Category Archives: Lifestyle

Bananas, bananas, who wants bananas?

Vegetables on display

Vegetables on display

My Brazilian Brasil is a blog about Brazil and everything in it. So, in this post, you’ll find something pretty typical from here. The urban open market of fish, fruits and vegetables.

Named “feira livre” (which means open market in english), this legal congregation of several fish, fruit and vegetables producers happens from sunday to monday in most of brazilian cities, in several neighborhoods at the same time. Vendors set up their tents from 7 a.m. ’till 3 p.m. in specific streets or squares determined by local city halls.

When I say streets, I really mean streets. Traffic is closed in the period of the open market, and only gets back to normal after everything is cleaned up. 

Fruits on display

Fruits on display

Normally, this is not a problem for cities traffic flow, because the open markets generally occurs in specific secondary streets, always leaving drivers an alternative way to get from A to B with no delay.

There’s an open market every monday on the street next to mine. It’s always something like a party with fruit and fish scent. Vendors shouting, fighting for the client, giving discounts; housewives and househusbands jumping from tent to tent, choosing the best looking tomato and the greener lettuce, sometimes with a little arguing about who caught the bigger papaya first; a traffic jam of small fruit carts taking food up and down the road; and the thing I like most: the visual sea of bright colors and kinds of people everywhere.

Bananas! Who wants bananas?!

Bananas! Who wants bananas?!

I’m 24 and I can remember open markets since I was a baby. It’s a true tradition. I’ve also been to fruit open markets in France and England, and I can tell you for sure: the brazilian ones have nothing to do with those. Ours are funnier and more colorful.

Other cool characteristic of these open markets is that you may not find only it’s regular products. I’ll take my neighbor market as an example once again: I’ve seen portable butchers (small frigo-carts with pieces of meat inside, like a hot dog cart), tents of fried food, like chips and “pastéis” (pastéis is the plural of pastel, in portuguese, which is a sort of brazilian tortilla, but well.. not a tortilla.. actually, I think there’s nothing like it anywhere, come here and taste it), and several other stuff, like even clothes tents (more rare, but I’ve seen).

Credit cards welcome

Credit cards welcome

Despite the visual aspect of the open market, it has, in fact, a positive impact on family’s income. According to Rio de Janeiro’s city hall, there are 182 legal open markets in this city nowadays. Together, they serve as employment for over 6.000 legal producers, helping to raise 30 thousand people indirectly.

For consumers, it’s always a good deal. You’ll pay cheaper for fresh fruits and vegetables than if you were buying in the supermarket. Because of that, open markets make more than 15 million Reais flow (something like US$ 8 million) monthly, with 12 thousand tons of food being sold.

Tip: when the open market day is coming to an end, prices go down. In a matter of minutes, you can save up to 70% in some items. Also, it’s a rule to bargain. Never accept the first price, throw an offer! For last, if you’re short on cash, relax: take your credit card: it’s welcome in some tents.

Eating fruits and vegetables is surely a great way of keeping up your health safe and your body fit – keep that in mind.


Becoming a true brazilian beach queen

If you are a woman and have never heard about brazilian bikinis, prepare to be astounded with a new world of beach fashion. If you are a man… well, enjoy your reading!

First of all: I think Brazil carrying it’s name worldwide because of a bikini suit is nothing wrong. You have already seen me talk against sex tourism in the past, but let’s not get things mixed up here.

Low waist and large laces, a true brazilian bikini

Low waist and large laces, a true brazilian bikini

As far as I understand the bikini issue, the fact we have a model baptized with our country’s name only proves we are capable of creating and providing influence in the world of fashion. If someone uses this image in a bad way, than the story is different. But that’s not the subject of this post.

Brazilian bikinis are totally different from other bikinis I’ve seen, and I must say: there’s no doubt ours fit women better. They put the american style bikini on the floor. Forgive me american bikini lovers, but, in my opinion, they look like diapers. No, no good at all.

Our two-piece swimsuits are mostly made with colorful patterns and interesting design details. I can list here the pretty laces on the side of both the lower and the upper parts, that gives the bikini a sweet, delicate look; along with these laces, I must not forget to talk about the main characteristic of brazilian bikinis: their size.

Not all have laces. Feel free to accesorize with necklaces and bracelets.

Not all have laces. Feel free to accesorize with necklaces and bracelets.

