Entries by Mark Taylor

Brazil: São Paulo – The Forgotten City

By Mark Taylor
A couple of examples recently highlighted something that has been obvious to me a while now – many foreigners (media especially) think Brazil boils down to just two things: the Amazon and Rio de Janeiro. Heck, you’d forgive people for thinking that Rio itself is a country in its own right, or at the very least the capital of Brazil (ignoring distant history of course).

The first recent example was CNN’s international weather forecast that popped up while I was channel surfing. Of course being an international forecast it meant that South America got a brief mention, and what was the single city that popped up that represented Brazil… the capital?… the largest populated city… both? Nope, none of the above. It was just Rio. The second recent example was a web site, in this instance the BBC’s very own country profile site for Brazil. The map, smack bang at the top, does admittedly show two cities at least, with the capital getting a look in, and inevitably Rio is there again. Other cities get a mention later on in the text, but there’s no space for them on the map. The bottom line is that the media away from Brazil are perpetuating the above stereotype.

But why is it a stereotype that needs breaking? For starters Brazil is a vast country, with that often repeated statistic that it’s bigger in size than the continental USA and about twice the size of Europe. Surely international weather reports highlight more than one city in the USA? The equivalent would perhaps be a dot for New York city, and nowhere else.

The other thing that sticks in my craw is that Brazil’s biggest city often plays a third and very distant fiddle to Rio, and its perhaps equally distant second cousin Brasilia. Do you know what Brazil’s biggest city is? I’m fairly sure that those reading this article, who have more than a passing knowledge of the country, will appreciate it’s São Paulo. Perhaps a better metaphor for the city is the ugly stepsister to Rio’s Cinderella. Although having visited both, on reflection it’s not a fair comparison.

I find it hard to understand why São Paulo is forgotten, particularly when the city is quite simply enormous, and one of the largest in the world (somewhere around 20 million people, depending what source you read). Also it’s widely recognised as Brazil’s primary business city, with Brasilia arguably the political centre, and Rio the tourist centre (although tourism is much wider spread than just Rio, and deservedly should spread beyond Rio). Like any large city, São Paulo does have its less than desirable areas, which tend to be focused on a little too much. Although equally they shouldn’t be forgotten. Even so, the city has a thriving culture, which is exemplified in some of its varied architecture, frequent art exhibitions, and plentiful nightlife.

When it came to naming this article I was in two minds whether to go with: The Forgotten City, or The Forgotten Country. The latter seems equally applicable when it comes to international news. Anyway, I put a challenge out there for journalists and visitors to Brazil alike, to see and research more of the country than just Rio, and not just the forgotten megalopolis of São Paulo. Then make sure you communicate that which you visit to others who don’t know Brazil, so that they in turn can educate. Perhaps in a year or two’s time we might see another Brazilian city on that weather map or country report?

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: Mythbusting!
Brazil: Enough of the “Estrangeirismos”
Understanding Brazil: Sense of Humour
Brazil: The “Turistas” Storm in a Teacup
Understanding Brazil: Christmas and New Year’s Traditions
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: Mythbusting!

By Mark Taylor
I’m a fan of the crazy US series Mythbusters, where the moustachio’d Jamie and bespectacled Adam set about proving, or disproving, a variety of mostly urban myths. I hear various myths purported about Brazil, some obvious and some not so obvious, and this is my take on them, with a (sometimes tongue in cheek) view to busting or not.

The Capital of Brazil is Rio de Janeiro
For good or bad, Rio is the city that will spring to mind for the majority of foreigners when asked to name a city in Brazil, and on that basis I assume this is why Rio is often believed to be the capital. In some senses that’s not so far from the truth as Rio was the capital of Brazil several decades ago, but in 1960 the purposefully constructed capital Brasilia took over the reins. São Paulo is actually the largest city in Brazil by quite a margin, usually thought of as the business capital of the country, and one of the largest cities in the world. Brazil itself is also a vast country, and very diverse in both its cities and cultures. In any event, myth = busted. Other busted Rio based myths are that the famous Brazilian carnival is only celebrated there, or that it’s only worth seeing in Rio. Carnival is actually celebrated in varying ways across Brazil, and it will depend on what your preference is as to where it’s best to see.

Brazil has the Most Beautiful Women in the World
This is a touchy subject, and one that can be argued for hours over a Brazilian lager or two. Many is the time that I’ve been asked by a Brazilian guy, mostly just to confirm, whether Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world. I think part of the reason the myth exists for foreigners is that often North American men and Europeans are attracted to the often tanned Brazilian female, partly down to the difference. Although presumably the healthy Brazilian pride plays into their own view on the topic. In my experience though Brazilian women range in beauty, like any country, and isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? So, on that basis I’d have to say myth = busted.

Most Caring Women in the World
A second feature for Brazilian women in the myths list, perhaps mostly because it’s a topic dear to the heart of many men foreign to Brazil. Another reason foreign men give for being attracted to Brazilian women is the heartless” nature of North American and European women, and the “caring and feminine” nature of Brazilian women. Is there any truth to this? Well, short of a huge and detailed independent study into this, my experience is that the answer is “no”. Brazilian women can be as “tough” and “heartless” as their northern, or northeastern comrades, and sometimes even more so based on the tough lifestyle they are often brought up in. They may well stand for less nonsense than the average American or English gal. Again though, before someone shoots the message bearer, I ought to say that just like anywhere else women range dramatically in character, although as a general stereotype my feeling is that the myth = busted.

Samba is the Only Thing Brazilians Dance
If the only thing you watched about Brazil was carnival then you might be forgiven for thinking that the only dance in Brazil is Samba. The reality is that Brazil was the birthplace for various dance styles, such as Afox, Xaxado, Forró, Pagode, Gafieira, and Ax. So, myth = busted.

Brazilians Live at the Beach
Another of those mental images that is furnished by the foreigner thinking of Brazil, is that each Brazilian spends every waking minute outside of work, and perhaps even during work, at the beach. Other than the lifeguards, the reality is that a large percentage of the country is significantly inland, so it’s difficult from a practical standpoint for the average Brazilian to get to a beach in a large number of cases. Some cities are famed for their beach lifestyles, such as Rio, where the social life for some centres around the beach. Other cities such as São Paulo see millions of citizens decamping during holidays to head east to the coast, where they descend on and fill the coastal towns. So Brazilians will certainly spend some time at the beach if given the opportunity, and place the beach in high regard. But do they live at the beach? Myth = busted.

