England’s John Naumann was born in Brazil and lived here until the ripe old age of two months. Such were his early impressions that he returned some years later and liked it so much he stayed for 20 years. After leaving Brazil once again, he of course returned, this time with his wife who was transferred to Brasilia as a diplomat. John has some great stories to share, including a taxi ride from hell, as well as some terrific insight about a country he has experienced at many different levels.
Where are you from?
My father was a coffee trader so was based in Santos and, to extend his stay, got my mother pregnant! No room in the maternity ward in Santos so, up the serra”, and was born in the Samaritano in São Paulo. Left Brazil aged 2 months and went to live in New York. Aged 7 went to live in England and did the usual prep- school then public school in Buckinghamshire whilst family home was in Surrey.
When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?
I studied French and Spanish at school so it seemed logical for a Scottish company to send me to Brazil as a trainee!! A two year contract ended when I decided to stay and, so I did for a total of 20 years!! Came back in 2002 as my wife, who is a diplomat, was posted to Brasilia.
What do you do?
Play a lot of golf and do a bit of consultancy.
What do you miss about home when you are in Brazil?
Certainly not the weather! Although sports are fairly well covered in Brazil, I do miss watching rugby, cricket and, particularly, Chelsea on a regular basis! Also, Brasilia could do with at least one Indian restaurant!
What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?
Trying to find an Indian restaurant in Brasilia!
What do you most like about Brazil?
Obviously, the people and the climate as well as the various options available – I consider myself very fortunate to have first arrived here single!!
What is your favourite restaurant here?
In Brasilia it has to be Porcao and Piantella although there are a few other good ones, in São Paulo I would say Figueira (once they decide to accept all credit cards), Rodeo and Barbacoa as well as Traineira.
Do you have any funny stories/ incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?
Way before I got married, I was in an Irish pub in the Jardins in São Paulo. I’d had quite a few so decided to leave my car there and get a taxi home. The taxi driver decided to go through a red light (what’s new?) on the Reboucas. The trouble was that someone else was going through a green light! Ended up in hospital with a dislocated shoulder and after a 4 hour operation decided that taxis are probably not the best mode of transport in SP!! To add insult to injury, my check-in bulletin claimed I had an odour of alcohol on my breath! HELLO! That’s why I got a taxi!!
What difference do you find between your homeland and Brazil?
Recommend to visitors?
Beaches go without saying though I strongly recommend Fernando de Noronha. Also recommend O’Malley’s in SP as well as the many restaurants. For a cheap and good meal I would go to the “Sujinho” on the Consolacao as well as the various “lanchonetes” on the Dr. Arnaldo as well as, my favourite, Oregon on the corner of Pedroso de Morais and Rua Pinheiros. If you are single, after you have been to The Kilt you could go to the Pink on the bottom of the Consolacao. Enough said, not giving any more secrets away!
Rio – apart from the obvious – go to Mario’s Lagoa and drop into Lord Jim. Brasilia is always worth a visit – if you are nice, we could even put you up!
John can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
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
Are you are foreigner living in Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to email@example.com