Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 3

By Chip Kishel
April 1, 2014

A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brazil from 1962 to 1964.

School Starts

Much to my dismay, school started in early August, nearly three weeks earlier than in the States. After all I was below the equator and the season in Brazil was late winter, so I thought.

Escola Graduada de São Paulo

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, the school bus was not like the ones I was accustomed to. The school bus may not have been a school” bus at all, but rather a bus for hire. I recall the interior of the bus being plain, but the front dashboard and windshield was decorated with hanging colorful balls and religious icons and decals. The school was 3 to 4 years old, as I was told, and isolated on a hill about 45 minutes from home. (Note: I Googled my school today, 50 years later, to find it surrounded by a crowded metropolis) My new school had a three tier playground with external hallways. Unlike schools in the states, this school served grades kindergarten to 12th.

What I did not expect was the practice of hazing new kids. Not only was I in culture shock, but now I’m picked on for no apparent reason and always by more than one at a time! Let’s review my thinking to this point in my story. Within four weeks of leaving my home in the USA, I sailed on a Coffee Ship on the Atlantic for two weeks, witnessed the rescue of two people floating in a small boat in the middle of the Florida straits, escaping Cuba, sunburnt red and throwing away their suicide pistol as they were hoisted up the Jacobs ladder and finally disembarking in Santos. Then, transported to a home in Brooklin that was surrounded by broken glass topped walls. I could not speak the language, got swindled out of money and was jumped by three Brazilian kids. (My gifted switchblade saved me.) Now I need to fight in my school… and I’m 10 years old.

Needless to say, the first months in Brazil for me were pretty crappy and I developed a hatred for everything Brazilian. One additional aspect about tropical countries that never crossed my mind was insects, especially fleas.

The Beebe house came with a dog named Blackie. Blackie was an older dachshund who took a liking to me. I vividly recall waking up one morning and itching really bad in my shorts. When I opened up my shorts and gazed down, I was bitten dozens of times… everywhere. I can just imagine how those fleas must have felt to have found a fresh Lilly white boy to feed on. I still recall my mother dosing my crotch with alcohol.


To add to the culture shock, fighting, swindling and getting my crotch washed with alcohol, there was no way to escape boredom. We had TV, but American shows were old and dubbed. There seemed to be more advertisements than programs, but that did not matter as I had no clue what they were selling unless it was Coca Cola. We had radio, but the music was Samba and types I could not relate to, or once in a while, a 50’s rock n roll tune that felt like a minute of home. So I invented my own entertainment.

Streetcar Fruit Toss

The streetcar tracks ran parallel to the walls surrounding the Beebe house. At one corner stood a tree large enough to hold me and overlook the tracks. The streetcars had a loud bell they rang at intersections. This alerted me to be ready to toss. I wish I could apologize to those people who got hit with bananas, watermelon rinds, oranges and apples. My game abruptly ended one day when my aim was off and I broke a window. The street car stopped and the operator came to the gate yelling something in Portuguese. Our maid took the heat and my father paid him 1,000 Cruzeiros, which at the time was worth about US$3.00.

Chip Kishel and his wife Agnes reside in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Chip works for Houghton International as a contract Site Manager for Koyo Needle Bearing LLC. Chip&rsquot;s hobbies include custom vintage Honda Motorcycle Restoration and his wife is an accomplished equestrian trainer specializing in dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.

Previous articles by Chip:

Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 2
Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 1

Brazil: Copa Load of Criticism

By Ed Freeman
March 11, 2014

2014, the year we’ve all been waiting for; the year we proudly reveal to the world&rsquot;s hungry eyes how this great nation is primed for growth and prosperity. How we have grabbed this unique opportunity to showcase our founding premise of order and progress and play host to the world. So, please, come on in and make yourself at home, and get ready for the biggest entertainment spectacle on the planet, welcome to The FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.

Well, that was the prescript anyway; the reality is somewhat less celebratory. As Brazil attempts to dust off the riot rubble of public protest that plagued much of 2013, we can now, as the final countdown begins, expect the all too familiar pre-tournament press bashing to intensify.