Women are, most of the time, amazed on how tiny these pieces are. Some are even afraid to try them on, with fear of getting naked in a situation not so proper to be naked. I say: don’t worry, be happy! Brazilian bikinis will expose more your body – but if you feel comfortable with yourself, you will enjoy wearing those.

And I can also tell you: men surely loves it. Am I wrong, guys?

Two piece brazilian bikini

Two piece brazilian bikini

It’s easy to find stores on the web that sells brazilian bikinis worldwide. But I recommend coming here and buying them here. I’ll tell you an important thing: street vendors and beach vendors sell bikinis as beautiful as the shops ones. And price is way, way cheaper. If you see a bunch of girls choosing bikinis on a vendor’s tent, go there and you’ll be happy.

There’s only one thing you must dedicate attention before walking around with your bikini: be sure you don’t have any pubic hair coming out! You can try the brazilian wax before buying a brazilian bikini. Let me stop here to laugh a little. It’s so funny to have a waxing style named after my country! Man, who thought of that?

The diaper. No.

The diaper. No.

Brazilian waxing is becoming more and more requested in foreign countries. Here we don’t call it “brazilian waxing”, of course. I believe it’s just normal waxing. I can’t write properly about that, I’ll call my lovely lady to write about it for me. If you want to learn how to “brazilian wax” yourself, you can click here. And, if you’re a men, there’s waxing for you too. Click here if you’re interested to kiss your hair goodbye.

There’s also an interesting reading here. It’s an interview with a beauty specialist, that shares her feelings about doing the brazilian wax in other women.

So, are you prepared to feel sexy and becoming the beach queen, or will you keep on passing unnoticed with your diaper-suit?

To view an interesting fashion blog, click here.
To read a story about getting bikini waxed, click here.
To view a bikini every woman would love to have, click here.

Abroad love

I’ve noticed that, in my last post, about brazilian independence day, I forgot to talk about an interesting happening that’s been on for 24 years: the Brazilian Day, a party that takes place in the streets of New York, USA (46th street, known as Little Brazil) every sunday before Labor’s Day in the United States.

Brazilian Day stage set up in New York

Brazilian Day stage set up in New York

Brazilian Day is broadcasted live to Brazil. It is sponsored by Brazil’s largest TV network, and has always star-artists from our country on-stage. According to the New York Department of Police, the 2007 party had an attendance of 1.5 million people, spread thru 25 blocks of the big apple.

The reason I’m talking about this is: in the previous post I’ve said that few people go to military parades in independence days, and that’s also hard to find brazilian flags on top of public or private buildings. The idea behind that was to show a lack of patriotism, even in a national day, caused by a general misbelief in brazilian State.

Well, Brazilian Day, in America, shows another side of brazilian people behavior to their country. You see tons of green and yellow flags, demonstrations of joy, happiness and pride to have Brazil as a homeland – all that, of course, standing on the floor washed by uncle Sam, miles away from here.

I admit it: it’s easier to be a brazilian when you go abroad. Brazilians share a common taste for travelling to developed countries, like the United States and some places in Europe and Asia. Unlike american, french, german or english people, we don’t like to visit places like Africa, Middle East or even our latin american neighbors. We already have too much social problems around here.

I’d say there’s no better place to show-off a prideful brazilian flag than standing side-by-side with Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World.

Why does this happens? Why we are more brazilians when we are not standing here? I’d put like this: we are, surely, patriotic. We love Brazil. I love Brazil and everybody I know loves Brazil. But sometimes it feels that Brazil doesn’t loves us. We get sad, hurt.

Brazilians are passionate people. We are driven by our emotions. We like to talk to everybody, laugh, argue in a loud voice, dance, everything. Leave all your englishmen attitude before you arrive here, you won’t fit in. We love love, and we hate hate. No middle terms.

Crowded street in New York for Brazilian Day party 2008

Crowded street in New Yorkfor Brazilian Day party 2008

That said, it’s easy to get one important thing about abroad patriotism: brazilians, and I include myself for sure in this sentence, are taken by a crushing feeling of homesickness when away for too long. We cry and clap hands when the plane lands here. And we embrace every opportunity to feel a little closer to home when abroad. That, I believe, is the reason for our patriotic demonstrations in away countries.

All I know is that if someday I’m in NY, and Brazilian Day shows up in the calendar, you’ll find me for sure in the middle of the crowd with my soccer jersey and my prideful green and yellow flag.
To visit the official Brazilian Day website, click here.
To read an interesting story about Brazilian Day not making everyone happy, click here.

