January 18, 2012

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I moved to São Paulo 2 months ago for work, and my boyfriend comes this week for visit for a month. A married couple friends of mine (also foreigners here) said that they are always asked if they are married when checking into hotels so I am to tell any hotel that my boyfriend and I check into that we are married otherwise we would need separate rooms. Is this true? I know about the distinct difference between a hotel and a motel here, but with the relaxed attitude to relationships here I would have thought that staying overnight with your boyfriend in a hotel would not have been a big deal.

– Megan

No, it is not! Just tell the hotel your friend is coming and that’s all! Maybe your foreign friends have that impression of sex tourism, maybe hotels are used to try to control that, but you absolutely have no need to tell anyone you are married in order to sleep together in a hotel, OK?

Beijos, hope that helps.

Vanessa

Hello. I went on a date with a Brazilian. He then visited another state, and we were planning on meeting up again after he got back. The second date was set for Friday, and we talked about it on Thursday via text. However, when I messaged him on Friday at 8pm (while I was getting ready) to ask him when we should meet up, he said he was still out of town, and maybe we could get together Sunday. Is this acceptable behavior to a Brazilian?

– Katie

Mmmmm, Katie… This is not Brazilian behavior, if you had a date you had a date and he was supposed to be there. This seems to me more like the “he is just not that into you” kinda thing. If you want to have fun go with him on Sunday, if not tell him with very short notice you had something else to do.

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Couples and Separate Rooms
Ask a Brazilian: São Paulo Safety
Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

November 15, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I have been dating a Brazilian in my home country for 6 months, and he proposed to me on the phone while he was in Brazil. Then we had a problem and he just disappeared without any notice, not even saying goodbye. I was checking his Facebook page and found out that he is/was going out with other women while he was in Brazil. This was also while I was in my home country and I was on a business trip outside my home country, and he was working in my home country where we met for the first time. Is it so common that once Brazilian men are left alone for short or long period they start going with other women? Is it so common for Brazilian men to say I love you and I want to marry you so fast to any foreign women and just disappear with no hint? I would like to know about Brazilian men’s manners and way of thinking, because all that he did sounds so strange. Is divorce so common and easy in Brazil? He was divorced twice.

— Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I guess it’s part of life, we sometimes fall for the wrong person, right? As far as being common or not for a man to be a perfect idiot… if not common for you then of course it isn&#145t something you should live with. Again and again, there’s no such thing as Brazilian man are all idiots, there are different people everywhere. Is it common in Brazil that man are idiots? Yes. And apparently you just picked one of those. Send him to hell, and don&#145t quit believing there is also heaven, here or wherever you are.

About divorce, it is not easy to divorce in Brazil, I mean there are papers, lawyers, money spent and lots of bureaucracy, aside from the emotional damage… but apparently cheaters don&#145t get any of that.

Good luck in the future,

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Couples and Separate Rooms
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: São Paulo Safety
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

October 25, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren&#145t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences

I hear it’s very hard to get an apartment in the São Paulo area and would have to know someone to be able to get one. Is this true? How would one go about getting an apartment there?

— Rich

Hello Richard,

Getting an apartment in São Paulo is just like getting an apartment anywhere. You don’t have to know someone, of course if you know someone it is easier, but you can walk around the neighborhood that you like and search for signs that says ALUGA_SE (for rent) or VENDE_SE (for sale) in many buildings and houses. On those signs you will find the name of the Imobiliaria (Real Estate Agent) to call and get all the information you need. Or you can even look on the Internet. Search for Imobilirias Coelho da Fonseca, Lopes, Leardi, Fernandez Mera, Pacheco, etc.

Good luck,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

If renting an apartment in São Paulo is anything like renting in Rio, and I suspect it is (at least in the safe and desirable areas) it is, to say the least, difficult for a foreigner if not nearly impossible. Renting in Brasil includes several options, basically there is the short term and there is the longer term.

