This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Flavius Ferrari. Flavius’s work is related to hotels, and he lives in São Paulo, and has experience of foreigners from lots of travel in the USA. Read on as Flavius tells us about his impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

I am from São Paulo and after having lived in several countries in South America and USA, I am now living in Campinas, near São Paulo. There are lots of foreigners here, mostly Americans. I have a house in Miami where my daughter (32) lives and work at IBM. There also lives my son Armando (21) working and going to college. Flavia has my first Granddaughter, Zo Sophia (2). Flavia is married to an American, Christopher – Police Officer and son of the School Sheriff of Dade County.

I have worked with hotels all my life. Now I am working for Cendant Hospitality Division – Cendant is a large Real Estate, Hotel and Tourism Company – – owner of Century 21 – Avis – Hertz – and franchises more them 6 thousand hotels all over the world, including Ramada – Travel Lodge – Howard Johnson – Super 8 – Days Inns etc. – They also own RCI – Resort Condominiums International which is the largest Time Share referral system in the world.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?


3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

To think that there is some relation to the custom/habit and general behavior from where they came from. Brazil, same as all the other countries in Latin America, is unique. You may find some traditions from other countries, if you go to Santa Catarina among the Germans and Dutch’s, Italians in Rio Grande do Sul, or in districts of Japanese and Italians in capitals like São Paulo. But in general Brazilian customs are different from any thing you have around the world.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

You have striking differences with Middle East and Asians nationals – But the average American that has traveled around the world, has good humor and knows how to deal with the day to day intricacies of foreign countries. British people are formal. Americans adapt to the ambience and start dressing as locals do. British people are more formal and dress as they where in London, independent of where they are in the world.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

I prefer the American accent for normal everyday communication, although I think that the original British accent sounds better.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

Paris and London are my choice of favorite places to expend time on vacation. But driving a car in all countries of Europe is also very good. You go from France to Portugal and Spain, like driving from São Paulo to Rio and Minas and visit 3 real different countries and eat very differently in all of them.

7. Favourite foreign food?

France is the best place for food in general. Paella in Spain is also very good. But I also like American Food and every time I go to the USA I eat bacon and eggs, meat loaf, and KFC.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

Music: I love Jazz – Miles Davies – Diana Krall – old Dave Brubeck – Errol Garner – Oscar Peterson etc.

Book: In this era of the Da Vinci Code, I recommend The Passover Plot – written by Hugh J. Schonfield in 1965 where he asserts – and presents detailed evidence from the Bible and discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to prove that, an anonymous disciple of Jesus, Joseph de Arimathea – planned Jesus’s arrest, crucifixion, resurrection and arranged for him to be drugged on the cross to simulate death so that he could be safely and early removed and thus bear out the Messianic prophecies. Schonfield is a professor of Ancient Story in the University of Glasgow and became famous writing the Bible Was right, where he explained with scientific evidence (meteors, comets, eclipses, floods, earthquakes, plagues) all the miracles mentioned in the Bible.

Movie: I also like movies a lot – Of the new ones (I mean passed 1990) my favorite is The Shawshank Redemption – and the best I have seen lately was The Constant Gardner that I think is Oscar material – I am not going to name Casablanca – Magnificent Seven – One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest – Citizen Kane because there are among the 10 best movies of all times.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

As a Brazilian, I can tell you my view from the opposite side but still how it is to date a foreigner. I lived many years in New York and Miami as a single person and dated a lot of Americans and Latin Americans. I think American women are a bit bossy – in Portuguese “mandonas” – European and Latin American women are more easy to please / handle, in the day to day of a relationship.

But if you’re talking about sex, Brasil is the best. The fact that “prostitution” is legal and one can go to a place like Caf Photo or W Club and meet a lady that will spend the night with you, without strings attached, is the best thing that a single or a married man can hope for. You pay for sex, different women every time, no commitments – not having to say I love you or to go hunting for furniture or a place to rent – This is just great.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?

I will use this question to comment about what I call a “culture shock” that happens every time I take my USA visitors – mostly executives from the companies that I represented in Brasil – to places like Caf Photo, explained all the rules of behavior etc and they love it. And when they call advising that they are coming back, they always say: make reservations at Caf Photo!

I think Americans with their Strip Clubs are hypocrites. How can you go to a Strip Club, seat in front of a balcony where a beautiful girl will take her clothes in front of you and the only thing you can do is to throw one dollar bills to her! Worse : Pay for a girl to ” lap dance ” – massage your body with her body and you can’t touch her ! ! In fact, American authorities are the hypocrites, allowing the lascivious behavior and not allowing going all the way!

I think that USA must be the country with more number of rapes in the world! There is even a song that my son has on a CD sung by a Rap group named Sublime, called – Date Rape !

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

If they are single and want to have a good night out, visit some of the local recommended Night Clubs in São Paulo – And in general, a visitor should get out of the tourism area and mingle with Brasilian at the Sunday fair at the MASP – Centro de Convivencia em Campinas – etc

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to

To read previous interviews in the Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series click below:

Daniela Ribeiro
Adriano Gomes
Elizabeth Sacknus
Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

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