Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
England's Edward Catchpole lives in Recife with his wife and two-year-old son. He has some great information to share about the North-East of Brazil where there is a small gringo community. Read more for his stories about supermarket loyalty cards and Carnival in Olinda!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Edward Catchpole I am from Sussex, England. I am 31 years old and teach (British) English at the American School of Recife. I live in Boa Viagem with my Brazilian wife Sandra and our two-year-old son Patrick.
What brought you to Brazil?
I came to Brazil because I was very interested in its music, culture, people, language and nature. I got a contract to teach English and was placed in Recife.
What were your impressions of Brazil?
In retrospect I think I had a very romantic idea of Brazil before I came here. I thought it would be a big melting pot of happy, friendly, relaxed people who spent their time at the beach or dancing Samba.
Have these impressions changed?
They dance Forro in Recife not Samba.
What do you miss about home?
I miss my family and friends as well as British humour, Guinness, light summer evenings, curry, the seasons (except winter) and Christmas.
What was your most frustrating experience in Brazil?
When I arrived in Brazil I couldn´t speak the language, my Portuguese (or lack of it) always caused a problem at the local supermarket. At this particular supermarket they have a loyalty card called Bomclube. Before they start putting your shopping through the checkout the cashiers always have to ask.
'Voce tem Bomclube?´
I had no idea what this meant. So whenever I was asked the question I would smile, give the thumbs up and nod vigorously. Seeing this the cashier would usually ask.
´Voce tem ou não tem Bomclube!?´
At this I would nod and smile even more vigorously. Then the cashier would call her manager.
What difference between your country and Brazil do you find most striking?
In my country if you go to the supermarket wearing a pair of Speedos you will be arrested.
What do you like most about Brazil?
Picanha completa, camarão, churrasco, capirosca, capirinha, Brahma, Antartica (bem gelada) pão de queijo, Guarana, carnaval in Olinda, live music, Rio de Janeiro, beach football, most of the people, trekking, trying to surf, MPB, sunshine, the history, the outdoors, the beaches in the North East (not necessarily in that order).
If you are married to a Brazilian what differences have you noticed?
That's a whole new website.
What is your most memorable experience in Brazil?
The birth of my son.
What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?
Everything takes much longer here.
Tell us about Recife.
Recife is an interesting place to live. Carnival is probably the highlight with lots of events and concerts. The neighbouring city of Olinda hosts possibly the best street party in the world when hundreds of thousands of revellers party in the historic town for four days and nights. The atmosphere is fantastic with Frevo bands marching up and down. Its completely free - just make sure you wear a costume.
Recife has several shopping centres, loads of restaurants, lots of nightlife including three `pubs` and of course beaches. I think that life here is a lot more relaxed than in Rio or São Paulo and the cost of living a lot lower.
It has its problems, it is scruffy and sometimes dangerous. But when you get fed up there is a multitude of beaches and resorts to explore just outside the city.
There are a growing number of gringos living in the North East of Brazil as more and more Europeans are buying holiday property here and several large multinationals have moved operations to the area.
We have a small group of expats who meet socially, organise events and excursions. I would like to get in contact with any gringos living in the area who are interested in joining us. Edward Catchpole can be contacted at: email@example.com
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
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
Are you are foreigner living in Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org