Lagoa Guesthouse

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This spot was pretty cool. It is in the middle-class neighborhoods of Botago and Humaitá in Rio and basically across the street from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, which is a large lake in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. Passing by the hostel you would just think it is a plain, regular house which is probably a good thing. No place wants to be labeled as a tourist haven. The owners, Juliana and Wesley are some of the coolest people that I have ever met. They create more of a family atmosphere instead of the typical hotel where you really have no interaction with anybody. My first night was pretty much drinking beers and chatting with Juliana, an Aussie, and two people from Finland.

 I'm usually not the one to just be sitting and drinking all night and being that it was my first night in Rio, I wanted to go out. Being the awesome hosts that they are Juliana and Wes took the four of us ( 1 Aussie, 2 Finnish, and me) out to a bar in Leblon. Leblon is another neigborhood in the south zone of Rio and is known for being one of the wealthiest areas of the city . So about 12 or 1am (can't remember) we arrive at this bar. Typical carioca bar, well typical Rich carioca bar lol
We had four or five rounds of Chopp (extremely cold Brazilian draft beer) and some bar snack food like Pão de queijo (cheese bread), fried cheese, and linguiça. Wish I could remember the name of the bar but o well. My 1st night in Rio was a memorable one thanks to the owners of Lagoa Guesthouse. So if you are looking for a cool place stay thats cheap and meet people from around the globe, I would definitely recommend Lagoa Guesthouse.

Cold Chopp


Mike, kiss her........Tales from Carnaval

Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thanks to my Brazilian Brother, Ronaldo, I have a very interesting story to tell about walking around in Rio during Carnaval

February 18, 2012……2nd official day of Carnaval and my 3rd day in Rio. It was a hot day, my morning started at 6am. The 1st bloco started at 7am in the famous hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
Santa Teresa

I am supposed to meet Renata and friends somewhere in Santa Teresa for the bloco. I make my way down the hill and have been trying to contact Renata to find her location. Cell Reception is bad and the music is loud even from far away. She is with Ana Paula and Raphael. Text tag and phone tag end with Renata telling me that they weren't going to make it or find me. At first, I'm a little annoyed but after walking down the winding streets, I quickly understand why. The street is a sea of people. Thousands between me and the bottom of the hill. 

This is going to take forever to navigate I'm thinking. Eventually I join the crowd. Costumed men and women, afro wigs, cans of beer, and samba blaring. I'm stuck in a crowd of people slowly moving, not knowing where it will lead, but I'm enjoying it.

That was much pretty much the story of my day. Bloco in Santa Teresa followed by bloco in Ipanema, where I finally meet up with Renata & crew

Ana Carolina, Raphael, Renata & Me
and proceed to another bloco in a section of the city called Glória. And of course during day there has been plenty of beer. Eventually we meet up with Ronaldo and this is where the story begins. With Ronaldo's arrival, I started to drink more and was preparing for the night at the Sambadrome. Ronaldo had arranged a pair of tickets for me and my friend, Adriana. She decided change before we departed for São Cristóvão and while waiting Ronaldo and I decided to have a few more beers, walk around, and maybe find some girls or just chill. 
Marina da Glória

Since the bloco was over in Gloria, most of the people were gone. We just talked a bit and ended up wandering into a bar for a few shots of cachaca. As stated earlier, I had been drinking ALL DAY, so after the shots I was really feeling it.

We left the bar to continue walking, and waiting. So we walk…..and walk……and walk some more then all of a sudden Ronaldo is talking to some random girl. She was chocolate complexion, big smile, and wearing a police uniform with a wig on.
She kinda looked like one of them.....I think

 Of course, they were speaking in Portuguese and I didn't understand most of what they were saying until Ronaldo said "Ele é Americano" (He is American). She gave him a weird look like…..who?!……..him?!…..no! and then starts to, what I perceive to be, a back and forth of him convincing her that I am truly American. This went on for 5 minutes until mid-sentence, all of a sudden, Ronaldo turns to me and says "Mike, kiss her" in heavily accented English. I immediately turn to him, say "what?!?"But since I'm in Brazil, I didn't hesitate for long and went in for the kiss and she was VERY cooperative . Tongue and all, very good kiss. Cool. Wasn't expecting that but hey, it's Brazil, in Rio, during Carnival. Everybody is supposed to kiss somebody right?