Brazilians Love an Excuse to Party
Along with the mental image of the samba’ring, beach dwelling Brazilian, is the idea that a Brazilian will find any excuse to go out and have a party (presumably while dancing the samba, on a beach). The reality is again not quite like that, and not every Brazilian is some extrovert entertainment machine. In fact in my experience the majority are not, and quite “normal”, so myth = busted.

Don’t Trust an Invite From a Brazilian
For the person that has spent a bit of time in Brazil, you may well hear from another foreigner that if you’re invited out by a Brazilian you shouldn’t be waiting at said venue on the dot. Or that you in fact probably shouldn’t bother waiting at said venue at all. There are certainly circumstances in which this can be the case, particularly when a vague offer of “getting together some time” is made. Even when a date and time is selected, it’s not unusual for Brazilians to cancel, and rarely just not turn up at all. Brazilians can be similar in business, and it’s the wise foreign businessperson that won’t count their chickens until they’re hatched, have gone to playschool, and learned to count. Brazilians will tell you this is because they hate to disappoint, at least when an initial offer is made. So for this one and only situation, I have to say myth = plausible.

Brazilians Speak Spanish
If I had one centavo for every time I’d heard someone say “so, they speak Spanish in Brazil, right?” well I’d have about 50 centavos. Aside from that though there’s this impression that the de facto language for a Latin American is Spanish. Brazil is bucking the trend by being one of the very few countries in Latin America that doesn’t speak Spanish, so perhaps it’s easy to see how the misconception arose. But due to its Portuguese roots the language that predominates is Portuguese. Of course the other languages within Brazil that are spoken by the Indian natives shouldn’t be forgotten, such as Tupi, and Guarani. In any event though Spanish is not on the menu, so myth = busted.

There Are 5 Times as Many Brazilian Women as Men
This is an odd one I’ve heard several times, that there is some inordinately greater population of Brazilian women compared with the men, and therefore Brazilian men can pick and choose their spouse, it’s a playground for foreign men etc. I’m not quite sure how people buy into there being some mindblowing freak of nature such that only women predominate in a country of around 180 million people. In any event, data from 2000 shows that there are 97.5 men to every 100 women, so although a small imbalance, it’s just that. Myth = busted.

Are there any myths that you’d like to bust, confirm, or simply raise? Or do you disagree with my ill researched analysis? In either case then drop me an email, and I’ll add your comments to the article.

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: Enough of the “Estrangeirismos”
Understanding Brazil: Sense of Humour
Brazil: The “Turistas” Storm in a Teacup
Understanding Brazil: Christmas and New Year’s Traditions
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: Enough of the Estrangeirismos””

By Mark Taylor
English is everywhere in Brazil. It’s very common to see English words slotted into various aspects of Brazilian life, particularly advertising (see my previous article Portunglish or Engluguese? for more on this). But plans are afoot to try and prevent this “corruption” of Portuguese with so called estrangeirismos.

The French are well ahead of Brazil in this respect, but equally have always been well known for the protection of their cultural identity (the French equivalent for estrangeirismos dubbed as Franglais). France passed the Law Toubon in 1994 which ensured that various documents e.g. work contracts, corporate procedures etc. must be written in French. Commissions regularly meet at the French Ministry of Finance to try and correct the language, by suggesting replacements for Franglais that have snuck in. Ironically though the attempts to rewire the language generally meet with failure, as the English version prevails in reality. But when looking at example replacements e.g. “telechargement pour baladeur” in exchange for “podcasting”, perhaps it’s no great surprise.

So it was earlier this month that a deputy Federal Judge implemented a law that will fine those who use English in general advertising. The responsibility for checking and inspecting the advertising falls on the government. The fines are based on an existing law which can levy amounts of R$5,000 per day to the offender. The judge stated that the right to access understandable information is a basic right to anyone in Brazilian society, which the use of English or other foreign words goes against. He gave the example of someone walking along Rua Oscar Freire, where the use of estrangeirismos would prevent some people from understanding what the shop advertising meant. Also that the use of estrangeirismos was being used to scare away what some shops would view as the wrong type of customer, which was unfair. A survey completed by the Public Ministry on the topic showed that 90% of people supported the law.

With the recent opening of the Portuguese Language Museum in São Paulo city it seems both the people and particularly the government of Brazil are showing a growing pride in their identity, or at least a more deliberate demonstration of it. Of course this isn’t something foreigners should be faulting, but it may well mean we have to do extra homework in our Portuguese lessons!

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Understanding Brazil: Sense of Humour
Brazil: The “Turistas” Storm in a Teacup
Understanding Brazil: Christmas and New Year’s Traditions
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: The Turistas” Storm in a Teacup”

By Mark Taylor
The film Turistas, which was on general release last month in the USA, has been causing a big stir in Brazil’s media. This started with a web site designed to market the film, ParadiseBrazil.com, although at first glance it is easily mistaken as a serious tourism site (it describes itself as “the hip guide to the wild side of Brazil”). Although the site does contain veiled adverts for the film, it also includes fake travel adverts for companies like “Teco Bus Lines” as well as supposed guides to Brazil. Visitors to the site may well not get the marketing joke though, particularly when there’s a blend of fact and fiction; other examples of which include the blog section which has a true article about a Portuguese student that was killed on Copacabana beach, mixed in with stories that relate to the beginning of the film, and the general theme of organ legging which the film story centres around. The site links again to another marketing site, DangerousVacation.com, most of which is supposedly under construction. This site purports to be a guide on how to survive travelling in Brazil, which inherently implies that it involves taking your life in your own hands. Neither site paint Brazil in a particularly favourable light!

The Brazilian tourist organisation, Embratur, were already worried prior to the film’s lanch about the impact it might have. The president of Embratur, Jeanine Pires, stated that they had been contacted by many people worried by the image presented of Brazil shown in just the trailer for the film.

Just prior to the film’s release in the USA its writer, Michael Ross, upped the ante in an interview with the LA Times. He stated that the film’s story was based in reality, and it could happen. Both Ross and the film’s director, John Stockwell, travelled the coast of Bahia for 3 months as part of their research for the film. Ross himself said that the idea came from a story he heard on the radio, that itself was based in myth and rumour, that the organs of Brazilian children were being sold on the blackmarket to Americans and Europeans. The story continued that Brazilians motivated by the rumour had attacked tourists.

Following the release of the film in the USA, Globo interviewed some “gringos” about the content. One expressed wonder at the beautiful scenery, although all that were interviewed said they would not travel by bus, based on a journey that occurs at the beginning of the film.