The list: 10 points over Brazil

WordPress has an interesting stats engine that allows bloggers to see not only how many visitors have read their blogs, but how these readers got there. When it comes to this blog, I’ve noticed that there are plenty of people searching the web for “brazilian lifestyle” and ending up here.

Even though this is the exact idea of my writtings, my concept of transmitting characteristics of brazilian lifestyle is not resumed to a single post. The entire blog is about brazilian lifestyle. Even my style of writting reveals a part of brazilian lifestyle. Everything depends on how readers face what they are reading.

But, as we live in the fast-food, fast-cars, fast-web and fast-sex world, I would be an alien to think everybody has patience and feeling to absorb things in an analytical and critical way.

SO, I’ve decided to cut-the-crap on this post and give to you, dear reader, a small, but essential, list of THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT BRAZIL BEFORE COMING HERE:

1 – We DO NOT speak spanish. Our mother language is portuguese, that has little or nothing to do with spanish.

2 – Our capital IS NOT Buenos Aires. This is Argentina’s capital city. Ours is Brasília, D.F. The letters D.F. stands for Distrito Federal, which in english means Federal District.

3 – São Paulo is written like this. It is wrong to write São Paolo or San Paolo. We are not in Spain or in Italy. If you want to translate the name of a city, which I find wrong to do, please, translate it right. São Paulo, in english, would be Saint Paul. But please, swear you’ll never translate Rio de Janeiro as “January River”!

4 – Our coin is called Real. It’s worth something like US$ 1,70 and 2,5 Euro today.

5 – We don’t dance samba around every corner, nor we drink caipirinhas in breakfast. You can easily find samba houses and official samba organizations that allows you to go in their club to samba yourself out. Samba on the streets only happens in Carnival time, generally in February. Something like Mardi Gras, but way, way funnier and happier. About caipirinhas… well, those you can find almost everywhere. But remember: the true caipirinha is made with cachaça, not with vodka.

6 – Yes, there is violence here. Despite our incredible natural beauties, we are still a third world country. So, please, don’t act like a tourist. But I must say: the image that if you step here a bullet will cross in front if you is false. Just pay attention, as you would pay in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris…

7 – We are nice and kind people, more than you can imagine. Keep that in mind if someone starts up a conversation or extend their hands in order to get a handshake. It’s not necessary to call the police!

8 – You will find several beggars and abandoned children in the streets. Feel free to feel shocked and sad with it. I feel everyday.

9 – You will find several incredibly beautiful men and women in the streets. Feel free to feel shocked and amazed with it. I feel everyday.

10 – Going out to a bar at night, or to a disco, is a nice way to feel the brazilian vibe. But, please, stay away from these whorehouses-specially-made-to-drain-tourist-money. Brazil is not just sex and liberation. The industry of sexual tourism makes me feel ill.

Hope that’s helpful. I’ll write a better post about brazilian lifestyle in the near future.

Ps: If you check this blog, you’ll find a different way of viewing sexual tourism, specially in Brazil. Written by “Rio Joe”, he says he’s addicted to sexual tourism since 2003. Interesting reading!

Build me up!

We are beer bottles

We are beer bottles

Dictatorship of beauty is a well known concept in western countries. The United States and Europe are, in my point of view, the icons of this modern and sad culture to glorify good-looks, leaving behind the true beauty of a fruitful mind.

But Brazil does not stand far behind. In fact, our behinds are way more advanced than other country’s. And this is not a joke, it’s a matter of national care. Here, having a perfectly shaped body that matches the common pattern of beauty may represent the only way to have a way in life.

We see beauty clinics opening and advertising everywhere, aiming to attract both the rich and the poor to a massage table or to a surgical center. Gyms pop out from nowhere and get packed everyday, no matter how much they cost. Stores specialized in selling supplementary products, like amino-acids, proteins and fat burners are easily found wherever you look. It’s not even difficult for a normal citizen to find and buy prohibited steroids in some gyms and drugstores.

There are plenty of factors that contribute to this paranoia. The main one, in my opinion, is the large influence of TV and magazine ads.

Brazilian women are definitely amongst the prettier of the world. But it’s a shame they’re treated like garbage by ourselves. Actresses are compared to beer bottles; auditorium TV shows have their peek of audience when the camera zooms almost inside of their soul; sex tourism is one of the main income activities of some cities, and nothing is done to, at least, try to cover it up a little.