After the kiss, she starts speaking to me (in portuguese of course)  and in my intoxicated state, all I could say is "what?!" Further proof that even though I may look Brazilian, and may be carrying myself like a Brazilian, I'm still very much American. So during this horrible exchange of Portuguese and English, I turned to Ronaldo with a look that says "MFer, translate!!" and you know what he does?? He says "Mike, kiss her again"…….. Welp... good enough for me and here we go again . Tonguing each other down in the middle of sidewalk and nobody gives a damn. I love it! After this second kiss, I have to get her number or something. We can definitely continue this. This is also where my story gets a little fuzzy. Cachaca will do that to ya.

Somehow she put her number in my phone and I thought I had called it. Unfortunately 12 hours later, when I woke up, after spending all night at the sambadrome, I look at my call list and there is nothing. The last call was to Ronaldo from earlier that previous afternoon……..MERDE!!
Partner in Crime


Brazilian Race, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism! Part 1 of a series

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012

Before I ever set foot in Brazil, I knew that is was a country full of colors and cultural influences like the United States. I also thought that Brazil would be just like the picture portrayed in many other Latin American countries, that being the typical brown stereotypical Latin we all know. To my surprise, and delight, I was wrong. Very wrong. Brazil was and is much more than Ronaldo and 
Carmen Miranda.

Walking though the streets and along the Beaches of just Rio, I saw every hue and combination of physical feature just walking down Avienda Nossa Senhora in Copacabana. The scene reminded me of Providence, Rhode Island, when I first moved there in 2006. Providence has very diverse population of people from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican, Cape Verde, Cambodia, and Portugal. This was much different what I experienced in North Carolina growing up. Typically Black or White with a speckle of Latino or Asian. But even experiencing the diversity of Providence didn't  compare to what Rio had in store for me. With being in North Carolina or Rhode Island, heck, basically all over the United States, even with lots of diversity, most people are segregated by ethnic group, religion, etc, etc. The United States calls itself a "melting pot" but really it is more like a salad mixing bowl. Many different ingredients that can work well together but never blend. Each piece can be easily separated and identified just like communities and neighborhoods that dot the US. Brazil, on the other hand, is definitely a melting pot of native american, european, african, and asian customs, cultures, and peoples. Take 10 people of the same complexion and ask them what their ethnic background is and you are likely to get 10 different answers. Why is this? Well it all goes back to how Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese. 
Gilberto Freyre

Sociologist and author Gilberto Freyere examines and describes Brazilian colonization and the dynamics of that developed between Natives, Portuguese, and Africans. His book entitled , Casa-Grande e Senzala or The Masters and the Slaves, breaks down the history, influences, and consequences of Portuguese colonization with some comparisons the the colonization of North America. Basically the major difference is the willingness, eagerness, and/or desperation of the Portuguese to from relationships with native women and eventually african women upon the expansion of the slave trade. This happened also in North American but what was eventually banned in the North became accepted, common practice in the South. Continuous miscegenation between Native, African, and European peoples has lead to this rainbow that is the Brazilian population. Most Brazilian can trace their ancestry to euro/native, euro/african, african/native background and many times all 3 are found. More recently, the program Black in America, explores are the African roots of Brazil. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr traveled to the city of Salvador in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is known as center for African culture and history and I highly recommend this series to anyone who is interested in the african roots of Brazil and South America.
Dr. Gates - Carnaval - Bahia
 Black in Latin America - Brazil


Interview with Bruna Maria

Posted on Sunday, July 1, 2012

Introducing Bruna Maria, teacher, writer, and blogger. A Carioca born and bred. Another great interview. She talks about Portuguese Literature, Education in Brazil, and some of her favorite places. Hope you enjoy and definitely check out her blog. http://blog.brunamaria.com/

How old are you?
- I'm 25 years old.

