Driving in Brazil

Hi all, Brazil is a large, diverse, and beautiful country. There are many beautiful places to visit – but many are best visited by car. Public transport tends to be pretty good in most cities, and inter-city buses can carry you in comfort inexpensively from one city or town to another. But for real freedom […]

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Five tips for living in Brazil

Hi all, Any time you go to another country (even if it’s just crossing the US/Canada border), you’ll encounter some cultural differences. If you plan to stay in another country for an extended period, your happiness will depend in large part on how you adjust to these differences. Your adopted country is not going to […]

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Baia do Sancho on Fernando de Noronha (photo by CCINTRA/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

The best beach in the world?

Hi all, For the second year in a row, the beach at Baia do Sancho (Sancho’s Bay) in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago tops TripAdvisor’s list of the best beaches in the world. I’m typically skeptical of such lists. Comparing beaches (or whatever) often is a matter of comparing apples and oranges, and also ratings are generally […]

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A view of Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf in the background from Santa Teresa (Photo: John Clites)

A Brief History of Rio

Hi all, Yesterday marked the 450th anniversary of the establishment of Rio de Janeiro – by the Portuguese. Few people are aware that the first settlement in the area was actually French! Rio was born at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. The first settlement, founded in 1555, actually was French and was named “France Antarctique”. […]

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Things that are difficult to find in Brazil

Hi all, I love Brazil, otherwise I wouldn’t still be living here, and I wouldn’t have jumped through all of the hoops that I’ve had to remain here. (I should have my CIE in about 2 months – after about 4 years of waiting. Sigh…) Still, there are times when it’s challenging living here – […]

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Portuguese for Spanish speakers

Hi all, Many gringos incorrectly assume that the language of Brazil is Spanish. It’s not. It’s Portuguese. Yes, they are closely related. No, they aren’t always mutually intelligible. I’ve seen exchanges many times between a Brazilian and a Hispanic. Here’s what typically happens: The Hispanic asks a question in Spanish. The Brazilian understands most of […]

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Chef Seu Neto at work preparing entreveiro

My first time eating “entreveiro”

Hi all, One of the things to love about Brazilian culture is its spontaneity. You never know when you might be invited to do something – but be assured it’s probably going to involve food! On Saturday I was visiting Porto Alegre and staying with new friends Marcos and Marina. Marina’s father invited them to […]

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Brazilians shopping in Florida

Brazilians love to shop – in the U.S.

Hi all, You already know that Brazilians excel at soccer and are pretty good at throwing big parties. But they are also accomplished shoppers, and are steadily honing their skills. Brazil’s middle class has burgeoned in the last 10 years, which has driven an increased demand for – well, for just about everything. Domestic spending per […]

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Leather goods are a specialty in the Serra Gaucha of Southern Brazil

The Serra Gaucha

Hi all, My friends and observant readers of this blog will know that about three months ago I moved to the South of Brazil. Specifically, I live in the small town of Canela (named for a local tree), in an area called A Serra Gaúcha (say Ah SEH hah gah OO sha), in Rio Grande […]

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Playing paddleball on the beach in Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil

João Pessoa

Hi all, Brazil’s Northeast coast is known for it’s sunshine, beaches, and seafood. One of my favorite little cities in the region is João Pessoa. João Pessoa, or “JP” as locals like to call it, is the capital of the state of Paraiba and is located between Recife and Natal. It’s not as well known as […]

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