A Brief History of Rio

March 2nd, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 0 comments

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

February 27th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 10 comments

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

February 25th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 0 comments

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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My first time eating “entreveiro”

February 23rd, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 1 comment

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 love to shop – in the U.S.

January 27th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 2 comments

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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The Serra Gaucha

January 19th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 8 comments

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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João Pessoa

January 15th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 0 comments

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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Tom Jobim

January 13th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 0 comments

Hi all, You can’t really know Brazil if you don’t know something about its music. And no musician in Brazil’s history is better known than the late Tom Jobim. If you don’t recognize the name, then surely you know his most famous composition: “The Girl from Ipanema”. (For the history of the song click here: The […]

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How to greet someone in Brazil

January 12th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 6 comments

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 […]

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New Year’s Eve in Brazil

January 5th, 2015 / JohnInBrazil / 0 comments

Hi all, Happy New Year! Or, as we typically say here, Próspero Ano Novo. New Year’s celebrations are similar here to those in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Typically Brazilians congregate and often eat and drink too much. There are over-priced affairs at bars and restaurants, or simpler affairs at friends’ homes. There […]

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