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 São 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 São 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 São 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’s 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 São 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 vitor.salas@hotmail.com or administrao@kanapousadadecharme.com.br.

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 gringoes@www.gringoes.com 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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