Reflections on Brasil

father daughter brasilA few months ago I found out that Rotary International was going to hold their annual convention in the city of Sao Paulo, Brasil.  Because I had never been to South America I decided to take an eleven day trip to Brasil.

Brasil is a good country that merits a return trip.  The first four days were spent in Rio De Janeiro with its famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.  The last four days were spent in South America’s largest city, Sao Paulo.  Here are some “Don Factoids” you might want to know if you consider a trip to Brasil.

  • Portuguese (not Spanish) is the language of Brasil and few people speak English, so be prepared to struggle a bit when asking directions.
  • Brasilians are friendly and helpful. Even if they can’t answer your question they will give you an apologetic and sincere smile.  Brasilians are very gracious.
  • Clean, potable water. You can drink the tap water, even from public drinking fountains and not get sick.
  • Soccer Fanatics: The recent 7-1 loss to Germany in the world cup is viewed as a national disgrace to be hauntingly remembered and regretted for decades to come.
  • Litter free: The streets have refuse containers every 500 feet and Brasilians use them.  The street department comes by every night around 8pm to collect the trash.  Unlike India, Brasil’s female trash collectors wear makeup.
  • Affordable: Dining and lodging in Brasil are very affordable.  You can get a good, white tablecloth meal consisting of various meats or other fare for around $17 per person.  Hotels are modern and less expensive than comparable accommodations in the USA.
  • The Fruit…THE FRUIT! You’ve never tasted anything like the fruit in Brasil.  It is so fresh that it attacks your taste buds.  When you go in for a mango shake they will squeeze it as you watch.  Brasil has varieties of fruit that we don’t have in the USA.
  • Comfortable in their Own Skin: Brasilians are not ashamed to walk on the beach in a skimpy swimsuit no matter how old, fat or unsightly they are!   There seems to be no vanity on the beach; Brasilians want to enjoy the beach and that’s that.
  • Brasilians might collectively be the best looking people on the planet. I don’t know why, but after a few days of looking at “average” men and women, regardless of age, Brasilians fare very well.  Think about it; when was the last time Miss Brasil didn’t finish in the top 5 of the Miss Universe pageant?
  • Young men have short haircuts and almost never have facial hair. They are handsome and “clean cut”.
  • No Jetlag: While It is 5400 miles (a Ten Hour flight) from Chicago to Rio.  There’s only two hours time difference.  You won’t get jet lagged.

If you are an international traveler it is my opinion that you should consider a trip to Brasil.  You might want to avoid the Olympic congestion in 2016 but otherwise, I think Brasil is a safe, tasty, and beautiful bet.

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