Why I won’t be going back to Brazil

Brazil map

If you’ve read the last few posts you’ve probably figured out that I wasn’t crazy about Brazil. I’ll say it now: Brazil was for me the most disappointing place I’ve been on vacation. My opinion is based on 2 1/2 weeks of travel within a small portion of Brazil, so take my opinion for what it’s worth…but as equally as I can say that I loved Colombia during my 2 visits, I can also say that I really didn’t enjoy Brazil.

The biggest reason were the people. Maybe I thought the people would be “Latin”, like in Colombia, Cuba, or the Dominican Republic; happy, outgoing, and friendly people. They weren’t. I actually felt they were hostile, something I never expected when planning to go there. I’ve never felt people as unfriendly towards me as I did in Brazil. I’ve thought about it a lot, wondering what it could have been. Is it because I’m Caucasian, and that they confuse me as being an American? (I’m Canadian). Is it because Lissette and I are a mixed raced couple? My best theory is that it’s political, specifically anti-American sentiment due in part to the whole Visa situation. I know Brazilians are upset about the Visa fees imposed on any Brazilian citizen wanting to visit the USA.

We can all look at other countries and disagree with their policies or politics. That’s fine. But when I, as an individual, have some Brazilian woman intentionally hitting me with her luggage cart (twice) at the airport, I start taking it personally. I would ask someone a question and they would respond but would do it addressing Lissette (maybe because she’s brown?). I can count on one hand the number of people who would respond with a smile or who weren’t brusque in their manner. Brazil was the one place where I felt that I could be mugged in broad daylight and where locals and authorities wouldn’t even budge to help you (you think I’m exaggerating? Read this post by a fellow blogger).

We’ve argued about this; Lissette thinks it’s great that Latin people are, in her words, “Proud, they won’t bow to the white man. Most Latinos don’t stick together and Brazilians do”. I respond that I have no problem if they’re proud and I don’t ask anyone to bow down to me. But if I’m being friendly and people are rude towards me then I have no reason to like them. I’m not American, this “anti-Americanism” is a broader brush against any white traveler. I left Brazil with memories of the unfriendly people I met along the way: the above mentioned woman intentionally hitting me within 5 minutes of arriving in Rio, the bartender staring at Lissette’s cleavage at the $260/night Sol Ipanema (Right in front of my face), the useless dumb-asses laughing at us when we asked for information. We don’t have any  great memories of the people we met along the way in Brazil.

But I’m not sure it was only this either. We took a boat cruise where almost all the tourists were Brazilian (most tourists we saw were either Brazilians touring their own country or Argentinians). They weren’t all that friendly towards each other either.

A few other points about Brazil;

  • “Hot Brazilian women”. I’ve seen tons of photos of beautiful Brazilian women but they must have all gone indoors when we were there. Colombian women are still the hottest Latin ladies in my books. They even smile at you in Colombia.
  • Suprisingly, it’s the Brazilian men who are very good looking. Lissette suggests that Brazil would be a great place for a single woman. Or gay man. Maybe I’ll come back to Brazil if I’m gay in my next life. Yeah: dead, reincarnated, and gay – the only way I’ll come back to Brazil.
  • Caipirinha” is an amazing drink and I loved it. Wow!
  • Despite my comments, there was incredible geographical beauty in all the places we went. Brazil is a beautiful country. I loved the combination of mountains/ocean in Rio province and was impressed by Iguazu.

Again, this is just my opinion based on 2 1/2 weeks travelling within a small part of Brazil. I’m sorry to be negative and I don’t mean to offend any Brazilians reading this. Maybe our experience would be different if we returned tomorrow. But this was our experience and I think its important to tell it as it is.


Related: Why we didn’t like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Have you been to Brazil? What was your experience?



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  1. I had such a different experience – I absolutely loved Brazil, albeit after an even shorter visit than yours, and in only a small part of it (in the south). The people were super friendly, I really liked the cities I visited, the ocean views (and of course the falls) were amazing, and I had the best sushi in the world. But I’m a single girl so according to Lissette, that explains it 😉
    Anna Lundberg recently posted…A gun in my face and another visit to the police: Why I don’t like ParaguayMy Profile

    • Ps and I’m Swedish and live in Switzerland, so über-neutral and not even remotely American 😉

      • Hi Anna!
        Thanks for your comments. Hmmm, when did you go? I can’t explain it – but we both felt it, it wasn’t my imagination. Maybe they just hated my face? Or maybe, like you say, because you’re a solo girl? They were plenty friendly with Lissette when I would get up to go to the bathroom or go to the bar….And I swear, started 5 min after getting off the plane when that woman started hitting me with her luggage cart. Nope, I didn’t like them one bit.
        Oh well, we all have different experiences eh? And we Canadians like the Swedes. Except when playing hockey – then we hate you 🙂 .

      • BBecker says:

        You’re lucky. I have gotten to the point where I despise the (Dis)United States so much that I consider myself a German who had the misfortune to have been born in this war-mongering hell hole. I’d give anything NOT to be an American. Count your blessings that you are not!!!

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          I’m usually getting comments from angry Brazilians on this post, so I’m relieved (but a little confused) by your comment 🙂
          Feel free to expand on your thoughts, I’m curious why you would say that. I understand some of your misgivings, my wife was born American (but now has American/Canadian duel citizenship). She’s not always proud of certain aspects of being American. But on the other hand she would say that Americans are quite lucky to be born where they are compared to all the shit-holes on earth…

          • Hello Frank,
            I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in Brazil. It is interesting how short a period of time in a country can make one so angry and disappointed. I am from Brazil and a reside in the USA for 16 years now. My friends will say “you can make friends with a toilet paper” haha (it is true). The more the merrier!
            I say Brazil is such a big country that unfortunately you have met people who I probably wouldn’t be friends with either. It is almost like going to Boston or California (just as an example). You will have a completely different experiences. My husband is American and he has been in 20 different countries as he travel all over the world for business. We have never been to Brazil together however he goes to Sao Paulo every year for business and even though he pointed out Vietnam and Taiwanese people as unmatched welcome warm people he also say the same thing about Brazilians (not because he is married to one – he does not hide his feelings or lie about it). He is himself very friendly and easy going and when he makes a negative comment I believe him. He didn’t encounter a warm feeling in Israel, however they go through so much that is almost justified. He claims Spain is the worst place at least for Americans (they were very rude in general – love their tapas though). And let me just clarify (Brazilians don’t hate Americans at all) and being a Brazilian I don’t agree with Visa rules either. They make it hard for us too trust me. I need to renew my Brazilian passport and I am not looking forward to. I am sure if you go to Rio/Belo Horizonte or South Brazil you will love it. Two weeks is too short and too little to make such a general statement. I hope you have a chance to meet some more of “us” Brazilians who can change your mind in the future about our culture. My lovely dear neighbor passed suddenly last year and he was an amazing person and I always tell people (he would laugh even when my jokes were not that funny)…He was Canadian. At the end of the day there are lovely people everywhere and also less than lovely people all around the world. I would say I come from a place where most of us are very welcoming and friendly and some of us are not. But in a population over 204,618,000 it is expected to find everything in between. Paz e Amor (Love & Peace)

          • Frank (bbqboy) says:

            Thank you for the nice comment Curly. We can only form impressions from our experiences, which is why travel is so personal. You might go somewhere twice and have a different feeling about the place both times based on the people you meet and your experiences. But it is how we form our opinions, like your husband has about Vietnam, Taiwan, Spain (I’m surprised by that one), and Israel. I’ve heard some bloggers say they really had bad experiences in Vietnam – so nice to hear an opinion to the contrary.
            So I understand what you say about general statements. On the other hand, the world is a big place and after our experiences I really have no desire to go back to Brazil. At least for a long time…
            But I’ve received many nice comments like yours in response to this post. Maybe I’ll have to reconsider one day 🙂

          • Just one more comment. Brazilian man will normally hit on a beautiful woman even if she is has a ring on her finger. Kind of a cultural thing. Don’t feel insulted though. It is a sign that your woman is beautiful. That’s all. They can all look as long as they don’t touch you are ok:)

          • Frank (bbqboy) says:

            In most places in the world you don’t hit on a woman if she is with her man. That’s disrespect. And it’s especially disrespectful when its coming from staff in a $250/night hotel. Sorry, here I disagree. I think it’s just rude.

    • On business there twice for two weeks each. Spent time in Rio, Sao Paulo and Pourto Allegro (PA is in the south of Brazil). Rio is beautiful to look at and Sao Paulo is a sprawling mass of humanity. Also spent the weekend on the coast about a three hour drive out of Sao Paulo in a town called Ubatuba (pardon the spelling). I would like to comment about the Ubatuba weekend first. I was traveling with Brazilians who were steel traders. We were walking down a brick paved street known in the USA as a 10 foot wide path. Very quaint and very old. I had noticed an older guy riding a bicycle a block or so back. Moments later I was hit from behind by this guy and his bike and knocked to the ground. My Brazilian travelers helped me up and admonished the biker in Portugees and away he rode as though nothing had happened. I should say that we three folks were the only people on the street. I can’t blame all of Brazil for this episode but I will never forget it and it obviously does not make me feel warm or fuzzy either. Must tell you that this act was totally intentional and I have no way of knowing why it happened other than to say the guy was either nuts or he didn’t like my race or nationality (white and USA citizen).

      I should have made this comment first as it is the most incredible thing but folks please hang in there with me. Arrived in Rio on a Sunday morning, checked into a hotel (the Mach Sud) directly across from Copacabana beach. Us two USA guys wanted to go swimming but our Brazilian escort made us listen to him closely about foreigners on the Rio beaches. Don’t wear jewlery, watch, camera or cash. Take yourself and a towel and shoes if you dare. He told us to be prepared because he was confident we would witness a robbery before we finished swimming. He went on to say that when this happens half of the beach goers (mostly Brazilians) would get up and chase after the robber and that if they caught him they would drag him back to the the person stolen from. Being from North America we took this advise with a half grain of sand but then it happened. The thief ran north toward Ipanema beach followed by what seemed like every person on the beach. A serious estimate is at the least-100 beach goers. My partner and I looked at each other and said “lets follow the crowd and see what happens, and so we did for five or six blocks where upon the leaders had already caught the kid and were taking turns carrying him back by his ears. Two adult men would carry him as far as they could before running out of gas and then two more stepped in like a tag team wrestling match. I’m serious in choosing these words to that you will really get what I am saying is not only accurate but actually happened. Get this, the thief’s feet never touched the ground except when two more guys stepped in the the other tired guys. This male thief was about 15 or 16 years old and about 5’9″tall, not some grade schooler. He was bleeding badly from his ears. So we followed the crowd back to the beach and the crowd took him to the person stolen from. Now, the Brazilian we traveled with warned us this might well happen (because it did happen every day) which a couple of US well of white guys found hard to believe until it actually happened. What happened next we were also warned about by our Brazilian host. He had said that the crowd will take the guy back to the aggrieved party and and wait for a thumbs up or thumbs down. If the aggrieved gave a thumbs up, the crowd would be very unhappy but would walk away and let it go at that. However if the aggrieved gave a thumbs down the crowd would beat him badly and sometimes beat him to death. We did not go with the crowd but rather to our towel on the beach and just watched for a few seconds. When we saw the huge crowd close in on the thief and seeing the frenzy that ensued we looked at each other and immediately left the beach, crossed the avenue and headed to our rooms. This saga actually happened, it was 1987.

      Lastly, the gang’s who travel by foot in numbers of 20 to 40 are the most frighting. Sunday morning we took a walk on a main street and a gang of 30 young males rounded the corner an immediately started toward us yelling gringo. We ducked into a clothing store and hoped they would pass by and fortunately they did.

      My bottom line on Brazil is that Rio’s geography is spectacular, the restaurants were tremendous (but we ate in only the best places) but that I felt like my head was on a swivel and for good reason. I exited an airport through a door that would not open from my side to get back in. I realized I badly needed the bathroom and tried to reenter the door which was not possible. I turned to three male employees standing there smoking a cigarette and asked “donde el banyo”. In unison the three gave me the finger and laughed heartily.
      I found Sao Paulo to be sprawling and crowded and polluted the likes of which I have never seen however I have never been to Mexico City which guys I know say is worse. That’s hard to believe though.

      Lastly I got an up front and personal look at the corruption that is a matter of every day life. We were on the freeway in Sao Paulo riding in my hosts personal car. I saw money paper-clipped to his visor. I asked why and he said it’s for the cop to stops him next, not for any transgression but just for the graft. He pointed out that if he had no cash to give he would be ticketed for sure in spite of the fact that he had done nothing wrong. He explained that the way it works is that a large contingent of cops gather along the road and wait for the next GROUP of cars. Then they swing into action, one cop per car and pull you over. Our host is a pro at this game and simply swung his visor down and over to the window. The cop took the money, never said a word…not a word, and went away.

      Conclusion: No I would never go back. As beautiful as Rio is it is also equally dangerous and that’s not what I call a family vacation. I’d take my chance on a cartel filled spot in Mexico before going back there. And the lady who said I just can’t understand why people write bad reviews, noting she only spent a short time there and only in the south of the country, try going a bit further north to Sao Paulo and then on to Rio. You might understand it then.

      • Frank (bbqboy) says:

        Oh wow, those are quite the stories! They seem a bit dated but why don’t they surprise me? One of the things we were told by our taxi driver is that you have to be careful driving to the airport in Rio because people intentionally shoot from the slums along the highway at cars going by. Whether this was BS or not I don’t know…but why would a local taxi driver lie about that?

        True or not, you basically summed up our feelings: we always felt that we were looking over our shoulder in Brazil. Call it a gut feeling. But we were never comfortable…and I’ve been to Mexico (which I love and which has changed a lot), Colombia, and South Africa (we’ve been in Cape Town for the last 3 months). In short, we’ve never felt as unsafe anywhere as we felt in Rio.

        Thanks for the comment, very much appreciate 🙂

        • Frank,
          My comments are dated going back to 1987 and again in 1988. Things are worse now though with open gun fights in the street and folks who can’t wait for the world to arrive for the world cup and the Olympics. I won’t be one of them and it seems you won’t either.
          Sometimes I wonder which is worse, the big cities in brazil or Newark, Baltimore, Chicago and South Central LA. Et,all.
          Enjoy Cape Town Frank and stay safe.

          • Frank (bbqboy) says:

            Thank you Dan. Yes, I don’t want to go back to Brazil (although Lissette sometimes suggests that we should maybe give it another chance). I just didn’t like it.
            Happy Travels 🙂

        • I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience here. But I’m also going to be honest, you traveled to the one place in Brazil that never want to visit, and I’m brazilian. We can treat well our tourists. If you ever feel like doing some ecotourism, might I suggest Bonito? If you’re worried about the language barrier, there is a hostel owned by a brazilian/english couple (just search for Papaya Hostel Bonito on Google). I went to Bonito twice and I had a lot of fun.

