Kim Buarque from South Wales married a Brazilian and has set-up her life in Porto Alegre. She has trouble finding a good Indian restaurant, misses the Welsh pubs and of course the rugby but loves the outdoor lifestyle and amazing scenery of Brazil. For some great recommendations of places to see in Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sol read on.
Where are you from?
Port Talbot, South Wales.
What brought you to Brazil?
While living in the Canary Islands in the 90’s, I met my other half, Walter, who is from Porto Alegre.
What do you do here?
We work as representatives in the surf and adventure industry, selling shoes (Goofy and Snake), sunglasses (Evoke) and other accessories
What do you miss about Wales?
Going down the pub with my mates and listening to a good band. Sunday roast, rugby internationals and outdoor music festivals in the summer.
What do you most like about Brazil?
The people are carefree and warm, the variety of fruit and food in general, and the amazing scenery and outdoor lifestyle.
What is your favourite restaurant in Brazil?
I love Indian food but unfortunately it is hard to come by in Porto Alegre! I like Al Libanesa, Koh Pee Pee (Thai) and Baalbek (Lebanese). I mustn’t forget to mention the Shamrock Pub, which serves great fish, chips and mushy peas when we get really homesick.
Have you tried Brazilian food and drink (such as feijoada churrascarias and caipirinhas)? Did you like them?
I think the best part of churrasco and feijoada is the sociable side, drinking a caipirinha or beer with your mates around the table – although I could do without the pigs ear to be honest!
What difference between Wales and Brazil do you find most striking?
The weather and the bikinis
What are things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Porto Alegre?
Porto Alegre is a culturally vibrant city, with parkland and green spaces making it the greenest” city in Brazil. There are several outdoor craft markets (Brique da Redenão), theatre and live music. The city grew up on the banks of the river Guiaba, which is the main tributary to the Lagoa dos Patos, the largest lake in the world, stretching over 300 km eventually heading out to sea at Rio Grande. The scenery is breathtaking and watching a sunset on the Guiaba, is second to none. The river has many small islands, which can be reached by boat.
The state of Rio Grande do Sul is blessed with different contrasts; the coast is desert like with dunes and pampa grasses separating its many lakes. The mountain region is exuberant with forest and famous for its immigrant colonies, towns that could be compared to any other in Switzerland, Italy or Germany, and not forgetting the wine and cheese producing regions. Rio Grande do Sul is also a perfect place for outdoor adventure sports, surfing, paragliding, canoeing, trekking, rappel, as well as an abundance of waterfalls for swimming, and natural thermal spas for relaxing. With scenery like this on our doorstep, its now wonder that I can’t seem to leave this place!
And finally, anyone visiting the south of Brazil shouldn’t miss the beaches of Santa Catarina, a second home to many gachos. In my opinion, Garobaba, Imbituba and Florianópolis provided some of the most beautiful scenery (and waves) that Brazil has to offer.
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
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