Such journalistic interrogation has become oh so predictable in recent years, with the BRICS, the much celebrated quintet of emerging powerhouses grabbing most of the damning accolades. China hosted the 2008 Olympic Games and were branded heavy handed for their rigorous media censorship, whilst the success of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa was overcast by a cloud of corruption and scandal. More recently India haplessly staged The Commonwealth Games in 2010, during which very little escaped vehement criticism, and, at the time of writing, Russia is trying to defrost the icy reception it has received from the world&rsquot;s media at the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi.

The result, irrespective of sporting achievement, is always the same; the host nation never wins. In fact, I have heard very little by way of sporting coverage from Sochi, only that the city has an abundance of stray dogs and hotel sanitation is not to be taken for granted. Understandably Brazil, if you will excuse the pun, is bricking it.

Some might deem this level of scrutiny unjust but a FIFA World Cup, despite appearances, has very little to do with football. Of course, there&rsquot;s the obligatory fanfare of any global sporting contest, but the real prize is the international spotlight that it affords the host. Brazil has long been dubbed a sleeping giant, a source of unanimous frustration for its people, so FIFA&rsquot;s unchallenged decision to award them the Copa back in 2007 was seen as the perfect alarm call. It was a chance to unify a nation, a chance to invest in the future. A chance to establish worldwide credibility and debunk any conceited first world misconceptions. Obviously the football fanatics of Brazil expect their cherished seleão” to lift the trophy for a record sixth time, but there is far more to play for this time. A nation expects, and rightly so.

Despite this bravado, one stereotype that Brazil seems hell-bent on preserving is her over reliance on last minute resolution. This rather laissez faire attitude to planning is not without its charm, the unwavering faith that “tudo vai dar certo” (quite literally, everything will work out) is wonderfully comforting, but perhaps this is not the stage to test the limits of such emboldened optimism.

Inevitably preparations are, according to popular tabloid taunt, woefully behind schedule. The planned infrastructure, from stadiums to hotels, has been dogged by delay, deception and even death. The airports have already hogged the headlines this year, with Guarulhos International ranking No.1 in CNN Travel&rsquot;s Top 10 Worst Airports in the World, along with Forbes shattering statistic that only 59% of flights in Brazil arrive on schedule. With six years to prepare for this moment, you might ask why we are inviting the world&rsquot;s media to snigger and sneer at our systematic failings before they’ve even been cleared for (delayed) landing.

Most journalistic jeer comes from a source close to my heart, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) which, for all its credibility and mite, is often the first to stick in the proverbial knife. A BBC correspondent is never far away from comment and a FIFA World Cup in a developing country is literary manor from heaven for these column crusaders.

Which is ironic, actually, given that domestic news is handled in a distinctly different manner. The news in the UK is often tailored, perhaps even manipulated, in a way that seeks to provide a more balanced, healthy outlook. Seemingly the “Beeb”, as it is affectionately known in Britain, recognizes its role as an intermediary to the national psyche, a parental portal of “need to know” information.

The absolute opposite is true in Brazil, where news crews have adopted a more Americanized approach to live broadcasting. Wherever there’s action, there’s a fully mobilized crew on hand to sensationalize, the often trivial. But there are the less mundane happenings too that are given the same sensationalist treatment, and this only serves to perpetuate the real societal issues that threaten to unhinge this year’s event.

Most news coverage in São Paulo ought to come with an advisory rating; the daily occurrence of serious crime – murder, robbery and worse – is terrifying. It would be foolhardy for one to assume that the UK does not suffer from similar ills, criminality is after all a distinctly human pastime, but the difference is nobody, including the BBC, talks about it. Discretion is also an exclusively human quality.

At some point someone decided, wisely, to keep quiet about domestic dirt and opted to throw mud at foreign entities instead, forming the World Service. And when things get a little heavy on the domestic front, they just roll out a nice fluffy story about a cat that learned to skateboard; sweet dreams, Britain.

