First impressions after relocation to Brazil

Interview with Kate, one of our clients.

Q. Hi, Kate. First question after your relocation to Brazil: is Brazil a country of contrasts?  How could exist side-by-side  favelas and luxury fashionable areas in San Paolo, as we see on your photos ?

 A.  Actually nothing special compared to other countries. Yes, there are favelas in large cities, existing side-by-side with private condominiums, offering 1000 sq.m. apartments wtih a private pool on the floors.

Brazilian property: for  poor and for rich

Brazilian property: for poor and for rich

But before discussing social inequality in Brazil, let’s think about identical imparity elsewhere, ¬†like¬† Harlem and Beverly Hills. On the other hand, situation of the poor neighborhoods inBrazil can not be explained ¬†only with economic reasons. Here we have different ¬†people and a different mentality. ¬†Brazilian climate is relaxing, and you should not fight for life (like it happens in cold countries), which is “dangerous” for lazy people.

You know… attitude to wealth, success is a little easier here. Many people are simply not interested to live in closed and guarded luxury homes.¬† They live with an open mind and a door. You can drive at night in small towns along the roadside, and see open doors and windows, which demonstrate daily life of Brazilians. One of my brazilian friends said, looking ¬†at on slatted windows of one of luxury homes: “They live in prison. Nice prisons will remain prison.” ¬†In ¬†Goi?nia, a few favelas were demolished and ¬†people were given out free houses. Yet, after a while, most donated homes were sold, and owners went back to their normal life.

Once having a meeting with owner of a few large companies in his luxurious office, he attracted my ¬†attention to favela, ¬†visible from the office window . “You know, he said, these people can be happier. They do not fear to lose anything, ¬†they are not responsible for other people, and they have no idea about financial crisis.” ¬†Looking as he takes out another pill from his pocket, I did not think he was not¬† serious talking so.

Satisfaction levels across the globe

Satisfaction levels across the globe

Q. What is the crime level in general ? Is it safe at night on the streets?

¬†A.Every night I go to the local park and spend a couple of hours “in darkness” after relocation to Brazil. In the tropics¬† the darkness comes instantly – around 6-7 pm. People walk around or through the park, play games, I can say, street crime is low, and the likelihood of robbery is negligible.

Night park in Gaporaba

Night in park of Gaporaba, Santa Catarina

However, I live in prosperous city, in prestigious location. Do not try to go out at night ¬† in “traditionally¬† ¬† bad” places, because it becomes a lottery. ¬†There are serious problems with street crime in Rio de Janeiro, some areas of Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte¬† (satellite of Brasilia). Most European tourists see only Rio de Janeiro, and based on that experience, ¬†make conclusion crime situation is worse in Brazil than in Europe. I can not say so.

Q. Brazilian girls. Do  we usually exaggerate  their temperament?

A. I do not think I am right person to discuss temperament of local girls. But what is visible is that ¬†Brazilian girls do not complicate relationships. Probably because Brazilians traditionally¬† are open¬† and friendly people. Any city is surrounded with motels for intimate meetings. You can find a motel even in the smallest willage. I can say, people are satisfied in sexual sence and no one would try to meet ¬† girl on the streen – ¬†only in places where it’s traditional (club, beach).

Brazilan girl on carnival

Brazilan girl on carnival

Local girls and women  spend a fortune for  cosmetics and plastic surgery; they are  world leaders in the number of cosmetic surgeries performed.   Silicone can be found both up and down,     women here feel uncomfortable if ass is flat, as it does not meet national standards of beauty.   Brazil is also one of the world leaders in the number of fitness centers per capita and many girls spend hours trying drop or gain weight.

Q. Life inBrazil.  How much easier / harder to live after relocation to Brazil, compared toEurope ?

A. Life inBrazilis much easier.  It’s not only about climate, when there is no winter, no need to worry about warm clothes and closed windows. And when there is always enough bright sun and  tropical fruits and no   winter depression. It’s also about general atmosphere of optimism and easiness.  People are more courteous and friendly.

