November 17, 2009

Meet Brendan Fryer who arrived in Brazil earlier in the year and is opening a business. Read the following interview in which he 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’m originally from England, I left the Royal Marines 10 years ago and have been living / travelling around the world since then. I have been a Bar Manager for most of this time. I was living in Egypt for 2 years prior to coming to Brazil. I’m currently going through the motions of opening a new bar here.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I arrived in February of this year, a couple of days before Carnival. It was to be the start of a 2 year backpacking trip around the whole of South America. I fell in love with the country and its people immediately, and so have now decided to settle here, using my money for the 2 year trip to start a business here instead. Once I’m making money from the business, I can then resume my travels :o)

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

In a word, AMAZING!!! But then again, I did arrive in Rio, for Carnival, had Brazilian friends already here to show me the best time ever.

4. What do you miss most about home?

The ONLY thing I miss are my 2 sisters, Robyn and Brooke.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

Sorting out my visa. The bureaucracy of this country is something else!!!

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Erm, I think carnival, but maybe because it was such an amazing first impression. I’ve travelled a lot of Brazil now, and every place has its own memorable experience.

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

Where do I begin? The people, the culture, the food, the weather, the diversity, the beaches, the lifestyle…….

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

Me and my friends are often in Vila Madalena, and one of our favourite bars is Bar Filial on Rua Fidalgo.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

Many, but to put a finger on one that can be published, difficult! I remember one of the times I was in Rio, I got separated from everyone after a long, leisurely, cachaca-fuelled, fejoida lunch. I had no phone, and no money on me at all. So I walked down the hill from Santa Teresa to Lapa, but on my way, my Havianas broke, so ended up walking barefoot. I got to Lapa and it was thumping (it was a Saturday night). I sat down on the curb and tried to think what I was going to do. Suddenly 3 people came up to me (1 girl and 2 guys), they were young, early 20’s and asked if everything was alright. Now I know all the stories about how bad Rio can be, the crime, the violence, but I decided to trust these guys. I had my debit card but no cash, so the first thing we did was try to get some money, but none of the machines work after 10pm, so no joy there. We then found a shop that sold Havianas and I bought a pair, plus some beers for my new friends. We then went walking from bar to bar and then ended up in some club.

Getting back to the apartment at about 6am, people wondering where the gringo was, all alone, in dangerous” Rio, I’d had a great time. OK, its not really a funny story, but for me, it shows that you shouldn’t totally shelter yourself from new people, new experiences, just because you’ve heard so many bad things about a place. These 3 really looked after me, I felt no danger at all. I guess I was lucky.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

The diversity of this great country

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?

I think my Portuguese is terrible, but people around me say that it is OK. I know I have to practice a lot more.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Come to enjoy life here, walk around with your eyes WIDE open. Sure there are the bad things, like crime and corruption, but this country has so many good things to offer for those looking for them. I would also recommend them to read a book entitled “A Death in Brazil” by Peter Robb. Its a great book, about the history of Brazil, but not like a boring history book at all. Its very well written, and gives an insight into why Brazil and its people are like they are.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

Stay out of the traffic!!! OK, some things to do as opposed to NOT to do….. walk around, have a coffee or a chopp in a cafe and people-watch. Go to the parks. I’m not really a city man and tend to always head for the beaches whenever I can. I’ve been to a couple of friends “farms” in the countryside of São Paulo, I love the countryside of São Paulo. Head to the beaches that are more North of São Paulo, Barro do Sahy etc. as opposed to Santos.

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:

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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