For short term, meaning several months, full payment in advance is often requested. Short term apartments are usually fully furnished, and cost more than an equal apartment rented for a longer term. It is often the best alternative to rent for short term initially, then as you get to know the landlord and he/she gets to know and trust you, the short term arrangement can simply continue for as long as you like. That is how I rented my first apartment in Rio, and stayed there 6 years. It is a good alternative if you do not know the neighborhood, or while you are looking to buy.

Long term rentals are usually unfurnished (no refrigerator/oven/washing machine, some have only bare light bulbs!) though some long term apartments can be found which are furnished. Long term can be one year though most contracts I have seen are for 30 months. To rent long term (my experience applies only to Rio) generally requires one and now often two “fiadors”. The fiador is a guarantor, who must agree to pay your rent if you don’t.

In my experience, landlords require a fiador who is an individual who lives in the area in which you wish to rent (the State of Rio de Janeiro in this case, though some require residence in the City of Rio itself), who owns property in Rio, and can prove they have adequate income in Brazil to pay not just their own living expenses but also your rent on top of their expenses. Many landlords now require two fiadors. For a foreigner, finding a fiador is close to impossible. Fiadors are most often parents, grandparents or other relatives. Some employers will agree to act as fiadors for foreign employees in Brasil. But, I have heard it said, “friends don’t ask friends to be fiadors”. The lack of a fiador immediately eliminates about 60-75% of all potential apartments. The more desirable the neighborhood, the more likely the landlord can get away with demanding a fiador, and even two fiadors. The fiador requirement is often not stated in the ad for an apartment, you have to call and ask. Of those landlords which will waive the fiador requirement, the majority require what is known as Seguro Fianca, which is basically an insurance company stepping into the role of fiador. But, whereas the fiador acts without pay (I have heard of instances of “fiador for hire” but have yet to find one), the Seguro Fianca is paid. And paid well. The quotes I have received for Seguro Fianca are equal to 2-3 months of rent, each year.

If you can obtain a seguro fianca policy, which comes with a complex application asking for every detail of your financial life and it requires that you have proof of income earned in Brasil, thus eliminating those whose income is from sources outside Brasil such as retirement, pension or other sources. And, paying 14-15 months of rent for a every 12 month year you reside in the apartment is very expensive, none of this premium is returned to you. Some of these policies include repainting the apartment when you leave, which is a selling point to the landlords. Where finding a fiador is impossible, and proving an income earned in Brasil is not an option, that leaves only the small percentage of landlords willing to rent to a foreigner with a cash deposit. They still exist, but the standard deposit here in Rio is now becoming six month’s rent. I had to sue to get my last deposit back, and the deposit was with a Brasilian lawyer. He even appealed when I won in court at the first trial. I then won the appeal, and after two years managed to recover my deposit and a small additional sum for expenses, but the point is you have to realize the deposit may not be returned and if you are leaving the Country it will be extremely difficult to sue and recover from whomever you gave the deposit. They know that.

So, for a gringo who lives and has rented in Brasil (again, only in Rio. If things are that different in São Paulo maybe I will move there!) , I would have to disagree about the response to the question regarding the ease of getting an apartment. On top of the issues related to renting itself, there has been a 140% increase in apartment prices over the past three years in the Zona Sul of Rio and nearby neighborhoods. Couple that with the strength of the Real against the Dollar, and for anyone earning Dollars (or Euros) and spending Reis, it has been nothing short of a financial shock. In my case, I moved out of a place I had rented for 6 years in Ipanema. I had been paying R$4,000 with small annual increases based on the applicable published index, but then a whopping 12% increase last January (effectively 25% considering the value of the dollar at the time) and that breached my affordability limit. Now, the landlord is asking R$8,800 for the apartment! I had to move across the bay to Niteroi to find affordable housing. And, the areas outside Niteroi are extremely affordable, un crowded and almost everything costs less than in Rio. The only drawback is, you are not in Rio.

The one comment in the answer which is very accurate is that the best way to find an apartment is to simply walk the neighborhood where you wish to live and ask each and every porteiro whether there are apartments for rent in their building. That usually puts you in touch directly with the owner, and that allows for sitting down and having a coffee or whatever and getting to know each other. That method is the best in terms of finding a place to rent without a fiador or seguro fianca requirement. But, to put it simply, no, getting an apartment is not easy. Not in Rio and I suspect not in the better parts of São Paulo.

