Australia`s Ken Marshall was drawn to Brazil over fifteen years ago when he met his future wife in Sydney. He has since set up a successful wine business in the land of Cachaça, but he still misses the rugby and cheap Aussie wine.
Where are you from?
What brought you to Brazil?
Initially business, however when I met my wife (a Brazilian) in Sydney in 1988, it was curtains for me and I was compelled to become more interested in Brazil.
What do you do here?
I am a wine merchant, specialising mainly in Australian wine, however shortly moving into wines from New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
What do you miss about Australia?
My Australian family and friends, though I get to go back at least twice a year. I guess I also miss the reliability and security one lives with in Australia and the overall cleanliness of the place and the harmonious society. Oh yes, and the rugby, which I loved going to and even watching on TV. And of course the cheap Aussie wine.
What do you most like about Brazil?
The people (so generous and interesting), the weather in Sao Paulo, the beaches near Sao Paulo, our ex-pat friends.
What is your favourite restaurant in Brazil?
I love Cantaloup, Eau at the Hyatt, Dom, Rubaiyat, Barbacoa, Percussi, Santa Gula, Kia-Ora, Barco (all in Sao Paulo) and Porcao and D'amicis (both in Rio). As you can see, I eat out lots (and drink lots, of course) !!!
Is there a strong Australian community near you?
Small, but very strong (and we have befriended and taken under our wing, the persons from across the Tasman, whose kiwi-ness is infectious). We socialise lots, play cricket, golf and sailing and all get on. The Aussie Consul and Ambassador have helped keep us all together.
What difference between Australia and Brazil do you find most striking?
In Australia, society is much flatter, with very little (if any) poverty. I really like my well-educated and relatively well-off Brazilian friends, however I take great pity on those less fortunate.
What are 2 things you would recommend to do for a visitor to Sao Paulo?
Go to as many restaurants and bars as possible although there are very many beautiful sunny days in Sao Paulo, the real charm of the place (and to hide its 'scruffier' side) exists at night, when the thousands of restaurants and bars must be visited (always go by taxi, even if you are close). The obvious and safer areas are definitely:
"Jardims" (on the west side of Avenida Paulista and where the older and more established places are)
"Vila Madalena" (where you see some of the quaintest restaurants and bars in the world and in a setting that is reminiscent of a hilly and crowded Italian village)
"Itaim Bibi" (the newer part of town, where the big barbeque and pizza places exist alongside some of the most sophisticated restaurants, which are often alongside of the smartest, trendiest bars). >
Try and see the more cultural side of Sao Paulo, such as its historical, yet sadly neglected, downtown buildings and monuments, also its amazing art galleries and museums and last, but not least, try and visit one of the bigger "street fairs" (where you can buy everything from food to clothing to artwork to pottery, etc, etc and you will be greeted by friendly and hard-working, ordinary and less affluent Brazilians...the concierge at your hotel will be able to direct you to the best ones).
Kens has invited gringoes.com readers in Sao Paulo to Tuesday and Thursday "happy hours", held every week from 6.30pm till 8.30pm at his show room. There are also discounts for wine purchases.
Rua Medeiros de Albuquerque, 23 (corner Rua Harmonia)
Vila Madalena - Sao Paulo
Tel/Fax: (55-11) 3819 4020
This is the first in a series of weekly profiles of foreigners living in Brazil. We hope to interview a different nationality each week. If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to email@example.com