No such comfort for Brazil, with only a few months before kickoff the nightmare could soon be stark reality; Brazil 2014 is very much a damage limitation exercise now. The World Cup that so many had dreamt of, the one that would give birth to a new Brazil for future generations is, at best, unlikely.

Brazil must play to its strengths, however, and celebrate the vibrancy of its culture. There will be traffic, there will be airport delays, but at least there will also be the infectious Brazilian spirit to get the party started and that, journos and editors alike, is something well worth sensationalizing. “

Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 2

By Chip Kishel
March 11, 2014

A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brazil from 1962 to 1964.

My life as a young boy in the small town of Strongsville, Ohio before the summer of 1962 was fairly basic. We lived on a dead end street that continued a short distance unpaved. I attended a local parochial school about 3 miles away, my newly married sister would visit during the evenings my father taught night class at Fenn College in Cleveland. My brother, Bill being 9 years older had a Vespa and a host of his own friends who would hang out at the house while the ole man” was teaching.

The end of the above life style ended on July 1, 1962. By August 1, 1962 we were in Brooklin.

Mrs. Beebe’s house (The Brooklin House)
The first home we moved into belonged to an elderly English women named Mrs. Beebe. She was a small statured, very proper individual. How my father found this home still remains a mystery to me although I’m sure Uncle Sam had some influence locating this property. Referring back to my basic upbringing in the States, one can imagine the shock of residing in a compound like home thousands of miles away from one’s country… and being 10 years old. Although I was with my parents and brother, inside I felt alone and scared to death. The Brooklin house was outfitted with maids quarters as well as a small residence at the end of the property. The small residence housed the chauffer and his family.

Each room had a buzzer to, which if pushed would turn an indicator flap in the kitchen and point out which room needed to be attended to. I recall pushing the button and trying to ask for chocolate milk. The maids spoke no English, but they knew some English phrases and figured out what I wanted. The idea of telling someone to get you something was very foreign to me, as I was taught to ask for what I wanted.

Streetcars ran parallel to the property. Stories of streetcars were told to me back in the States as remnants of their tracks remained embedded in Cleveland Streets. But now, they actually existed in Brazil. I was fascinated by these old relics that were very much active throughout São Paulo. I recall wandering outside of the house walls to look down the tracks both ways.

The Birth of the American Moleque
The Brooklin house was surrounded by walled houses of various social status including some empty apartments. The neighborhood across the tracks was run down and poor. The Brazilian kids who noticed me were not friendly. I remember a small wooden storefront nearby. I walked in to try to buy a Coca Cola. I did not return as I was swindled out of my money. Fortunately later that week we were visited by our American friends who told us about the dangers of being an American young man, so for the rest of my time at the Brooklin House I always had some kind of friend or escort.

My brother gave me an 8″ switchblade knife for my pocket if I ever needed it, and I did.

My American friend and I were walking down the Street Car tracks about miles from home. Three moleques surrounded my friend and I and wanted money. I pulled my switchblade from my pocket and snapped it open. The moleques picked up rocks. No one was stabbed or hurt, but we did walk away knowing that the next two years were going to be long.

My first fight and standoff transformed me into a moleque as well, and the rest of my stay in Brazil was peppered with fights and general misbehavior.

Chip Kishel and his wife Agnes reside in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Chip works for Houghton International as a contract Site Manager for Koyo Needle Bearing LLC. Chip&rsquot;s hobbies include custom vintage Honda Motorcycle Restoration and his wife is an accomplished equestrian trainer specializing in dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.

Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 1

By Chip Kishel
February 18, 2014

A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brasil from 1962 to 1964.

I was 10 years old when my father accepted a teaching position at the University of São Paulo, through the University of Michigan and USAID, It was 1962. Our family of four (both parents, my brother Bill and I) sailed from New Orleans to Santos on a coffee ship called the Del Norte. We came from a town in Ohio called Strongsville and bought a new 1962 Chevy Biscayne to bring with us.