  2. I kind of agree with you. I paid US $130 for a visa and I’m hoping that’s how much it’ll be when I go back next year because I have to renew it. :/ (I was there in 2009) While I didn’t think they were so unfriendly, I felt they could have been friendlier. I didn’t have direct experiences like you did though. I agree about the women and actually had a talk with a guy in my area about this when I came back. He didn’t believe me about the women there! The guys were lookers, that’s for sure. 😉 I haven’t really explored Colombia but I will say I thought the Argentine women were prettier. I have made Brazilian friends on my travels in other countries and they are friendly so I think it’s not everyone there. I feel the most friendliest people I’ve met are in Guatemala and Peru. I actually felt safe during the day but at night, no. It was better to walk around with a big group. During Carnival, it was fun and had a great time. I actually am going back to Brazil this summer for the World Cup! I’m excited to see if there are any changes from the 5 years difference of last being there. By the way, I loved Northern Brazil (around Manaus area) a little more. Food was really good and felt a nicer vibe in the air. Oh and the scenery is AMAZING!

    • Thanks for the comment Reima! You know what, maybe the stars just didn’t align for us in Brazil. Maybe if we went back tomorrow we would have a completely different experience. But ours wasn’t good and Lissette laughs about it to this day – as she says, it’s like I was walking around with shit in my pants the way people looked at me. They just really, really didn’t like me and I didn’t do anything. I really can’t explain our Brazilian experience and why people were as they were.

      Great to hear you like the people in Guatemala, that’s on our short list and we hope to be there in the next year or so.

      Good to hear that Northern Brazil was friendly.

      Thanks for all your feedback!

  3. Henrique says:

    Caalm down my friend! =D

    “Never come back” – Never is really a strong word. You got one bad experience over here and I understand and agree with you.

    In Brazil there is only one way to make things right: “tocar o foda-se”, it means “let the shit roll” or “don’t give a single shit”. That’s the way Brazil works, people don’t give a single shit about nothing.

    We love ALL “gringos” and everyone is welcome in our country, mexicans, afghans, americans, asians and whatever. Brazil is NOT know for xenophobia, actually we are well know for reciprocity in diplomatic ways. The same burocracy other countries impose to us we impose to them, so we don’t feel bad about americans because the same “online form” we need to send you have to.

    There is maybe other reasons for all this happen. Maybe the places you visit, maybe the people you talk, maybe the way you talked…I mean, it’s not because the foreigners call us friendly we give a hug in everyone.

    Try another visit =D…I’m sure it won’t happen again.

    Sorry about my bad english

    Brasília, Brazil

    • Hi Henrique – thank you for the nice comment, I don’t often get friendly comments on my Brazil posts 😉 . It was like a bad dream…did I mention that I got attacked by a toucan? Maybe one day the trip will have receded far into the back of our memory and we’ll change our minds. Maybe.
      You’re English is excellent, better than my Portuguese.

  4. Henrique says:

    You’re Welcome =D

    If you enjoy nature next time come to Brasília and drive to Chapada dos Veadeiros – Povoado de São Jorge. It’s a unique trip in the world where you can appreciate the Cerrado Forest (only in Brazil it exists) and enjoy nice people. I’m always driving to there and I never regret, its a unique place to meet people from all around the world and enjoy the most amazing waterfalls (there are more them 20 I believe).

    And I can almost guarantee everyone in Povoado São Jorge it’s friendly. Try to stay in the Camp where you can met a lot nice people and enjoy night music concerts. Here is some photos:

    Povoado de São Jorge
    Photo 1
    Photo 2

    Camping Taiua (Camping, only $15/day)
    Photo 1
    Photo 2

    Chapada dos Veadeiros (Some waterfalls, almost all of them cost $5)
    Photo 1
    Photo 2
    Photo 3
    Photo 4
    Photo 5

    Trip Advisor review

    • Thank you Henrique, some good resources for anyone thinking of going to this area! Much appreciate your input.
      PS Great photos of the waterfalls!! Beautiful.

  5. Interesting post, I’ve been living in Brazil for the past 11 months and agree that the people can be unfriendly. Especially in the city where I live, they have this “German culture” (I put that in quotes because the only thing that’s German is how the people look) which is basically an excuse to be rude and think they’re better than you. I have a question, did you try to speak Portuguese with the people there or did you only speak English? If you tried to speak English with everyone, that could have been a huge part of it. I’ve learned that Brazilians really don’t like speaking English and feel like they shouldn’t be forced to is they don’t want to. I understand unfriendly people can be a downer, but “never coming back” are pretty strong words! Maybe in a few years or so you should give it another chance 🙂
    Hannah Wasielewski recently posted…How I Learned Portuguese (and how you can learn a new language, too!)My Profile

    • Hi Hannah. No, never spoke English – got by with my Spanish which people seemed to understand (spoke slowly). So I don’t think comprehension was the problem. But that’s an interesting perspective. Are you in the Sao Paulo?
      Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future about it 🙂 .

  6. Richard says:

    This is really interesting because we have just come back from the World Cup and was generally disappointed with the attitude of the Brazillians and did not feel that welcome. I know in England we are manners obsessives but on so many occasions when we were buying something we would say Obrigado and smile with absolutely nothing in return. I purposely learnt some Portuguese for two months before going as I knew the language would be difficult but too often even that did not help. To be fair the people in Fortaleza were great but Rio and Salvador very mixed. Especially after sitting next to someone of the plane going over who made a point of saying they will be great because they are so friendly and they love football.

    I do not know whether it was because they were very proud, not confident speaking with foreigners or as a result of the protests and bad feeling about the World Cup but there was a distinct atmosphere. Ironically on my 8th WC we have never mixed with so many nice and interesting people from around the world and I just wonder whether they were more open than normal was because they did not receive the expected local Bon Hommie.

    Without going too far on this I was rather surprised at how obesity has taken hold in such an active country and the days of bathing beauties seems very much in the past. I think Brasil can be summed up in our view of Salvador in so much beauty, rich in culture but then a lot of decay and a bit disappointing.

    • Very interesting comment. I’m sorry your team didn’t do better, but obviously you had a good time meeting people from around the world. I imagine it must be a great atmosphere for that alone!
      You’ve echoed my feelings on Brazilians. Is it fair to say that maybe no other country promises such high expectations as Brazil? We think Brazil and conjure up friendly people, beautiful women, lush scenery, toucans and tropical forests. And while it does deliver on some of these things we quickly realize that some of our ideas before getting there are in reality illusions. I’ve met some many incredibly friendly people in Latin America that I somehow thought it would be the same in Brazil. I was so wrong. I’m sure there are many factors that explain how they feel; one Brazilian commented to my Rio post saying that Americans (I’m not American by the way) are maybe suffering the side affects of how ‘they’ve behaved in the past’. Maybe Brazilians have negative feelings towards Westerners because of the colonial past? Or maybe I’m just over-thinking it. Maybe they’re just not the friendliest culture you’ll ever meet. As I said above, we went on a cruise where almost everyone was Brazilian and they weren’t that friendly amongst themselves either.
      Thank you for the comment Richard, nice to hear from someone who went to the World Cup.

      • I was shocked to learn that the French high jumping champion (who obtained the silver medal in Rio) was booed by the public during competition. He said he had never witnessed such a degree of nastiness in his whole career.

      • No, brazillians are not that friendly at all. It was better before, but over the last 7 years, they have become more closed and reserved and racist. Fascism has increased in Brazil alot.Brazillian culture by nature is closed, classist, xenophobic and ego centric, always has an always been; Even Mexican culture is nicer. Colombians are friendlier. Brazil is not what people think and have been fed by the media. People are closed and crazy many vagabonds, drugs, crime, women are closed and difffcult and Brazillians are not the most friendly people in Latin America, yeah some of them, but it is not what you think

  7. Tamires says:

    Hey Frank, how are you? 🙂

    I just came across your blog and, as a proud Brazilian (hahaha), I couldn’t leave this page without making a short comment. I just want to say: don’t feel that bitter about us 🙂 I think you were really unlucky in your trip, and I feel sorry for this. I’m a traveller too and, to be honest, I felt humiliated for quite a few times during my trips. In countries such as France, Germany, Britain, Portugal, etc, I’ve been asked thinks like “You’re Brazilian?????? How could you manage to have money to be here????” and “Oh you’re a Brazilian girl? Are you here for making money then?”. Well, that hurts me a lot indeed. And actually that’s not uncommon, lots of friends of mine told me something similar happened to them. I think South Americans in general do not have a very warm welcoming in Europe and North America, I guess it is because these places are plenty of South American immigrants that are mostly marginalised (well that’s just a guess). And maybe that’s why a few Brazilians feel they shouldn’t be the friendliest people to a “gringo”. Being humiliated it’s a lot worse than not receiving a smile back, right? 🙂
    And really, that thing of not receiving a smile back is absolutely understandable if that person receives around 200 dollars per month to live and raise its family, using a public transport which is outrageously bad and public health is a joke – thats the life of a regular Brazilian. (Not to mention corruption…) VERY different of the life of a regular Canadian. It’s hard to be smiling all the time if you have a tough life.

    Summing it all up, I think Brazil is pretty much like everywhere else in the world: there are friendly and unfriendly people. But I do think we have more friendly than unfriendly ones haha 🙂 Hope you can have a better experience in a next time!

    • Thank you for your comment Tamires. I’m sorry to hear of how you were treated, I’ve heard other Brazilians say they felt the same way in Europe. I can tell you that they would like you in Canada – anybody Brazilian is considered ‘exotic’. In general, Canadians like Latin people.
      I understand your points and as a traveler (as you know), we can only judge countries by our experiences there. If an European is being unfriendly to you, you are not going to be analyzing “we’ll maybe he is having a bad day”, “maybe she didn’t sleep well so she is being unfriendly” etc. If people are unfriendly it will usually shape your opinion on the country. I agree with what you say though – everywhere there are friendly and unfriendly people. And maybe if we went back to Brazil tomorrow we would meet a few people who were friendly. And sometimes it is just a few people that you meet along the way that can turn a bad experience into a great one.
      I appreciate your input and your nice words. And I also wish you more pleasant experiences on your future travels 🙂 .

  8. Right.

    So 1stly, I’m very sorry to say that, the fault is all on you guys.
    Unfortunately, by the poor sense of holistic culture ppl from developed countries get while in school, you had to make up your mind about what’s Brazil like when travelling.

    I saw a comment saying ‘ We think Brazil and conjure up friendly people, beautiful women, lush scenery, toucans and tropical forests’, then it explains all. You came here expecting people smiling at you and just being kind cos ‘we are happy regardless our problems’. Yeah, I know that you think like that, as much as we think the same when visiting Africa. We picture happy black ppl dancing in the wilderness, smiling and touching our skin or hair.
    It’s quite hard to admit, but we’ll always have high expectations when it comes to poorer countries (not all of them), cos we think it’s people’s duty to be kind. When visiting France (f.eg), the scenario changes by the common sense that French, specially in Paris, are not friendly at all.

    I found it funny when you said you made it in Spanish haha or the other one who took a 2 month course in Portuguese. Again, I don’t blame you, but because things are usually easier for you (as a English speaker and Canadian), seems like when you make a little effort you must win the Nobel Prize. You should see what foreigns go trough when visiting North America/Western Europe.

    In my personal opinion, as a traveller, I don’t think it’s a crime when you act like that – again because I understand the way you’re educated – but at the same time, it should be considered by yourselves that the world is not only about North America and Western Europe. Don’t think of me as a ‘Proud Latina’, cos I’m not! But after living abroad, I’ve learned how to see the world with the others perspective.

    I dislike the Brazilian manners, just like you, or even more. I’ve been to many countries and lived in Ireland so it’s quite annoying such things over here. For that, you could defo make a point. I can imagine how bizarre is for a Londoner – who says ‘sorry’ to the air – having to walk in such packed spot as Rio and ppl just doesn’t care if they’re on your way. I get depressed by the way mostly men treat women. AGAIN, for those reasons you could be right by being disappointed.

    All in all, feels like you’ve taken offences very personally. Seems like you’ve got you pride hurt rather then true disrespect. Yeah you mentioned the woman hitting you at the airport, which is awful, but what else? Ppl didnt smile back? I can’t really see true facts in your text, only ‘personal expectations’ that were not delivered.

    I really wish you better trips tho.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks for the comment Laura.
      Firstly, if you are judging the post by “We think Brazil and conjure up friendly people, beautiful women, lush scenery, toucans and tropical forests” then you don’t understand Tongue-in-cheek ie. it is the way that Brazil is portrayed in the media and to the world. It is the way Brazil advertises itself (see the ads for the FIFA World Cup and the upcoming olympics). I mention that on the first line of my Rio post. Of course I don’t expect such a generalized vision of Brazilians just as I don’t expect a generalized vision of a Canadian (drinking beer and bacon while watching a hockey game). So maybe you didn’t understand where I was coming from.

      But Brazil does portray itself as a ‘friendly’ destination. That it wasn’t. At least not for us. And I’ve lived in Africa, traveled through much of Latin America and Asia. It has nothing to do with being a poor country even though you make it seem like that’s what you want it to be about.

      As far as mentioning that I said I got by in Spanish I don’t see your point. One of the commenters above asked me if I spoke English to the locals. I knew where that was headed – “ah, stupid white man goes to Brazil and expects everyone to speak to him in English and gets upset when they don’t understand or don’t speak back”. I don’t speak Portuguese but I made an effort in Spanish and was understood, that was my point. I too get upset when I hear foreigners going somewhere and thinking that everyone has to cater to them. So again, I think you want me to fit a certain stereotype of what you think of North Americans.

      You make a lot of accusations about ‘holistic culture from developed countries’ and point fingers about how foreigners are treated going to North America/Western Europe. I’ve gotten a few of these comments from Brazilians replying to these posts, using it to justify their own unfriendliness. I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do about other people in Western Europe/North America. But, like Brazilians, they’re not always friendly to each other either and we ourselves have had unfriendly experiences. Again, I’ve been to many places where people are not unfriendly despite injustices of the past. Brazil is still, for me, the unfriendliest place that I’ve been. And as I say a the top of the post, that’s just based on my experience. Maybe I was a magnet for unfriendly people on that trip. But that was my experience and I very much doubt I would ever want to come back…

      The bottom line is very simple: as travellers, from wherever we are, we want to travel places where we feel safe and where locals are not unfriendly. I’m sorry for any traveller who goes somewhere and feels like he is treated like crap. I would be embarrassed as a Canadian if someone complained about being badly treated in Canada.

      I too wish you better trips and friendlier experiences with locals 😉

  9. You are sick. Only sick people think like you. Maybe bad people dont experience good things in good countries.

  10. Well I feel you on this. The cariocas (rio people) are really rude! imagine me as a born black, low class, brazilian returning to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I can tell you I was really disappointed how people treat each other. The Brazilians treated me like shit and the funny thing is they think I’m poor until they realize I live in Europe and speak English. The best people I meet in Brazil was Americans, hahah. I can tell you about a Swedish guy that works as a journalist and is married to a black Brazilian. They went to a fancy restaurant in Rio and the staff showed their discomfort by letting them wait 1 hour to order their food. To tell the truth, many (rich cariocas) people in Rio thinks that if a white man is with a black women or parda (brown), the women is a hooker or at least lower class and that is something they dont want to have at their restaurant. Class is really importent in Rio.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you very for your comment Thiago. I’m sorry about what you and other black Brazilians go through. It is the same everywhere: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rica, Colombia, Cuba…the blacks are always looked down upon. I didn’t realize racism so pronounced in Rio.