Where did you grow up in Brazil? 
- I grew up in Rio de Janeiro.

What is your profession?
- I'm a teacher. I teach Portuguese, English and Literature. Now I'm working at the coordination of an English Course.

What is your blog about? 
- My blog is about Literature. All kinds of it. I also write and publish my own production there. I try to write some short essays about what I read as well.

What sparked your interest in Portuguese Lit.? 
Machado de Assis
- Some Brazilian authors as Manuel Bandeira, Guimarães Rosa, Machado de Assis, Fernando Pessoa, and others. They were introduced to me when I was at high school and I just loved it. I always liked to write as well and - as we know - to be a good writer you gotta read a lot. Then, I was really into the Portuguese Literature because of that too.

Favorite authors? 
- My favorite authors in Portuguese Literature are: Guimarães Rosa and Fernando Pessoa. But I like to read all kinds of Literature. For me, the language it's not a big deal. I mean, I believe we have Literature as an Art path - the language doesn't really matter to me. Then, I love to read Marcel Proust, Goethe, Henry Miller, Elias Canetti's essays, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen's and Sylvia Plath's poetry and so many others!...

Which languages do you speak? 
- Only Portuguese and English.

How did you learn English? 
- I studied at a regular course. And as I'm a very curious person, I always try to keep learning by reading, watching movies, TV shows and listening to music. I like to keep in touch with native speakers as well.

What is your cultural/ethnic background? 
My ethnic background is a mix of African, Portuguese and Índios.

Favorite place in Brazil? Why? 

Ilha Grande
- I haven't traveled through Brazil's territory as I'd like to (yet), but wherever I find some beaches - then I have my favorite place. Ilha Grande and Região dos Lagos are great places to go to.

What is your favorite time of year in Brazil?
- I like the Spring time. I love to feel the weather that is warm but not too hot like in the Summer. And I don't really enjoy the Winter. I like to feel the sun, to feel warm, to see the sun shining, the flowers...

How can you tell that a person is a gringo/gringa - minus language? 
- By the clothes they are wearing, mostly; by the accent and by how they wish to speak Portuguese with us. And I can perceive it by how hard is the person tanned as well. Sometimes there are some tourists that get almost burned and it scares me because sunny days are definitely awesome but they can be very dangerous too if you don't walk around carrying your sunblock.

How has Brazil changed over the years? 
- Brazil has been developing it's economics paths, I would say. People are able to buy more and it seems to be a good thing, for instance. However, I'm afraid that it's just a phase, and that the real problems have been discarded. Poor people stay poor, with terrible healthy conditions as well as educational opportunities. I don't see further changes in educational matters, you know. Nowadays - you may say - we have more people studying and applying to universities, but it doesn't really mean that we are developing in science and technical paths. And it doesn't really mean that everybody has the same opportunity to study and to improve. Of course we have better conditions nowadays, but I'm a bit concerned about it. I don't believe that we have a real "solving problems" culture here in Brazil. In my opinion, the government just works on pretending that everything is going as good as it can go. 

Could you see yourself living anywhere else? (Outside your current city or abroad)
- Well, I have never traveled abroad, so it's kinda difficult to think about living in another country. But I must say that I have already considered living in another city - yes.

How do we know each other? 
- We have a friend in common, Renata. She gave me your contact.

What is your biggest annoyance about visitors? 
- The way they believe in stereotypes. Men that think that all the girls are skanks, for instance (pardon my vocabulary, but that's how I feel about it). 

Favorite foreigners? (country)
I don't have a favorite foreigner. I think I like them all, when they come here and respect us. :)

Advice to future visitors coming to Brazil? 
- Try not to know the country by what people tell you before you come. Try to get used to our real routines and life. Don't get stuck at Zona Sul, in Rio (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, etc), try to visit the suburbs, for instance, try to get to know who we really are.


