April 10, 2008

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Is there anywhere I can buy books in English? I find it too hard to read for enjoyment in Portuguese. Do any gringoes want to consider a book swap? I have over 70 books in English to trade…. Just a thought.

— Lori Martins (MG)


In São Paulo you can find ‘some’ at Livraria Cultura, Fnac, Siciliano and others. Hopefully you have one or more of these bookshops near you, but it is worth trying any large bookshop.

Try the Internet as well e.g. mercadolivre.com. If you’re really stuck then the backstop is Amazon.com. It takes a few days to come, along with some import tax.

I hope you can find someone to trade.


(Contact www.gringoes.com if you want to swap books with Lori)


I’ve read about lots of points of views of Brazilian girls and their views of relationships, etc.

I think the Brazilian boys deserve some attention. How are they when talking about relationships and views of family, girls? Will they hold on or just have a good time. And I know you can’t say “all”, more so the general picture.


— Malin

I’d guess men and women are at the same stage. We all want to settle, but with someone special, right? And apparently it isn’t something you can plan on doing.

I don’t think it’s Brazilian the ‘just having a good time’ thing. In my very personal opinion, I see people struggling at work, with not enough free time to meet new people and maybe get lucky… I don’t know.

All I can say for sure, since you asked about the boys and I have three brothers, is that boys are just like us when it comes to holding on to a relationship: “If it isn’t someone really special, generally speaking, why settle?”.

Thank you for you question,

Vanessa T. Bauer

Readers comments:

There are no taxes on books. I have ordered from Amazon.co.uk (they accepted my Norwegian Visa card while the shipping was to Brazil) and the shipment came in with no extra tax. Took 3-4 weeks, but the prices were lower, even including shipping, than the same books ordered from a shop in Brazil.

— Svein

In response to English Books, I often use Amazon market place. The books are cheaper even with the one off market fee. You can get DVDs too without tax paid as they come direct from the owner.

If you live in SP the best English book shops are the Culturas, shopping Conjunto Nacional (next to Consolacao metro) Av Paulista. Cultura, Vila Lobos (used to be but moved it all to Paulista stores.

— Andrew

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous questions in this article series:

Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

Can’t make this up