  11. Well i think that is like this in every country, stereotypes that media put on us aren’t so true. I have never been in Canada, so the most i know is that you guys love maple syrup and hockey 🙂
    I’m from Brazil and i guess i can look very unfriendly, normally we just anwser things like routine so we don’t give too much attention even if you’re not brazillian, don’t expect to get smiles at everything!
    When foreigners come talk with us (unless they’re from portugal) we feel very weird and… maybe dumb?, mostly because we can understand you but can’t anwser. (that’s why so many ”sorry for bad english” in the comments hehe)
    Oh yeah, and if you wanted to talk to someone walking you would probably be disapointed, we have our “rush time” where we want to go faster than every other person (in airports that’s so common, for some reason in our mind needs to get the bagage first!)
    Besides that, I think we can be very friendly, i mean, if you walk around in a bar you can talk with pretty much anyone! And normally we get really excited with the ‘gringos’ we’re gonna ask you so many things you’be surprised. I think brazillians are the most patriotic/unpatriotic people in the world, but unfriendly? Well i don’t think so.
    I have never been in a hotel in Rio, as i had a house back there so i can’t say about the attitude of the people who work in there (But if you go to the hotels in the nothern part of the brazil or the interior of Minas they’re very friendly and maybe even chat with you if you’re jjust layin in the pool haha.), buuuuuut the waiters in Rio are the worst in the country! They for some reason think that the one that needs to be nice is you, or they’re gonna spit in your food. São Paulo on the other hand has awesome waiters and great food.
    And about drivers, we have two types of taxists, the ones who love to talk and won’t stop and the ones who don’t say a word. (I don’t know who you would like better haha)
    I can’t say anything about the south of Brazil ’cause i never really been in there, but for what i know they’re very receptive too, as the most european influences are in there.
    And even with all those problems i still love my country, specially now that i’m living in Perú (i miss the food so much)
    I hope one day i can go to Canada, i really need to form an opinion about your country hahaha, and i hope that you give Brazil a second try!

    And of course, sorry for bad english

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Felps for your kind message. Your English very good 🙂
      I have received many different opinions on this post and it is always good to hear what people think. Like Canada, Brazil is a big country and I am sure if I talk about Rio state it is very different than anywhere up north. It is like if I talk about Montreal (in the province of Quebec) and judge all of Canada based on my experiences in this one province…
      Maybe one day we will go back to another part of the country and form a totally different opinion.
      Thank you for your input.

  12. Isabella says:

    Hi, Frank!
    First of all, I’m very sorry for your bad experience in my country.
    I just wanted to say, that probably people only talked to your wife because they thought she was a brazilian too.
    My boyfriend is a brazilian, and is common people talking to him in english thinking he is a gringo because he is a tall and (very!!) white man.
    I really don’t think people here don’t like americans…
    Anyway, I hope in a few years you two give us another chance.
    : )

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Isabella for your nice message! The good thing about this post is that it has brought comments from people like you 🙂

  13. Guilherme says:

    Annoys me a little bit the number of times you mention that you might have been treated bad because you are “caucasian”, just doesn´t make any sense, since over 40% of Brazilian population is white, many with green/blue eyes like me( In Rio not that much, for sure, but they still exist), so I highly doubt it was because skin color, also, that might because you are a “interracial” couple, Im pretty sure Brazil is one of the countries were interracial couples are almost the norm, not the exception like in the english speaking world.
    I also don´t like Rio, sure is beautiful, but not my couple of tea, you should try São Paulo, much more cosmopolitan, has much better infrastructure such as metro, is safer, much more to do, Curitiba is another cool place to be.
    I know how it is to get a bad impression, but I do hope you return someday to other places in Brazil and share your experiences, after all I am very optmistic about my country´s future.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Guilherme. Maybe what I mean to say is ‘Caucasian foreigner’ because as much as we try to fit in a local will always be able to identify a tourist from a Brazilian. I used race more in the context that we were seen as foreigners, most probably American. That was my point. But very much agree with what you say about the racial mix and interracial couples.
      Thank you for your perspective, appreciate that you took the time to comment.

  14. Cynthia Magalhaes says:

    As a Brazilian, I am quite annoyed at how many times I read the “maybe because I am causasian” line. It has definetly nothing to do with that. Trust me. Especially because, unfortunately, Brazilians are quite suckers for the white folks (as a white woman in Rio, I can tell you that).
    As for us being unfriendly, I cannot disagree with you. I have heard that cariocas can be rude to tourists. But I think you really got unlucky! I myself and most people I know would never laugh you off or hit you with our trolleys on purpose (and we would say sorry if we did hit you by mistake).
    But honestly, I’ve had a few bad experiences with tourists here in Rio that made me think a lot on how to approach them. I was once standing waiting for a bus and this group of americans teenagers started walking passed me and one of them called me a bitch out of the blue, thinking I would not understand.
    Also once there was this guy (I dunno where he was from) who tried to grab me because “Brazilian girls like that”.
    But I agree that the bus drivers, taxi drivers and most drivers are rude. Most people are racist (and pretend they are not).
    That being said, don’t write Brazil off of your list. I bet you will have fun in other cities. And if you ever feel like giving Rio a second chance ask the people that commented here (me included) for some tips and I would even take you and your wife out to show that not all cariocas are the same.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      Thank you for your comment. I mentioned this to another commenter as well (the one just above this on the list of comments): when I said Caucasian I just mean that I would stand out as a white foreigner and as probably an American (we’re Canadian). So really I’m talking about anti-American sentiment in Brazil. Maybe I’ll edit that 2nd paragraph to make it clearer. I can see the confusion – last week I was in Mexico where they have a much higher opinion of Canadians and Germans than they do of Americans. Maybe I have to go back to putting a Canadian sticker on my bag like Canadians used to do in the old days 🙂
      There’s rude and stupid people everywhere and we can only generalize based on our experiences. Taxi drivers especially can be rude and are always the first people to scam you, anywhere. And tourists are probably stupider and ruder generally than anyone else because they are on vacation and they sometimes think they can get away with anything. I’m sorry about your experiences, they sound like morons.
      Maybe we were just unlucky as mentioned. Experiences with people are like when they do statistical analysis on polls – they’re flawed because the sample size is too small. So although I can tell you about my bad experiences in Brazil another traveller may have only met really nice people and have a totally different opinion. And maybe if I ever come back it would be a totally different experience…maybe.
      Thank you very much for your offer, it is very generous of you. If ever we do go to Rio again I will be sure to at least contact you for some tips.
      Frank (bbqboy)

  15. cynthia cybulski says:

    I agree with you
    I’m not the “typical” Brazilian girl..I was born in a family of Polish immigrants (2nd generation in Brazil) and still feel like a foreigner in the country I was born. That’s not because of my fair skin, blonde hair and green eyes.That’s because people here (of course NOT everybody) just think about parties and futile things. I believe Brazilian women (again NOT everybody) are among the most futile in the world (here you need to be skinny to be ” accepted”, you need to be “physically beautiful” to be right). And about the men..never trust Brazilian guy…cheating is so common in this land.
    Besides all,we pay the highest taxes in the world and still need to pay for everything as all the services are poor….

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Cynthia for you comment, very interesting to hear your perspective.
      Are taxes really that high? Higher than the Scandinavian countries? In Canada we also pay very high taxes, much more than they pay in the US…

  16. Pedro Antonio says:

    Sorry about this bad experience man,
    Unfortunately my country doesn’t actually fit in most of the stereotypes that they give us, and sometimes it may cause bad impressions. Also, most of the Brazilians doesn’t like people from Rio, a lot of them are impolite, disrespectful and profiteers, specially against foreign tourists. I would say that it happens maybe because of jealous of the financial condition of the tourists or maybe because Rio is full of foreigners, so they don’t feel the need of treating international tourists very well like they do in other places of the country (the same as happens in Paris, compared to other places of France). But I ensure that your bad experience doesn’t represent me and the other 200 million people that live here. We are very diverse, so you can find every ‘type’ of people, therefore generalizations are normally stupid. For example, I’m the kind of person that stop everything I’m doing to help a tourist and make he get the best experience, but of course not everybody is like this. About your theses, of ‘racism’ against you for being Caucasian, really doesn’t make sense. Almost half of our population is also white, and according to some researches Brazil is considered one of the least racist countries in the world. At long last, if you tried a less famous part of Brazil, I ensure that your impression about our people would be very different, they would treat you the best possible to make you return.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you for your comment Pedro.
      I understand what you say about locals in Rio maybe feeling jealous of the financial condition of tourists. It happens everywhere. And I appreciate that you are nice with other tourists. One of the things we’ve learned through all our travelling is how much it means when locals are friendly – and it makes us more helpful at home now with tourists because we understand what an impact it makes.
      When I say Caucasian, it’s not about racism – it’s about sticking out as a tourist, probably as an American tourist. I’ve had a few other people mention that and I’ve addressed it above.
      Thanks again Pedro.

  17. Sorry if Brazilians did not live up to your Carmen Miranda stereotype of the happy-go-lucky Latin. I find it interesting that you write two pieces about your negative experiences in Brazil. Fair enough. Boy, I should have done the same with my bad experiences traveling. For example, the rude Canadian consulate official in Seattle that flatly told me he was only issuing a two-day visa to my (visiting) sisters, after being incredibly rude, because they were “cute,” the coldness of the Germans when I visited their country, the unfriendly and cold British and French people that I met, the rude Italians who kept cutting lines, etc. I guess meeting rude people is part of traveling. Canadians have never live up to my expectation of the happy-go-lucky Canadian, because I have none.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Luiz, appreciate you comment and appreciate most of all that you’ve noted that I’m Canadian – most people sometimes get so upset if I write something even remotely negative that they don’t bother reading and start cutting me down as an American.
      All you say is true, there are rude people everywhere just as there as nice people. We can only relate our own experiences, whether positive or negative. I wouldn’t call Canadians happy-go-lucky, but I will say that Canadians are open minded, helpful, and friendly. So I’m sorry you met an unfriendly Canadian, it is not usually in our character. But I will say that consular officials everywhere kind of suck :).
      Thanks for your comment.

  18. Hello Frank.

    Man, I’m sorry to read that, I was googling something about international hate and decided to take the test. It was a post saying people will apply negative adjectives to other nationalities (e.g. if you type Brazilian google will automatically fill the rest with something like “are rude” or stuff like that.)

    I’m sure you have your reasons to be disappointed in people in Brazil, trust me, I’m disappointed in my people too, but it’s important to keep an eye open for good people everywhere. I agree with you, hitting on a woman in front of her man is disrespectful, but like mentioned before in this post, Brazilian men tend to do that, and yes, it’s very disrespectful, but people here got used to it, so they consider it normal now. I’ll call it common, never normal.

    About the people who could only laugh when you asked information, did they know english? Because if not, maybe they laughed at their own inability to speak the language and there is a chance you misunderstood it… or maybe they are just the jerks you think they are, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. About the bumping at the airport, I don’t know if I can consider that an insult or an attempt to annoy you, not saying you’re wrong about it, it’s just unlikely, not impossible.

    I had a hard experience visiting the U.S so yeah, I share a small portion of the hate for American people. I visited Orlando when I was younger and things started to get ugly as soon as I disembarked in Miami to take another plane towards my goal. People stared at our tourist group like we were terrorists. When I got to Disney, some people threw insults at us assuming no one knew english, one of them gave us the middle finger just because he knew we were Brazilian, some teenagers even threw rocks at me, so yeah, not a good visit as you might see.

    That never stopped me from being friendly to Americans we receive here, and I was honestly friendly to the nice Americans I met there in Orlando. Like you said, we should consider the individual, not the whole. We Brazilians do have the fame of being warm and welcoming, but depending on the place you choose to stay, that may vary slightly. Some of the American people who got here told me I was in the wrong place when I visited the U.S, they said people aren’t this rude there, and I believe them.

    I won’t say I’ll never visit the U.S again, maybe I will, but not in a tourist group, not anymore. I understand you, a bad visit leaves a mark, but please, consider another visit. The angry people who commented on your post are probably being fueled by the feeling of defending their country, but ask them about our politicians and the patriot will rage against his own people.

    I’m sorry if you choose to deny our country as a possible destination for your vacations, but I’ll understand if you do. Hope you meet friendly Brazilian to make up for the stupid ones.

    Best regards!


    P.S: I’ve never been to Canada and it’s been a dream of mine to visit it someday. Would you recommend anywhere specifically?

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      You’re experience in the US sounds horrible! Wow! There are some very stupid Americans who would not know the difference between a Pakistani and a Brazilian, I remember when Sikhs were targeted after 9/11..unbelievable. Anyway, sorry about your experience. That would never happen in Canada. Where to go? West Coast. See Vancouver, Vancouver Island, go through the Rockies to Calgary. So many beautiful places in that whole area. Have a look at my Canada Guide.

      I understand your points about my Brazil experience. But it’s what I experienced, I’ve stopped trying to list all the possible reasons behind it. I just look at it at face value: I found people rude and not friendly. Period. I’ve been many places and have never had similar experiences anywhere else. Was I unlucky? Maybe. Will I go back? Unlikely. I will say this though: I’ve met some very friendly Brazilians outside Brazil. We just had dinner with one last week, a journalist from Sao Paulo, and she was very nice.

      Thanks for the comment Alex.

    • The Jester says:

      Alex if you are Brazilian I would find it odd if you were treated poorly in Miami or Orlando. Miami is a Latin city, and many of the employees at the airport barely speak English. Everyone in Miami speaks Portunhol at least and would be more helpful to a Brazilians. Orlando has a large Brazilian community and an even larger Puerto Rican. Maybe is was the PRs bothering you. Bottom line is there are few Americans in Miami-Dade County to hassle you.

    • This was my experience of America too, straight up barbarism (from white, black and Puerto Rican). I ‘look Brazilian’.

      People in Rio don’t seem that nice to each other either, so it’s probably not you personally. An American would go there and find it wildly friendly compared to most of the US (I bet this is how Brazil got this false ‘friendly’ reputation), but for a Canadian maybe a harsh culture shock.

      The woman at the airport, I bet she perceived some slight in some way, like you cut her off or something and Brazilian pride/combativeness kicked in. In Brazil it was legal to kill someone “in a legitimate defense of one’s honor”… until 1991.

  19. Oh, for the record, when I mentioned that the hitting in the airport wasn’t necessarily an agression, I meant it could be an accident, not that hitting people with stuff at the airports is a common sight here x)

    Have a nice… I don’t know, what time is it there? Good night (guessing)

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      No, it wasn’t an accident 🙂 She hit me and when I turned around she was staring at me with hate in her eyes. Definitely not an accident.

  20. I went to Brazil and it was meeh

    Not as diverse as brazilians claim it is…. a country with 220 million people and 400,000 foreigners…. less than 0.2% of the population are immigrants, how is that diverse?