Brazilian Hip Hop

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2012

Brazil is known musically as one of the most culturally rich places on the planet. It is home to the musical genres of Samba, Bossa Nova, Axe, Forró and many more. I, being a Hip Hop head, wanted to  find Brazilian rappers and Hip Hop artists to add my ipod rotation. Youtube, Itunes, and mainly my Brazilian friends have provided me with some interesting artists and I think everyone should take a listen to the few I have posted below. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

PS. Hip Hop is still alive.......just maybe not the States lol





Marcelo D2


Carnaval 2012

Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here is a little video I put together about my trip to Brazil this year. It is basically carnaval in a day and snapshot of what I did everyday. Watch and Enjoy =)



Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recently I did an interview with Kinsey Swartz on his podcast show Brazilianisms. Kinsey is an American expat that currently lives in Belo Horzionte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. We had quick chat about about my experiences in Rio de Janeiro and Rio de Janeiro State. Check it out and support Kinsey's show!

Brazilianism episode 69


Good news? Bad news? The Brazilian Currency

Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012

As many already know the Brazilian economy has been in a boom period for the last decade. Oil discoveries off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, economic & social reforms under the Lula Administration, a stable, and increased foreign investment are just a few reasons for the economic boom. As a result, the middle class grown, real estate prices have increased, and unemployment has fallen to record lows. With more people working and wages going up, these factors bring new purchasing power to millions of ordinary Brazilians who in the past never had disposable income. Disposable income equals increased consumer spending and demand for premium goods and services. Basically the extra cash flow means Brazil's economy is strong. As a result, the Brazilian Real has gained dramatically on the weakened US Dollar. Well this is good, right? Well yes and no, here is why.

Brazilians can travel to the US and buy American products at cheaper prices and this promotes the American economy and pushes for less strict border controls for Brazilian and Americans who wish to travel between each country. That's the good part. The bad part is eventually as the Brazilian Real becomes closer to the dollar in value, it products become more expensive, which price themselves out of various markets, losing to competitors like China, Mexico, and India, where the currencies are weaker. Also it becomes more expensive for visitors to Brazil. Por exemplo, on my recent trip to Rio in February, the exchange rate had 1 US dollar equal to 1.71 Brazilian Reais. In August 2010 and February 2011 the rates where 1.75 and 1.66. This may sound like a few pennies, but when traveling on a budget it can make a big difference.The biggest expense for the traveler will be lodging, food, and transportation. If staying in Brazil (specifically Rio) for a week or more, travelers can save hundreds of dollars on their trip just based on fluctuations in the exchange rate.

A bit more of the good. In the three months since my trip the exchange rate of US Dollars to Brazilian Reais has gone from 1.71 to 1.96. It is projected that this trend will eventually see the rate being 2 to 1. Which will probably happen within the next 20 to 30 days by my guess. This may sound bad but actually this is good for the Brazilian Economy. Yes, foreign products will be more expensive for Brazilian citizens but this gives those citizens the incentive to buy Brazilian made products which boasts Brazilian manufacturing, promotes job growth, increases tax revenue, and keeps money in the country. Also a lower exchange rate makes Brazilian products cheaper for export. This will allow Brazilian companies to compete with Chinese, Indian, and Mexican manufacturers in the global market.

Another bad part is that interests rates have also fallen to all-time lows . Good for consumers, but bad for investors. Investors will see smaller returns on the investments and this could be risky considering that Brazil's past history of financial instability. Also if foreign investors decide to be cautious and pull money out of Brazil, it could spell economic disaster. Massive cash flow out of the country means less capital for banks to use in lending/investing which will cause credit to become restricted. This means less or no loans for small businesses, construction projects, etc, etc. Sound familiar? Personally, I think that lower rates will be good for everyday Brazilians . Why? Because during this economy boom period, consumer credit has been given out like free water. People are buying many goods on credit, but if a economic crisis were to befall Brazil, we could see another scenario like what has played out in the US and Europe. I think the reduction in interest rates and more expensive foreign products will hopefully make Brazilians save cautiously instead of SPEND SPEND SPEND and not get caught up in the current 1st World mess. On the other hand, lower interests usually promote more spending but Brazilians love their Apples, Levis, Sonys, etc just as much we do. So, we shall see. Brasilieiros....Do the Right Thing as Spike would say.

