Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

October 22, 2013 Meet Vitor Salas who first visited Brazil over 10 years ago, and now runs his own business here. Read the following interview in which Vitor tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers. 1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.? I am a Portuguese National, but I left Portugal in 1974, and lived abroad, in the UK, USA, Saudi Arabia etc. I arrived in Brazil in 2000. I am an ex-executive of Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, and other International Hotel Companies. In 2010, I set up my own Company, Kan Invesments Lda, Hotelaria, Consultoria e Turismo, and I provide services of Consulting Services for Hotel & Tourism Servio, in Rio Grande do Norte, Natal. In addition, with my wife Alexandra we have opened a deluxe Small Pousada, South of Natal, in Pirangi do Norte beach. 2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here? I came to Brazil, with an International Hotel Company to set up hotel operations, in Natal, Salvador da Bahia, So Luis do Maranho. 3. What were you first impressions of Brazil? Great scenery, clear air, good tropical weather, the colour of the Sea in Natal, the White dunes, the buggy tours on the beach & dunes… And the tranquility of life, of a Northeast Brazilian City. 4. What do you miss most about home? Some food & ingredients… and in business… punctuality! 5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil? Even if I do speak Portuguese sometimes I do not understand Brazilians and they do not understand me! There are many different expressions, and Portuguese people do speak faster. 6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)? The first buggy” rides in the White dunes and lagoons in Natal, a 4×4 Trip Natal to Fortaleza via the beaches, the first caipririnhas in BAR 51, in Jenipabu Dune, walking at Lenis Maranheneses, Morro de So Paulo, Bahia, and seeing Rio from Cristo Redentor… outstanding experiences! 7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)? All the above , plus others places to visit like Amaznia, Foz de Iguau… To be able to live more in contact with nature, a quieter way of life in the northeast of Brazil. I could not live in So Paulo, and Rio although a truly wonderful city to visit… to live in a city I would prefer Europe! 8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here? In Natal “Camares”, in So Paulo “Fogo de Cho”, and Rio “Marius”. 9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil? Again about the languages : the other day, I asked one of my staff in Portuguese, “Leandro did buy the White grapes from the market?”, “No Sr Victor they only have green ones!”. The other day in a hotel I tried to test the staff&#145s skill in English. Arriving at the bar I said to the barman, “Good evening Jonatas, two beers please”. He replied, “Sorry sir, Tobias is off today.” 10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking? The language and in the northeast the lack of sense of urgency! 11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse? My Portuguese is fine, but Brazilian pronunciation is a different matter. I have to pay attention as some words in Portuguese have a different meaning in Brazilian! For example girl in European Portuguese is “rapariga”, but in Brazilian Portuguese means “prostitute”. Girl in Brazilian Portuguese is “moa”. You see sometimes it is better do not speak the language of the natives! 12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil? Enjoy the Country the way it is, with its good things. Do not try to change much, you might get frustrated. Be very patient in business with deadlines. 13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in So Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)? Avoid the traffic jams if you can, but it might be impossible, and enjoy the great restaurants. In business double check everything you can. Brazilians will often tell you that everything is possible, that you can do this way or that way… but beware. You can contact Vitor via or Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email. To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below: Joseph Low – USA Joo Ferreira – Portugal Hunter Peak – USA Priya Ferreira – UK Ryan Griffin – USA Rami Alhames – Syria Maya Bell – New Zealand Melanie Mitrano – USA Rob McDonell – Australia Jennifer Souza – USA Scott Hudson – Australia Bill Holloway – USA Elaine Vieira – South Africa Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands Rich Sallade – USA Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa Michael Smyth – UK Danielle Carner – USA Chris Caballero – USA Jaya Green – USA Wiliam Stewart – USA Andrew Dreffen – Australia Meredith Noll – USA Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand Mike Smith – UK Jonathan Russell – USA Jan Hillen – Belgium Jeff Eddington – USA Arne Rasmussen – Denmark Rod Saunders – USA Don Fenstermaker – USA Ken Van Zyl – South Africa Angus Graham – UK Anne Morddel – USA Jessica Mullins – Switzerland Evan Soroka – USA Mary de Camargo – USA Brendan Fryer – UK Aaron Sundquist – USA Jay Bauman – USA Alan Williams – USA Derek Booth – UK Jim Shattuck – USA Ruby Souza – Hawaii Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago Louis van der Wiele – Holland Drew Glaser – USA Barry Elliott – Canada Joel Barsky – USA David Drummond – Canada Liam Porisse – France Jim Kelley – USA Max Ray – USA Jeremy Clark – Canada Don Fredrick – USA Jase Ramsey – USA Ben Pearce – UK Nitai Panchmatia – India Johnnie Kashat – USA Jeni Bonorino – USA Eric Jones – USA Bill Martin – UK Bernard Morris – USA John Graves – USA Deepak Sapra – India Alison McGowan – UK Brent Gregory – USA R Dub – USA Tara Bianca – USA Jack Hurley – USA James Woodward – Canada Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland Anna Belavina – Russia Jim Kirby – USA Linda Halverstadt – USA Michelle Monteiro – USA Chris Mensah – UK David Sundin – USA Stephanie Glennon – USA Julien Porisse – France Hans Keeling – USA Jim Adams – USA Richard Murison – USA Will Periam – UK Jan Sandbert – Sweden Jim Jones – USA Mike Stricklin – USA Edward Gowing – Australia Adrian Woods – USA Kevin Raub – USA Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy Zachary Heilman – USA David Johnson – Bermuda Cipriana Leme – Argentina Timothy Bell – USA Patti Beckert – USA Timothy Bell – USA Paul James – USA David McLoughlin – Ireland Pat Moraes – USA Richard Dougherty – USA James Weeds – USA Tom Sluberski – USA Peter Kefalas – USA Sylvie Campbell – UK Kathleen Haynes – USA Matt Bowlby – USA Alan Longbottom – UK Eric Karukin – USA Eddie Soto – USA Kieran Gartlan – Ireland Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA Emile Myburgh – South Africa Bob Chapman – USA David Barnes – USA John Milan – USA Chris Coates – UK Matthew Ward – UK Allison Glick – USA Drake Smith – USA Jim Jones – USA Philip Wigan – UK Atlanta Foresyth – USA Lee Gordon – USA Carmen Naidoo – South Africa Lee Safian – USA Laurie Carneiro – USA Dana De Lise – USA Richard Gant – USA Robin Hoffman – USA Wayne Wright – UK Walt Kirspel – USA Priya Guyadeen – Guyana Caitlin McQuilling – USA Nicole Rombach – Holland Steven Engler – Canada Richard Conti – USA Zak Burkons – USA Ann White – USA Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa Johnny Sweeney – USA David Harty – Canada Bill McCrossen – USA Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil Ethan Munson – USA Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark Sean McGown – USA Condrad Downes – UK Jennifer Silva – Australian Justin Mounts – USA Elliott Zussman – USA Jonathan Abernathy – USA Steve Koenig – USA Kyron Gibbs – USA Stephanie Early – USA Martin Raw – UK Sean Coady – UK Hugo Delgado – Mexico Sean Terrillon – Canada Jessie Simon – USA Michael Meehan – USA Thales Panagides – Cyprus Tammy Montagna – USA Samantha Tennant – England Ron Finely – United States Bob Duprez – United States Peter Baines – England Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia Van Wallach – USA Lesley Cushing – England Alexander von Brincken – Germany Hank Avellar – USA Ed Catchpole – England 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

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