There is practically no Nazism. Food is cheaper.Brazilhas virtually no political problems with neighboring countries  and the possibility of armed conflict is minimal.  And  there is no problem of migrant workers.

Education in state (free) schools is really poor and if you want give a good education to children, look for good private school. On the other hand, education infree stateuniversities is the best in country, although competition  is also tough Рdozens of people for a  popular specialty.

Brazilian seafood

Brazilian seafood

Food. It’s delicious and in many cases dishes originate from Europe. Do you know that the number of pizzerias in¬† Sao Paulo now is higher than in any other city in the world, even in Italy ? ¬†Brazilians believe Sao Paulo is pizza world capital.

However it is hard to define the concept of the national Brazilian cuisine. Each region is specific, and even the Brazilian may not know the names of dishes from differen state. ¬†A lot of things are purely local,for example fruit pitches in the central regions of Brazil. For locals it is everyday food, while¬† ¬†for ¬†residents of Sao Paulo it is exotic; in ¬†Pantanal region you¬† can ¬†enjoye ¬†crocodile tail in local restaraunt. Not to mention ¬†desserts, especially the local ice cream served with ¬† exotic tropical fruits or even with ¬† corn. Do not forget about coffee. It costs a penny, which is common sence for ¬†the world’s largest coffee producer.

European beer as something special ¬†does not exist, here are a few varieties of beer, but of very decent quality. ¬†The main feature of local food is a huge variety of good meat and vegetables at ridiculous prices. Traditional local restaurants – shurraskarii ‚Äď put tourists ¬†into shock ¬†with abundance of food and vast number of delicious meat. Tropical fruits often grow right in public parks or on the streets. You can walk down the street and hit the avocado or mango.

 Q.  What about  dangerous species: poisonous snakes,  spiders, scorpions,  centipedes and other. How  often one may encounter them ?

A. It is not a problem for big cities as well as for small ones this problem is exaggerated. Of course, I do not mention wild forests of Amazonia.  Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately,Brazil has much more assimilated or civilized areas than  it appears from  outside.

South of Brazil   is almost Europe. The  most frequent wild  guests in  apartments are gecko lizards which one may see running  on  walls or  floors. Sometimes moths may cover  walls of a kitchen if one opens a window. If you do not keep eye on house in countryside,  some time you may  find  there a colony of ants. Probably those stories like one about anaconda, found   in a bedroom in small house in southern province, push rumors about dangerous species everywhere in Brazil. But such stories are rather exceptional  and you can find similar ones in local European or US news papers.

However if you move closer to tropical forests,  you may encounter  absolutely different world: shouting, screaming, croaking combine into a continuous din; thousands of spiders climb hunting… I never seen so many big and beautiful fireflies, as in Brazil. Usually owners of hacienda   keep snake serum in refrigerator. Houses in urban areas may also receive snake visits, but such is not  widespread and does not create serious problem.

Q. As far as I know,Brazil  perhaps is the only country in the world, which found solution for oil deficit problem. According to rumors, biofuels constitute  about 30% of the total transport fuel consumption. How it is convenient or cost-effective to drive on ethanol or biodiesel ? Is air in cities has became fresher ?

A.Yes, Brazil balances production and consumption of oil, and does not depend on imports. This is explained with the growing internal production  as well as with a unique program of development of biofuel production.

Ethanol fuel station in Brazil

Ethanol fuel station in Brazil

What surprise tourists in Brazil, are cars, driving on alcohol. Most of newly produced cars in Brazil are ‚Äúflex‚ÄĚ which means they can drive on any combination of alcohol and gasoline. Even if you believe you buy a pure gasoline, you still buy biofuel, because ethanol has already been added to gasoline by law. The same is about diesel cars, which drive on biodiesel; and biodiesel proportion has been increasing in accordance with the national program.