During the two week voyage, we socialized with other USAID families that would later become neighbors in Jardim Paulista.

I remember well being picked up in Santos and being driven to a temporary residence in Brooklin. The culture shock of living in a compound like home with glass topped walls and domestic help was frightening to me. The home was next to street car tracks. The street cars were called Bondgies” although the spelling may incorrect.

I was enrolled in the American Graded School and much to my dismay, school began in early August. The school bus was customized with trinkets, religious symbols and hanging fringe, much different than the bland yellow busses in the States. I remember the school being on top of a hill surrounded by forest and secluded. I also recall the school being only a couple of years old.

50+ years ago, an American family living in Brasil was unique. Whole milk was packaged in heavy waxed 1 liter cardboard triangles. The domestic help shopped at early morning open markets. Television was black and white with some American programs dubbed in Portuguese. I was as homesick as one could be and cried often.

A few months later we moved into a home in Jardim Paulista. The residence and neighborhood was more comfortable and we lived closer to people who were on the Del Norte. During this time my father told us of Fidel Castro and his interests to spread communism throughout Latin America. This explains the roving guards on bicycles blowing their whistles randomly all night long. My father was an early pioneer of computer programming. Years later before my mother’s passing, she told me that dad’s mission was to register communists on a database. This explained that on two occasions during 1963 we were directed to stay indoors during some unrest in the city. During the unrest, on the 2nd floor of our home lay guns for each of us. Not for suicide, but for defense. Three decades later, my father gave me an Argentine made 1911 style 22 semi-automatic, which was part of that small arsenal.

Oddly enough, when there was civil unrest and I was at school, the school was surrounded by military personal and vehicles.

My father also wrote monthly articles to an Engineering group every month. Often these articles spoke of political assignments, educational activities and occasional personal observations and family activities.”

Brazil: The Ghost of Ayrton Senna

By Alastair Kinghorn
February 18, 2014

There are few other people who can compete with Ayrton Senna for the title of Most Loved Brazilian Hero” except perhaps for Pele.

Following his death on1 May 1994 in a Formula 1 accident, an estimated three million people flocked to the streets of Senna&rsquot;s hometown of São Paulo to offer him their salute as his hearse took him to the Legislative Assembly building, where over 200,000 people filed past as his body lay in state.

The day was declared a National Day of mourning, attended by rich and poor alike as his final victory parade took place. Voted the best driver of all time in various motorsport polls, he had been the most successful racing car driver since Fangio and some say the most determined to win at all costs.

At a price that he ultimately paid for with his life.

Since then, more than 30,000 Brazilian motorists have followed in his wake each and every year, as the death toll on Brazilian roads takes it’s terrible retribution against those who believe that they have inherited his incredible driving skills.

You only have to venture out onto your local “rodovia” for a few kilometers before you will encounter an avid fan. You do not need to search for him, as he will spot you immediately as being ripe for the plucking. Nothing will prevent him from accelerating up behind you at maximum velocity, then swerving at the last micro-second to avoid collision with your rear bumper and tearing past your wing mirror so near that the turbulence will cause you to sheer dangerously close to the verge, and then wrenching his steering wheel, he will occupy the space immediately in front of your front number plate for a few tantalizing seconds before releasing a cloud of hydrocarbons from his exhaust pipe and disappearing off into the haze.
No, he will not be driving a Ferrari, nor will he have a collection of advertising across every square millimeter of bodywork. He is more likely to be driving a Mercedes with a sign on the back of his 20 metre long pantechnicon truck that says “Go with God”.

Needless to say that meeting one of these head on while he practices his favourite maneuver on a blind bend is a sure fire way to obey this slogan.

For those who do not own the right to call themselves a “caminhoneiro”, the minimum time to reach your destination is not the most important goal, as long as there is no one in front of you.

