My first post about things that were surprising in Brazil got a bit too long. So because I really, really want you guys to read it, I have decided to cut it in two parts. Just to make sure. Here is the second one.
Let me know if something surprised you in particular or if there is something you find strange. In the comment section below or on messenger.
1. Clap for the sunset
Remember your first flight on an airplane? Remember how surprised you were that people were clapping?
Sunset watching has a place of its own in Carioca society. In my heart too, but that’s another story. It is a thing to do, a program. It’s just as common and accepted going to watch the sunset as it is at home to go to the theater or the cinema. At the and of the show, they are clapping for the lead actor of the show, the sun.
Check out this video from below 00:46.
2. Heavy drinking is hard work.
The glasses are very small. Like really small. As an Eastern European the only small glass that you ever see are the ones made for shots. Here they drink water, beer, coke… everyting from really, really small glasses. Barely bigger than a glass for shots.
Why is that? The beer should never get hot! Also, your beer will come fully encapsulated in a plastic thing that is meant for keeping it from getting hot. Or in a bucket of ice. You actually have to slow down a bit or your glass will be constantly empty. They also have a special “coating” designed to keep the beer dry. Here’s a photo of the whole setup:
3. Boom-cha clubbing for 5 hours.
They have their own hip-hop genre. Like most Latin-Americans have reggaeton. It’s called baile-funk and it has its origins in the favelas. For my ears 90% of the songs have the exact same beat: boom-cha-cha, boom-cha-cha.
We went out one Friday night. The place was called Rio Scenarium. Even Demi Lovato was singing to the same beat. It went on like this for 2 straight hours. Then one (as in 1, ONE) song with a different beat came. It was the number one hit back then: Baile de Favela. Then 2 more hours of boom-cha-cha.
Some of the people hated it. It is different scene, but it’s very interesting. I’ve enjoyed the different music, but I don’t know if I could listen to it every Friday night.
4. Accents. Accents Everywhere!
Learning the language is not easy. Picking up the perfect pronunciation is impossible. If you plan to do that in Sao Paulo or Rio, in a community of Brazilians from different regions… forget about it. They say porta completely differently. Some of them go like: porrrRrrta. At some of them you can barely hear the R.
5. Being late is OK.
I knew this before. I heard about it. I’m not German by any standards. But no amount of reading can prepare you for this. Being late is completely accepted. It is also expected. They know that they will not be on time. This moment was a bit shocking anyways: someone was late for 40 minutes and she came in all smiles. It was not a problem at all!
6. Long live the 70’s! And the hippie vans.
They are still very much part of the street image. You can see the Volkswagen hippie van scattered all over the country. It has been produced for 64 years and Brazil was the last country where it was still on market. You cannot buy it since 2014, because of new laws that make airbags and ABS mandatory. Curious for more? Read about the story behind it here.
7. Life happens outside
This is somewhat related to point 5. Everything happens outside. I already mentioned the love for sunsets.
If the Boteco has 5 empty tables inside and all of the tables outside are full. You will just share a drink standing on the sidewalk. If some friends found a table and the group joining them didn’t, they would rather stand up and talk with them, using the table just for holding drinks.
Also, it is completely normal to celebrate your children’s birthday in the park near Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. You can’t blame them as no indoor location could compete with this decor:
8. Blowing your nose? Here? It’s a no-no.
It’s considered rude, but they will not cut off your hand if you do it. They just know that you don’t know.
I kept getting funny stares and didn’t know what’s up. Until someone who has staid in Brazil for some months brought my attention to the problem. So what do you do if you want to blow your nose? You just go to the bathroom.
Isso e tudo. That’s all. Hope you enjoyed reading. I’m gonna let you go and buy the newest Baile Funk hits on iTunes.