    Not as open minded, VERY CONSERVATIVE…. Brazil is not the beaches of Rio, go outta that tourist trap and see the REAL brazil!!

    a Largerly ignorant uninteresting loud people very eager to party and to laugh and to talk about superficial stuff but little depth! I missed Argentina sorely as Argentines were rather intellectual, elegant and cosmopolitan…. so going to brazil to talk about football ,carnaval and women’s asses it’s for me at least a downgrade.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Arienne. You made me laugh with the last paragraph. Argentina somewhere we want to go one day 😉

  21. I spent one month in Brazil (Parana, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo and Rio) I used to be obsessed with it, in my mind it was a world full of exotic beauty, amazingly looking people, carnival, beaches, sexy sexy sexy. To be honest I was very disappointed once the “I can’t believe I am in Brazil” stage wore off.

    1. VERY EXPENSIVE: It’s actually more expensive than my country (I am Czech), yet Brazilian salaries are half of what people make in my country (whenever I hear Czechs complain about low salaries and high prices I always tell them about Brazil to make them shut up)

    2. Rampant chaos, disorder, in your face poverty-wealth disparity… it is almost inmoral in my opinion and it’s even more inmoral that the average Brazilian could care less.

    3. Too much crime…. At the hostel they told us to not wear our watches (a 25 dollar watch from H&M… talk about cheap watches), yet they assured me I would be a prime target for crime in Brazil if I was to have that watch with me (honestly it’s a plastic watch from a clothing store). Also our camera would have to be monitored at all times… keep it deep inside your bag (very disappointing)

    4. Phony / fake friendliness….. Maybe in my European nature I am used to clear people who smile at your because they mean it, when Europeans say NO, it means NO! When Europeans say yes it means YES! When Europeans call you their friend, it is because they truly like you and cherish you as a person, but all this neurotic loud Brazilian behavior that is mistakingly called happy, it’s all pretty much fake and pretentious! It’s very easy to see thru them once you get to know the Brazilian mindset! (I am nice to you because I can get something from you or because you’re a blonde foreigner) if not, I’ll ignore you or even worse… look down on you!!!

    5. Rampant racism, classism, homophobia, corruption and no one cares…. Yes Brazil is portrayed as a place full of diversity, color, open mindedness and if you’re a white westerner visiting you’ll see that face as you do your Rocinha tour with other gringos, and as you sip caipirinhas on a fancy Rio Beach…. But get out of that spectrum and you’ll find a very classist, conservative, chauvinistic, homophobic, corrupted society full of prejudice and deeply ingrained social divisions.

    6. Not a nation of intellectuals…. It’s interesting sitting down with Chileans to talk about the impact of globalization over a few glasses of Chilean wine at a small coffee shop in Santiago, then you go to Brazil thinking… (The conversations I am gonna have there!) And you find that most Brazilians are painfully ignorant of the world. Perhaps because unlike Chile Brazil is quite large and expensive that most Brazilians can’t leave their cities and visit other places, but it is a fact that the average Brazilian is rather ignorant on pretty much most subjects outside the spectrums of soap operas, football and pop culture! In order to find intellectual Brazilians you have to go up the social pyramid and find upper classes who can afford to be educated and travel…. but as a tourist who has time for that?

    7. Not ecologically aware…. I saw people throwing their trash on the beach, bottles of coke floating on the Guanabara bay, people throwing papers on the streets and so on. Very disappointing!

    I must say that I loved Chile, it’s very clean, with majestic landscapes, out of this world sea food… and Chileans are a friendly and open people with a genuine interest towards tourists!!!

    And I also agree about the immortalized Brazilian beauty…. I was not exactly taken back by it. In fact I can name quite a few countries where I’ve seen better looking people than in Brazil. (Though beauty is subjective)

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Love that you took the time to write all this!! I see you have strong feelings about Brazil as well.

      Thank you very much Hildus for your feedback. Good to know about Chile, we would like to go someday.

  22. I just came across this post and it actually surprised me a lot. I share the apartment with Brazilians and they are the most open minded, smiling people I’ve ever met. Where did you go in Brazil? The south – Rio and Sao Paulo were’t my favorite destinations – but the north – Chapada Diamantina National Park, the dunes at Lencois Maranhenses, Sao Luiz, colorful Olinda and the Amazon were absolutely amazing! Very few tourists and spectacular nature.

  23. Yes, I agree with you, Rio and the south can be is this way. And I know if you have a bad experience, you don’t want to go back. Like me, for example, the worst ever experience I’ve had was in Thailand and I wouldn’t be happy to go back there even if someone gave me free flights. But the north of Brazil is like a different country (the people in the south dislike people in the north and look down on them because it’s poorer). In the North, I always met friendly people very curious about my story where I was from etc… It had a different vibe.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Yes, I can believe that – Brazil such a huge country and I know there is a different ethnic mix in the north. Who knows in the future, maybe we’d like to see the Amazon! But Rio? Not again.

  24. I do not understand why people were rude, I am a Brazilian girl and I can say that the people in my country are friendly, the World Cup, foreigners and Brazilians lived peacefully, Brazil is a huge country and here is one of the most beautiful places the world, we have the Pantanal, most of the Amazon Forest, Cerrado, sheets Maranhenses, the atmosphere of the beaches, our cuisine, Atlantic Forest, and frankly, the beautiful Brazilian girls are in the South, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, Rio is difficult find beautiful women, not like this image of beautiful women because many people relate this with prostitution.

  25. Wow Frank… I am so upset for your, at least, unpleasant experience. I reckon that tourists in general should be treated with respect… this above all. Someone who is somehow contributing to local economy… No favor! Besides, we all expect to feel the positive aspects of globalization nowadays, which include polite and why not, friendly interaction. As a brazilian I do apologize for that. And I sincerely hope you reconsider coming back one day… maybe other places with outstanding tourist attractions and respectful people would change your mind. By the way, I have been to Toronto… Nice place! Cosmopolitan at the most, people from all over the world. However, Canadians really surprised me… Agreeable people and highly polite. And I am also a traveller… ^_^

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Poliana for the kind words. I often think about our experience in Brazil, sometimes wondering if I it was me and my mind frame there. But I think I went there with the same open attitude as I go anywhere…maybe just unfortunate circumstances. But I’m happy that through this blog I’ve also heard from some nice and supportive Brazilians like you who have kind words 🙂

      Toronto: It’s Canada’s biggest city and I wouldn’t have expected that you would have met so many nice people. I hope you go back one day: visit the West Coast, Prairies, or Atlantic provinces. Some VERY friendly people in those parts!

      • Thank you so much for the tip… I will for sure. Canada really seems to be a wonderful country! As I simply loved Toronto I bet you are right!!! 🙂

  26. I just got back from 3 weeks in Brazil (Rio-Minas Gerais-Salvador) and agree with you. Most people working in customer service (bus drivers, waiters, …) were just doing their very best to ignore me or answered in a very short way, not smiling at all, as if they were annoyed… This was in Rio and Salvador. Minas Gerais was a totally different experience, people were really nice there!
    The “general public” (people who didn’t have to deal with customers all the time) seemed friendlier as a whole.

    I think the problem is the image we get through the media. We get bombarded by gorgeous Brazilians smiling, dancing, partying all the time and it can be a disappointment to discover that it’s not always reality…

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Els for taking the time to comment. Lots of good points that I totally agree with 🙂

    • Wallace Barbosa says:

      Wow, I didn’t know the foreigner media would ever dare depicting the Brazil as a nation worth visiting, but hey, we are talking about the media, mainly travel companies advertising… In order to gain money, they would make even hell look like paradise if there were flights to it LOL

  27. Great way to keep RACISM alive dude!!!
    Brazilian are rude regardless of your skin color. Not sure if you know but Brazil is a mixed country with people from around the world so the argument that they would treat you badly because of your skin color or nationality is a very poor one.
    Second of all, you should be talking about girls that way, Treating them like they are a piece of meat and nothing else. Comparing which country has the best meat in the market.
    I am from Poland and been living in Brazil for 2 years and I know a ton of Brazilians with skin much fair then mine.
    I never heard or was treated differently because of my skin color or my blue eyes.
    Maybe you should re think your geography knowledge and your mind set about race because you clearly need some improvement.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Nationality and skin color two different things. Yes, there are many white Brazilians, but locals always spot a tourist. And the usual assumption in Brazil is white + tourist = American. That was my point.
      I shouldn’t be talking “about girls that way”? Honestly? Do you ever watch TV or pick up a magazine? Note that I also mentioned the men so how am I being sexist if I’m mentioning both sexes?

      I appreciate you confirming that ‘Brazilians are rude”. Oh wait, but isn’t that stereotyping and racist per your politically correct argument?

      Another pet peeve is a woman who calls someone else, either guy or girl, “dude”. Urggg…

  28. Hey dude!!! Only kidding. Brazil seems to be such a controversial subject, and I have to say I’m firmly on your side of the fence with this, as you know. I’ll say one thing for Brazil, it evokes strong opinions, whichever way you take it! We’ve just returned from a couple of weeks travelling around Rio, Ilha Grande and Paraty, and were frustrated at every turn by rudeness, unhelpfulness and some of the more dire communication I’ve ever come across on my travels. We spent the entire time uncertain about our reservations, worrying whether or not we’d actually have a bed to sleep in the next night, and more often than not we had to quadruple check all our tour bookings, just to ensure it was all sorted (usually it wasn’t). I think perhaps Brazil suffers from over-hype in the media and the glossy magazines. Whilst it’s pretty on the surface, it’s rather ugly underneath. Like you, we won’t be returning any time soon.
    Heather Cole recently posted…Brazil, it’s not us, it’s you!My Profile

  29. Wallace Barbosa says:

    Wow, I’m Brazilian myself and I have to admit, Frank, Brazil really sucks 🙁

    My people is culturally uneducated, unpolite, selfish, eager to take any advantage even if this be detrimental to others, like queue jumping other stupid stuff…

    Our “education” system is below horrible, and I believe this contributes a lot with the shameful behavior of the average Brazilian.. Most people have a harsh life, working a lot for low incomes, and those who earn more tend to have delusions of grandeur, believing they are above anyone else just because they can afford an expensive house and car (well, everything here is expensive due to abusive taxes, so common here), many richer people break the law like the latter are non-existent (and in fact, our judiciary system seems to exist only to condemn the poor; the rich gets away with almost any crime with small or no punishment), mainly in the roads and streets, driving under the influence of alcohol or exceeding the speed limit, disregarding red light and so on..

    And don’t forget our “lovely” corrupted government, sucking half of our income with the myriad of taxes over anything, goods or services…. With basically no return at all, no decent health system, no decent education, almost no organized pothole-free roads and highways, no security… Most of our taxes are swallowed by the corruption hungry blackhole and it seems things will not change anytime soon, due to a) corruption is very prevalent in every governamental sphere and b) Brazilian people are torpid moronic citizens who let the politicians rob them as much as they want without the former protesting, starting strikes and whatnot, they just make fun of the situation and leave it at it.. Most only care about parties, gossiping, drinking and accumulating huge debits to buy unnecessary stuff, expensive clothes and shoes, bikes and automobiles, just to show off to others…

    Well, there are so many factors that contribute to “our” disgusting typical behavior, you are lucky for not living in this sad nation.. I love my country, natural beauty, local food, and so on, but our people are plagued with all of these problems described above, so my advice for foreigners is: AVOID visiting Brazil, mainly Rio de Janeiro and Sâo Paulo, our nation has a long road ahead before we catch up to more civilized nations and deserve receiving tourists again… Violence and criminality have reached the same level as war-torn nations, Brazilians love to exploit themselves and foreigners as well, selling them extremely overpriced goods and services, no to mention the unpolite and scornful way you personally noted when visiting Brazil..

    I have to apologize on the behalf of my stupid compatriots for all they have done to amazing foreigners like you, that’s all I can say 🙁

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Wallace for the comment.

      Wow, you don’t pull any punches with your countrymen! You’re even tougher on them than I am 🙂 I’ll be looking forward to seeing the Olympics in Rio this summer and seeing what Brazil does with it. I hear that progress on the ground is behind schedule, that they’re cutting corners because of a budget crisis, that locals are unhappy about having the Olympics. Then thee’s the political situation right now with the corruption scandal. It’s not shaping up well…I’m wondering how the country will manage with all the foreign visitors you’ll be receiving?

      And I haven’t even mentioned the violence and criminality that you refer to. I think it’s the scariest part of travelling to Brazil.

      Thank you so much for the comment Wallace, I wish there were more Brazilians like you 🙂
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      • Wallace Barbosa says:

        No problem, sir, and sorry for my bad English, as I told before, our education system is laughable, so the bit of English I know has been learned by myself, reading texts and subtitles in EN…

        I think no one likes to say harsh words against his/her own nation, but honesty is crucial and I feel bad for all the Brazilians that come here and attack you for your honest text, that’s just another shameful characters of most Brazilians, they refue to acknowledge they are wrong and/or hate when their opinions and views are faced with opposition. That’s another reason why my country doesn’t progress, Brazilians overlook the problems and failures of their own, it’s like they live in a delusional bubble or whatnot. There’s no way we can solve things when you sweep the problems under the carpet…

        “I hear that progress on the ground is behind schedule”

        As usual… Every public work here takes longer to finish than initially scheduled, and it’s obvious that it is done in purpose, because the longer they take to finish, the more is spent, which makes it easier for politicians to grab tax-payed money..

        “that they’re cutting corners because of a budget crisis”

        Yes, our current president (and the previous one, both from the same party (PT: partido dos trabalhadores, or “worker’s party” in English)) has ruined our nation, thanks to bad administration and abundant corruption, not to mention the stupid decision to host the World Cup (with FIFA profiting with up to 10 billion dollars of tax exemption….) and Olympic games (I don’t even wanna think about how much public money has been robbed by politicians and businessmen during that period)… Brazil is in political turmoil, with the vast majority demanding her impeachment, which I find good, at least it appears that my stupid people is awaking up a bit..

        “that locals are unhappy about having the Olympics”

        Yes, totally, for the abovementioned reasons 😉

        “I’m wondering how the country will manage with all the foreign visitors you’ll be receiving?”

        Well, surprising, when it comes to host international events, Brazil appear to work a bit better… I don’t trust media, but it’s claimed that 83% of the tourists who came in during the World Cup held a positive impression about the event… I wouldn’t be surprised, as our leaders only care about giving foreigners a good impression about our country, so the cities and states are better prepared and organized to receive foreigner people, including reinforcing security and public transport.. I think this is the best period for tourists to arrive here.

        “I wish there were more Brazilians like you ”

        Thank you, I’m sure there are thousands of Brazilians like me, but they are easily outnumbered by the despicable, uncivilized ones… I’m sure there should have way more good Brazilians, but that’s the thing, in a “jungle” dominated by stupid, rude people, one has to adapt to it and become similar to the majority or else you’ll get stomped and be left behind by the waves of troglodytes. Only a few persons choose not to follow the crowd, sadly.

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Wallace, your English is better than most English speakers, so you have nothing to apologize for! You write impeccably!

          I appreciate again all your points and clarifications, always good to hear from someone ‘on the ground’. Wish we had met you before our Brazil trip 🙂
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      • Why you missed the sarcasm is beyond me. I also apologize that we of inferior race did not satisfy your whims master.