Driving lazily along with one arm hanging out of the window, while chatting to your companion is perfectly acceptable, albeit at a speed that will be in excess of the limit required by the law. Should you appear in front of him however, a ghostly spectre wearing white overalls and face scarf will immediately interrupt his reverie, and with a fleeting smile baring his gleaming white teeth he will spring into Formula 1 action. It matters not if there are double yellow lines, warning signs of dangerous bends, rows of oncoming traffic or simply the engine of a tired old Fusca to contend with, he will never rest until he has passed you by, only to once again return to his former speed, but most importantly of all, right in front in poll position.

2014 Alastair Kinghorn

Alastair is an expat originally from Scotland now living in rural south eastern Brazil close to the city of São Paulo. He has led a variety of lives since leaving school at the tender age of seventeen. In the merchant navy he spent six years travelling the world including a trip to Rio and Santos in 1971. He then tried his hand doing a series of jobs in London as;- Mini Cab driver, Fashion allocator, Warehouse manager, Meat factory worker, before deciding to become an architect. He then went north to the Scottish Highlands for the next six years. Worked there as an architect, and as skipper of a pollution control vessel on the Moray Firth. He opened a shop selling stationary and art supplies. Started an arts group with an annual exhibition, became a member of the Community Council and ran as candidate in local elections, before returning south to London in &rsquot;86; due to recession in the Highlands. Worked in commercial architects practices in London during the &rsquot;Yuppie&rsquot; years, before yet another recession hit the construction industry. Entered Local Government as an Estate Surveyor for Westminster City Council, then as Technical Manager for Camden and finally Repair Centre Manager for Greenwich. Took early retirement in 2006 and emigrated here to Brazil. Settled in Peruibe SP for three years before moving to Pedro de Toledo in the foot-hills of the Jureia mountains. Married and divorced three times I spend my time between my sitio, working part-time in a local imobiliaria, writing, photography and listening to classical music. Alastair decided to create AlastairsBrazilianBlog because there is so much to tell about this beautiful land and its wonderful people.

Previous articles by Alastair:

A Fora de Prazo
A Scotsman in Brazil

History of Brazil

By Richard Klein
January 26, 2014

Throughout Brazil’s history there has been an ongoing tension between Eurocentric conservatism and the idea of a tropical utopia. This was present even before the beginning; contrary to what people imagine, the monarchs behind the Portuguese discoveries were one of the most enlightened ones that Europe has ever had. They practiced a very liberal form of Catholicism centered on the Holy Spirit that preached that redemption would happen through people getting along with each rather than through the Roman Catholic dogma. When the news about the discovery arrived, they believed that this was to be the Promised Land for the coming to happen. The inquisition would end up changing this spirit but it never erased the seeds that were to explain Portugal’s gentleness as a colonizer as well as their tropical sleeping giant’s” dream.

Adding to the pressure from the Vatican, what also suppressed the original utopia was Portugal’s military weakness that forced it to accept the protection of the British in order to keep its territory safe. Perhaps this explains why Brazil became a gigantic conservative, monarchical entity in Latin America throughout the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries and why it was the last western country to abolish slavery. This may also explain why the country has been the continent’s bastion of mainstream policies despite a somewhat neutral international pre-disposition. Examples? In the 1800’s, while its neighbors were fighting revolutionary wars of independence, the exiled King of Portugal, Emperor Dom Pedro I, declared independence. He did this not to walk into an egalitarian world, but to stay free from his obligations towards the Portuguese bourgeoisie that had taken his country back from Napoleon. He continued ruling with the backing of the worlds super powers and the republicans who came after him too. In the twentieth century, in the 1960’s, the west invested in Brazil being the counterweight to Fidel Castro’s revolution and more recently Wall Street, the City and their allies portrayed the country as a prosperity haven to counter balance the influence of Venezuela’s Hugo Chaves’s.

Nevertheless, whenever Brazilians stopped to think about who they were, marvelous things came up. The first official awakening was in 1922 in a somewhat insignificant cultural event in São Paulo. It came to be known as the week of twenty-two and would end up providing some of the country’s greatest artists, writers and intellectuals, sealing the end of a cultural cycle that had begun with the arrival of the Portuguese court in Rio de Janeiro in 1807 and signalling the beginning of modern urban/industrial Brazil.

