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Hiking the trails of Rio

Hi all, There is no question that Rio is a great city in which to party. After all, it’s home to the largest Carnival celebration in the world. It’s also a great place to relax, with its many famous beaches. But sometimes you need to get in a bit of exercise, and one great way to […]

How do you flush this thing anyway?

Hi all, You would think that by 2015 designers and engineers around the world would have met and agreed upon the best design for something as basic as the toilet. But of course toilets still exist in a wide variety of styles. You’ll find several here in Brazil. Often toilets in Brazil are quite basic, even […]

Beaches of Rio de Janeiro

Hello all, When you visit Rio, one activity which will certainly be on your list is a visit to one (or more) of the city’s wonderful beaches. The beach most frequented by tourists is Copacabana Beach. Copa was evidently selected a few years ago by the city government to be the focal point of tourism for […]

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 […]

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 […]

How to greet someone in Brazil

Hi all, There’s a good chance that when you meet someone, you really don’t give much thought to it. You stick out your hand, give a firm handshake (no dead fish, please!), and say, “Nice to meet you” or something similar. This approach works pretty well across the English-speaking world, in most situations, whether you […]

Using a cell phone in Brazil

Hi all, I recently replied to a query I saw posted at, which by the way is a very helpful site for expats or travelers. The query was from an American planning to relocate to Brazil soon and was: “Should I purchase a new cell phone in Brazil?” While older U.S. cell phones didn’t work […]

What Brazilians think about Americans

Hi all, Fairly often, Brazilians will ask me what Americans think of Brazil/Brazilians. In this post, I’d like to flip that question around to ask: What do Brazilians think about Americans? [Note: In this post, I’ll use the term “American” to mean a citizen of the U.S. I do so merely as a convenience. Please […]

Real Premium Auto Onibus

Hi all, Taxis in Rio, while still cheap compared to many cities around the world, have become more expensive in the last couple of years. It used to be you could get from Galeão Airport to Copacabana for maybe 50 reais. Today, depending on where exactly you are headed, you might pay 75. If you […]

Attitudes toward gays in Brazil

Hi all, Sunday, the 19th annual Gay Pride parade was held in Rio, along Copacabana Beach. I don’t believe I’ve ever written about attitudes towards gays and lesbians in Brazil, and thought this a topic worth writing about, because perceptions may not match reality. I’ll say up front that I’m straight and not really in […]