UPDATE: I was way off with why my predication of when the exchange rate would react 2 to 1. It  actually reached this mark a few days after I starting writing this. So now go to Brazil and spend, spend, spend 


Interview with Mariana

Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coming with another interview with one of my favorite Brazilians. Introducing Mariana!! Hope you enjoy!!

Where did you grow up in Brazil?
I grew up in the Wonderful City - Rio de Janeiro!!!

What is your profession?
My profession... I want to be an Engineer, now I am a Master's Student.

Which languages do you speak?
- I speak Portuguese, English, French (I'm still not able to write well in French) and some Spanish (Portonhol, like we say in Brazil!!) =D

How did you learn English?
I studied a little bit, however, I improved my skills listening to music (such as Queen!!), watching movies and talking to people. I still have some problems with prepositions.

What is your cultural/ethnic background?
Ethnic background... well, I'm Brazilian... just mix white, black and native Brazilians and you will get "something" very similar to me!! :p

Favorite place in Brazil?
Now that I'm far, my favorite place is my mother's house, and Parque Lage.

Site where Snoop Dogg filmed his video for "Beautiful"

What is you favorite time of year in Brazil?
- I love summer! I was born during summer.

What is your best Carnival memory?
- I think the best memory, at least a recent one,  was when I started my Bachelor degree. Me and my new friends from my University had a lot of fun together.

How has Brazil changed over the years?
Well, Brazil is a strong economy now. But internally we still have most of the same old issues.

Could you see yourself living anywhere else? (Outside your current
city or abroad)

- I live in France now.. But I still could imagine myself living somewhere else - not here. I am going to do an internship in Denmark, and so far the idea of living there pleases me very much.

How is it different living in France compared to Brazil?
- Food, weather, the speed of making friends...

What things do you miss about Brazil?
- Meat, weather, beach, friends, family

What are your plans after finishing your Master's Degree in France?
- I want to start working!

How did we meet?
I think I was watching a Rugby game in a bar (maybe close to Ipanema) with some friends, and you called me (we had talked before on CouchSurfing), and I left the bar to look for you.

How can you tell that a person is a gringo/gringa - minus language?
- Well... Usually you can tell that looking at the very white ones, that just arrived in Brazil.. after a while, I don't know... maybe it's possible to tell by their accent (but that's excluded from the possible answer)

What is your biggest annoyance about visitors?
The biggest annoyance of visitors is the false image they have about my country and my people. I hope when/if they spend enough time there, they are able to change their point of view. ;)

Favorite foreigners? (country)
I don't have favorite foreigners. As long as they are friendly and respective, I love everyone!

Advice to future visitors coming to Brazil?
Leave some of the preconceptions at your country! And be safe.


Lost my wallet

Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2012

I left for Brazil on Feb. 16th, 2011, flying from Raleigh to Charlotte, then Charlotte direct to Rio de Janeiro. My flight was about 10 hours and pretty uneventful. Basically, I ate my in-flight dinner, watched one of the movies, and then slept until we landed in Rio. After landing and going through customs, things got interesting rather quickly. The plan was go to the ATM, get some local currency (Reais), and hop on the very cheap Real Onibus to ride into the city.

 Well when I reached the ATM, I couldn't find my wallet. Yes, I COULD NOT FIND MY WALLET!! Instant freak out mode. Foreign country, different language, and no cellular service. S***! OK OK Mike. Calm down. Re-trace your steps. Not in my bags, pockets empty. Last time I remember pulling it out was on the plane. S***! I LEFT MY WALLET ON THE PLANE!!! Mind you I have just spent the last 4 months learning basic Portuguese. ummmmm yea out window.....ENGLISH PLEASE!!