— Phillip

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you&#145re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Couples and Separate Rooms
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: São Paulo Safety
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

October 2, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Hi I am an American staying at a family friend’s house in Brazil for a couple of weeks. My father lived in Brazil for 5 years after college and made sure to prepare me for the customs and traditions before I arrived. However, he failed to mention that couples sleep separately? I am staying in the wife’s room and for the duration of my trip she will be sleeping with her husband in his quarters. Is this normal for most Brazilian couples as she tells me… (I didn’t want to pry into her and her husband’s personal relationship) but do they work out sex schedules… or I don’t know it seems that a lot of important things happen in the bedroom. I know for my boyfriend and I, our busy schedules keep us apart for most of the day and after dinner or tv or work having that quiet time with that person before you go to bed helps strengthen the relationship. I tried researching online but I didn&#145t find any significant answers. Hope you can help. Thanks.

— Sarah

Hello, Sarah,

I adore your question… leads my head to many things… not that you aren’t right to ask if Brazilians couples sleep together or not in the same bedroom, it is just that… sleeping together in the same bedroom doesn’t make you a Brazilian couple. Couples are couples, they&#145re two humans interacting a lot more than one human could handle. Many couples, in many countries, sleep in separate bedrooms. Maybe for a reason that’s just stupid, like the TV on, or… farting problems!

Some couples I know live in separate apartments. And many of those people are Americans. Actually, more American couples than all of the Brazilians I know. Of course, this isn’t something you tell your friends. Usually one just notices when in a couple’s home, like in the same situation you are living now. I hope you enjoy your staying and everything. Is it that the couple that doesn’t sleep together are nice people? I hope they are.

You see, Sarah, this column was made to ask about Brazilian culture and clear some curiosities you might have, most of the time I don’t know how to do that. I have real classes here, you know more about Brazilians than I do. The percentage of this, the majority of that, statistics. Brazilians are bad in statistics. There’s a classic saying, no idea who said it: There are three great lies in the world: statistics, statistics and statistics.

Your father didn’t fail to tell you anything; statistics says a Brazilian couple should sleep together.

Um beijo,

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: São Paulo Safety
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

September 13, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I am curious about how Brazilians save their money. I hear the bank CD rates are in the double digits like 11-12%. Is this true? Do Brazilians with some money put their money in a bank CD? How do upper class Brazilians invest their money or where do they keep mid to longer term money? Is investing in the Bovespa either directly or through mutual funds, pension plans etc like that in the USA?

— Dominick

Hello Dominick,

CD is one of the most comom investments for the Brazilian middle class. 11-12% is correct, but we have 5% inflation, so real rates would be 6-7%. Investments in BOVESPA have been growing a lot, but are still far from the popularity you have in the US.

OK? Thanks for your question,

Vanessa

This column is awesome. I need some needed advice on time. My girlfriend, from Salvador, which I hadn’t seen since she moved back from Toronto…. 6.5 years later. Long story no short version. But back to the question. I was at a coffee shop finishing my school work up and she went off to do some shopping for 1 hour (our agreed upon time). I mentioned to her for sure 1 hour as we had plans that evening and my work/coffee shop time would be finished. So 2.5 hours later I headed to the stores looking for her. I was getting nervous, I know Canadians (like myself) have a strict view of time and responsibility to adhere to it. I’m getting worried sick, she isn’t from my city Victoria, BC, doesn’t know anybody or nothing. I know she is a smart woman and wouldn’t get into a car or whatever and be kidnapped but I was losing my mind. Anyway, I went around to the shops again, and after 3 hours (2 hours late) she is there with bags and looking at the clothes racks. She acts like there is no problem about being late. I am shocked to the point of disbelief. She say “it’s a Brazilian thing with time.” Okay, I understand the stereotype Latin America has with time. But really? I’m moving down there in 3 weeks and that time thing is going to drive me nuts. Is this really true? Or is this also a shopaholic, going crazy over the cheap prices in North America?