  30. Wallace Barbosa says:

    Characteristic, not character lol

  31. Barbara says:

    Wow. No doubt that after all this racists comments people there weren’t very friendly to you. I am Brazilian and I am Caucasian (so is 50% of our population) so you can be sure that your skin color wasn’t the problem. But you definitely went there with a very narrow mind and a lot of pre formed judgement.
    You come and say that it was rude that the bartender was looking at your partners chest but you were also looking at our woman and judging them by their appearance. Not only doing that but offending every single female of our country with your misogynistic comment.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Wow, nice spin on it Barbara! I actually chose to come to your country, looked forward to it and travelled a long way to get there. But if it makes you feel better I won’t be trying to change your mind…

  32. Paul Rubens says:

    I have worked with several American universities that send students abroad to learn languages. The place Americans have been treated the worst world wide was precisely Brazil. This is not the case in the feedback reports of some of the other South American countries, nor Asia, nor Europe, nor Africa. From my experience in international work, I have helped Brazilians, and they have come back to bite me. This is of course generalized, as I have felt that they are nice when they need something from you but are usually jealous and lazy mockers. This is my experience in diplomatic circles, business, church, and education. I speak their language, I am Caucasian, but most of the Brazilians that seem Caucasian, are not. They are a sort of whitish grey color than you cannot always detect because of their suntan. There is definitely a racist problem with most of them. Unfortunately they have treated me in a way that I too have become conditioned to generally prejudge. If I do not show that I have more wealth than them they treat me badly, and otherwise I also feel threatened in general. It is one of the most corrupt countries on earth, and they will kill you for a pack of cigarettes.
    Beautiful country nevertheless, though they are also destroying the natural resources the are blessed with. Sadly, I have totally given up on that country, and no longer care to have anything to do with such people.

  33. D. Hunt says:

    Hi Frank,

    I spent a week visiting Rio last Summer and had almost the exact opposite experience. It was just my sister & I staying in Copacabana, and the people were extremely friendly, welcoming and warm to us. Now, this was not a very heavy tourist time – no major events and during their winter. However, from speaking to locals and many friends of mine from Brazil (I live in South Florida), I unfortunately have to partially attribute your experiences in Rio due to being a white man..I’m a Black American female. The locals and my friends from the Rio area have said that many lower-middle class Brazilians (especially Afro-Brazilians) tend to be nicer to and do not target blacks for crimes. They don’t associate blacks with wealth, and even if they become aware that the blacks are from America, they see them as equals and tend not to take advantage of them. Many of the locals I spoke to where surprised to find out I was American and were so fascinated with my life here, and with President Obama LOL.

    Unlike you, this was the first country I’ve visited where I did not have a bad experience with prejudice or some sort of ill-will for being American. I have yet to go to Europe, but have visited China (the most extreme culture shock for me), Mexico and Jamaica.

    Perhaps you should visit the South of Brazil next time, which was heavily populated with those of German ancestry. These Brazilians tend to be “whiter” (think Gisele Bündchen), and I’ve heard it’s much more friendly for white tourists.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks for your comment Deja! A sad state of affairs when we get judged on our colour when travelling, isn’t it? My wife (Latina) felt the same in China (she’ll never go back) and from the whites in South Africa (while the blacks were incredibly friendly towards both of us. I think she was my in 🙂 ).

      Despite protests of the opposite from commentators above what you say is what I felt. Not surprised.

      If it makes you feel better Lissette has not had any issues in Europe and we’ve been just about everywhere.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

    • Brazil is overrated. I hardly met any women that look like the women in RadioMania Bundalele. Totally demais magrelas! They shave their buseta bald. Que nojento isso né. I like women to have at least a landing strip. I apologize to criticizing US women for being so fanatical about shaving their p.ussy bald (it looksl ike pedofile dish of food..gross! I grew up in the Ron Jeremy-Vanessa del Rio days where pubic hair was glorified).

      I had Afro-Brasilian women block me on POF, on WhatsApp (and they are the lowest class of women too proud to roll with an estrangeiro lindo like me).. They acted funny by ignoring me or blocking me everytime I say “A gente deve combina entao divirta-se!!” Being a pardo (mulato Mixed Race), I thought I was going to be swimming in buseta. I thought pardos were respected more than pretinhos, but I was ever wrong. Desculpa! I would always get laughs due to my size and my baggy clothes. I never had such a bad experience in Latin America, and I apologize to all HIspanics (non-Brazilians Hispanics in S. America) for prejudging them for being bigots, but Brazilians are classist-as-fuck with their flat boobies. At least on Tinder Hispanic women would holler back and were more direct. I only got trannies and narrow hipped ugly women that wanted to “transar comigo” Que nojento. Too many Brazilians are fake. Look at how handsome I am (See my website pic above ^^^^^^^^). I think the women suck (no fellatio pun intended). I had sex with women in Brasil, but they were feia demais. Nothing gatinha about them whatsoever. I had one woman say that cachorros love her unconditionally not men so she was mercadorias danificadas com certeza kkkkkkkk. The only time I’ve gotten a gatinha was if she were a garota de programa. All the gatinhas tinha me bloqueado pro Zap (WhatsApp), POF, OKCupid, Badoo, ao vivo (in person), qualquera/tanto faz no Brasil.

      Disclaimer: women never approached me NEVER unless they garotas de programa (women of the night) or travestis( trannies )
      Highlights: only the food. It’s said when milho (amazing cornbread-cake) is better than the experiences I had in Brasil.
      Misc. bad: VIVO e TIM BRASIL chipe. Ripped me off everytime I had “recarregado o meu chipe”. Instead of 200 MB for R$6,99 for reload they charged me double and always rejected my PayPal and cartao de credito methods of payment although I checked so many times with my bank to make sure I can make purchases online in Brasil. I had to go to Loja Americana just to recarregar o meu chipe. Que bugunza! (What a hot mess!)

      HORRIBLE INTERNET CONEXCOES. I heartd only Sao Paulo has good Internet in Brasil. I never been there because I was avoiding spending so much money….but I spent more money no interior of the country.

      It’s merda Brasil. IF this is the jeitinho brasileiro I want no more part of it. To fora….vo embora!! Isso me deixa alegre. Kkkkkk.

      • Frank (bbqboy) says:

        HA! One of the most colorful comments I’ve had on the blog and it will I’m sure be offensive to many. But as I always say, we are all entitled to our opinions (and the way we express them – as long as it doesn’t cross too far over the line of decency…)
        Thank you Manny for taking the time to comment and express your thoughts. And thank you for teaching me expressions I’ve never heard before 😉
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        • Thank you, Frank. I appreciate you for not being a libtard. I guess the beginning of Donald Trump Adminstration in the USA will “Trump” political correctness worldwide (mundial). Obama is the first feminist president that allowed LGBT to exacerbate itself to be a lot more than it should. Although I made good aforementioned points, I have digressed from the main point I’d like to say.

          I speak three lingugens: U.S. English, Spanish (although it’s a hybrid of different regions and countries in Latin America), and almost-native level of Brasilian Porto. Dissclaimer: once you learn one Romance language, the others are easy to follow suit.

          I am tired of the good-looking girls sending me a weak text through Zap (WhatsApp) that are still interested in me saying, “Ola ola…tudo bem?” (Hello is everything going well?”) . Some go “acordou bem?” (Did you get up just fine today? Amanecer/Despertarse to wake up in spanish and english respectively….but never want to “combinar” in person. (to meet in person).

          I am not sex tourist. Don’t you know that most of these brasileiras that are attractive think I’m a “mulherengo” (a player pretty boy)??? Just by my looks. How messed up is that?? In the previous post, I said that women never approached me by default. So how do they know my motive by looks alone?

          One of my friends say that I look like I am “always looking for buseta (p.ussy). Your fermones are that strong”. I’m like, “WTF?”
          Thank you again, Frank!!!!! You rock!

          PS: even if I am looking for buseta all of the time, they act like getting sex is the worst thing that can happen to them. I guess if mantenucao (child support) were more organized in Brasil, then more women would sleep with me and not worry so much about their pride, but more or less have prejudice. Get it? Pride & Prejudice. lol hahhaa

      • I seriously think that social media screwed up Brasil. When Orkut have been shutdown by Google a few years ago, everybody and their mimae had gone over to Facebook now where it became a “sausagefest” (insanely, unbalanced ratio of men to women on these “solteiro” Face grupos looking to accost attractive women). Instagram made Brasileirinhas have a “blown head’ (a big ego beyond its britches) nowadays….just using their selfies de stick taking photos all of the time.

        I’ve seen it in all the Shoppings. Just women in grupos happy to take selfies all day in the food court. Most of the time, the hot women were handcuffed to their namorados or esposos. Even gordinhas (little fat women) had attitude towards me when I was nothing short of a cavaleiro/caballero. When o’beast women have pride and prejudice, then I know the world is not the place to be in…especially not to be here in Brasil any longer.

        Another thing that bothered me about Brasil: they loathe espanhol. They rather learn US English. All surrounded by Castellano, Catalano among other Spanish dialect-speaking countries, and they hate speaking Spanish as a 2nd language. Okay I get it, the Portuguese fought for freedom in the 12th-13th Century from Spain and won fair and square….so they don’t want to have the “Stockholm SINdrome” in feeling subordinate to being a by-proxy Spanish colony again by speaking Spanish as a 2nd language (except near the borders with a Spanish country like Bolivia….some people in Corumba speak both linguagens). I get it; Entendi muito. Again: they seem to be presunsoza the gente there….mojigata if I got that word right (“stuck up” in English). I think they look their noses at Hispanics. Classist-as-fuck as I have mentioned in my very, first post.

        In conclusion: a lot of dysfunction which occurs in the USA is occurring in Brasil. I feel that feminism exists in Brasil, but not in a 1st-world style. I think by next generation Brasil will be toast/finished. LGBT is growing in Brasil so machismo, patriarchy, & extended family has to be dead now. Pelo amor de Deus….A gente é foda agora!!!! (We’re screwed now! No hetero pun intended!!). Sorry for three comments, but my brain was working on filling in more information!!!!

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Thanks for the comments Manny. Thing that almost every country in the world has in common – they hate their neighbors. Surpassed only by how much they hate minorities in their own country. And really, we never learn do we as history always repeats itself.
          I was a single guy for a long time and I can sympathize with the superficial crap and marrying for prestige and money. Again nothing new. I’m sure you’ll meet the right person – or you can do like the Japanese guys (where we are right now) and forget about it. Indulge in the fantasy instead of the reality.

          All the best!
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  34. I ran across your website, and glad that I did.

    I have never been to Brazil and not planning to at all, after my encounter with a few Brazilians. It’s amazing, after reading this it aligns with my perception of them so far. I feel they are arrogant and hostile – at some point, I questioned myself – and wondered if I must have been doing something wrong, and couldn’t really think of any.

    I am working with a Brazilian woman right now – and in her mind, they are the most beautiful women in the world, and didn’t like the idea of having someone from another culture drawing more attention when it comes to physical appearance. I also don’t understand why she doesn’t seem to have anything good to say about her people and culture or her country – everyone is entitled to her own opinion, it’s just strange that we say how beautiful her country and her culture must be based on what we read on the books, media etc., and she says the exact opposite. I once told her I dated a Brazilian guy before, and gushed how she hoped he was not horrible to me! (At the back of my mind, why would he?) I have a several other encounters with them in business, and overall, I don’t find them to be warm, and sincere – especially the women. With that having said, I lost interest in visiting their country – I travel not only for the scenery, but also for the experience of culture and people – so Brazil is not something I am so keen about.
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    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Fran. I honestly didn’t know Brazilians before going but I remember having being struck by how cold they were at the consulate in Montreal when I applied for the Visa. But I thought maybe that was the exception and that once in Brazil I would meet the true Brazilians. Well, as you know, they weren’t any different from that first encounter.
      People tell me they had the opposite experience. If so I’m happy for them. But I’ve travelled enough, to many places, that I can compare. And I can definitely say that they’re pretty much at the top of the list of ‘most unfriendly’ people I’ve met on all our travels. Of course they’ll be some individuals that break that rule, but I’m talking generally after spending some time (in this case almost 3 weeks) in the country.
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    • Ah I can believe it have met some Brazilians you would never wish to meet believe me….one woman springs to mind, married to a former Director of a well known company….this woman was the WORST type human being I have ever encountered in my life. My wife got to know her and the day I met her all the alarm bells sounded off loudly.

      She was a complete psycho playing South American snobbery on a level you wouldn’t believe. She didn’t like me because she knew I saw straight through her….born under a roof covered in banana leaves and via gold digging she worked her way through rich men (who all died…hmmmm)

      The nastiest most devious and treacherous woman with a chequered past – even her son (reminded me of Sylvester Stalone) hated her. She was the villainess straight from a dark Mexican Novella….the type to have people murdered….no joke.

  35. Thanks for your post! I’ve been living in Brazil for almost three years now, having first visited for two months in 2009. I work here and live with my Brazilian partner near Sao Paulo.

    I have mixed feelings about living here, and while I am generally happy, I’ve had many experiences that contain elements of your anecdotes which make me long to be back home. For example, I completely relate to your anecdote about the woman intentionally bumping into you at the airport. Whenever I’m in any kind of transport situation that involves loading or unloading, people act like said airport/airplane/bus is on fire and they need to make a mad rush. In addition to people (oddly, mainly women) crashing into my cart at the airport without apology, I’ve also had people push me out of the way so they could be among the first to get out of an airplane . I’ve seen a fellow passenger from Brazil swing his carry-on luggage into the face of my seat companion, a European (again, without apology); the European man was completely shocked, and I tried to calm him down by politely explaining to him that that’s “just how things are done here sometimes”… I’ve asked my partner about this phenomena, and according to his insight, it’s “normal for whoever can make their way on/off first to have the right of way.” Not that clarifying, but I try to consider alternative explanations like this first before dismissing people automatically as rude. Even so, this kind of behavior still makes me cringe.

    Second, though you mentioned you’re Canadian, I’ve also observed that the treatment of foreigners, especially anyone perceived as American to be “mixed.” Most of the Brazilians that I’ve met are genuinely interested in my being an American because they want to know more about another country, or my insider perspective as a citizen from there. However, I’ve had my share of negative experiences. I’ve had acquaintances basically call me an “imperialist” to my face (without any provocation on my part since my social self tries to be generally polite and inquisitive). These incidents often come across not only as rude but also hypocritical when said accuser is also thumbing the latest iphone model and travels to Miami, New York, etc. on holiday. Other times people lose interest in me because I don’t come across as a stereotype or “American enough.” (I’m half Asian, may pass as Brazilian, and speak Portuguese more or less fluently.) Oftentimes store attendants ignore me since I don’t try to display my socioeconomic status through my dress or outward appearance like many Brazilians, but excessively attend to me when they recognize my American accent. Ok, now I’m just venting and making a list, but that’s my anecdotal experience. And what often tends to stick out when we recount them are the negative ones, right?