The main expression of that week was Mario de Andrade, a paulista writer and thinker. He would be the father of the “Movimento Antropofagico”, or the cannibalist movement. The attention-grabbing name was a reference to the man-eating natives that the Portuguese came across when they arrived. In this metaphor, the locals ingested the good parts of what the colonizers threw at them, discarded the bad ones and returned with a result “for export”. This school of thought pointed to a golden pre-colonial era when “we already had a Utopian reality, we already had communism and we already had the surrealist language”. Andrade was against the “dressed up and oppressive society, registered by Freud” and longed for a “reality without complexes, without madness, without prostitution and without prisons, the one of matriarchal Pindorama” (the name given to Brazil before its discovery).

In the Antrpophagic vision, the here and the now would regiment a free and naked world. Perhaps more than coincidentally this was an echo of what the Portuguese Kings had envisaged for their colony almost five hundred years before. This theme would inspire the following generation to give itself the task of constructing a new country. Juscelino Kubitschek’s vision of constructing a new capital, Brasilia, in the heart of the country’s wilderness came from this spirit, Darcy Ribeiro’s masterpiece “A Historia do Povo Brasileiro” is impregnated by the idea, Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture too as well as the entire Bossa Nova movement. In the fifties and in the sixties the Cinema Novo and the Tropicalista movements continued to carry the banner. There is even a hint of the cannibalist logic in the country’s biggest passion: football, where multiracial players re-invented a European sport in a unique way that marveled the world.

It would be easy to confuse the Antropophagic Movement with coarse nationalism but it this would be wrong; it was about coming up with an identity and explaining how Brazil could, and still can, contribute to the world. A place where the human mixture becomes the answer to the question it poses; a solution to a planet that is becoming smaller by the day. As Mario de Andrade put it in an almost inaudible voice: “Tupy, or not tupy that is the question”.

Richard Klein is the son of British expats who lived the Brazilian experience at its full in Rio de Janeiro where he grew up in the sixties, the seventies and the eighties. He tells his story in his book Lost Samba and in his blog:

More articles by Richard Klein

Brazil Hikes IOF Tax on Foreign Transactions

Published Dec. 30, 2013 Brazil announced that it will increase the IOF financial tax on Brazilians spending abroad to include other forms of payment such as Debit cards, Travelers Checks, Pre-paid Credit Cards and ATM withdrawals. Brazilian credit cards were already subject to a 6.38% IOF tax on foreign transactions, which encouraged those travelling abroad to use alternative means of payment with IOF of just 0.38%. However as from Dec. 28, all of these other means of payments will have a 6.38% IOF surcharge. Buying foreign currency (in cash) within Brazil seems to be the only exception, with IOF remaining at 0.38%. The motivation behind the change is to bring all forms of foreign spending by Brazilians into line, and to curb Brazilians spending abroad in general, with a view to strengthening the Brazilian real, currently trading at around BRL2.36/dlr. This new measure mostly affects Brazilians or those who do not have a foreign credit card. For foreigners living in Brazil you just need to remember if you are travelling abroad, or buying anything on a foreign website (Amazon etc.), to use your foreign credit card. Also we do not believe this measure will impact the use of foreign ATM cards to withdraw cash in Brazil as you are effectively buying reais, as opposed to buying dollars, and this helps strengthen the local currency. On a positive note, for foreigners living and working in Brazil, this measure will help support the local currency which is good news for those earning in Brazilian reais.

