So, as promised I will tell you a little about Brazilian people or customs in every days’ life, and in a way I see things. So pleas remember everything I’m writing is my point of view, is not general to whole country, more for the south and especially on Foz, and depends on people I have met here and things I’ve seen…
Here are some things which I found interesting, surprising, annoying or just different during my stay here.
1. Where are all the black people?! And why all people are looking so European?
Yes, I had heard that Brazilian people are very mixed, there’s a huge blend of cultures and skin colors and even I had red that Parana is one of the richest states and resembles more on Europe than other places in Brazil, I didn’t think the people would be like that too, physically I mean! Here it’s like that, there’s a lot of white people who all have some kind of origins from Germany, Italy or eastern Europe… That’s maybe one of the reason people always think I’m Brazilian… Until I start to talk, -English or very bad Portuguese- ;-).
And so the most of the mixed – color or black people are in the north, with more African and Caribbean origins.
2. People are not so religious I thought!
We’ve all heard that Brazil is the most catholic country in the world, right? So I was quit surprised when I learned, while talking with people, that many weren’t religious at all… And I was also stunned to see that there was so much gay people, who were showing their couples much more openly that I’m used to in Europe! Yes, as a foreign who don’t know much about the country, I thought it would be very difficult to be gay in a very catholic country. But actually it’s not, because Brazil is a very open country for different sexuality orientations, they also allow the same sex-marriage since 2013.
And regarding the religion, there are many reasons I haven’t met the most religious people here… For example the fact, that it’s a huge country anyway, there’s a lot of young people here, who are also starting to think differently from the older, there’s a lot of different religions and believing growing all the time… So people are not concentrated only on Catholicism.
3. Brazilian people brush their teeth at least 3 times a day.
The most interesting in this one is the way how they all carry a teeth-brush and tooth-past with them all the time! Always, in work, after lunch they brush their teeth. And actually that’s very nice! I haven’t met no-one who would have bad breath here! 😀
4. In buses passengers are not allowed to talk to the driver, because there’s a cashier, from who you buy the ticket and ask if you have questions about the stops or destinations or what ever… And actually the funny thing is, that in all city-buses (Foz, Curitiba, Rio…) you always pay for your entrance in the bus, but you never receive any ticket or other proof that you’ve paid. But I guess, that’s not needed because of the cashiers, and that’s why there are no controllers either… like in Europe.
5. Brazilians are working a lot.
The minimum hours per week is around 45, but almost no-one is working only 45 hours a week… And the most of the time they have two jobs, ore more. They have full day work somewhere, but many are also giving some classes on evenings, or having another profession which they are practicing on evening and week-ends. BUT that doesn’t mean they are tired, stressed, or unhappy! They are still going out, seeing friends and family, and being very joyful and passing all their little free time out. For me, their secret is that they sleep less on nights, and some of them have little naps on their lunch break or if they have a little break between the different works.
Have to mention, that here in Foz, like in all small cities, they don’t loose any time or energy in long public transportation or things like that! Maybe living in Sao Paulo is not the same, it’s here…
6. Distances are long.
And here it’s normal to drive 2-3 hours to a meeting and then come back the same day, or take the bus for 10 or 15 hours, to go to an other city for the week-end. And the buses a very good here! Just remember to wear enough warm clothes because of the air-conditioning! Of course domestic flights are working well too, especially for cities that buses take more than 20 hours.
7. Banks are very special:
International cards work only in few ones, but the most annoying is that they have a lot of withdraw limits here. So each month for example to paying the rent (for those who pay in cash) it takes at least 3 days to get the whole amount together, because the ATM doesn’t allow to take more than 800 R$ at once or something like that…
And also if you need to go to the counter-side and actually meet the bankers, you need to go trough a magnetic door, which is very sensitive and doesn’t open as long as you haven’t left every magnetic items you have, in the little box next to the door. Once I needed to go trough that door, I didn’t know how it worked, and also didn’t understand what the officer other side of the door tried to explain me, so I spend at least 5 min on trying to get trough that door… With my bag full of different magnetic things.
8. In supermarkets you always get too much plastic bags!
At least no-one needs to buy garbage bags here and there’s work for everyone, because there are those employees who are here especially to put your things in the plastic bags. But that’s something that really annoys me, when I do my shopping. The bags are very bad quality, so the most of the time they are packed with on or two things only, so that they doesn’t break, and all heavy things, like milk or bottles get 2 bags each! And I haven’t seen any place until now, where I could buy more sustainable bags or just pay for the plastic bags…
9. In any lunch-restaurants you pay the weight of your plate.
You take what you want in a buffet, and then you weight your plate and eat that all. You can take more, but you weight again in that case. Or there are some lunch-restaurants where you pay a fix price and you can eat as much as you want. And all these buffets always have a good choice of salads and vegetables, rise and beans of course, manioc and different meets… And desserts!
10. People talk to each others in restaurants, buses, bus-stations, in super-markets and other places… They are not concentrated only on their cellphones or afraid to talk on persons they don’t know. (As I’m a little used to in Paris)…