 Well this is an international airport..........somebody has to be able to speak English. My thoughts are racing and I'm sweating buckets because I am so nervous plus the temperature was in the 80s in Rio. I calm down somewhat. I walk back to the International Arrivals area looking for nearest help desk/tourist info desk. Luckily the girl working the desk could speak some English. First I get sent to the US Airways ticket desk but since US Airways only has 1 departing flight a day, which is at 11pm, the desk was closed until 5 pm.

The problem was that we landed around 9 am. Not Good. I head back to the help desk, explain the situation and the girl at the desk finds one of the guards who goes back into the terminal to see if he can find my wallet. He comes back with a US Airways rep and she asks for my ticket says she will go look for me. 15 to 20 anxious minutes...viola! I have my wallet in hand............THANK GOD!!!


Interview with Luciana

Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2012

The first interview for AMEB. Here will be little windows into what it is like to live in Brazil and/or be Brazilian. Today, I have my friend from Rio de Janeiro, Luciana. Enjoy and please comment below!

Where did you grow up in Brazil?
 - I was born in Manaus (Amazonas state), but moved to Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro state) when I was 7 years-old and lived there until I turn 18. Then I moved to Rio de Janeiro for my Law studies at the State University and I have been living in Rio since then (I am 29 now).

What is your profession?
 - I had graduated in Law in 2006, but right now I am a receptionist at a hostel in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro city.

Which languages do you speak?
- I speak Portuguese and English, and also have some knowledge of Spanish.

How did you learn English?
- I have joined English courses when I was 11 years-old, but English has been part of my life long time before that. My first lessons came from home with my mom and older brother. I still can remember my mom teaching me how to sing "I just called to say I love" and my older brother teaching me how to count until 10. My mother was always encouraging me to learn English and music was also really important in this process of learning another language. I was always trying to learn songs in English and trying to learn the lyrics by only listenning to the music. Back at that time, there was no google or internet tools to give me the lyrics right away, so I had to learn the lyrics by only listenning to the same song over and over again. Then I went to US in a High School student program. I lived for 6 months in Florida and that helped improving my English skills.  

What is your cultural/ethnic background?
- I am Brazilian, so I am pretty much a little bit of everything :) There is a little bit of Brazilian natives, black, arab, but it is mostly from Portugal.

Favorite place in Brazil?
- Rio de Janeiro!

How can you tell that a person is a gringo/gringa - minus language?
- Usually by the way the person looks. The physical appearance, the clothes and the havaianas tell a lot if the person is or isint a gringo.

How has Brazil changed over the years?
- The world has changed a lot over the years and it couldn't be different to Brazil. We still have the same problems of corruption, precarius education and health systems for the majority of people, but I believe some things in Brazil have improved along the past years. The economy got better, and the people of lower classes now have more access to goods and technology than they had before. The bad thing is that the prices are getting higher when compaired to the rest of Latin America: real state properties, rents and even food are getting more expensive, specially in Rio de Janeiro. Despite that, we have more jobs now and the tourism is getting better and better.

Could you see yourself living anywhere else? (Outside your current
city or abroad)
- I love Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, but I could live abroad again. I guess it could be anywhere near the ocean. My great passion is Portugal, so it would be easy living there (specially up north and at the city of Porto). 

How did we meet?
- That is an interesting question... We have a common friend named Claudio. You have rented an apartment for Carnival days, but you would still need a place to stay for your first night in Rio before going to the apartment, so Claudio asked me if I could help you somehow. So we have talked online and you stayed one night at my house :)

What made you give up Law to go into the tourism industry?
- When I was 18 years, I had to decide what I was going to study at the University. I thought about Tourism, but back then there was not that much talking about Tourism and there were no public course of Tourism in Rio de Janeiro, so I ended up joining the Law University. I studied Law for 5 years and worked for more 5 years as a Lawyer, but have always kept myself informed about what was going on in Tourism. On November, 2011, I finally decied to leave Law behind and start my studies on Tourism. Since I don't have any experience on the area or further studies on that, I started working in a hostel. I am happier now than ever in my life, and I can't see myself working again in Law. However, I have no regrets about Law and I think it was really important for my education and my background.

