, onions and olives. Some also like to put in ingredients such as chopped bananas, raisins or nuts, but the farofa offers limitless possibilities of mixtures. Whether you are eating a feijoada, a fish fillet or a Brazilian-style barbecue, farofa has a lot of flavor to bring to the table.

Moqueca

3. Moqueca One of the most traditional dishes in the northeast of Brazil, moqueca is a seafood stew to make any mouth water. Usually served in a clay pot, moqueca is a mixture of seafood, diced tomatoes, onions and coriander. In the state of Bahia, it is usually cooked with palm oil, peppers and coconut milk. For the complete experience, moqueca should be eaten with rice, farofa and piro, a spicy mixture of manioc flour and fish. If you are a seafood lover that is willing to experiment with new flavors, then moqueca is definitely for you.

4. Arroz carreteiro (Wagoner’s Rice)
In the south of Brazil, a “carreteiro” was someone who transported goods across the country. This dish was created by these travelers using ingredients that could be preserved without refrigeration, so as to provide a tasty and nutritious food that can be prepared during their journeys. It is consists of a mixture of rice, beef jerky and onions, with some other vegetables or spices being used sometimes as well. This tasty dish quickly spread through the rest of Brazil, and is now enjoyed through all the country. While it is quite good on its own, the arroz carreteiro is at its best when served as a side dish, offering a delicious alternative for the plain rice that is usually served in Brazil.

5. Virado a Paulista While the state of São Paulo is not well known for its culinary, it is the home of this deliciousness known as the Virado a Paulista. Traditionally, this dish was made from a mix of food leftovers. Nowadays, the virado is a full plate that mixes rice, cooked beans, kale, cassava flour, sausages, pork chops and eggs sometimes. This combination is a force to be reckoned, and should leave anyone satisfied. In the city of São Paulo, it is usually served on Mondays at a fair price in restaurants and bars through the city.