And, thanks to the massive brainwash, a large quantity of women think this is ok and actually work hard to become the most desirable object of the society.

For me, the most dramatic issue of this regards young people. Not just girls, but boys too are unsatisfied with their bodies, even tough they all have no apparent reason to feel this way. Beauty treatments (even surgery) are attracting more and more teenagers to a situation that can definitely ruin their health. And nothing is being said about it.

I believe there should be a more reasonable way of creating ads, specially those made for men. If the message continues to be sent like is being sent today, maybe tomorrow no one will have brains to understand that the ad is to buy the beer, not the woman.

Going underground

I’ve been to the States a few times and have just come back from Europe, where I visited several west-bank countries. When it comes to public facilities and conservation, comparing Brazil to these countries is like throwing a rat in a snake pit. No competition.

But one thing that actually surprised me was the fact that here, in Rio de Janeiro, we do have a much more well preserved subway than Paris, London, Lisbon or Madrid. I’m not talking about the quantity of lines or their length, nor electronic devices available in these first-world subway systems. I’m just referring to cleanliness.

It may seem a little unnecessary to write about this, but I saw in this comparison an interesting subject to be analysed.

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil and the main tourist port of the country. But the city is a huge mess. As a native, I feel around every corner the lack of public conservation and care. Sometimes I feel there’s no State looking for us. But when I go underground, it’s like a new world.

Here, and I imagine in the rest of the world also, subways are used mainly by lower classes men and women. People that live far from the city centre, sometimes in favelas (slums, ghettos), and have little school education. In rush hours, subways get packed with workers, and people travel inside the trains like they were matches in a box. A true chaotic scenario.

But once the storm passes by, you can easily see that there’s no consequences left behind. No trash on the floor, no windows or benches broken, no bad smells, no graffiti. This last item specially was the one that surely popped in my eyes when I traveled first-world subways. In Paris and in New York, I’ve seen graffiti not only on the station’s walls, but on the trains bodies!

That surely is something that I can’t understand. I’m not saying here that brazilians are concerned about keeping everything clean, because sadly, we aren’t. As I said, it just take a simple walk on the streets and dirt will come around sometime. But the metro seems like an outsider. Something that crosses under a city that has nothing to do with it.

Some may say that our subway system is public service run by a private company, but that’s no demerit for saying in a loud voice: we have a clean subway. The same partnership between government and private happens with our bus system, but the vehicles and drivers are terrible, and I’ve already seen cockroaches inside.

It’s hard to find a reason for this subway-care-phenomena. Maybe it’s because the system is new (opened in1979) and was a huge improvement in people’s lives; maybe because it’s a very, very popular mass transit system that works fine, unlike buses. Or, the reason could be simple: rich or poor, people can treat well things that are public and useful to them. Too bad this last sentence can’t be said when it comes to the aboveground city.

Surfing at Copacabana

A couple of weeks ago, Rio de Janeiro’s government has installed wi-fi routers for Internet connection along the entire shore of the world famous Copacabana beach. Now, if you are passing by or relaxing in the sun, all you need to do is pop-out your laptop, cell phone or any other geek-gag and start surfing (the Web, not the waves).

As far as I know, the Internet connection has a nice speed and is up and running since the first day of operation, 24h/day.

It’s a nice improvement. A little public action for the few richies in a country with no hospitals, but well.. ok. The sad thing about this is the fact that from the moment this wi-fi connection was announced, to the moment it was installed, plenty of time has passed. And, if you look closely, wi-fi connection at Copacabana beach is nothing compared to public Internet around the globe.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I saw on TV that Beijing, in China, has it’s entire territory wi-fi connected. In Europe and in the United States I believe this is a subject of the past decade.

My point is: a developed country has lots of ways to show it’s people and people of the world that it actually is a developed country. The technological display is surely one of this ways.

I can tell you, as a native, that we do have technology here, but all comes to Brazil after the true developed ones. Cell phones, computers, toys.. even medical care. Everything gets here late. Most brazilians, of course, hail these new stuff like they were the ultimate stuff available. I don’t blame them, of course not, but I find it’s a shame to illude people. And that’s what is done here.

I will not even start talking about the lack of regular Internet connection around the country, specially in poor areas. This is and endless topic, and I’ll keep it for a future post.