By Pedro Souza
May 31, 2016

Florianopólis, popularly called Floripa, is the capital city of the southern state of Santa Catarina. The city is composed of the island of Santa Catarina, a continental part and the surrounding islands, with a population of roughly 450,000 people. A recent tourism boom shows that foreigners are finally becoming aware of the wonders of Floripa, which is easily one of the best travelling destinations in Brazil. The 50 kilometers long island that makes up most of the city has more than 40 stunning sand beaches, which attract people from all over the world.

From popular beaches where one can meet friendly people, eat seafood or drink a few beers to secluded beaches hidden amongst waving dunes, Floripa has beaches for all different tastes. There are also plenty of good spots for surfing in the city. One of the world’s most notorious surfing events, the Santa Catarina Pro, takes place in annually in Floripa. If you are interested in trying the sport, the Barra da Lagoa beach is a good spot for beginners. Another sport that is quite popular there is sandboarding. The city has many majestic sand dunes, and for as little as U$5, tourists can rent a board and enjoy themselves surfing down these dunes. This is a great way to have a fun evening and get fit as well. Carrying your board up a sand dune is a lot more tiring than it sounds.

There are also secluded beaches that can only be reached by hiking, and the outskirts of Floripa offer plenty of trails for outdoors lovers. If you have a vehicle, another option is driving to the São Joaquim National Park, which offers 50,000 acres of forest, rivers, waterfalls and wildlife. Just be sure to bring a guide or to be careful if you want to avoid getting lost in the park.

In the southwest of the city, there is a fishing village known as Ribeirão da Ilha. Known for its well-preserved and colorful colonial style houses, and the beautiful church of Nossa Senhora, it is one of the favorite tourist spots. The village is also notorious for the local handicraft and the delicious fresh oysters that are found there, which gives an opportunity to make a stop there for lunch. In the center of the Santa Catarina Island, one will find the Conceição Lagoon, one of the best spots in the city. This magnificent lagoon is known as one of the best windsurfing spots in the country, and the nightlife in the surrounding area attracts people from all over the city. There is also a rustic fishing village in the lagoon known as Costa da Lagoa, which is definitely worth a visit.

As if its dazzling beaches aren’t enough, Floripa is also known for its buzzing nightlife. The city is full of bars, pubs and clubs, where one can drink, dance and flirt at will. Whether you enjoy rock, samba, rap or house music, you will be sure to find out that Floripa more than lives up to its reputation as one of the best partying spots in Brazil. The city also has one of the best carnaval parties, despite Rio getting all the hype. Whether in the clubs, beaches or in the streets, you are sure to have a great time when the parties hit the city.

With all of this and much more, the city makes for a great destination. Whether you are looking for adventure, sports, nature, partying or simply for a place to relax, Floripa won’t disappoint you. If you ever have the opportunity, come pay a visit and find out for yourself what the hype is all about!

By Pedro Souza
May 31, 2016

Brazil is a country that boasts a rich musical heritage. Musicians like Carmen Miranda, Tom Jobin, Catano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Luiz Gonzaga and Elis Regina have left their mark in history, and are now appreciated worldwide. Yet, few musicians have influenced the music and culture of Brazil as profoundly as Raul Seixas, who is called by many the father of Brazilian rock.

Raul was born in 1945 in Salvador, in the state of Bahia. In his teenage years he was introduced to rock ‘n’ roll when a friend lent him some albums. He fell in love with the style, listening to the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, who was his main inspiration. In the late fifties, a young Raul gathered some friends and formed a band. As he got his first taste of playing live, the band went through many changes in name and composition before settling for “Os Panteras” in 1963. By the time the band consolidated, they had turned into a local sensation. In 1968 they launched an album, named “Raulzito e os Panteras” (Raulzito and the Panthers).

The album was a failure, ignored by both the critics and the public. Determined to make his way into the music scene, Raul entered the VII Festival Internacional da Canção (International Song Festival) presenting two songs: “Eu sou eu, Nicuri é o diabo” (I am me, Nicuri is the devil) and “Let me sing, let me sing”, a song that mixed rock ‘n’ roll with a Baião, a traditional musical style from northeast of Brazil. Although he didn’t win the prize, his song “Let me sing let me sing” reached the finals, enchanting the public with its originality and eclecticism.

