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Things I still think are funny being back in Brazil

August 5, 2010

Things that still surprise me, 1 year after I came back to Brazil:

People eating noodles with rice and beans. Don´t get me wrong, I love rice and beans. But I would leave the spaghetti for another time. (Beans serve as the spaghetti sauce in this case).

How soccer is a religion and people discuss and fight about it ALL THE TIME, at work, during happy hour, or just walking by the street you can hear conversations about soccer games and teams.

How cold it can get in southern Brazil, and how people survive without central heating. I´m freezing here in Floripa!

How big Brazil is (after 2 years living in Europe, my standards kinda changed about getting a flight to go somewhere for the weekend). I now live in Florianopolis in the south, and it will take me 5 hours, 2 planes with a connection to get to Salvador, up north.

How cold the beer is served here (and I love it!); and how picky Brazilians are about the beer temperature. If it´s not ice cold, people complain to the waiter and in some places they even replace it for a new, colder beer.

How good farofa tastes. Farofa, as I have mentioned here before, is manioc flour cooked (fried, actually) with onions and lot´s of butter. It´s a trivial food served in the everyday lunch of almost any Brazilian family. However, since I didn´t have access to it living abroad (except when I mom visited), I still drool over a plate of rice, beans and farofa. I´ve heard friends from other countries say it tastes like sand, but I´ve also seen others hunch over a plate of churrasco (our version of barbecue, with lot´s of meat) with tasty farofa.

See people hitchhike here in Floripa. Coming from a year living in Rio, where no one would just flick their thumb and ask for a ride, I still think it´s funny to see that here.

How European life can be in southern Brazil. Brazil is a huge, diverse country. Salvador, where I was born, has great African influence. Many fruits from the north are not even heard of in other regions. The south was colonized by Germans mainly, so there´s great artisan beer, a version of glühwein (warm wine with cinnamon and ginger) and Oktoberfest. There are even figures of Fritz and Frida in some cities.

How people strike up a conversation anywhere. Complete strangers mention the weather, politics, soccer, or anything… in the elevator, in the doctor´s waiting room, or waiting in line at the bank (or any service). In other countries I´ve learned people really stick to that lesson when they were kids “don´t talk to strangers”.

People who push elevator buttons for a living. In certain commercial buildings and shopping malls there are people working there, who are supposed to push the button for you. I really don´t see the point. They do have a chair so they don´t stand all day.

Overall, people don´t smell bad. Have you walked in a bus or subway in Europe during summer? Yeah, people stink. I know it´s hot and people get sweaty and sticky, but here in Brazil, it can get very hot and humid, and still I´ve never walked in public transportation that smells that bad. I´ve read (from a trusted source) that Brazil is one of the highest consumers of soap in the world.

Buying newspapers and magazines from newspaper stands. And of course, a few minutes of conversation with the newspaper stand guy. In the US, I used to buy magazines in the grocery store. Here, I love browsing in the newspaper stand, and if you always buy your paper from the same stand, you become friends with the newspaper stand guy. Isn´t that great?

I might have to write another post about things I still think are funny or that still surprise now that I´m back in the motherland…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Col permalink
    August 5, 2010 8:55 pm

    Ah… Como eu gosto disso tudo!

  2. August 5, 2010 9:21 pm

    You’re making me miss Brasil sooooooo bad!!!

  3. August 6, 2010 1:58 am

    Tete, this so so cool that you are all curious! Keep it & new stuff & tell me!!!!

    There are many things similar in Brazil & China after reading your essay: newspapers & magazines are sold in the stand not grossary stores; people push elevator button for a living & have a chair; bit wierd to eat noodle & rise & beam together hahahaha we usually separate eating them except for people themselves like to mix; people strike conversation (well, not as everywhere as your place, but in the elevator, stores,… , and i like it!); subway train is crowded and squeeze people into a thin piece of paper, hot, people sometimes compain, but usually not smelly hahaha

    Difference is, we dont thumb ask for ride, we wave to stop a taxi; your birth place has all the African influence & I’m so curious! To us, Southern hemisphere sometimes feels as far as another planet… I really hope I have chance to explore over there!!!!

    • August 6, 2010 12:37 pm

      I love how there are similarities with cultures that are geographically far away. I hope you can come visit. I know I will visit you sometime next year!

  4. August 6, 2010 2:00 pm

    I absolutely love how you’ve characterized Brazil here. Makes me want to visit SO BADLY.

  5. flex permalink
    February 22, 2011 12:45 am

    read your blogg by accident. but its so true how u describe it. spending my last days close to floripa in 5 days back to europe. But missing it allready. the only thing i hate are the cashiers in supermarkets here they are sooooo sllloooowwww

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