A Brazilian actress, Andra Leal, who played a bartender in the film tried to talk up the positive aspects of the film, also in an interview with Globo. She said that the film may bring more foreign film production to Brazil (Turistas was supposedly set in the northeast around Recife and Salvador, and although some scenes were shot in Bahia the majority was filmed around Ubatuba in São Paulo state). She also said that the film at least showed Brazil and how beautiful the landscapes and beaches are. In reaction to the comments about how it showed negative aspects, she said that with films set in the USA we continually see violent and horrible acts yet are not put off visiting or living in the country.

You have to wonder though whether Embratur have anything to worry about in terms of hordes of foreigners seeing the film. To start with it was pretty much trashed by reviewers during the US opening. In terms of its box office performance, with an estimated budget of US$10m, it managed to make US$3.5m in the opening weekend in the USA, increasing to a relatively paltry US$6.7m by the third weekend. Compare that with a similar horror film Saw 3 released around the same time, which made US$33m in its opening weekend, having grossed US$70m by it’s third weekend, over ten times that which Turistas had made.

I watched Turistas recently, and my immediate reaction was “what’s all the fuss about?”. For those who want to avoid spoilers about the film, skip the next six paragraphs.

The film starts with three US backpackers, a brother, sister, and friend, who hook up with some other backpackers: two Swedes, two Brits, and an Australian. They meet up on a bus journey, supposedly along the northeast coast, where the bus driver’s quality of driving has them all fretting. This I could sympathise with by virtue of having taken many busses just through São Paulo city, they didn’t need to travel to Bahia! The bus driver does err though, and the bus ends up precariously balanced on the edge of a coastal road, Italian Job-style. All the passengers manage to escape, just before the bus goes crashing down the hillside.

After retrieving their bags the backpackers are told there won’t be another bus for a day, and end up at a beachside bar. Being stereotypical backpackers, much alcohol is then quoffed and music danced to. Unbeknownst to our “heroes”, some scheming Brazilians spike their drinks. They all wake up the next day on the beach, with all their possessions missing. They trek to the nearest village in the hope of finding someone who can help, but end up having to run from the village after one of them gets involved in a fight with a child, provoking the entire village to come out in force against them.

At this point they’re helped by a Brazilian who supposedly has their best interests at heart. He tells them they can stay at his Uncle’s house, which is several hours trek into the jungle. After a few hours of wending their way through the jungle they begin to doubt whether they’ll ever get there. Their friendly Brazilian guide is already showing signs that things aren’t quite right, and half heartedly suggests that perhaps they should go back, but the group having trekked for several hours already want to press on. They’re all distracted by a beautiful waterfall, which their friendly guide uses as a chance to show off, and he dives off. On a subsequent attempt though he manages to hit the bottom and seriously injure himself. So the backpackers have to take their seriously injured friend and find this phantom uncle and his house.

Eventually they do get to the house, but something doesn’t quite add up. The house itself seems incredibly well equipped for somewhere located in the middle of the jungle, but before they have much time to relax the sounds of a helicopter drift in and the “uncle” arrives, with his entourage of nurse and bodyguards. The backpackers have little chance to react, and they’re taken captive. The next we know is that one of the backpackers is being operated on while one of the others looks on in horror, strapped to a stretcher, as her various organs are neatly removed and packaged.

The evil uncle transpires to be a Brazilian surgeon who tells his unwitting “patient” that he is sick of gringos coming to Brazil and buying blackmarket organs. So out of revenge he captures foreigners that will be hard to locate, slices and dices them, and sells the remains on the blackmarket to other foreigners. A sort of surgical Robin Hood.

Some of our “heroes” then effect an escape, which doesn’t work too well, although the film ends with the original US brother and sister, and the Australian escaping. In the closing moments of the film we have two recently arrived tourists arguing about taking a plane versus the bus. The backpackers are waiting in the queue in front of them, and advise them not to take the bus.

In summary I didn’t find the film to be atrocious, but neither was it particularly entertaining. The film currently has a rock bottom 2/10 score at the Internet Movie Database, enough to get it into the bottom 100 films there, also giving a good indication of general opinion. Personally I found the story very derivative, and very similar to the recent horror Hostel (Hostel features backpackers in Eastern Europe who are lured to a hostel where they are tortured, and curiously has a much higher score at the IMDB). The horror elements of Turistas, when they surface towards the end of the film, are predictable. The story essentially plays on the fear of being in a foreign country, lost, and a victim. Brazilians both help and hinder the characters, for example the character that lures them to the surgeon’s house regrets his decision and then helps the remaining backpackers escape, sacrificing himself in the process. So there’s no real claim to be had that all the Brazilian characters in the film are inherently xenophobic, or that Brazil is like this generally.

Calls that the film shows Brazil in a bad light should also be tempered by the produce of Brazil’s own film industry, where homegrown films like Cidade de Deus (City of God) also show the country to be brutal and violent. Recent real events, particularly those in Rio de Janeiro, have also done little for the country’s tourist industry. If Brazil as a whole really wants to work on its tourist industry it needs to focus on security as a primary concern.

Although discussions have been made about banning the film in Brazil, this also seems to have just fanned interest in the film. For example there are four communities on the famed Orkut site dedicated to the film (albeit one to banning the film). Currently Turistas is set for a February release in Brazil, so it remains to be seen what Brazilians think of it, if anything at all. I can’t imagine that a fictional tale such as Turistas is going to put off any sensible people from visiting Brazil.

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Understanding Brazil: Christmas and New Year’s Traditions
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: Ubatuba

By Mark Taylor
I’ve never been one for beaches that back onto mulitstory hotels and/or roads. I’ve also never been one for beaches where there’s constant music blaring, snack huts every 50 meters, and folks trying to sell you peanuts, cheese on a stick, sunglasses, earrings, sarongs, or hats, and where if you leave a tin on the ground for more than 30 seconds it’ll be snatched up and recycled.

A beach for me has always symbolised a tranquil place; a place backed onto by trees, and with quietly or not so quietly lapping waves. So my somewhat limited visits to Santos, Guaruja and Rio, were all rather dissapointing when it came to my favourite type of beach.

Then I got the opportunity a few weeks back to stay for a couple of weekends at Ubatuba. Ubatuba is a not inconsequential 3 to 4 hours drive east north-east from São Paulo. I would imagine a similar travelling distance west of Rio do Janeiro. But it’s a worthwhile drive for beach lovers like me (whether you choose the longer coastal road, or the quicker but windier mountain road). As a bit of trivia the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the region.

Ubatuba itself is quite a large area. The capital sited on Ubatuba bay, is perhaps of less interest to folks like me, and more those who like the hotels and noise. It has a famous surfing beach, Praia Grande, and is backed onto by the usual snack huts, vendors, and a growing number of hotels. Those who want to seek the night life or shopping might want to pay a visit.

