Brazil: First Impressions

1) The people of Brazil seem to be of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There is no one ‘Brazil’ body type. It’s like anyone could be Brazilian.

2) Although there is no one ‘Brazil’ body type, the good looking girls in the club definitely have a ‘Brazilian model’ look.

3) And, although there is no one ‘Brazil’ body type, occasionally a giant Brazilian woman will wear heels, which turns her into a super Brazilian giant woman.

3) There are a bunch of fat people in Brazil. Initially, I thought I was back in America.

4) One reason for #3 might be because they eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

5) You can understand a lot of Portuguese, just because you know Spanish.

6) Many Brazilians (at least so far) speak a little bit of Spanish, so you can default to it if you need to communicate without English.

7) One initial thought regarding Spanish vs. Portuguese:

8) If you say one word (and only one word) properly, though, people might think you’re Brazilian. This happened to me already.

9) The word that I said was ‘legal,’ which means cool. Say it for instant camaraderie.

10) Some Brazilians will speak a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, and English when they try to communicate with you. I find this hilarious.

11) Buses within the cities are more expensive than Colombia.

12) Buses between cities are a much better traveling experience than in Colombia, with padded, recline-able seats, and clean bathrooms.

13) The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls has an elevator that goes right next to one set of falls. You see rainbows on sunny days.

14) Porto Alegre has an unattractive shoreline with it’s lake. I wonder if the residents are willing to admit this.

15) Taxis in Brazil are very expensive. A 15 minute drive in Florianopolis is 20-25 reals ($10-12 USD).

16) Speaking of Florianopolis, June is the beginning of winter when hardly anyone is here. As a result, rent is cheap right now. The people come back in November and make everything expensive.

17) Barra Beach Club (Florianopolis) is one of the best value hostels I’ve stayed at in South America.

18) Florianopolis is not one big city… it is an island split into a bunch of towns spread out along the island’s coast. It takes a good bit of time to get from one to the other. The upscale region with the prettier girls and better clubs is in the north.

19) Two months out of the year, certain beaches in Florianopolis are closed to surfers so that fishermen can fish. When motorboats or jetskis come by and make too much noise, the fishermen set off firecrackers as a sort of middle finger gesture.

20) It is better to rent a car or moto to travel around the island. Don’t make the mistake of spending 4 hours of your day on buses.

21) The Brazilian music I’ve heard so far in the south which is popular sounds like a mixture of reggae and chill rock. Like John Mayer or Dave Matthews.

22) I’ve resorted to tweeting pictures of Brazilian mermaids. ;)




Published June 21, 2012

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  • Tyler Link

    Regarding eating chocolate cake for breakfast, Brazilians seem to have an unrivaled zest for life. One young-at-heart Brazilian man I met in Buenos Aires explained his smoking habit to me matter-of-factly: “I smoke cigarettes because I enjoy smoking cigarettes. They make me feel good and I like feeling good so I don’t think about the consequences. Tomorrow I might get hit by a bus. Life is short so might as well enjoy it.” 

    To generalize, I think this typifies the Brazilian mindset, and also what makes them so much fun.

    What was so great about Barra Beach Club?

    • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

      Ha! Great example, and you’re probably right… I suppose I don’t know Brazilian culture well enough yet, but many of them definitely eat cake for breakfast.

      Barra Beach Club is just great. Good wifi, free breakfast, ocean view, good staff, free caipirinha every night. It’s spread out so you can walk around a bit, and they serve homemade dinners every night so you don’t have to go out and cook. For $15 a night, I don’t think I could have picked a better place.

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    “One reason for #3 might be because they eat chocolate cake for breakfast.”

    I laughed at this, but we can’t be too hard: it’s not like people here don’t eat the equivalent in the form of doughnuts and pastries.

    “5) You can understand a lot of Portuguese, just because you know Spanish.

    6) Many Brazilians (at least so far) speak a little bit of Spanish,
    so you can default to it if you need to communicate without English.”

    That’s actually great to know for people like me who already speak Spanish to a degree.

    A question about Florianopolis: the way it’s always been portrayed to me is as a playground for the rich in South America and therefore if you don’t have a lot of money to throw around you can forget really having a good time or having access to the best clubs and hottest girls–would you say this is true?

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

      Andrew,

      Yes, Floripa is definitely for the richer folks in the northern side of the island. During the summer, they have the best clubs and parties, and you will pay a premium to get in. In fact, there’s a New Years party there with a $2000 Real entrance fee, no drinks included. Be sure to take photos if you go… ;)

      With regards to Spanish, one of my nights there a Chilean procured a taxi for us by just speaking Spanish to the taxi drivers. Definitely a plus to know Spanish if you don’t know any Portuguese.

      • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

         Yikes! That’s currently $990US!  I mean, you could do that but the question is, is it really worth it to you to pay that much just to get into a party…

        • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

          Yeah but you’ll hit the upper echelon of Brazil. And the girls will know it…
          Sent from my iPod

  • http://www.gobackpacking.com Dave

    Great intel, and glad you made it a list so it was easy to go through too!  Looking forward to arriving in Brazil after all this time, hopefully in 2013.

    • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

      Sound great, man… This place is huge. I’m realizing it’s really a rather big project to do Brazil thoroughly, especially since it’s best to have Portuguese to know it better.

  • http://twitter.com/jomagpie Jo Mags

    Heading to Floripa in a couple days (from Toronto) and staying til April. Besides these fancy clubs you talk about, are there actual just chilled out bars (would it be too much to ask if they play classic rock..) around? I’m not a fan of clubs, I like the hole in the walls :)

    • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

      Yep, you will definitely find some rock bars there. Have fun! I’m sure summer will be much better than winter.

      • http://twitter.com/jomagpie Jo Mags

        Any other tips on things to do and see there? Thanks.

        • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

          If you have the money, rent a motorbike to go around the island and see the various beaches. Things tend to be spread out and buses will eat up your time!