Gringo Moments in Brazil Competition – We Have a Winner!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! As promised, today we announce the winner of our Gringo Moments” in Brazil Competition. We had over 100 entries and some great stories, so thanks to all who participated. We hope to compile the best entries, along with illustrations, into book form over coming months. We&#145ll keep you updated on how that comes along. Now to the winner..drumrolls.. the funniest and most original Gringo story, goes to “Cooked Goose” sent by Ben Cherrington from the UK. Congratulations and Merry Christmas Ben, thanks for a great and original story. Your iPad is waiting for you!! You can read Ben&#145s entry below, along with the best of the rest. Cooked Goose This happened to a friend of mine. We’ll call him “Dave”. We were going to the Seu Jorge concert at Fundao Progresso in Lapa, and were told tickets were half price if you brought a kilo of food such as rice or beans. When we arrived, Dave was standing there with a giant pan full of a kilo of rice which he had cooked and brought to the show. I’ve never seen a security guard laugh so much. Hungry Man In a typical conversation in Portuguese years ago with a number of Brazilians present, I was asked if I was enjoying all the different food that Brazil has to offer. Still thinking in English and translating most of the time I responded that I was eating everything. “Eu como todas”. I didn’t figure out for a long time why that cracked them up but they were howling with laughter. You can Call me Al I had just arrived at my pousada in Parati. The owner, a lovely guy, proceeded to point out on the map all the cool things to do in Parati, the good restaurants, boat cruises etc. All in Portuguese of course. After a long chat he said, if there’s anything else I can help you with just “me chama Ramal”. As he was leaving our room, I thought wow that Ramal is a really nice guy and I commented this to my Brazilian fiance. Suddenly I remembered something I needed to ask him, so I ran out the door calling out Ramal! Ramal! I have something else I need to ask you. The guy looked at me in a very confused way. Size Does Matter When I arrived in Brazil from England in 1999 it was January, very hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees and there were so many mosquitoes. I was living and teaching in an English school and one day a staff member at the school asked me (in Portuguese) what I thought of So Paulo. There were lots of other teachers sitting in the staff lounge and I replied in Portuguese, trying my very hardest to speak correctly – “Eu estou gostando muito, s que tenho muito problema com os PENISLONGOS”. Black Box I had just moved to BH and was still learning Portuguese. My girlfriend had bought me a fanny pack/money belt to use instead of my backpack. The next day I could not find where she had left it. I was trying to ask her mother if she had seen it but I could not recall the word pochete and after racking my brain trying to remember, came up with what I thought was the word…buceta. Her mother had a weird look on her face as I explained while gesturing at the crotch/waist area where the pochete would be worn. I continued on, voc pode colocar coisas dentro dela ! More weird looks from the mother, so I added one final thing, preta! At which point she just cut me off and told me to ask my girlfriend when she got back. Click below to see more entries: Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part II Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part III

Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part III

Just one week left to submit your entry for our Gringo” moment in Brazil competition. It can be short, just a brief description of a moment when you mixed up your Portuguese to give a slightly different meaning than intended. We already have quite a few entries related to difficulty pronouncing “po” and “coco”, so try to come up with something different!!! You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry. First prize a brand new Apple iPad mini, for pick up in So Paulo. For more information and entry form click here. Love Them Coconuts In a typical conversation in Portuguese years ago with a number of Brazilians, I was asked if I was enjoying all the different foods and fruits that Brazil has to offer. I really did enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables here and being an adventurous spirit I was trying as much new stuff as possible. Still thinking in English and translating most of the time I responded that I was eating everything. “Eu como todas”. I didn’t figure out for a long time why that cracked them up but they were howling with laughter as I accidentally said I have sex with everyone. Big Boy When I arrived in Brazil from England in 1999 it was January, very hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees and there were so many mosquitoes. I was living and teaching in an English school and one day a staff member at the school asked me (in Portuguese) what I thought of So Paulo. There were lots of other teachers sitting in the staff lounge and I replied in portuguese, trying my very hardest to speak correctly – “Eu estou gostando muito, s que tenho muito problema com os PENISLONGOS”. (I am enjoying it alot, only I have alot of problems with the long penises!) I should have said “pernilongos”! Eye Opener It happened at a gas station in Braslia where I took my car to change the “motor oil”. At that time I was not so good in Portuguese, so I practiced the phrase “troca de leo” at home but when I said at gas station everyone started laughing and calling their other colleagues to share it, and I was standing there clueless, unaware what was happening… Then one of them came to me and explained that it’s because that the way I said it sounded like “troca de OLHO” or “I want to change my EYE”. Odd Ball I am originally from Mexico, lived all my adult life in the United States, and recently moved to Brazil. I speak Spanish and English. So when the family of a friend from work invited me for a wonderful meal, and churrasco, I was thinking that by using my Spanish, rather than English, I could get my point across easier. When my friend’s mother came out with the dessert (sobremesa), after tasting it, I politely said to her: “el bolo esta exquisito” She had been all smiles through the whole evening, but she had a different expression when I blurted that! I quickly learnt that, while in Spanish ‘exquisito’ is really good, tasty…In Portuguese, it is almost, exactly the opposite! In fact if you are a male, and they say that about you…watch out! The Perfect Gift One of my more memorable blunders with Portuguese took place in a busy shopping centre in So Paulo. My Brazilian girlfriend and I were out Christmas shopping and she had just asked me for suggestions about what to buy her father. I happened to know that he really likes a Portuguese wine called “Periquita” so I shouted up to her on the busy escalator. “Eu sei! Seu pai gosta muito de Periquita!” What I didn’t know was that while in European Portuguese “Periquita”, is a half decent red wine, in Brazilian Portuguese it is slang for a woman’s private parts. Click below to see more entries: Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part II

Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I

Here are some of the best entries so far for our Gringo” moments in Brazil competition. You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry and be in with a chance to win an Apple iPad mini. For more information click here. Slippery When Wet This was told by a friend. He had just arrived in So Paulo and wasn&#145t too sure what to expect. Some Brazilian friends invited him to their country home. After a nice BBQ and some beers he decided to cool off with a shower in their outdoor facilities. He was lathering his hair with shampoo when he felt something slithery rub up against his leg. His mind immediately flashed back to an earlier conversation about local wildlife, including snakes!! He panicked and rushed out screaming to the garden area, stark naked. Imagine his embarrassment when he discovered it was just the rubber hose that hangs off most Brazilian shower heads. Oh Sorry, Blow me On my first week of moving to S.P I had my first trip on the buses here. As I was making my way towards the back I bumped into an old lady of about 70. As my Portuguese is very basic I made an attempt to apologize. So I turned, smiled and said “De chupa”. She gave me the dirtiest look as I walked away. I just presumed she was angry for bumping into her. It was only when I went home and explained everything that I was told what I had said. Put a Cork In It Well, I have a bit of trouble with the word “rolha” (corkage fee). So, once I called up an Italian restaurant to find out about their corkage fee policy. An old-school Italian nonna answers the phone. Me: “Boa tarde! Voces tem uma taxa de rola?” which means, “Good afternoon. Do you all have a dick tax?” Of course, her response was both surprise and confusion. “O que???” she says. Me: “A dick tax!” Nonna: “Nao extendi” Me: “Quando um cliente grazer uma garrafa do vinho. Quanto custa?!?!” Nonna: “Ah, sim…a gente nao cobra!” Ha! That’s amore! Sweet Jesus My first trip to Brasil, we went to the Statue of Christ. I went to order a beer and I saw the hand sanitizer on the counter. I rubbed some into my hands and then the worker looked at me like I was crazy and took the sanitizer and put it behind her on the shelf. No bother, I thought. The next morning at my friends house, I was first to wake. I was offered coffee by their house maid. Then she offered me acucar. I started laughing and she didn’t know why. I must have had the sweetest hands in Corcovado the day before!!! Buzz Off It wasn’t long after I arrived in Brazil. My wife wanted some honey. So immediately went to the store on the next corner. Unfortunately I didn’t look up the word before going there and upon arrival I found myself in a very embarrassing situation. The store-keeper asked me what I wanted and I didn’t know what to say. He realized that I was struggling with the language so he was very patient with me. I drew a bee-hive and made the buzzing noise of the bee as it landed on the bee-hive, He then knew exactly what I wanted. He went into the back of his store and brought out a mosquito spray can! “