Thanks very much for answering

— Blair

Hello Blair,

I understand what you say. Yes, Brazilians can be late, depending on who it is, more or less late, but late, yes, definitely. But two hours late isn’t OK. Specially for the situation you mentioned. It wasn’t fair she said: “it’s Brazilian”, I’m sure she lost the time doing shopping and used this as an excuse. Unless you are invited to a party you can be two hours late (cos no one will notice you are not there yet), and when it comes to work (at least here in São Paulo) if I’m 15 minutes late I will be in trouble. So, again and again, I don’t know where you are going to live in Brazil, Brazil is a big country and things can be very different depending on where you go. But yes, no one will be angry if you are 5 minutes late, or ten, but two hours… I’d probably go home and never come back.

Thank you so much for coming by,

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

August 23, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I’d like to know what Brazilians think of the asylum given to Cesare Battisti. Do they think giving asylum to a convicted terrorist and murderer will affect their demands to become a permanent member of the security counsel of the UN and what impact it will have on their relationship with Italy, a long standing partner of Brazil, and origin of many Brazilians themselves. Does this not send out a message that Brazil is a haven for criminals?

— Emile

Nice question! I love the topic, though I am not so political to give you the proper answer maybe, and to also understand what the hell is going on with the Battisti case. My opinion is, before anything else, Battisti must have good friends in Brasilia, and that keeps him well protected in this ‘heaven’ you mention about. Now, I can’t tell you what friends they are, and why they are so close, and what else is involved in that friendship. Is that… money? Partnership? Who could say for sure? Journalists, the newspapers, no decent Brazilian agrees with that idea. Do not confuse Brazilians with some of our corrupt politicos. I don’t know where are you from, but if you are American, I’m sure it wouldn’t be correct to compare you with George Bush, right? In my personal opinion, I think Battisti should go to hell. Heaven isn’t for him.

Best regards,

Vanessa

I have some questions about Brazilian men and romance.

Well to start off, my boyfriend is from Brazil and I am from the US, however my parents are Guatemalan. Therefore I am an American Hispanic because I was born here and lived here all my life, but my parents taught me Spanish. I know English and Spanish and a little Portuguese. I love my boyfriend and he loves me too, we one day wish to get married.

My question is, what do Brazilian men think of American Hispanics? Do Brazilian men cheat? Do they like Latinas born in America? Do they see us more as American or as Hispanic people from Spanish speaking countries? Do they not care and love whoever they love?

Thanks! Obrigada! :)

— Deya

Hello Deya,

I can see you are worried about your Brazilian boyfriend, but I can’t understand why.

You ask me what Brazilian men think of American Hispanics? I think, as any men elsewhere, they think that they are gorgeous, sexy women. That’s all they think. I have some friends living in Miami and they were never as happy as with the Columbianas they met there. I even remember some of they said they are the sexiest women alive! Also, Deya, listen, he is Brazilian, don’t you know about Brazil? No one is 100% white or black in Brazil. This doesn’t matter. I can tell you for sure, a Brazilian man doesn’t care where you are from. (Unless you have a mustache :)

Now, do Brazilian men cheat? Well, well, well, some of them yes. Some say the majority of them. There is even a guy that wrote for us that is studying about that and he says definitely. But really, truly, I disagree. There’s no such thing as all Brazilian men cheat. At all. People are different, so are Brazilian men. So, if you trust your boyfriend, keep it that way, cos he might be this one great guy that doesn’t cheat, and happens to be from Brazil and also happens to loves you.

Good luck with everything,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

Regarding the question about Battisti, in the answer, there is an understandable misinterpretation of the word “haven” for “heaven” (i.e. “…Brazil is a haven for criminals”).

While “heaven” obviously would mean “cu” in Portuguese, the word “haven” actually means “refgio” or “porto seguro”. In other words, the question asks whether giving asylum to Battisti would give the impression of Brazil being a “refgio” for criminals. Not heaven. Just a detail, but an important one in this case.