How was your experience in the US?
- It was really good. I have met very nice people there and have great memories from US. I miss the people, the roads, the nice smell of most of the stores and I really miss some food! I hope I can go back to US and have the chance to visit more of this huge country. 

What is your biggest annoyance about visitors?
- When they don't respect the hostel rules. It is not really common that they do disrepect the rules, but this is really what spoils my mood.

Favorite foreigners? (country)
- It is a difficult question... I still haven't had enough guests to have a favorite nationality. 

Advice to future visitors coming to Brazil?
- I see some people bringing lots of clothes to Brazil, and later they tell me they didn't use most of them. We are talking about a tropical country with the most relaxing and easygoing environment, so don't worry about bringing too many things. All you will need is some light clothes and comfortable shoes or sandals. Come here with open mind and enjoy the place :)


Getting to Brazil: Visa

Posted on Sunday, April 22, 2012

For those that are interested in visiting Brazil, I decided to talk about the process of obtaining a visa and clearly any confusion about why American citizens must get a visa before entering the country.

Unlike when traveling to Europe or other parts of Central and South America, US citizens need to an official tourist visa to enter the country. The reason for this is that the Brazilian government policy of reciprocity. The US government requires all Brazilian citizens to have a visa in order to enter the US and this visa costs about 140 dollars. So Brazilian responds to this policy by requiring the same of US citizens. This is very understandable and fair, atleast I think so, and it is still a far much easier process for US citizens compared to Brazilians.

The process for obtaining a visa is as follows:

a) have a valid passport;

b) a return ticket (return must be booked);

c) evidence of having enough financial resources to pay for their expenses during their stay in Brazil. The individual should allocate at least R$ 170, 00 for daily expenses. Examples of documents accepted as evidence: a credit card and its last invoice where the credit limit can be assessed;

d) if the tourist is staying in a hotel: evidence/receipt of the booking, or

e) in case the individual is staying with a host family: an invitation letter  from a Brazilian citizen living in the Brazilian city where the tourist is going to. The letter should state the period of time the Spanish tourist is staying in the residence, and it has to be signed by the host as well as certified by a register office which will issue a proof of residence in the name of the host. (Please note that there is no standard form for the letter of invitation. Provided that the information above is included, the letter should be

In my experience c, d, and e were not asked about and I did not provide documents

Next go to the to the website of the consulate that represents your region of the US, then fill out and print the tourist visa application

Visa request form

Here is where things can get a bit annoying if you don't have all the correct documents. I suggest mailing in everything instead of having to drive or fly to the nearest consulate. Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (embassy) 

Go to the post office and get a US postal service money order for $140. NO CASH, CREDIT, or NON-USPS money orders will be accepted. While at the post office obtain 2 express next day envelopes: 1 with the address of the consulate and 1 with your home address. 

Place inside:

visa application
photocopy of round trip tickets to Brazil
photocopy of driver's license or photo ID as proof residence in consulate region
2 passport photos
USPS money order for $140
return express mail envelope

After you mail everything, it should take about 2 days to get your documents returned with your valid Brazilian visa.

This will is good for 10 years with a total of 180 days allowed per year in the country. So basically you can stay 6 months per year in Brazil for 10 years.

So get now that you have your visa it is time to get out there and enjoy all that Brazil has to offer

Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta
Embassy of Brazil in Washington D.C.
Brazilian Tourism Website


One of the reasons why I love Brazil

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2012

One of the wonderful things about Brazil is it's diversity, especially its deep African roots. Unfortunately, this image isn't on the the runways in International modeling. Thanks to Bruce, from thebrazilshow.com,  for making a video celebrating afro hair and maybe indirectly the diversity of Brazil.