Raul’s name was growing, but fame would only arrive in 1973 when Raul launched his first solo album titled “Krig-ha, Bandolo!”. The album was a huge success, featuring songs that are still considered to be some of his best. The highlight of the album is “Ouro de Tolo” (Fool’s Gold), a scathing critic of the middle-class dream of finding a job and consuming your way to happiness. Another classic song from the album is Metamorfose Ambulante. Even nowadays most Brazilians are familiar with the song chorus that goes: “Eu prefiro ser uma metamorfose ambulante do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo” (I would rather be a walking metamorphosis than have the same old opinions about everything).

In 1974 Raul launched the Sociedade Alternativa (Alternative Society) with the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. Heavily influenced by English Occultist Aleister Crowley, the society was centered around studying philosophy and the esoteric. The influences Raul acquired during this period are quite evident in his lyrics from this point onwards, as Raul always used his songs as a way to express his personal philosophy. He was also planning to start living communally with the society in the state of Minas Gerais, until he was caught by the repression led by the military junta which governed Brazil at the time. Arrested and tortured, he went in exile into the United States.

In this year, he also launched his second solo album, named Gita. With more than 600,000 copies sold, the album earned Raul his first Golden certification. The tracks “Gita”, “A Sociedade Alternativa” (The Alternative Society) and “O Trem das 7” (7’s Train) are considered some of his best songs. Well established into the music scene, Raul would go on to launch many albums in the following years, teaming up with other musicians such as Claudio Roberto and Marcelo Nova. As Raul kept playing, he grew into a legend, but his health started deteriorating due to his alcoholism. In the eighties, the quality of his music had clearly deteriorated as well, and he often played his concerts in a sorry state.

In august 1989, Brazil cried when Raul died of an alcohol-induced pancreatitis at the age of 44. Now, 26 years after his death, he is more alive than ever. His eclectic mixes of rock with traditional Brazilian musical styles and poetic yet comical lyrics have influenced and still influence many musicians to this day. He is also the main musical influence of the Brazilian counterculture, becoming almost a patron saint for Brazilian hippies. In live shows and campfires, his music requested so often that it has become an ongoing joke among Brazilians. Sometimes, when a band playing live takes a break between songs, someone will get up and jokingly scream “Toca Raul!” (Play some Raul), and everyone will have a good laugh.

Michael Magera

May 4, 2016

Meet Michael Magera who moved to Brazil at the start of the year. Read the following interview in which Michael 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 a New Yorker, an almost real New Yorker, born in the city (Queens. not Manhattan) but grew up out on Long Island before returning as an adult. I work in telecommunications but essentially I am a cabling guy. If your Internet works at work, I’m behind it.

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

I came to POA in 2003 for my first time for just a month, but began spending more time in 2005. I’d say that the balance has become nearly 50/50 since then.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Brazil as a whole struck me much harder than I expected. Being married to a Brazilian, I had certain expectations. Foremost was the beauty, which my wife did not exemplify through her speech; however the beauty and cultural diversity made me gasp. WONDERFUL!

4. What do you miss most about home?

Although Brazilian food keeps me “fat enough”, I miss my New York City pizza, bagels and Chinese food. Of course, I miss my family and friends as well.

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

Frustrating? Brazil? Brazil has lent me to believe that frustration is not possible. Early on, adapting to the coffee culture was difficult as I’m used to gulping down a few cups before noon. Now, occasionally, I get uptight by the relaxed nature of the country when I am in a personal rush.

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

Stepping on the Internacional field with my late father-in-law. Colorados!

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

The food is huge but the culture is my favorite part. I love the family value and the acceptance of friends.

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

Pimguim! Lima e Silva e Republica.

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

I went to Mulligan’s one night and met some Americans who thought I was Brazilian and spoke to me slowly. They talked to me for a while and ultimately told me about a spot in NYC that I knew. When I rattled on about it, my NYC accent kicked loose and we laughed for hours.

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

Culture. When in NYC can you have someone say “Good morning?”

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?

My Portuguese is pretty good now. I am learning the tenses now. I’m often found speaking around the bush so to speak in order to complete a thought. I’m getting better.

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

Be quiet. Enjoy. Look. Learn. When you try to be yourself and speak, you miss subtleties and cues that Brazilians offer. Watch and learn.