— John

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

March 29, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Hi, I have been to Brazil a few times. I am finishing a Masters Degree in Music Education and already have a TESOL certificate. I was contemplating coming to São Paulo to teach English. And then possibly, when finished with my Masters, apply for work at the International School. I know this is a hard question to answer but how is safety now in São Paulo. Last winter I spent 2 months in Salvador, and while it was wonderful, I never really felt safe. Is crime getting better or worse. Sorry to be such a “gringo.”

— Gary

Hello, Gary,

Don’t be sorry for being a gringo, it’s ok to ask. São Paulo is not exactly the city of wonders, crime is a constant issue and as a gringo you may be robbed, especially if you’re very blonde or your watch has too much gold. Well, now that I’ve told you, you might be thinking about not coming anymore. Don’t. Come. São Paulo is one of the most entertaining cities in the world, if you like to dance, eat, love, pray… if you’re gay, straight, if you cannot say. São Paulo is a city for all.

As for crime rates, the city made strides in gun control, and the local police raised the homicide solving rate from 8 to 70 percent from the 1990s to 2008. I couldn’t find anything from now, but remember better isn’t Heaven. Where’s there’s poverty, there tends to be crime. You will find pickpockets, muggings, depending where you go. The center is less safe compared to Jardins, where probably nothing will ever happen to you. It never happened to me at least. Also at Avenida Paulista I feel OK during the day. At night, if you don’t see people around, take a cab… or walk with a friend… not in the center, OK. Actually, don’t go to the center at night. Right? Actually, don’t lose any event at Sala São Paulo, or Municipal, but again, get in cab, that’s all.

If you go to Augusta, to dance, or have a drink, you will see you can walk there, it’s OK, even at night. Of course do not carry all the money with you, bring one of those money belts, especially if taking the Metro, buses etc. And that’s it, Gary. Don’t worry. I think you will find it much safer than Salvador… you’ll see.

Hope you feel good here.

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

December 19, 2008

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I’m just writing to say how much I enjoyed finding the gem that is “Ask a Brazilian”, on your site. I was having a bad day and particularly liked the “Saying No and Punctuality Revisited” as almost all the same things (including the pathetic but typical school story) have happened to me. I’ve lived in Brazil for about 1 year, learned to speak “good” but not quite fluent Portuguese, mix with almost 100% Brazilian people only and try to understand and appreciate the culture and life as best I can.

I have to admit that Brazil has defeated me.

I’m quite young (in my early 30s), I consider myself very tolerant and reasonably well educated and polite; I’ve lived and worked in several different countries (including one African one in full civil war, for anyone who suspects I have a golden spoon hanging out of my mouth) and always appreciated the differences, but I’ve never disliked things in a country, the way I do in Brazil.

My question for the column is “Why do people treat animals so badly in Brazil?”

I’m not a vegetarian tree hugger but I think leaving a sick dog to die in agony because you want to spend the vet’s bill money on beer and a new dress, can’t be “right”. I’ve seen that story happen two times already with different people. I’ve also seen so many abandoned animals on the street (I finally succumbed and have an abandoned kitten destroying my furniture currently). I’ve seen many people keeping dogs locked up all day in tiny spaces and I never see a Brazilian walking their dog or playing with their “pet”. Also people think it strange to take a cat to be neutered at the vet, even if it’s free; as if they are totally allergic to any kind of responsibility.

One day I hope Brazil will become the country it can be and fulfil it’s truly great potential, but it will be a long time coming and a real tragedy for many people still stuck in poverty and poor education for the sake of ignorance, greed, hedonism and lies. I have met a handful of wonderful Brazilian people, but I’m tired of being disappointed and seeing animals (and people) treated badly time and time again whilst being chastised for not “relaxing” enough.

A ranting Gringo.

— Jonathan

Hi, Jonathan,

Sorry that Brazil didn’t bring a favorable outcome for you.