    Anyways, I’m glad for my experience here, and have met many Brazilian gems. But I echo many of the concerns that you observed during your short trip in Rio which, in my opinion, though a marvelous place, concentrates many of these negative qualities. As a foreigner, I find it hard to distinguish between purely cultural differences and context versus what is truly negative or “bad.”

    I’d also look into the Brazilian “vira-lata” complex, if you’re interested 🙂

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Emilia for your feedback, very interesting to hear from someone (especially a foreigner) who lives there.

      The whole mad rush/travel rudeness is surprising. Someone else mentioned it above. I’m sorry, but in any other place pushing someone out of the way or swinging a bag in someone’s face is rude. No excuse for it. In other places that would be the cause of a fistfight. Again, I guess I somehow thought they were ‘Latino’. I’ve been to Mexico 5 times, the Dominican Republic 4, Cuba about 6 times, and have had trips through Central America and once to Argentina. People are incredibly polite, love them. I guess by extension I thought Brazilians wouldn’t break that mold. So when I saw that behaviour or general unfriendliness I was taken aback.

      Your 2nd point. Yes, of course – the socialist, left-leaning politics that took over Latin American and is now collapsing all around. As you say, never mind that everyone in these economies endeavors to obtain the same wealth we do. Hypocrites is right.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your insights 🙂
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    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      PS. Thanks for the mention of the ‘vira-lata’ complex. Started in the 1950 World Cup according to my reading and is just basically an inferiority complex as I understand it. I don’t know how bad 1950 was but I’m sure the 2014 World Cup didn’t help. Ouch. For other who didn’t about “viri-lata” I’ve linked a good article on it here: http://www.riogringa.com/my_weblog/2014/02/taking-brazil-seriously.html
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  36. Susanna says:

    I come from a German-estonian family and unfortunately was born in Sao Paulo Brazil and for many reasons am unable to leave. Nothing would make me happier than leave this country and emigrate somewhere where people are actually capable of genuine human contact. I do not think you are wrong in your assessment. Brazilian people are rude and unfriendly. They appear warm to foreigners simply because they are more talkative and because they are indoctrinated at school to form groups for everything; write a paper – form a group, go to a party – go in a group; go to lunch – go in a group. The rule in Brazil is, be part of a large group or you are toast. Next time, if you wish to come to Brazil to admire the scenery (which is rather nice in some parts) come as a large group of tourists. There is no place for an individual here. The necessity of blending in contributes to a trait which many foreigners just do not get in short periods of time: Brazilians are professional liars. They lie all the time. It´s so natural to them they do not even blink. THey look you right in the eye and lie their pants off. The pressure to get along and blend into a group is so strong that any individuality is repressed. Noone around here can be their true self. The warmness of Brazilians is totally fake. They friendship is worthless. If they think it will bring them some advantage they will stab you in the back for peanuts and won´t even care. Also if you do dare to come back, you have to choose to be outwardly poor or outwardly rich. It doesn´t matter how much money you really have. But there are only to ways you get people to leave you alone… either you come across as poor (then people generally ignore you but don´t bother being more rude than usual) or you come across as rich (then people will bend over backwards for you especially if you ignore them and treat them rudely. RIch people here are rude because they can. It shows status.) Bottomline, dont try to be friendly in BRazil. It´s pointless. If you do not have something material to offer brazilians, they don´t care if you bleed out on the street. (HOw can I say all this if I was born here and live here for 40 years?) FIrst. I do not consider myself a brazilian. I just happened to have the bad luck to be born here because my parents came to live in Brazil ages ago (it was a different world then). My friends are mostly people like me, children of foreigners who came here when Brazil was still a good place to live or actual foreigners – god bless their hearts. Brazilian “friends” are just the people who happen to be around at some given time. I do not kid myself anymore. I know they don´t care about anyone, much less me. If you change jobs, you change friends. If you change schools you change friends. They don´t care. If you call an “old friend”, for instance, some person you worked with ten years at your old job, they think you are just calling because you want something and will be automatically on edge. Guess why they call you? If they find you just wanted to give them a call and talk, after they hang up the phone, they will tell their current friends (a.k.a. people they are circumstancially hanging around with at the time) that you must be lonely or going through some rough patch and “needed to talk”. So they make the sacrifice to give you their attention and then tell everybody around them to get “altruism points”. Brazilians love to tell their good deeds to everybody. It´s another way to show status. So, how do you cope? Learn to keep you mouth shut and never talk to Brazilians about your private life. Ever. Forget you have feelings. Write a journal if you must but do not dare tell anyone something made you sad or touched you emotionally, as it will make you appear weak and people will make your life extra miserable if they know you are sensitive and won´t fight back if trampled over. Keep a stoic demeanor. Do not ask for help, ever. Asking for help is, again, just exposing vulnerability. If you are a foreigner and need information, call your consulate or embassy, or your travel agency. Never ask or expect help from anyone. If you can´t pay your way, do it yourself, hide or flee. You can´t win. Brazilian society is a very hostile one. Brazilians value money over everything (although getting very angry at anyone who points this out.) and they especially value people who do not work for money, but rather get money due to position or status. Working is seen as the result of the misfortune of being poor and they see no value in it other than earning money. So do n ot bother telling anyone that you know how to so something unless you are offering it for sale. They see it at “a poor man´s brag”. If you want to impress someone, do not bother with education, talent or skill, brag about money. Appearance is the only thing Brazilians care about anyway.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Wow!! Thank you Susanna.

      I’m very surprised by the very negative tone on Brazil coming from people who have been born there. It is a sad reflection on the state of the country.

      Thank you for the time taken to write your thoughts, I’m sure many readers will find it interesting.
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…The Best Preserved Early Christian Complex in the World – Porec’s Euphrasian BasilicaMy Profile

      • Brazilians I know say similar things. I know a young Brazilian chap living in London I couldn’t believe how negative he was about the country. He has been in the UK for about 8 years and will do anything to stay.

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Every Brazilian I’ve met overseas seems to be negative on their homeland. And that’s a bit unusual, most people leave home to better their lives and make money and are usually nostalgic of ‘home’. Brazilians (that I’ve met anyway) don’t seem to feel the same way…which maybe says a lot.

          • Absolutely – my wife’s cousin (Brazilian from Rio) lived in London for 10 years. Due to Visas she moved back to Rio and is most certainly NOT very happy being back in Brazil. My In-Laws spent 4 months here in the UK last year and even they struggled to get used to Sao Paulo again.

            They are considering selling up and moving back to the North East (Maranhao) – they are farming people not used to big cities…I don’t blame them because I don’t like cities either.

            Personally there is NO WAY I would live in Sao Paulo….I think London is a dump but Sao Paulo is the worst parts of London a thousand times over and pumped on Steroids!

    • Wowwww, all the time I hear a lot of Brazilian saying a lot of bad think about themselves , but youuuu, I think you went way too far, I’m a Brazilian just like you, my parents came from Austria, but I would never say those thing you said, I’m a Psychologist, e para mim eu posso ver que você precisa de tratamento urgente.

  37. Your experience seems odd to me, but I would probably blame it on two things: Speaking Portugues and only staying there for two weeks. That’s really not enough time to grasp any place in my opinion and without knowing the native language NO ONE will communicate with you, even if you try stumbling in Spanish. They probably were talking to your girl because they thought she was Brazilian. I lived in Brazil for about half a year and I was never met with such friendliness and just a general since of welcome anywhere else in the world. I traveled all over the country for a month (SP, RIo, Bella horiz, curitiba, brasilia, salvador, and a bunch of small towns) and stayed in a variety of places; favelas, pousuadas, random sofas, and people welcomed me like I was one of their own. At times, some things did come off as rude, for example, no one asks for the ketchup while eating they just reach over your plate and get it. But it’s not malicious or anything. A guess a big difference in our travels would be the hotel. I never stayed in one there, too expensive, plus the workers probably just saw you and your girl as a dollar sign. There is a huge class war there and that probably had something to do with the negativity you received. I would definitely not blame race either. I’m American, white, and tall but most Brazilians in the north just thought I was from the south (high german population) and people in the south didn’t pay much attention to me. For the majority of my stay, i stayed in Bahia in a small town, where people accepted me into their community. I never had any weird looks and no one ever tried to rob me or anything. Also, Rio is a big city, i mean big, it’s like twice the size of NY and think about the attitude you’d get in New York. That just comes with the big city territory. Plus, Rio is gangster dude. I’m born and raised in inner city Chicago and it’s not even close to how dangerous Rio was. I can only imagine what they tried to pull on you there.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks for the feedback Dan. Sounds like you had a pretty crazy type of trip. Ours dates back a few years – we’re full-time travellers now but at the time we took 2-3 week vacations like most people, so it was that kind of holiday.
      It’s funny how places can be similar but also very different. We spent 3 months in South Africa recently, another developing country with a high crime rate where we also stuck out. But the people were WONDERFUL. It’s a place we would go back to. Brazil…ehhh, no. Not for us. But I’m sure you’re right, a combination of how you travelled and knowing the language must have helped.

  38. What a bummer. I’d hate to visit some place and be treated like that.
    Amanda recently posted…Knott’s Berry Farm with KidsMy Profile

  39. George Rodrigues says:

    Well, I live in Brazil and I Have to agree that people down here can be “difficult” . I live down south in Florianópolis which is considered a 1st world city when compared to many other places in the country. Still I find it very annoying the way people usually behave. People are always trying to take advantage, don’t respect lines, talk on cell phones at the movies and are usually too loud everywhere they go. Corruption is everywhere. On the other hand I Think we are natural born partiers and if you are young, want to have fun and don’t care about manners, noise and politeness you will sure have a good time. Btw, Im a traveler too, i have been all over the US, Europe, South America and all over Brazil too, never had any problems or difficult situations and before you ask me why I dont just up and move out of Brazil the answer is I will. As soon as I can.

  40. Our neighbour and friend is a lady of Brazilian origin (Carioca, meaning from Rio ). As I’m a travel buff, we have had discussions about her native country. At first I was surprised of her negative views : expensive, corrupt, mismanaged, dangerous in parts, (and polluted as w have seen during the Rio Olympics). She painted me such a negative picture of Brazil (and Rio particularly) , not in an excited way, but quietly, matter-of-factly, that I gave up any idea of visiting that country.

  41. well…you felt bad in brasil…let me tell you about my experience. i am african… and i went to brasil 3 times… i can say that this country is on my top 5 racist countries. exelent food, bad manners, bad atitude, not safe at all… and too racist for me. never again.
    ps: because thay don´t know their own history..they are mixed race but they think they are not not black.

  42. It seems Frank(bbqboy) prefers Colombia than Brazil…and believe that Colombian girls are the hottest in world? Wow, what a wise comment. I lived and worked in 11 countries so far. There are good and bad things in every place you go. I could easily name 10 positive or bad things anywhere (USA/UK/Germany/Colombia/Brazil/Australia/etc). Here in Australia Lebanese are considered bad ones – and there are plenty of discrimination too. But I don’t care and I avoid the stupid ones. I came to meet nice Colombians and some very nasty ones too. Not physically nasty but perhaps poor in character. Brazil? It really depends on who you are, where you go, what you are after and what type of people you like to hang with. If you want problems sure you can find anywhere. If you really want to know Brazilian people, and go far beyond Rio and Sao Paulo.

  43. I’m from the UK and I have to say after my last trip to Brazil I hate the Brazilian people with a passion. I hate Brazilian people because of their sky high murder rate, anti-social behavior, lack of respect for all those around them, filthy streets, constant loud music, crazy driving, mad obsession with clothes, general dislike of the rule of law and corruption.

    I could moan about how vile and uncivilized the Brazilian people are for days, and I totally understand why the Americans want to build a big beautiful wall, to keep south Americans out of the USA.

  44. Hi Frank

    Yes I do despise them. My baby daughter was very sick and was struggling to sleep with the constant loud music. One day I explained to a neighbor that lived opposite that his loud music was keeping my sick baby girl awake, and asked him if he wouldn’t mind turning the music down. With that his little face smiled and told me to call the police. Here in Great Britain they would apologies and wish my baby girl better. But not with your average thick selfish Brazilian. Everything is confrontation. Walking through the shopping mall with my baby in a buggy no-one attempted to move out of the way, and wouldn’t help with the stairs etc. (and they claim that family is everything in Brazil). Mothers regularly try to give their children away and seem more interested in dressing up as if they are going to a night club, rather than looking after her children.

    To a Brazilian violence, theft, rape and anti-social behavior is the norm, and borrowing money from family and friends that are trying to help them, then not paying it back is also normal behavior. I found myself becoming more aggressive so that I wouldn’t be seen as weak, being far less polite as manners such and please and thank you aren’t used that much (not like here in the UK) as you would be seen as being fake and insincere.

    I was staying in the more nicer parts of Brazil. I dread to think how awful it must be living in a favela that is run by a drug dealing dictator.
    I think Brazilians must despise each other, why else would the murder each other in such high numbers that more people are killed in Brazil, than the Syrian civil war each year.

    I’m off to trauma counselling to get over my experiences of living in that vile country.

  45. My wife is Brazilian and we go to Brazil to stay with her mother every year for a few months in a state called Espirito Santo, and I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past. Like yourself I like to travel, but I’ve never been to a country with such a lack of compassion and awareness for their own fellow countrymen. You talk about being bumped into by a lady at the airport with a trolley. The last time we were in Brazil the same thing happened to my wife at a supermarket. My wife says they are so thick and uneducated that this is normal behavior in Brazil.

    Did you notice how the women pull sarcastic childish faces (there is an example of this in the link that you link to by a fellow blogger, at the top of the blog. Look at the lady in the photo where an old man gets sprayed with fake snow. Spend any time in Brazil and you’ll see this expression on a regular basis).

    Also in the link the blogger mentions about the amount they drink and didn’t like how the men throw themselves at women at the carnival, if she had spent more time in Brazil she would have realized that this is how they men are, all of the time. It’s as if a large amount of Brazilian men are alcoholics and sex addicts.

    The more time I spend there the more I understand the culture, and I’ve noticed how the adults will sulk like a child and seem to make assumptions about everything and everyone without the need to check any facts?

    As said I’ve been to many countries and I have tried to understand many cultures, but this country has too many faults. I wake up every morning thanking god that I was not born a Brazilian.

    By the way thank you for letting me post on your blog and I wish you and your partner a Happy New Year.

  46. You should come to the Northeast of Brazil. There people are really friendly!

  47. I am a Brit married to a Brazilian wife and have travelled to Brazil several times. My Brazilian family and friends treat me like a King when I am over there and watch out for me, so have no complaints as I have always been treated well.

    Language wise it takes a while for a Gringo to acclimatise to the lingo but living at home with wife, step daughter and visiting Brazilians the language changes between Portuguese and English and I picked it up fairly quickly…..not fluent but get by.

    I have been trying to get to grips with understanding Spanish but find it a lot faster on the ear than Portuguese – perhaps its because I am used to the rhythm of Portuguese now! Spanish just seems like a rapid blur at times.

    I have to confess I don’t like the cities especially Sao Paulo – nasty sprawling graffiti ridden hole and Rio I think is highly over rated although the backdrop is beautiful – Cape Town is a far nicer city (lived there for 20 years so yes I am biased). The smaller coastal towns and inland mountains in Brazil have some real gems and the wildlife and forests are amazing.