Head a little bit further north or south of the main city, and things get more relaxed though with a number of gorgeous bays and quiet beaches: such as the bays of Mar Virado, Fortaleza, das Palmas, Batumirim, and Picinguaba. Overall these contain around 70 beaches of varying shape, size and quality.

Other trivia about the region: there’s a marine park managed under Project Tamar to protect sea turtles. There’s a large island, Anchieta, named after Jos de Anchieta (a famous and influential Spanish Jesuit missionary from Brazil’s early history) which has been designated a preserved area since 1977. Ubatuba was the place where the Portuguese signed the first treaty of peace of the Americas with the Tupinamba Indians, a treaty that keep Brazil in the Portuguese hands, with one language and one faith.

We stayed in Fortaleza Bay, specifally the beach Lzaro. Fulfilling most of my requirements it’s a quiet beach backed onto by trees, and also a low key residential area. As mentioned the beach is quiet, and vendors are not permitted in certain areas, and tend to stay static rather than wandering up and down the beach, as well as being generally few in numbers. The beach and residential area are also monitored by low key security, and will check who you are and where you’re going when you drive in by car. Although I understand they cannot stop you pretty much regardless of what you’re doing as the area is a public thoroughfare.

Many of the houses in the residential area behind the beach are for rental, and although relatively expensive, because most are quite large, it can be worthwhile if there are several of you staying there. Prices are always best outside of holidays, particularly away from new year and carnival. My recommendation is to check both the inside and out of a house before renting, as houses can look a lot better on the outside than the in.

So quite simply if you’re after a quieter beach and a more relaxing stay away from the city, then I recommend looking at some of the bays along the region of Ubatuba.

Also I recommend a visit to the well organised web site http://www.ubatuba.com.br. Portuguese permitting you can browse the beaches and houses/apartments for rent, as well as seeing photos of the beaches. Although a visit to the beach and house/apartment is best, if possible.

Readers comments:

You are spot on about the Ubatuba region Mark. I discovered this area 4 years ago when I purchased my first car in Brazil and wanted to take a nice long drive from my in-laws house in São Paulo. The Ayrton Senna/Carvalho Pinto highway is excellent and the drive down to Carraguatatuba on the Tamoios road is spectacular.

Stop at Vaca Preta for morning coffee or Fazenda Comadre for a buffet lunch.

We liked the area so much that we purchased a house on Praia Dura which is 5 mins West of Lazaro. There are no commercial operations on Praia Dura and if you avoid the Xmas or Carnival holidays and assorted weekends you might find yourself alone on this enormous stretch of hard packed sand (Dura!).

With the heavily forested hills as a back-drop and a fresh onshore breeze filling your lungs you can imagine what the first explorers felt like.

Most of the houses are for rent/sale and you are correct about checking on the state of the interior before renting/buying. I looked at many houses with less than ideal electrical and plumbing.

I use Pardini Imoveis as my rental agent and have never had any problems.

To put this into perspective I live and work in Bermuda and only visit Brasil 2 or 3 times a year to recharge my batteries!

— David

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

GPS in Brazil

By Mark Taylor
The title of this article refers to Global Positioning Systems, although that’s a relatively general term but has been adopted for use with systems that are used for route finding (also known as Satellite Navigation, or SatNav). These are still relatively rare in Brazil where technology is a little slower to arrive than say North America and Europe, as well as being compounded by cost (making it not so economic to sell systems here), and the size of Brazil.

All GPS router finders work in the same way, in that they use several satellites to obtain a latitude and longitude fix, which they then relate back to a map and/or route system. This means you need some form of pocket or standard personal computer, with a built-in or separate receiver for the GPS satellite signal. Devices can vary from the completely customised e.g. those hardwired into cars that you can only use for GPS activities, through to laptops, desktops or pocket PCs.

Route maps are produced by very few sources around the world as they require significant investment to create and maintain. The maps used by Google Maps come from Navteq, as I suspect do most including those of Brazil.

I first owned a TomTom route finding system in the UK a couple of years ago, so when I came to Brazil I was really keen to find an equivalent. TomTom is one of, if not the best system out there for this type of activity, at least for the general public, as it’s very easy to use. Unfortunately TomTom doesn’t cover Brazil, and only covers part of Europe and North America. So I investigated alternatives and initially hit a brick wall. Nobody seemed to know anything about GPS systems in Brazil, and the usual Internet search methods were finding little. What did become apparent though was at least one system was available, Destinator (produced by Destinator Technologies), in which you buy the main software program and a Brazil map pack. There are at least two versions of Destinator available: for the Pocket PC (Destinator PN, Personal Navigator) and Windows “Smartphones” (Destinator SP, SmartPhone). Only Destinator PN supports the Brazilian maps though, for reasons that aren’t apparent but are typical of the somewhat confusing GPS world. I have a mobile phone that supports Destinator SP, but as this version doesn’t work with the Brazilian maps so wasn’t much use. Fortunately a friend had bought and tried a Pocket PC and not got on with it, so gave it to me. This allowed me to try out Destinator PN which does work with the Brazilian maps, in conjunction with a Bluetooth GPS receiver.

Destinator PN comes on CD, and you first install the host program on to your PC, which you then use to copy the program on to your Pocket PC. Similar to most Pocket PC installs. From the host program you then choose which maps to upload to the Pocket PC. Destinator on the Pocket PC is similar to TomTom, although it feels like a “little brother” version when it comes to features and general use (I’m still sad that TomTom don’t cover Brazil!). In terms of maps Destinator suffers a little simply due to the immensity of Brazil. Street maps are only offered for São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, and Curitiba. A map for major roads, such as rodovias, is also given, although this exhibited problems (more detail on this below).

Destinator has a main mapping screen which you can change views on, from 2D to 3D (which is where TomTom excels, but Destinator is poor), as well as a Bird’s-Eye view. You can also opt to show turn-by-turn directions, as well as a direction list. Settings are relatively basic, but you can opt between metric and imperial, as well as what to show in the map status bar e.g. velocity, altitude, ETA/ETR, latitude and longitude, and distance. This information changes on the status bar, and it’s a shame they didn’t snag a little more map real estate so this data could be shown permanently. You can also configure the map so that it follows the direction you’re moving, or stays facing north. Another option allows you to enable or disable the ability to do U-turns, which can be a fundamental requirement in Brazilian city driving. You can also set Destinator so it warns you when you are over the speed limit, although I’m not sure the speed limit data is accurate, and the warnings can get irritating.