About your question “Why do people treat animals so badly in Brazil?”… I don’t have enough info about countries that mistreat animals, but there’s http://animalivre.uol.com.br/home/?tipo=noticia&id=1321

Jonathan, you are exaggerating! When you say that “I never see a Brazilian walking their dog or playing with their pet”, you must be looking in the wrong places. You can see dozens of dogs being walked by their owners any day here in our neighborhood in the Zona Sul (Campo Belo, Brooklin, etc.). And I know from friends that many people neuter their pets, to avoid over-breeding. I also know dedicated people who run homes for abandoned pets, trying to find new homes for them.

— Jacques

Jacques, what a wonderful idea! I will ask your permission to pitch it to TV Globo, when I have the oportunity. Are you interested in helping with the writing?

— Vanessa

I think that when discussing treatment of animals in Brazil, you do have to distinguish between those living in poverty, who may barely have enough resources to feed their families and can in fact claim a lack of information about how to treat animals, and those in the upper classes, many of whom have pets but who definitely favor prestige breeds, particuarly poodles. There does not seem as of yet any strong movement to adopt street anmals, or to sterilize one’s own pets to prevent future litters (just one anmal can, eventually, lead to hundreds and event housand of future cats, dogs, etc., and no one can guarantee they will find homes for all of them). There does seem to a slightly growing consciousness regarding picking up after one’s dog on the street, but what I would like to see would be some novella stars and other celebrities on TV celebrating how grat it is to adopt a mutt or tabby, and how important it is to spay or neuter one’s own pet.

— Steven

I have to agree with Jonathan although without such extreme examples. But of the people I know who have pets, the responsibility question is the most apparent to me, especially dogs. Why have a dog if you pay someone else to walk it, bath it and feed it. What’s the point! Seemed like a good idea at the time! Right. I’m not saying everyone, but look on the streets there are a lot of services in the pet industry these days in SP.

Then there are those who have dogs but leave them at the weekend house (for those who are fortunate to have such things). The housekeepers feed them but the dogs tend to be lonely or abandoned as I notice when I am wakened at 4 in the morning by dogs hollowing, in the condominium of my Sogro’s weekend place. Now I find that my kids are being encouraged by relatives to have pets but again with no responsibility to the animal’s welfare. My spouse is allergic to pet hair so we don’t have pets, so my young kids were bought a rabbit for the Grandparents weekend house, despite our objections, due to the age of the children. They no longer visit or care for the pet, despite our attempts to first encourage more attention from the other adults, and secondly encouraging the kids to demand support. Sadly the poor beast is alone, out of site and of no interest. We have relatives who bring their dogs with them to the same house with the sole purpose of getting them exercise without to much attention. Regarless of where they mess, or what they eat (toys anyone!). Sorry but definitely my opinion of those in an affluent situation, more often than not they have no or little responsibility here in SP.

— Andrew

Andrew, I see your point. My point is being selfish is not a Brazilian thing. Humans are selfish with their pets, yes. Bad humans! I’m with you. Let’s hope for Jacques idea about the novela and start a campaign. I’m in.

— Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

December 5, 2008

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

How are Brazilian resumes/CVs commonly written and formatted? What advice would you give a foreigner or expatriate who is applying for a job in Brazil? Is it important to have both English and Portuguese versions of a resume? Thanks.

— Kathleen

Hi, Kathleen,

Do exactly as you commonly do. A Curriculum Vitae in Brazil should be like anywhere, make it the same format as in the type of business you are and you’ll be all right (no pictures for financial, if you know what I mean).

Yes you should have a Portuguese version, if you’re working with Brazilians.

My advise, thank God you asked, is that if you find it hard to make a Portuguese version of your resume you probably still need to learn some more Portuguese before applying for a job in Brazil.

Can I tell you some more advice? Once in Brazil be with Brazilians. You won’t go any further than a regular job if not.

There are thousands of opportunities, there is a lot of work to do to. If you’re willing to help good people need help and good skills will be welcome.

Boa sorte,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

The resumes in Brazil are very similar to the USA. However, personal information is allowed and people use it to show consistency with graduation and jobs dates, etc.

One thing is very important, being yourself in the resume makes you unique.