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

Do what you want, just be mindful about appearing ostentatious. Watches, bracelets, rings and sharp sunglasses at the hotel. Never been outside of an airport in SP, but a close friend was robbed there. Rio is awesome! Gotta do it! just use common sense.

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@gringoes.com with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

Fernando de NoronhaBy Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016

When Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Fernando de Noronha in 1503, he reportedly said, “paradise is here”. In fact, few other words suffice to describe the beauty of Noronha, an archipelago that stands 376 km away from the coast of Natal. The archipelago is a natural reserve, which is absolutely teeming with wildlife. The place is full of birds and reptiles, with lizards roaming in the rocks and among the grass. In the crystal clear waters, one can find a variety of fish, dolphins, stingrays, turtles and many other animals. There are also many sharks to be found, but unless meddled with, they do not pose a threat to tourists. So far, there have been no reported shark attacks in Fernando de Noronha.

The variety of wildlife in the seas and the clearness of the water have turned Fernando de Noronha into the hottest spot in Brazil for scuba diving, with people all over the world travelling there solely for this purpose. For those who are not interested in scuba diving, there are plenty of opportunities for snorkel diving. Either you can go with one of the many tours that are being offered or you can simply put your mask on and freely explore the wonders of the sea. There are also many boat tours on Noronha, where one can sail around the island appreciating it’s beautiful scenery, dazzling beaches and playful dolphins, which makes for a really relaxing evening.

If you are into surfing, Noronha is known as one of the best places in Brazil so surf. Known by some as the “Brazilian Hawaii”, the archipelago has beaches such as Bode, Quixaba, Boldró and Cacimba do Padre. With waves that reach up to 12 feet of height, Cacimba do Padre is home to many surfing championships, and it is considered by many to be the best surfing spot in Brazil.

Noronha is also home to Projeto Tamar, which is a project concerned with the preservation of sea turtles. It’s headquarters has a store and a museum, where one can see replicas of different species and learn about them. At night, there are talks one can attend to as well. You can also watch the baby turtles being market and set free on the beach depending on the time of the year, which is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

The main island is pretty rustic and welcoming. There are few hotels, and most people stay in inns. There are plenty of restaurants that offer great seafood and bars where one can drink by the beach. Locals are friendly and welcoming, which adds to the atmosphere of the place. When it comes to transportation, one can hire a buggy, a bike or simply walk. Noronha is not that large of an archipelago, so it is pretty easy to get around.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to Fernando de Noronha. The first one is that visitors are limited for environmental reasons, which makes it more difficult to access the island. The other one, which is its main downside, is that things are extremely expensive there. Due to the high prices, Noronha is not an affordable destination for many people. That being said, it is definitely worthy of every penny spent in the trip. If you are a fan of paradisiacal beaches, stunning sceneries, scuba diving or surfing, then this is definitely a place for you to visit!


By Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016

So you have finally got a job in Brazil, applied for a work visa and picked it up. Now all you need to do If you want to work legally in Brazil is to get a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social). This document allows you to be legally registered, and grants you access to labor rights. It also keeps track of your ages, employers and types of jobs that you have worked on.

To get a CTPS, you first need to go to an appointment at an MTE (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego), which is the Brazilian Work Ministry. To do that, you should first look for the nearest branch in the following website: http://saa.mte.gov.br/default.aspx.

Once you have set up an appointment, you should gather all the documents necessary. You will need to bring your passport, two recent colored 3 cm X 4 cm photos of you with white background, a copy or printed version of your CPF card, a proof of residence such as a water or electricity bill, a copy and your original CIE (Cédula de Identidade de Estrangeiros), two copies of the publication in the “Diário Oficial da União” showing that the MTE branch in Brasília has authorized you get a work visa and the SINCRE (Sistema Nacional de Cadastramento de registro de Estrangeiros) printout that was given to you when you registered at the Federal Police. You should also bring your work contract in case they ask for it, although it is not stated in the MTE website.

Once you have all the necessary documents gathered, you should present them to the MTE during the appointment you have scheduled. At the end of the process, you will be given a protocol that notifies when you can return and pick up your CTPS. When the time comes, all you need to do is return to the MTE and pick it up. Now that you have your CTPS in hands, you are finally allowed to legally work in Brazil. Congratulations and good luck!