Some screenshots from Destinator PN using a US map

When it comes to the “meat and potatoes” aspect of navigating to an address it’s relatively straightforward. You just need to choose the region for the city (when using a street map) e.g. Guarulhos, enter the first part of the street name, and then the number (if required). Destinator computes the route in a few seconds, and then you just follow the directions. Directions are both spoken and can be shown visually on the map screen, or switched to a direction list view. The map screen is most useful though, and gives you an appreciation of how far you are from route changes and what they are likely to comprise of. When it comes to choosing a destination you can also choose from the Point of Interest (POI) database, which is relatively limited but includes restaurants, bars, cinemas, hotels, and a few other categories. Of course it’s hard to know how correct this data is, particularly in Brazil where some establishments can open and close relatively frequently. Also you need to know the name of the POI you are after, you can’t opt to just find the nearest restaurant like other GPS systems. The POI data does show up by default on the map screens, which can be helpful. Other destination options include contact data from the Pocket PC, although in practise it failed to interpret the address data correctly. There’s also a favourites list, which allows you to record all those places you visit regularly, and a history list for recalling past destinations. For advanced routing you can set waypoints and avoid certain roads.

In practical use driving with the São Paulo street map it works quite well. Like any GPS system there are quirks to the routes it chooses, which may not be the optimum route you’ve found over years or even days of trying, but it will get you there (my father still can’t understand why when using TomTom in the UK it doesn’t choose the route he has always used). Also there are some roads in São Paulo which are parallel, yet separate, and this can cause confusion in terms of Destinator knowing which one you should be on and where to turn off. I’ve even used Destinator to locate where I am when walking around São Paulo, but there are obvious security concerns of walking around with a Pocket PC in hand, as well as on obvious display in the car.

The general Brazil map, with the rodovias, had some problems though. On a trip to a relatively local city from São Paulo the map data didn’t match the actual road position data, and we ended up in “space” for a significant portion of the journey. It isn’t clear why the map was so inaccurate, as the road had not been moved due to recent construction. But using a combination of zoom and common sense the route was sill relatively obvious.

So that’s a somewhat detailed summary of Destinator PN, and use in Brazil. I’m already aware of Apontador.com.br and their software, but I’ve not used it. If you’ve used Apontador or come across other GPS products that have maps for Brazil I’d be interested to hear of them, and any comments you have about using them, which you can email to mark@www.gringoes.com. I will add the comments to the article.

Edit: Subsequently I have been told about another site that sells GPS equipment, http://www.maregps.com.br, and been made aware of MapLink Destinator (which appears to be just another version of Destinator as above).

Readers Comments:

Thank you for your article on GPS in Brazil. I spent a few months there and plan to return. I looked for a system numerous times and was unable to come up with anything. Now when I return, I will be ready.

Again, thanks for your effort.

BTW: I discovered your article from Google Maps.

— Roy

First of all, thanks for providing us with good articles/newsletters.

I have searched the web my self for GPS solutions in Brazil, as I have a Tom-Tom (in Denmark) and I just love it!

So when I travelled to Brazil, São Paulo, Rio etc., I really would have liked the GPS to help me find my way in the heavy traffic.

I since I will be moving to SP in late June, the subject is ever more important for me.

From my search, I only found http://www.garmin.com/cartography/mapSource/cityselectBrazil.jsp which has the same kind of “stand-alone” devices as TomTom, but they only cover SP, Rio, Belo Horizonte and the roads in between.

I will probably be getting one, since I won’t really be able to speak to anybody in the beginning.

Update: After reading your article yesterday, I searched the web some more. There is actually a dealer of Garmin’s “stand-alone” products in São Paulo:

http://www.gpscenter.com.br/

This is probably the product I would go for.

— Morten

Since this article was written, the GPS possibilities in Brazil have improved considerably. There are a number of handheld GPS units now available with Brazil maps. And although they don’t cover all of Brazil, there have been recent expansions in coverage.

I’m sure the writer and others will be pleased to know that units from Quatro Rodas, Ndrive, Navisystem, Airis and other sources are available. Originally GPS mapping for most of these units was restricted to Rio, São Paulo and mainly cities in the south. But it has been expanded to included other capitals, such as Salvador. I believe many of these use maps from Tele Atlas, which has recently improved its Brazil digital coverage. I suspect that’s why street level coverage of cities such as Salvador has recently surfaced on a number of these devices almost simultaneously.

I live in Salvador and have been anxiously awaiting GPS devices with street maps for the city. They have arrived, and I am now happily using an Ndrive product to navigate what can often be a confusing city in which to drive.

The bad news is that these remain expensive when compared to similar products in North America and Europe. But with a widening range it is now possible to purchase a portable handheld GPS mapping device with Brazil maps for under R$1,000. These are suitable for mounting in a car with included mounting brackets. On the other hand, you can still pay more than double that if you wish.

–David

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum

By Mark Taylor
Recently I visited the Museu da Lngua Portuguesa (The Portuguese Language Museum) here in São Paulo. The museum itself is relatively new, having opened in March this year. It’s also optimally located in the beautiful Estaão da Luz (Luz train station) which dates back to colonial times here in the city, and is one of the oldest train stations in São Paulo. Opposite the museum there’s also the state’s art museum, Pinacoteca (covered in a previous article).

The museum itself is situated on the three upper floors of the station, and doesn’t affect the day-to-day workings of what is still a functional train station. The work on the museum cost a not inconsequential R$37 million, and for the most part it shows. Part of the cost involved the restoration of the station, and overall it required 750 workers, and 30 language specialists to design and construct the exhibits.

Once you’ve bought your tickets and entered the museum you take a lift all the way up to the third floor. Between the two lifts is the Arvore de Palavras (Tree of Words), a large metal sculpture that runs the height of the museum. The tree is ingrained with many Portuguese words, and created by the Brazilian architect Rafic Farah.

At the other end of the floor the Auditório (a small cinema) is located. Queue here for the next showing unless the queue is extremely long, if it is come back later. The cinema shows a presentation on the growth, history and diversity of Portuguese (directed by Tadeu Jungle, and created by Antnio Risrio). Following the presentation, and I won’t spoil the surprise at this point, you enter the Praa da Lngua (Language Square). Essentially a large square room with bench seating on either side. Once seated the room will darken and then a second presentation will start, which is projected onto the facets of the ceiling. This 20 minute presentation includes pieces of classic prose and poetry, read or sung by many famous Brazilians, the words for which are projected, along with images and video, accompanied by sound and music. The presentation alternates each time between three versions, so you may even want to return to see a different one. Along the wall from the exit to the second floor are all the pieces of text used in the presentation, which you can read at your leisure.

The second floor consists of the Grande Galeria (Big Gallery), the Palavras Cruzadas (Crosswords), the História da Lngua Portuguesa (History of the Portuguese Language) and Beco das Palavras. Whether you come via the lift or the stairs the first thing that will strike you is the Grande Galeria, a 106 metre screen that stretches the length of the floor, and is fed by multiple synchronised projectors. Eleven different films play on the huge screen, taking around 9 meters of screen each, and lasting around 6 minutes. The films are centred arond the richness and diversity of the Portuguese language, including such themes as dance, festivals, carnival, football, music, human relations, values, and a dedication to the Portuguese culture. Every few minutes the entire screen switches to a view of the Luz train platform, at which the train arrives, and then amusingly the platform departs!

Midway along the floor is Palavras Cruzadas and História da Lngua Portuguesa. Palavras Cruzadas are a set of eight multimedia columns, which are dedicated to the languages that formed Brazilian Portuguese. Two of the columns are dedicated to the African languages, two for the indigenous languages, one for Spanish, one for English and French, one for the languages of the immigrants, and the last to the world of Portuguese. Each column is in the shape of a triangle, and has three interactive screens, one per face. To the side of Palavras Cruzadas it’s hard to miss the History of the Portuguese Language, which is a large static display and timeline of the development of the Portuguese language. It starts with the precursor languages to Portuguese, and then explains the developments over the last 6000 years.

Behind these two in a separate darkened room is Becos das Palavras (Word Corner), which consists of a set of three table-like screens, set at three different levels. Each screen starts with various parts of Portuguese words floating across it, which you can grab through the motions of your arms and hands. Scanners in the ceiling above the table register the movements of the arms and show them on the screen as well. Once a word has been grabbed and assembled for a sufficiently long time it is selected, and then the history of the word will play. This proved to be very popular with plenty of screaming children and adults trying to grab” a word.

On the first floor is the temporary exhibit, which is currently an enormous representation of the classic book Grande Sertão: Veredas by Guimares Rosa. Each page from the book has been transferred to material, and then suspended from the ceiling on counterweights made from bags of soil. There are seven routes that can be followed, traced on the floor, that follow either a character or aspect of the book. On the floor are various optical puzzles which have to be viewed from a specific angle to be understood, often involving a climb up a ladder or steps (another popular one for children!). In summary the museum is unmissable for anyone studying Portuguese who has at least basic fluency. Even if you can’t understand everything it will be a lesson in itself and allow you to soak up the many different ways the letters, words and sentences are presented. For someone more advanced in their Portuguese or even fluent it’s equally a fascinating experience to understand the roots of the language.

It’s recommended to get there early, particularly at weekends, ideally half an hour before it opens. The queues are often over an hour in length as the day progresses. Large bags cannot be taken into the museum and have to be left at a cloakroom. Non-flash photography is permitted. Tickets: R$4 Adult, R$2 Student, free for under 10s and over 60s. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm. Praa da Luz, 01. Luz. Also easily accessible from Luz Metr station. http://www.estacaodaluz.org.br

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Reserve a Brazil beach house far before your vacation. Research Brazil beach houses and the area around your own Brazil beach house before you get there and are disappointed. If you do your homework a Brazil beach house can be the best way to stay in Brazil.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: Carjacking and Theft

By Mark Taylor

The fact that an attempted carjacking in Brazil hit international headlines a week or so ago would ordinarily be very unusual. In this case though the carjackers picked four members of the Toyota F1 team, here in São Paulo for the Grand Prix at Interlagos. The twenty or so carjackers had actually attempted to steal several cars, which the Toyota team’s car was one of. At one point in the attempted theft a gun was held to the head of Fernanda Villas-Boas, a Toyota spokesperson, although despite this they managed to drive away and escape, even with shots fired at the car. Fernanda has said that the thieves could not have known who or what was in the car due to blacked out windows.

Ordinarily I’m wary of sensationalising events that happen here in Brazil, as the country already has an arguably overrated reputation with reference to crime. For example a quote from one recent article regarding the above topic was: the chance for a run-in with criminals is good”. This conjures up the image that the average Paulista, a citizen of São Paulo city, is running the gauntlet on a daily basis fighting off criminals. Whereas the reality is quite different. One reason this media image frustrates me is because in almost three years in Brazil I have never been attacked or mugged once, nor have I even felt threatened. I am wary though, and apply a modicum of common sense when I’m out and about wherever it is (there’s also some common sense advice here at www.gringoes.com on the topic). My wife, a Brazilian citizen who has lived in São Paulo over thirty years, has been the victim of a successful carjacking in the past though, as well as an attempted theft. I also remember shootings in a neighbourhood I used to live in, therefore I’m equally wary that it can happen. My Portuguese teacher even told me a memorable tale of when her children’s expensive trainers/sneakers were stolen while they were on the bus. So clearly there’s a balance to be struck between being oblivious and over cautious.

So with this balance in mind I still feel it’s worth noting some recent anecdotes from a friend here, that suggest particularly single women travelling alone in a car need to take extra care. In a very recent episode thieves attempted to steal my friend’s wife’s handbag. This wasn’t a case of “oblivious gringo” either, as his wife is Brazilian. In thefts from cars, thieves often approach the car when stopped at traffic lights then hit the car window with the point of a large nail they hold in their hand. The idea with the nail is to shatter the window, so the thief can then take whatever is in the car. As evident from the incident with the Toyota team, they may not be dissuaded by blacked out windows. Which was also the case with my friend’s wife. Whether the thieves spot what they want through the windscreen is hard to say. In this particular case the car was stopped beside a slum. Thankfully the thief was thwarted as the hole in the window was too small, and the bag too big. It was particularly poor timing on the thief’s part as well as there were two police closeby who grabbed him. Bemusingly though around twenty young men appeared out of the slum and descended on the police, who were grappling with the thief. Then a rather frightening altercation took place between the men and the police, and the police were firing shots in the air to keep them back. My friend’s sister-in-law has also been involved in four separate attempted thefts, again while in the car, during the last six months.

So what can you do to try and reduce the risk? Again it’s mostly a case of common sense. Don’t have things on show, whether it be some type of bag, shopping, a mobile phone, or similar. At worst tuck bags behind your seat, at best put them in the boot/trunk. Make sure mobile phones and other items are placed in the bag or glove box. Shopping and other items are again best secured in the boot/trunk. Also question what you need to take with you. If you don’t need all your credit cards, cash and other expensive items then leave them at home. This will reduce the impact if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a theft. When in the car make sure that all doors are locked, and if threatened don’t play the hero, just give up what the thief asks for.

Have you experienced crime in Brazil, whether it be a carjacking, theft, or something else? Do you have some good advice on reducing the risk? If so, send me an email.

Reader’s Comments:

Five years of living in Brazil have taught me that it is possible to be a victim of crime even in the least likely places.

My wife has a medical clinic in Feira de Santana, Bahia. At one time I also had an office at the back of the clinic. (She’s a doctor, I’m a writer). A few years ago three armed men walked into the clinic and took my wife, about 15 of her patients and me hostage for two hours. They demanded our bank cards and passwords, and kept us huddled in a small room on the floor while they visited nearby bank machines to withdraw cash. They then stole a patient’s car to make their escape – but not before relieving everyone of their cellular phones, watches, and other valuables. The hostages included small children, a pregnant woman and a patient over the age of 80. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. However, many of my wife’s patients were traumatized. I can’t say I enjoyed the experience, either.

We called the police, who showed up 15 minutes later for a minute or two, and were never heard from again. As usual, the police showed little interest in taking action or solving the crime.

Apparently not even doctors’ offices are safe. And our experience was not unusual. Since that time virtually all the clinics in the area surrounding my wife’s practice have been robbed. I now live in Salvador, where doctors’ offices and hospitals are often assaulted. In a recent case, a man was shot and killed at the entrance of a large private hospital in Salvador.

Interestingly, in 45 years of living in Canada none of my friends or family had been robbed or assaulted at gunpoint. Here in Brazil, almost every member of my wife’s family has been robbed at gunpoint, including her teenage sons. And virtually everybody I know here has experienced the same, some many times.

Personally, I don’t think Brazil’s reputation for crime is the least bit overrated. Crime, including murder, is out of control in this country. Anyone who disagrees should speak to friends or acquaintances who live in favelas or other low-income areas. While it may be easier for the middle class to claim overreaction to crime, the large percentage of the Brazilian population who live in poverty are well aware that crime and violence are a part of everyday life. They are the real victims.

— Anonymous

I am English, lived in São Paulo, in the Santo Amaro area with my family, husband and 2 kids, for 6 1/2 years – 1997-2003, and not once did anything ever happen to us. Yes the traffic was bad, and it did always cross your mind that something could occur, particularly as the kids went to St. Pauls. Athough that school did not have the same number of potential kidnappings as Graded at the time.

I just wanted to make a comparison here though. We travelled twice to Cuba whilst living in Brazil, and on the second occasion I was mugged in Havana Vieja – at the same time my husband was having a meeting with the Minister of Tourism who was telling him and his colleagues how wonderful Cuba was, how safe and so on. This particular mugger was trying to get the gold necklace from around my neck. He did not succeed! The same necklace I wore for the whole time in supposedly a crime ridden city.

Makes you think doesn’t it?!!

— Gil

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Understanding Brazil: Christmas and New Year’s Traditions

By Mark Taylor
Christmas time here in Brazil is a rather curious affair. For starters it has that odd air that Christmas in any equatorial or some southern hemispherical countries have… that is it’s hot! That doesn’t feel quite right for someone who’s used to Jack Frost nipping at his nose. Because it’s summertime here Christmas and New Year’s are popular times for people to take a holiday, and often the cities end up feeling a little like a ghost town. Often beforehand though the traffic and chaos reaches a peak in what’s usually summed as Fim de Ano”, literally the end of the year.

There’s something quite strange about seeing shops, houses and apartments festooned in lights, Father Christmases, and ornaments, and even more so fake snow and icicles. Here in São Paulo at least many people will go to great effort to decorate their houses and apartment buildings. A competition is run in the city for the best decorated building and many try their best to win it. One of the most famous “houses” that does this is a colonial style mansion on Av. Paulista owned by Itau bank. The effort they go to is incredible, with weeks of preparation and construction. The end result this year includes Christmas carol singing mannequins, and even a fake snow storm every few minutes. These houses often attract many visitors.

Christmas customs here in Brazil differ a little as well, at least to those I’m used to in the UK. For starters the main Christmas meal is a large dinner on Christmas Eve, known as the “noite de Natal” in Portuguese, that is Christmas night. Although turkey is often on the menu, there tends to be a whole range of foods on offer for the meal, including both hot and cold dishes. Here in São Paulo at least one of the Christmas dessert staples is Panettone, an Italian import that is a light sponge cake with mixed fruit. Although other versions are becoming more popular, with either chocolate drops, cherries, or chocolate layers. It’s common to see towering stacks of Panettone, which are packaged in cardboard boxes, in the supermarkets.

Christmas presents are exchanged either during the evening following the meal, or for those who don’t fall asleep they’re exchanged at midnight. In my experience presents tend to be a little less exuberant, at least based on what I’m used to in Europe and North America, although perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing with the Western Christmas excess.

Christmas day then tends to be a more relaxed affair, where the recycled remains of the Christmas Eve banquet are eaten. On my first gloriously sunny Christmas Day in Brazil I spent some of it under a waterfall with my wife’s cousins, which was certainly very different to a typically soggy British Christmas stuck in front of the TV watching The Great Escape.

Unlike some countries the day after Christmas day, typically referred to as Boxing day, is not a public holiday in Brazil. So those who aren’t on holiday return to work.

New Year’s Eve also has a set of traditions. Like most countries there’s many parties and celebrations, often centred around beaches. Large areas of the beach are typically staked out and filled with fireworks ready for the stroke of midnight, as Brazilians typically will take any excuse to set off fireworks.

One particular Brazilian New Year’s superstition is the wearing of different colours to try and bring something you desire in the New Year. For example white is the most common colour worn and is supposed to bring peace for the New Year (note that the colour worn extends right through to underwear!). Other colours are slowly becoming more fashionable, including yellow to bring money, green to bring hope, and pink/red to bring love.

In the northeast presents and flowers are thrown into the sea to Yemanja, the Candomble goddess of the sea (Candomble is a religion that was brought by the African slaves to Brazil several hundred years ago).

Those at the beach often carry out another superstition, first to make a wish, then to walk into the water and jump seven waves. Then the individual has to walk backwards out of the water and the wish will supposedly come true in the new year.

So these are some of the traditions I’ve encountered. Have you got specific Christmas or New Year’s traditions where you live in Brazil, or have you noticed other differences with what you’re used to in your home country? If so send me an email and I’ll add them to the article.

If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 5

By Mark Taylor
Here is the fifth and final part of Mark’s guide to Fernando de Noronha. To read previous parts click the relevant link at the end of the article.