    I also agree with another poster on here I felt safer in Cape Town than in Rio. For some reason a Gringo stands out in Rio whereas in SA the Africans don’t give one a second glance.

    Even my very Anglo-sized Brazilian wife and our Brazilian friends here in the UK become enraged by the lack of manners, inefficiency, loudness and rudeness of the people along with the utterly SHOCKING driving standards whenever they go back. Oddly enough I know more Brazilians in the UK than English people and after a few years of living here many of them could never envisage the prospect of living back in Brazil.

    I am a bit more open minded and hope in the next few years to rent my house out and live in Brazil for a few years and springboard to the rest of South and Central America. However there is NO WAY I would live in any of the big cities and NO WAY I would ever want to entangled myself financially with that part of the world…..one does so at their own peril.

    Through my wife I have seen Latin American bureaucracy in action and I know many Gringos who “invested” in dreams of paradise and ended up getting badly burned. Nope this part of the world is enjoyed when your cash lives outside the region.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you for the detailed comment, always good to here what people with family (blood or not) think of Brazil. Ours was a short trip, but enough for us. We’ve been to many places but Brazil stood out as far as unfriendliness and, as you say, complete “lack of manners”. Sometimes I wonder if we were just unlucky…but we can only form opinions based on our experiences.
      By the way, we totally, totally loved Cape Town and the Western Cape (a more recent trip, we spent 3 months there in early 2016. Rio was back in 2009 I believe..). And the people were just the complete opposite: friendly, helpful…and again, we are a mixed race couple which I think that worked to our benefit in SA…in Brazil it didn’t. We would go back to SA in a heartbeat.
      Yes, I would never invest in South America. Just too unstable, too many corrupt politicians.
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Why you should visit Klis Fortress. And the easy way to get there from SplitMy Profile

      • Hi Frank – I spotted your South African travels and will comment over there later.

        My wife is also mixed race (most Brazilians are) although she is light skinned. Believe me racism and economicism is alive and well in Brazil. My Mother in Law is practically Tupi Indian and speaks the lingo and because she is darker skinned is discriminated against all the time…..they often won’t serve her in shops or banks in Central Sao Paulo, however the moment they see her with her Gringo Son in Law or know that she has spent several months in the UK the attitude towards her changes in an instant…..INCREDIBLE.

        This is strange for me because I lived in South Africa during the height of the Apartheid years in fact I am a dual citizen – British/ South African – the country once considered the pariah outcast of the world……and yet I have seen levels of racism in Brazil – and believe it or not in America – that were in many ways worse. (I witnessed an incident in Florida between a Black Taxi Driver and a Cop that left me speechless!)

        As an outdoor adventurer I have done a lot of travelling in my life and I can hand on heart say that South Africa (especially Cape Town) is one of the finest places to live in the world (my opinion of course). My brother still lives an hours drive north of Cape Town (in the Swartland). I miss Africa with every fibre of my being and would go back in an instant if it wasn’t for the overall situation. I will continue this conversation in the South Africa column rather so that your posters can follow..

        Interestingly enough a lot of white South Africans are heading for Colombia and state striking similarities in the economics, politics and development of the two countries.

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Thanks for the insights Colin. I’ve previously heard much of the same but it is good to have them confirmed by someone with close connections to Brazil. About the USA – you’re right. I’ll never understand it. I’m from Canada and I went to high school where all my friends were Chinese, Arabs, blacks…never any issues. Lissette is from NY and she’s got lots of stories. Shame.

          As far as South Africa – absolutely loved it. My ex-boss (have known him over 20 years) is the same as you: South African as well as UK passport. And he feels exactly the same as you. He’s back there at least once a year, his family still there and we got to meet them on our visit. I think it’s the most beautiful country anywhere and we’re planning another visit.
          Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Why you should visit Klis Fortress. And the easy way to get there from SplitMy Profile

  48. Great article, thanks for the tips! As the biggest country in South America and as the soccer mecca of the world, Brazil is a marvel to visit. However, there are numerous tourist targeted scams to be wary of.

    Do be wary of the Cinderella goodnight girls, pickpockets, assaults/robberies/muggings, lost and found money, drug planting, black market tickets, the place is closed scam, music charge, can I help you scam, fake merchandise, rogue drivers and many more!

  49. I’m so sorry to hear you had a such bad time in Brazil Frank.
    As a Brazilian I can tell you that the lady that was hitting you with her cart didn’t do it intentionally just  because she thought you were a foreign or white, we do have white people in Brazil too,  read the Brazilian history . Why the Italian, German, Poland and others  that went to Brazil are not white and those that went to other part of the world are!! I have  a lot of people hitting me at the supermarket with their cart in Brazil ,some say sorry, others even don’t pay attention they did that, it’s very annoying I know. The reason for that is ,  Brazilian are always in such a hurry and late for everything, still a very rude thing to do, I also had the same problems at other Country too, Americans are the most polite of all when they do something like this. After what happened to you at the airport ,you start to see things differently  and was not really open to change. I do believe you had  a share of responsibility in this matter, from everything you wrote, I can say you are a little closed – minded person 😉, that reminds me of this blog a came across , I’m going to try to leave it here for you in case you want to read it, it’s very good.
    The other thing is, Brazilian do not like when foreign talk with them in Spanish , why? Because we speak Portuguese , I know many does, specially in Rio when there’re a lot of Hispanic tourist, but there’re those that don’t speak and can’t have a conversation in Spanish , including  myself .I know the two languages are very closed, but still not the same language. I think you didn’t  like to be mistaken  for an American, I know that(I lived in Canada,and now I live in USA),most of Canadian are tired to be over- shadowed by USA . The true is, American don’t really talk much about Canada, there’re few or none news( bad or good) about Canada here, we started to see some after Trudeau , people likes him here.
    I lived in Canada for one year, and I can tell I haven’t met a nicear and friendly people like Canadian . My husband was transferred from IBM in Brazil, to IBM in Canada, he came a month before me , and a coworker just offer him to stay at his house with his family , I was amazing by that, and started to like Canadian even before a put my feet there, they really made my life a little easier since I didn’t know the country or the language( the language still bad though,hahaha),I  lived in a small city named Whitby, almost one hour from Toronto . One interesting thing about Canada, it was when I went to Quebec, they don’t like to talk English over there, a lot of people does, but some refuse to, I saw a lot of people covering their ears when somebody was talking in English, I also notice that Canadian are very proud of their French part,  I didn’t see the same about  the people in Quebec regarding the rest of the Country. What I didn’t like in Canada? The weather , I hate cold. My husband didn’t like the amount of taxes we were paying, he used to say Canada,is more like a socialist Country, and people with a lower income is better off here, then with a higher.
    We moved because he got a job offer from Apple, but I’m always coming back every time I can, since we have so many friends there.
    Lara c Andres recently posted…A Daytrip to Hvar town, CroatiaMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you for the comment Lara!

      While I appreciate it, I think you are making a lot of excuses for the Brazilians we met.
      – “Brazilians are always in such a hurry”. That’s true everywhere, not just Brazil, and is not an excuse for rudeness.
      – Language factor. While speaking the language helps, it doesn’t explain unhelpfulness or rudeness either. Look at the countries we’ve been: 90% don’t speak English, French or Spanish (the languages we speak). We now live in Croatia where the level of English is quite low. But I haven’t complained about the people in these countries (except Romania where we didn’t find people so friendly generally speaking). Where there’s a will there’s a way, it just takes a bit of willingness on both sides (as you point out in your example of coming to Canada). But I’m sorry, but I’ve never had an experience as bad as in Brazil.
      – on me being a “close minded person”. I paid $250 for a Visa Lara, took a 12 hour plane ride, spent over 3 weeks (and a lot of money) in Brazil. I would not have done any of that if I was a close minded person.

      As I always say, we can only judge based on our experiences. This was my experience in Brazil. Maybe it would be totally different if I went again (but that’s not going to happen).

      Also appreciate your Canada comments.
      – yes, Canadians are (generally) very friendly, helpful, and will help you out regardless of race or colour.
      – What you say about Quebec: very true. I was born there and it shames me that people are like that. I lived in different parts of Canada but spent over 25 years in Montreal – but when I retired we left exactly because of the kind of mentality that you are referring to.
      – “socialist country”. Yes, that is what my Americans friends call us. But they are the first to complain about the level of violence, racial segregation and the cost of healthcare in their own country. That’s why Canadians don’t mind paying taxes and ‘spreading the wealth’ somewhat. Like in Europe, it makes for a better society. You can’t have it both ways and like everywhere, it is the people who have the most that seem to do most of the complaining.

      Thanks you for your comment Lara!
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…A Daytrip to Hvar town, CroatiaMy Profile

      • Thank you Frank,
        for getting back to me 🙂
        You are from Quebec eh? Why I didn’t think about that! Just kidding , I said that because I was talking with a Canadian friend about you, and she just told me , “maybe he’s from Quebec” . Even though Canadian are very proud of their French part, they also know how Québécois can be hard to deal with, the separatist movement still very alive in Quebec.
        I’m sorry if it seems to you that I was giving excuses to justify her bad behavior. That was really not my intention, I even said she was very rude. My point it was just to show you she didn’t do it because you were a foreigner or white( I notice you mention you are a white guy all the time when I was reading your posts and your replying to some people) ,this is not making any sense to me. Other thing, how do you know she’s a Brazilian ,the airport in Rio gets thousands of tourist each day, Brazilian are a mix people, so we don’t have a “Brazilian” face, so basically anyone can look like a Brazilian .
        Yes, free healthcare in Canada is a plus, even though Canada’s system is not perfect however. Vision, dental, mental health, home visit services and prescriptions are not covered, the last one just for retired people. While living there I just went to the doctor once(same with my husband ), for a physical, can’t say much from my own experience, but a have a friend diagnosed with breast cancer , but waiting three month for treatment start, still better then here for sure, specially now. My opinion Switzerland ,has the best health system.
        Just to let you know that the reason we left Canada , it was not because of the cold or neither the high taxes we were paying, it was because my husband was not happy with IBM anymore, it’s not the same company that it used to be, even though, he was not looking for a new job, he was found by recruiters, and didn’t think twice when he got the offer.
        what you said about people that have too much are the ones that give less, it’s not always like this. Take Bill Gates, for example , he is one of the richest people in the world ,but is one that helps poor people the most. All the time we see news that he donate to hundreds of causes , and he is not alone, I also have seen a lot of poor people donating the little they have. I’m not a millionaire, but every Saturday I take time of my busy schedule to get together with a group of friends to do what I like the most, cooking for homeless people , and then walk up the street passing the food. Paying high taxes is not the only way to help poor people, especially in Brazil, where there are so much corruption and horrible politician.
        I have to confess that I’m jealous of you, not because you are white 😂, if there’s something I learned from my father since when I was a little girl , it was that I’m not better then no one , and no one are better then me, my father was a doctor and he didn’t want us to think we were all that just because he was a doctor, specially in a poor country like Brazil, he always asked us when we go to the bathroom ( to do number 2😂), just pay attention that we stinky just like someone else. That was a really good lesson for us ,I’m jealous because you do something that I would love to do , travel all around the world, you were lucky that you found someone just like you.
        Just one more thing “We are beautiful no matter what you say” 😘, Cristina Aguilera.

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Thanks for the comment Lara.
          – Yes, I studied and worked in Montreal 20+ years but I’ve lived in different places, including in Africa (Zambia) as a child. I’ve never identified myself as being a Quebecker but rather as Canadian.
          – Lady at airport definitely Brazilian coming home from New York. This post dates back to 2007 (10 years ago) and at that time there was a lot of anti-American sentiment in Brazil with the whole Visa situation which is why I mentioned that maybe unfriendliness was due to being mistaken for an American. But in the case of that lady it was just a case of somebody being rude.
          – Healthcare in Canada definitely not perfect you’re right. But you’ll never die in a hospital waiting room or go bankrupt because of a medical procedure. Anything serious will be taken care of and are usually handled on priority basis.
          – Of course Bill Gates. All I’m saying is that people should consider themselves fortunate when they are in a position to pay taxes. The more taxes you pay, the more income you are making! 🙂 Congratulations for helping out Lara, not everyone is as generous.
          – Travelling the world: It’s just the choices we make in life AND being lucky enough to have everything go right with job, savings, and the health of family. For me it was something I always wanted to do and I planned around it, giving up many things along the way. Lissette never dreamed of it but had to follow my dream. She says now that it was the best thing she’s ever done and that she wishes we had started earlier. But we have to give up things like friends, family, having roots somewhere…So nothing is perfect but like anything else, if it is something you dream of then it is sometimes worth sacrificing other things. I hope for you that maybe one day you do it 🙂

  50. Adra Traveler says:

    I have to laugh when reading your report!!!
    I can believe it. But I can understand perhaps that it is real. And you just had the wrong turn of events.
    Probably having the bad introduction at airport, started a bad tone. And you dont have very much other interactions with Brazilians.
    I will say that from 30?+ years of experimenting, I have NEVER met a more festive – ALWAYS ready to smile – group of people from a large country. I grew up around the world’s largest concentration of Brazilians outside of Brazil. And in other world travels … whenever I see one, I run to them – and I make the test — to see if it continues, that they are ALWAYS — ALWAYS — ALWAYS — ALWAYS — the FRIENDLIEST — most approachable, kind and smiling people imaginable from any of the large countries. For me, I have only seen friendlier in the tiny island of Bermuda — and perhaps equally only near the beach tourist areas of Florida.

    HAHA!!! ANd you must kidding!!! You didnt see sexy girls in Rio? I truly had mild whiplash one day, when suddenly passing through a busy part of Copacabana Beach.
    You must be gay.
    Or just dont like thonged Booties.
    My friends wanted to go the Strip Clubs, and I soon realized, the beaches there, are better than any U.S. strip club, unless you find a place, where the girls can also dance well. But often they are dancing on the Rio beaches also.
    I never met ANY man, there, except a Russian who prefers starved Russian girls, that wasnt blown away by the girls. And actually … It is so wonderful, that all my female friends were also adoring the majesty of the Rio girl. (La Carioca (which is actually the same name for the guys)).

    BUT … so … obviously your Brazil experience was away from the Rio Beaches.
    Either in the over-populated Sao Paolo — which like any big city – people are fighting for space and attention, and think they rule the world.
    Or you were in the more poverty stricken states of Brazil, … where life is more hopeless, and they have no glorious beaches to relax and enjoy sometimes … in any place in the world – and in the United States — people always want to blame Americans for their misery.
    In the U.S. poor uneducated white people, blame the educated half of America for their misery. Though they always promote policies that promote violence, and lower paid jobs …. and funneling money to the wealthy.

    If you and your girlfriend are jealous types — then yes – Rio is no place to go.
    If you will smile — I cant imagine ANYONE not smiling back — except a few cops or sad child criminals.
    The homeless street people, resting their heads next to their pee and poop piles, would jump and wave, if you gave them a short hello when passing …
    If you like booties … Rio is an unreal paradise.
    And the people … while might be hard to really befriend … are always ready to be festive, and positive.