— Grace

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

November 30, 2007

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Hi,

I have really enjoyed all the answers to questions in this section, but I have one of my own. I visited Brazil back in June and July and will be returning. Something that I found strange was that most people don’t seem to have washing macines. I understand this in the poorer areas, because here in the United States people don’t always own one either. But even in the nice buildings lining Paulista, I observed many people doing their washing by hand. Why? Also, since people don’t have machines, why are there not more laundromats where you can pay a little to do your own washing instead of the dry-cleaner only places that are expensive?
I am worried about this since I will be there for a while and am not so good at doing my washing by hand. Plus, jeans just don’t reshape if they don’t get their half hour of dryer time!

Thank You!

Kristen

Kristen, hi!

Question: Are you sure you haven’t seen any washing machine where they’re washing by hand?

I ask you this because most people do have a washing machine in Brazil. People do wash clothes by hand when it comes to delicate items, such as silk, lingerie, that favorite shirt etc. Although maybe it would be better if I said by a “maid’s hands”. Most people have someone to clean, cook and do laundry for R$50 a day! If you need it everyday that drops to around R$25.

Unlike the US, where no one I ever met had a laundry machine or a maid, in Brazil both are really accessible. That’s why we don’t have laundromats. (And I’m with you, I really miss them) But… this is Brazil, a place where people pay, not much, for every service they need; dry-cleaners are a service you won’t need.

It is not common but possible for you to find condos with a laundry, and that certainly could happen around Paulista, considering that many of it’s buildings are filled with students.

I don’t know how long you will stay but consider buying both laundry and a dryer. You can sell them later on mercadolivre.com, the Brazilian equivalanet of eBay.

Check out www.pontofrio.com.br, or lojasamericanas.com.br, where laundry machines can be found for R$600. Dryers are more or less the same, but you can live without one, Kristen, althought I know what you mean about jeans…

To help on your search:

washing machine = maquina de lavar roupa or lavadora de roupa.
dryer machine = maquina de secar roupa or secadora de roupa.

Last important thing: Searching for “maquinas de lavar” you will find something called “tanquinho”. Ignore it.

Beijos, boa sorte, and pls come back to ask if you need so.

Vanessa T. Bauer

Readers comments:

Im still in Brazil, and have been here for about two months, staying in 10 or more houses, hotels, pousadas and hostels, and where I am now is the only place with what I would call a washing machine – the same as we have in England.

Even saying that, it doesnt seem to function as well as the ones I was using back home in terms of getting stains etc out of clothing. All of the other places had what they called a washing machine outside – which was basically a large bin which you fill with water beforehand, and when the clothes are inside, it moves the water (and therefore the clothes) around. My girlfriend (Brazilian, who thinks that washing clothes is different here as well after living in New Zealand for 18 months, and then in the UK for another 18 months after meeting me) taught me that after this washing machine, any marks on the clothing are removed by taking the clothes to wash by hand – for this the houses usually have either a double or triple sink, one of which is sloped with a washboardtype surface, and scrubbing with a brush, before rinsing in a sink full of water three times!

I have seen the washing machinesin Lojas Americanos for about R$600, but they are not the same as what we have in England. Also, there, all but the very poor/unwilling wash clothes themselves have washing machines, it is certainly not a rare thing! Lastly, in my house, the house I was brought up in, the houses of every single friend and family member I have ever been in, we use hot water, usually 40c (as anything above that the enzymes in the washing powder denature and are rendered ineffective!), and most stains (including grease and pretty much everything else, obviously there are a few exceptions) can be removed by a simple wash and spin dry cycle, taking about 20 minutes, even by the most inexperienced operator!
One more thing, and I know this is largely unrelated, electronics are massively expensive here! Things that we buy for around 70GBP are being sold for R$700-obviously this is an extreme example, but I havent yet encountered an electronic item that is being sold for less here than in England. Typically, using the exchange rate I got (when the pound was low, 3 reais for 1 pound), consumer technology is double the price. Presumably this is due to tax…?
Jon, Somerset, England

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous questions in this article series:

Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers