What I Know About Brazil

2 Jul

Tomorrow I’ll go to Brazil for the first time, so long as this pain in the ass ash cloud hovering around Buenos Aires dissipates. The cloud came back in town today and canceled every flight in and out of the city, and I’m just clinging to the hope that it will be gone soon. As of this afternoon I could see that on the northern edge of the city it was a blurry mess, while towards the south some blue was visible. Maybe that’s a good sign. I can’t afford to miss time on my 4 night stay in Rio because I get in very late the first night and won’t be able to push my trip back. My friend Amy arrives to Buenos Aires the morning after I return, so it’s do or die. I’ve already bought the plane tickets and visa.

But what I was going to write about before the ash cloud came back was what I know about Brazil. It’s such an attractive country, and anytime you mention that you’re going to Rio de Janeiro, anyone within earshot will exclaim how jealous they are. Brazil borders almost every country on the continent and is widely diverse, though a lot of people mainly associate it with beautiful beaches.

Right near where I grew up is a huge Brazilian population. So large, in fact, that during the last presidential elections, a special voting sector was set up for Brazilians all over the northeastern United States to be able to vote. Yet the image you usually get of immigrants is quite different from the rest who stay behind. I was shocked to learn that there are actually blond hair, blue eyed Brazilians (mostly in the south). A lot of them come from German descent, and sometimes I get confused as being Brazilian. Pero no falo portuguese.

I know that while Brazilian isn’t quite as well known for it’s barbecues, you know you’re going to eat well if you go to a Brazilian steak house. I seem to remember going to a great one in Newark, New Jersey as a child. Then there are the beaches, from Florianopolis to Bahia, and maybe the most famous being Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. While I’ll be far from living the life of a celebrity, I hope to stroll the beaches as well, without the ubiquitous zunga, or Speedo bathing suit.

Everyone always warns me to be careful in Rio, saying it’s dangerous, more so than Buenos Aires. They say look out for the favelas, or ghettos. They tell me to be careful when getting into a taxi, and to be on alert at night. Yet at the same time they say how friendly the Brazilians are and how they are always smiling and ready to party. Yet there’s also a serious side to Brazil.

I’ve done some research and know that Brazil has one of the strongest economies of Latin America, and now many Latinos are seeking to learn Portuguese instead of English, if not both. Brazilians are traveling abroad more and more, especially to Argentina, where their reales get them more than twice the amount of pesos. They have continued to industrialize and improve the quality of life, and the cost of living in Sao Paolo is in par with that of New York City or perhaps Paris. The Chinese are so interested in Brazil’s land resources that they are continuously trying to lease or buy land, investing millions into the economy, in what many fear is a backwards step towards colonizations, whereby the raw materials leave Brazil, get turned into products in China, and resold in Brazil.

But these are just the things which I have gathered before visiting the country. So long as I can fly tomorrow, I’ll soon be able to add my own opinions with a plethora of experiences including sights, sounds, smells, videos, photos, and of course, the stories. I can’t wait to share it.

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