    BUT GREAT!!! Thank you for posting a bad review, that comes up on first page of google searches.
    Rio, was almost as expensive as my home city (4th most expensive in USA), so I adore all the bad reviews of the city — CRIME is outstandingly out of control — and terribly managed … and the prices are at the edge of being too high. SO DONT GO!!! … too much foreign money, will quickly jump prices. And I cant afford to go anymore.

    Also another plus: though it has some strong riptides — I am told, and a google search confirms — that there is no known shark threat in Copacabana Bay — so you can safely swim all over, if you are a strong swimmer.
    I LOVE the kindness and smiling of Brazilian People. SO MANY gentle hearts. And WELCOMING spirits and open-mindedness to be accepting of any kind peoples … BUT Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world. In space and population. It will have ALL types!! And has attracted many immigrants — and so must have all types of subcultures …
    Sorry, and thank goodness there is so much anti-American sentiment – keeps americans away from nice cheaper places. Fortunately for me, I am multi-lingual and can fit in any place soon. And in Europe – people usually think I am Italian or Greek. Or from their country.

    * Please note, I only read the first report — I did not have time to read all responses. So sorry, if I ignored any updates.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks for your comment, nice to see someone so in LOVE with Brazil. I guess it all depends on our experiences – yeah, I expected beautiful, bootied girls on the beaches. Believe me, I love coloured girls (my wife Latina). I saw the Olympic women’s volleyball team practicing on Ipanema beach…but otherwise was pretty much like any beach anywhere. So maybe we weren’t lucky this time around.
      But I never mind anyone having a different opinion as long as they can describe the reasoning. It sounds like you have all the right reasons to love Brazil 🙂 So thanks for the comment, I’m sure for many it is exactly what attracts them to Brazil (I had the same hopes but obviously the reality didn’t live up for me).
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Hiking Mt. Dinara, Croatia’s highest PeakMy Profile

      • Adra Traveler says:

        I thought about what you said … I mean … again, pondering your first words.
        It occurred to me, that I owe you an apology, and deep gratitude.
        And perhaps I was errored in what I said, and I cant delete it now.
        … your words, each hit on all the right points.
        Except the crime.
        You should have emphasized the crazy high level type of crime Brazil can have.
        One of the most violent non war countries in the world.

        Obviously, your article was intended to deter further ‘Gringos’ as the Brazilians call us, from ever going to Brazil.
        The prices though often cheap in many parts — can be similar to U.S. prices in the big cities.
        And so you did the write thing, in writing the most unpleasant things about Brazil — to KEEP ALL THE FOREIGN MONEY AWAY FROM THIS PARADISE ON EARTH!!!

        You were there during the Olympics?
        Maybe, as I know from living in other party cities — the locals were staying away from the beach, with all the foreign crowds there.

        Or you only went on cold cloudy days?
        BUT — actually … if you were there in August? Remember that is the heart of the Brazilian WINTER!!!!
        Actually … yeah … when I first got there … there were less locals on the beach — it was more tourists (but mostly Brazilian tourists).

        It really makes no sense that you didnt … that you didnt have relationship problems, if you went there with a girlfriend.
        … Copacabana? I mean, even a night stroll there … though many are not so especially attractive, once you get near the road with the all the strip clubs, there is already high concentrations of very attractive Brazilian night workers — a country where it is legal, and so somewhat controlled.

        Maybe … you came in the winter … during a time, when the city was overtaken by foreigners …
        The people awaken more in the summer … You are from Canada? Do your girls go out in bikinis in the winter time?
        Well … remember for them — it is THEIR winter … and so they stay in more.
        Even if their winter weather is warmer than your summer weather …
        It was the case when I lived in Florida.
        I went there to swim … but after a hot summer, I almost never stepped foot in the water, all winter long …
        then I came back to the cold north USA, for July … soon I realized, that our summer waters are warmer than florida winter waters, so I started to swim again in the winters there … but the locals thought I was crazy.
        Though they also think you are crazy for swimming in the summer – because then the water is too hot!

        … I saw Brazil play Brazil at the Athens Olympics. It was awesome.
        You were so lucky to see them — practice out in the open on the Beach?

        Well, thanks again.
        I hope to spend much time in Brazil.
        Especially Rio.
        So your article discouraging foreigners from going, is most helpful.
        I hope the news spreads more about the return of the ridiculous crime — which I saw start to turn to the worse again, very quickly after the Olympics ended, and the military / special police was immediately leaving the streets.

        I was able to live in Brazil … for the cost of just a full day’s of food.
        And now I see even cheaper prices.
        … 86 places … include breakfast — daily maid service, some security, washed linens, some have a pool … new friends to make every day … all for the cost of what you eat for breakfast, if you had to buy it yourself.
        It helps to make the experience better, if you can get a place to live, all just for the cost of food you would eat anyhow.

        EVERYBODY is blown away by the girls … I did notice I was treated COMPLETELY different, when I was with my pretty female friends on the beach, or when I went with my tough guy friends.

        But I only saw 2 or 3 angry people/and had maybe 2 or 3 rude reactions from people — one some fancy dressed kind of macho guy – to good to answer some simple question on the beach …
        But one thing most of us (me and my foreign guy buddies) noticed, — and actually the Argentines also love about Brazil … is that not only is there too much amazing girls, for any man’s health … but almost ALL of them are Approachable!! Almost any girl, no matter how – ‘Too Beautiful’ she is, will welcome a greeting and a chat!! You simply need to go to them.
        … and my friends (with some muscles), could go from girl to girl on the beach, kissing a different lady about every 100 meters.
        Brazilians LOVE – are passionate – enjoy life as best they can – and make the best of things — they try to be festive always … I think especially in Rio — again, probably as I have seen living in other party cities — they keep alive a bit of the spirit of Carnivale – all year round — keep in mind, that some people work hard ALL YEAR — for that one celebration — customs, dances, songs … and to that spirit IS alive all year in Rio.

        BUT — thanks again … I realized later what you were doing with your article … basically going down the checklist, of what all to appropriately say, to best keep this a Hidden Paradise.

  51. Adra Traveler says:

    I was there for 3 months … the max allowed for usa citizens, a special offer made only if we arrived during the Olympics.
    Soon after arriving, I learned I could not access my bank cards, nor my online businesses, together which was to pay for my time there.

    After about a month, I was out of cash … I could have gone to the airport, and changed my ticket for free.
    But, for 6? weeks, I stayed the course – I could not imagine leaving, until I was legally required to do so.
    For 6 weeks, I did not know where / if I would have a home the next day or 3 days later …
    But I remained calm … and made the best of every day, and did what I could, to get by.
    The thought of ending up on the streets of Rio, was more favorable, than needing to leave Rio.

    It is a land of Enchantment … but … yeah … if it wasnt for the Booty Dunes (its like little sand dunes, all across the beach – I cant believe you missed it!!) – I think it wouldnt be the same, as enchanting … though, lush tropical tree lined roads, with orchids carefully placed in many … the excitement of the waves at the shoreline … the strict code of conduct to always keep a positive attitude (cant understand how you saw a different way … but … I do think you have to make an effort perhaps – keep smiling, and people will smile bigger back at you — I even notice, that the Brazil people, have genetically evolved to have a face, with a bit of a permanent smile on them!! I dont see how you missed it…. – I never heard anyone speak ill of Brazil, except the corruption and crime)

    3 months … lived on less than $10 a day … most of the time, I was in a state of preparing for street life … at home, I own a house in top 100 wealthy usa town – house over half a million … but I would have rathered sleep on the Rio cobblestones….
    (Though now that I am home, I am very much in love here — I live in a USA paradise! haha … crazy … cant imagine, I would leave this, to go be poor in a poor country … BUT — it is all I strive to do now … I hope I will get a work visa, so I can work there … but if not — I will go and give out my art for free, and just enjoy the people and the place (AND – NOTABLY — the NATURE — Rio, has the world’s largest Municipal National Park … and to have mountains BOUND up in front of you suddenly, when you take a turn … some buildings seemingly cut right into the rock face … South America is great.)

    BUT … also … people there DID start to tell me, that Columbians are even kinder, and smile more.
    Americans have gotten accustomed to the idea, that Columbia is too dangerous, because in the 1980s, their politicians were using Cocaine – PUBLICLY SPEAKING OF THIS in the their campaign speeches – as a ‘Nuclear Bomb’ on the usa population. And they did a good job of it. And for some time, Americans were forbidden to go there, without risk of losing our passports …
    Anyhow … interesting world.

    I hope I can spend much time now, exploring all the beach resort cities of this hemisphere.
    And what of Belize?
    No one speaks of Belize?
    is that a hidden, low cost jewel, as Costa Rica once was?

  52. Adra Traveler says:

    And … if you like meat … The Brazilians have a special way of grilling … and you can find All-You-Can-Eat Buffets for about $10-20. The higher priced ones usually — giving you that extra $10 money’s worth … if you like all kinds of steaks, porks, bacon rolled chicken, chicken hearts (a great Brazilian grill snack) — also something I rarely saw, but is great when you kind find it, is the Seafood — and Shrimp Empanadas are reason enough to go …. Great Salad choices at these buffets/great (and closer to $7-$15), ‘just the salad bar-without the grill (nao churrasco)’ – is great for vegetarians. Even the cheapest buffets will have too much to choose from, for vegetarians.

    Another convenient feature — when you are ready to leave … you just walk to the beach, any time during the day … and for a few dollars, there is a very comfortable bus, that takes you, straight to the airport. So you can enjoy one last look at the beach, and leave in more comfort than a taxi ride, and enjoy your last hour with the wonderful Brazilians … making their way … and maybe make one last new foreign friend.

    For sports people — all along the beach, there is open games for all kinds of beach sports imaginable — though of course mostly games with soccer balls … but you can join most any game you want — and if you have a ball — you bring it with you to the beach — and instantly make new friends any place. It is hard to find a Brazilian, who wont jump up, ready to toss a ball around, on the beach.

    Brazil has a yellow beer company, that is less for a whole liter at the Beach Bars, than one small glass at home.
    They have their own sponsored yellow beach bars, that often have live music, late in to the night.
    … all of Copacabana and a lot of Ipanema is well lit at night … and where the beach is thinnest, you can go for night swims, along with many families and all peoples …

    The rare days that the seas are calm … it is also a swimming paradise – I saw a blowfish (unpuffed) the size of girl’s head — gradually with its tiny fins trying to swim away from me … until it even got startled right on to the rocks … fortunately right back in the water, with the next wave…
    You can meet all types of people on the beach. I got meet all kinds of top scientists and athletes – just out for a day at the beach … Rio is an International Convention Center.
    Friendly little monkeys.
    my friend did get spiked TWICE by some tree in the forest — BUT — the hospitals were free and SUPER FRIENDLY — actually it is this Brazilian medical staff, that first made me decide to start to forget USA again … it was at that moment, closing the doctor’s door, when I said, “I never want to go back to USA” the doctor was overly engaging – cant say it was the highest quality medical care … but then also … in USA, you can go YEARS of waiting for appointments, doctors ignoring symptoms, not thinking about what — NOT LISTENING to their patients ….
    maybe in Canada doctors work to be doctors, and not to have movable atm machines that come to them ….

    EVERY DAY, that the sun sets behind the Mountains at Ipanema, it feels – it looks like God is saying, “Thank You for coming, I am glad you enjoyed your day. Hope you have a good evening.” “Come again, but dont tell everyone, because we do want to keep down the congestion”

    well, if I ruined your plan, to do that — trying to deter people, so that we can keep down the costs, please delete my reports.
    I do regret saying anything nice publicly about Rio … because I know … one person will come, then another, then two more … then 3, then four, then ten … I saw it happen with a secret back road parking area at the lake by my house — until finally the police had to start ticketing, because that neighborhood started to complain too much.
    SO … remember … to all those who read my reports — I studied martial arts my entire life.
    I traveled every where. (not really, but a bunch)
    After a TERRORFYING bike ride across Long Island, New York, where I mapped out a route, using google maps – for the SAFE – WALKING route across the island — only to discover all along the way, that it was sending me ON HIGHWAYS — and PITCH BLACK ROADS – with no side-walks … I could feel the cars wizzing by my elbows … well … it was an all night terror ride — by morning … when I pulled out, exhausted onto yet another ‘WALKING Friendly road’ – according to google, only to have a car brush against my shirt … at that moment … my sense of fear just died.
    I just didnt … it was too much … fear of people and so much, just dissipitated ….
    RIO de JANEIRO is VERY DANGEROUS — you CAN take many precautions to avoid those dangers — DO NOT TAKE ANYthing with you, that you do not need!! Wear clothes/dont carry pocketbooks – have all such, that thieves see no pockets, or obvious goods you might have.
    Try to refrain from walking too far at night — never go out alone at night. STAY COOL, CALM, and COLLECTED with any dangers — expect that POLICE might be the ones to mug you at the street corner … mostly people just want money — they dont want any other problems … but they are also not afraid to get violent.
    Expect that if you turn your back on anything you have — anything that is not being held on the front of your body … expect those things to be ‘gifts for the poor’ … anything left unattended will likely dissappear … for ever … their is violent poverty on a massive scale unlike anything, most anywhere … right in the middle of Oppulence … so like USA — poor people, are living in lavishness – and so want more, than they often need … but … mostly the criminals, are poor youths, just trying to get what they need – money for food and housing….
    And Ironically — these poorest people’s of Rio — actually have some of the best real estate to live — tiresome to climb every day — but they have hung on to the sides and tops of the mountains which have some of the best views of the majesty of this place … Sitting on Top of the World … watching all below ….

    that is the balance … AND … I think, that this bbqboy – probably experienced those peoples who only work/live away from the beach … and never have chance to enjoy what is best of Rio and Brazil — the Nature, and the Beautiful people … well … and for food lovers … well … get out of the more touristy areas, and the prices can drop dramatically, and give you some different very cheap lunch special deals and such ….

    AND Brazil has Guarana!!
    Way better than coke.
    and less damaging to your teeth.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks for the follow up comments Adra Traveler.
      I think you’re maybe overthinking the reason I wrote the post. Maybe it was just a post detailing my experience on this one trip, nothing more?
      Anyway, I can’t possibly answer all your points but hopefully others benefit from your wisdom and experiences in Brazil.
      Happy travels!
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Hiking Mt. Dinara, Croatia’s highest PeakMy Profile

  53. I am sorry you had a bad experience. I am actually surprised that people treated you like that. I am Brazilian and I have been to Rio de Janeiro before and I had such a good experience. People would talk to me and treat me like family. I also went to Sao Paulo and it was horrible. People were so unfriendly. I think it depends a lot. I disagree about them not liking Americans. Brazilians do like white people. They are actually a little bit racist. But I also agree that people around the southeast have a lot of prejudice towards others who are “different” or if they can find something on you that they can take advantage of. They feel superior when they do that. I am from the north and we suffer that prejudice if we go down there.

  54. It’s likely you just come off a certain way that doesn’t fit with Brazilian culture. I’m white and I’ve been to Brazil at least 5 times but my personality just clicks really with them: I’m fat and I’m merry!

Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated!


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