Song of the Day

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012

Marcelo D2 - Ela Disse

Se liga aí, ó!
Esta é uma história de quem sempre persiste.
É que malandro que é malandro nunca desiste.
Cabeça feita de um jeito ou de outro.
Mas o corpo fechado como qualquer caboclo.
E não importa se é de noite ou de dia, que vagabundo com estilo é sempre na picadilha.
O que aconteceu foi mais ou menos assim ó,
O que eu vou te contar foi o que ela disse pra mim.
Quer subir, ela disse pra mim
Quer ficar, ela disse pra mim
Vai com calma vai, ela disse pra mim
Por amor ou besteira foi que ela disse pra mim.
Aí eu disse, lhe interessa, cheio de boa intenção e disposição a beça.
E um bate papo sem jogar fora a conversa.
Se a intenção é a mesma me diz, pra que a pressa.
Eu disse que gosto disso, ela disse eu também.
Disse que gosta daquilo, ela disse eu também.
Parece até que a gente se conhece há um tempo,
O bagulho ta esquentando neguinho vai vendo.
Aí foi, uma taça de vinho, sem problema algum,
Uma fita no sozinho e aperta mais um.
No começo é aquele papo de sempre,
Comigo é diferente, comigo é diferente.
Todo mundo no vermelho, cumpadi é isso.
Muito tesão, pouco compromisso.
Falo besteira e ela sorriu pra mim,
Porque o que aconteceu foi mais ou menos assim ó,
(Refrão x2)
Aí eu disse:
Tchuruptchru, Tchuruptchru,
Tchuruptchru, Tchuruptchru,
Que coisa boa aquele beijo na boca,
Eu fiquei louco e sei que você também ficou louca.
Foi uma noite especial pra gente;
Foi bom pro coração e alimentou a mente.
Não acredito que alguém sinta por você o que eu sinto agora,
Vamo simbora, vai por mim.
Balanço de amor é assim,
Agora ela fala todo dia pra mim no pé do ouvido.

This is a story of who always persists.
It is that which is mischievous rogue never gives up.
Head made ​​one way or another.
But the body as any closed half-breed.
And no matter if it is night or day, that bum with style is always in picadilha.
What happened was something like O,
What I will tell you that's what she said to me.
Wanna jump up, she said to me
you want to stay, she said to me
Take it easy going, she said to me
For love or did she say bullshit to me.
So I said, you're interested, full of good intention and willingness to lot.
And a chat conversation without throwing away.
If the intent is the same tell me, why the rush.
I said I like it, she said I also .
She said she likes what she told me too.
It seems like we've known for some time,
nigga The dope ta warming will see.
There was a glass of wine, no problem,
in a tape alone and a further tightening .
At the beginning of that stuff is always
me it's different with me is different.
Everyone in red, man's it.
Very horny little commitment.
I speak nonsense and she smiled at me,
because what happened was something like O ,
(Chorus x2)
Then I said:
Tchuruptchru, Tchuruptchru,
Tchuruptchru, Tchuruptchru,
Tchuruptchru, Tchuruptchru,
How wonderful that kiss on the mouth,
I was crazy and I know you also went insane.
It was a special night for us,
was good for the heart and the mind fed .
do not believe that someone that you feel what I feel now
Let simbora, will for me.
balance of love is so
Now she talks to me every day in the ear.


Oi, Tudo bem!

After a long hiatus and a recent trip to Rio for Carnaval, I have to decided to restart the blog. This time I'm going in a completely different and more focused direction with the blog. As many people know, I am a huge fan of Brazil and talk about it ALL THE TIME. So I have decided to make this blog all about my favorite place on Earth. Starting today I will post things that directly relate to Brazil and I will also will have interviews with some of my friends that I have met in Brazil, and people interested in Brazil. So for now I will be playing around with this thing and seeing what works and what doesn't work. So read along, make comments, and please give me suggestions if there anything that you want me to blog about. Thanks/Obrigado!!

Expat Blog

Expat in São Paulo