The Beaches
One of the highlights of Fernando de Noronha, and that which the island is very famous for, are the beaches. The main island has twelve principal beaches, some of which have won awards from the likes of Quatro Rodas and Viagem magazine for being the best in Brazil, as well as being generally well known as some of the most beautiful in Brazil. Not only are the beaches clean and often quiet, the water is generally very clear, and some beaches are great for snorkelling and surfing.

Two of the most beautiful beaches are Baa do Sancho (Sancho’s Bay) and the not so beautifully named Baa dos Porcos (Pigs Bay). Baa do Sancho is probably the most difficult beach to access, and not for the fainthearted. It involves descending through two natural fissures in the rock, where ladders have been mounted, plus a series of steps. Suitable footwear and a light load are recommended for those visiting this beach. Baa dos Porcos is accessed via the neighbouring beach Cacimba do Padre (Priest’s Waterhole). Again suitable footwear and a light load are recommended, as access is across several metres of slippery rocks.

Another of the famous beaches is Atalaia, which forms a large natural swimming pool full of fish. Visits to the beach are strictly controlled though, as are the numbers of people that can visit at any one time. The opening time for the queue to the beach depends on tidal times, and are posted on a kiosk on the beach of Baa Sueste, located next to Atalaia. It’s recommended that you arrive one or two hours before Atalaia beach opens, to have the shortest waiting time in the very busy queue.

Another highlight are the rock pools located between Praia do Meio (Middle Beach) and Praia do Conceião (Conceião Beach). When the tide is low it can be great fun for both children and adults to walk around them, and you can spot many fish, moray eels, crabs, and an octopus if you’re lucky. Praia do Meio and Conceião are also large generally quiet beaches that are also pleasant to relax on. It’s worth a visit to all the beaches though, if time permits. Again the walking tours and boat trips are great for this to get a flavour of what they all offer.

Wildlife
Aside from the sealife already mentioned, the island itself is teeming with flora and fauna. This is highlighted every evening in a talk at the Project Tamar centre, which is a must for all visitors interested in this aspect.

There are various lizards that inhabit everywhere, including the beaches. One particular lizard is endemic and present in great numbers and nicknamed the “Mabuya” by locals (although technically it’s called the Noronha Skink). The lizard is very curious, and in certain beaches if bags are left alone the lizards will investigate. Even a motionless sunbather will be a point of interest for them, as I was surprised to discover when I found one trying to clamber on my head! Other lizard species that inhabit the island include the endemic Noronha Worm Lizard, the Tegu and House Gecko. Toads can also be seen on the island.

Birdlife is also plentiful, and include two endemic species, the Noronha Vireo and the Noronha Elaenia. Other birds that have colonised the island include the Eared Dove and the Cattle Egret. Seabirds that breed on the island include the Black Noddy, Brown Booby, Brown Noddy, Magnificent Frigatebird, Masked Booby, Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby, Sooty Tern, White Tern and White-tailed Tropicbird.

Returning briefly to the marine life, Green Turtles lay their eggs on certain beaches of the island, so at those times of the year they will be closed. The Hawksbill Turtle has also been seen around the island, but is not believed to lay eggs there. The turtles are protected and monitored as part of Project Tamar, an IBAMA initiative which cares for a large area of Brazil’s coastline.

Restaurants
There are a variety of places to eat on the island, as some pousadas won’t offer lunch or evening meals. Here are some of those we tried:

Edrinha (located in Vila) – R$30-40 for a main dish, and good quality.

Danado do Mar (located in Vila) – Around R$15 with freshly grilled fish and buffet. Basic but reasonable quality.

Pousada Maravilha (located in Sueste) – R$20 for starters, R$40-70 main course, R$10-20 dessert. Generally excellent restaurant located in the hotel, and the most expensive place to eat on the island (the pousada is part owned by celebrity Luciano Huck, and can cost around a minimum of R$1500 a night for a direct booking of one of their villas).

Flamboyant (located in Vila) – “Por kilo” restaurant, that is a buffet where the food is charged by weight. Good and reasonably priced. Also has “por kilo” ice-cream.

Restaurante Biu (located slightly outside of Vila) – Around R$15 buffet. Basic but reasonable variety and quality.

Tips

  • Most items, such as food, are around twice the price of the mainland because of the additional expense getting them there.
  • Don’t leave your patience at home. Things such as service are generally quite a lot slower in the northeast, compared with cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
  • Get diving trips resolved early, and double check bookings and meeting locations (as previously mentioned).
  • If going snorkelling or particularly SCUBA diving it’s worth getting a checkup with your doctor before you go, particularly to make sure your ears, nose and throat are in good condition.
  • When hiring diving gear make sure that all the equipment fits well before leaving the shop e.g. the mask can seal onto your face just by breathing in through your nose, and that straps don’t hurt.
  • Waterproof/splashproof cameras are particularly useful for taking photos of the dolphins on boat trips, or when snorkelling/diving.
  • Keep an eye out for discount leaflets e.g. at the airport. You can save on diving, restaurants, tours and other items.
  • Make sure to wear plenty of sun lotion. The island can be windy and deceptively cool.

    If you have a comment on Mark’s article or would simply like to contact him then email mark@www.gringoes.com.

    Previous articles by Mark:

    Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 4
    Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 3
    Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 2
    Brazil: An Interview with Marcia Loebick
    Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 2
    Brazil: Google Maps Gets an Upgrade
    Brazil: A Guide to Fernando de Noronha Part 1
    Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
    Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
    Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
    Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
    Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
    Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
    Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
    Brazil: Film Review
    Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
    Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
    Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
    Brazil: Torrent TV
    Brazil: Book Review
    Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
    Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
    The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
    Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
    Brazil: Trading Places
    Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
    Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
    Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
    Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
    Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
    Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
    Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
    Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
    Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
    Brazil: Football Love
    Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
    Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
    Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
    Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
    Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
    GPS in Brazil
    Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
    Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
    Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
    Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
    Brazil: Manners
    Brazil: No Change, No Sale
    Brazilian TV
    Brazil: Ubatuba
    Brazil: Professional Children
    Brazil: We deliver… everything!
    Brazil: Terrao Itlia
    Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
    Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
    Brazil: Feira Food
    Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
    Brazil: Finding Work
    Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
    Brazil: Finding Work
    Brazil: Termites
    Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
    Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
    Brazil… the Film That Is
    Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
    Brazil: Piracy
    Brazil: Gestures
    Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
    Brazilian Film Review
    Brazilian Film Review
    Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
    Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
    Brazil: Halloween
    Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
    Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
    Brazil’s Gun Referendum
    Brazil: Scams
    Brazil: Moby Review
    Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
    Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
    Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
    Moby in Brazil
    Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
    Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
    Brazilian Film Review
    Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
    Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN