After 2,5 years living as a Gringa in Brazil I’ve seen some weird stuff I want to share with you. With the help of some friends and the Facebook Group “Worldwide Expats in Brazil” I created a list of some shocking, hilarious, weird and strange stuff that happens in Brazil! Some of that is mostly ironic – some is not.
I’ve purposely left out the political situation, which would provide me with some deep weird shit to write about. Maybe I’ll find the time to reflect on everything on a deeper level, but this article merely serves as pure entertainment and I hope it makes you laugh.
#1 YOU CANNOT BLOW YOUR NOSE IN PUBLIC
I mean you actually can, but people tend to avoid doing it in public and use a bathroom to do so. You can’t even buy proper tissues to carry with you.
A friend once told me that it is considered very rude. He once had a cold in a bus and his nose was running and he felt awkward all the time.
This unfortunately leads to a LOT of people pulling up the snot REALLY loudly. It’s gross, but I guess better than blowing one’s nose haha!
#2 HILARIOUS PRONUNCIATIONS!
There are some hilarious pronunciations of English words in Brazil. And as my Portuguese pronunciation is not the best either, I guess I can make fun of that here too, haha!
Out of the few examples below, “HIP HOP” still is my all time favourite!
"The pronunciation thing is largely due to essentially every word in Portuguese ending in a vowel (...) when an English word ends in a consonant they just append an 'e' or 'i' sound to the end".
Michael, “Worldwide Expats in Brazil”
#3 SUSHI WITH STRAWBERRIES & CREAM CHEESE
What NOT to do on the other hand is Sushi with strawberries – but even worse: meat or CREAM CHEESE?!
Brazilians are so obsessed with their cow titty juice, they put it in anything… why would we get cows pregnant, to then deport their babies just to snack on their milk… but that’s a different topic 😉
#4 UNDERWEAR IS WASHED IN THE SHOWER
Panties in Brazil are washed in the shower and then hung out there to dry. I had read about this somewhere and thought I’d give it a try!
Since clothes dry really fast in summer I can tell you that I like it!
First time I euphorically jumped into the shower and thought “Why not try this with socks too?” … Well … NOPE.
#5 BRAZILIANS BRUSH THEIR TEETH 500 TIMES A DAY
I’m exaggerating here, but Brazians have a spot on dental hygiene and actually brush their teeth after each meal. At 12.30 at my work every basin is full of colleagues cleaning their teeth. What seems to be weird for any German is actually a smart thing to do. In Brazil you can buy take-away toothbrushes, with a lid to close.
By the way dentists in Brazil are SO SO cheap and good! You can get a white filling for your tooth and only pay around 70€ in cash! Compared to Germany this is cavities heaven!
#6 PRISONERS CAN GO “ON HOLIDAYS” DURING CHRISTMAS
Definitely not all of them, but the ones that have behaved well are sent on holidays during Christmas and kindly asked to return… You see where this goes haha!
Since the prisons are packed with people this seems to be Brazilian logic.
#7 TOILET PAPER IS THOWN IN A BUCKET
Not less gross.
Toilet paper is collected in buckets beside the toilet.
If you flush it the toilets will soon be clogged.
Just picture a party with all of your friends … in Brazil … in summer … (not getting into details here)
#8 LOTS OF BRAZILINS LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS UNTIL THEY GET MARRIED
Family ties are strong. Very strong.
In Germany you tend to move out between 18 and 23 maybe. You do not want to live with your parents – at least not once you start studying.
In Brazil (and I heard that it is actually changing) it seems that not a lot of people actually want to live without them, which is kind of cute, but also weird.
Imagine dating someone and then meeting the mom right on the next morning. Well no.
Just … no.
#9 SWIMSUIT IN SAUNA
Brazilian girls in Bikinis – walking along Ipanema beach. Yeah- guys! I know what you’re thinking, but Brazilians are actually more conservative than they appear to be on the beach.
Being naked in a sauna is just merely not possible! I mean you wouldn’t walk to the bakery naked, right? Why would you do so in a sauna? Hahaha as weird as it sounds- NO Brazilian will jump into a sauna without at least a swimsuit.
I’ve even seen people in my condominio who went in there with there sports clothes right after gym! They were not embarrassed, so I guessed it as normal.
Luckily I was wearing a bikini.
#10 BEER IN TINY GLASSES
"They are called "copo americano" and they are tiny because we share beer from the same bottle and everybody gets to drink their share of it, and it's cold till you finish the drink, than you refill with cold beer. The big cups are not good to keep the beer cold till the end, too much beer, when you are finishing, it's already warm."
Pedro/ Worldwide Expats in Brazil
Those tiny glasses make you feel like a giant who only uses two fingers to sip – It actually makes me want to stick out my pinkie finger when I drink it.
For Germans the beer is …lets put it that way: kind of different, so it is not too bad to be handed a tiny glass only.
Also Brazilians drink their beer “freezing” cold! And by freezing cold I mean the “Oh DENISE we can’t drink that”- putting it back in the freezer- kind of cold.
I mean I would say if it was really hot in Brazil all year long, this would make sense, but even in winter, beer has to be freezing cold and then I kind of thought, well … you don’t taste that much when it’s really cold, right? 😉
#11 SWEET PIZZA
How to insult Italians? If the pineapple pizza wasn’t enough it is probably going to be the Nutella one here.
In Brazil you can order sweet pizza that comes in all flavours. What seems to be very wrong on so many levels can actually be very tasty.
#12 SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES = BEING STALKED TO DEATH
It is not normal to go to a clothing store in Brazil, walk around on your own and choose something on your own. I mean who would know better than YOU what suits you best?
As soon as you enter you have been watched before. You have been watched carefully and you are going to be watched until you leave. While you are being watched (and I am talking about some f*** 20 centimetres space between you and the stalking lady) you are also being talked to.
Please Please Please Brazil do not do that with us Germans! This goes beyond our level of socialising, haha!
Do this to get around this madness: Wear earplugs! Wear them proudly and answer every question in fast English. You won’t get around not talking at all, but this makes them back off a little! 🙂
Make sure (before you buy anything) to hand it to one of the ladies. They might not like you being so antisocial, but at least they can get their sales promotion.
You’re welcome 😉
#13 BRAZILIANS SING EVERYWHERE
It’s adorable! Brazilians LOVE to sing! Whether it’s in the bus, in the supermarket, during work … if they like a song, you can hear it.
There are some Brazilian songs everyone knows and everyone can sing the lyrics to – no matter what age they are. I find it remarkable how well all the generations agree on their taste of music. We do not have something like this in Germany.
#14 CAIPIRINHA WITH KIWI, ORANGE, STRAWBERRIES OR PINEAPPLES
It is actually not something “weird” (unless you consider that Tangerine Caipirinha exists), but for Germans Caipirinha mostly consists of Cachaca, sugar, ice and limes. That is a Caipirinha for us… and we make terrible ones, haha! Kiwi and Passion fruit Caipirinha are a gift to the world and I do happily drink them every time, just to surprisingly realise how drunk those tiny glasses have made me again!
I was told by the way that wealthier Brazilians prefer to drink Caipiroska, which has the same base as Caipirinha but is made with vodka instead of Cachaça. They call it Caipirinha with vodka here and as a German I do need to point out that mistake.
Cachaça is drop dead cheap by the way! You can buy a whole bottle for 5-7 Reals, which is not even 2€.
If I had more space in my luggage (*hysterically laughing*) I would bring some home to Germany!
#15 YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE CAR AT GAS STATIONS
You just sit in the car, open your window and someone else will come and do it for you. Tell them how much you are going to pay and you’re all set.
By the way a LOT of gas stations have their fuel counts changed. You actually almost never get as much as you’ve paid for.
#16 PAY WITH CARD – ANYWHERE!
In Brazil you can pay with card anywhere. If you feel like getting a coconut at the beach for 20 cents, pay with credit card. Some bananas on the road – credit card!
I mean you technically can do that, but don’t be surprised if your cards gets cloned after, haha.
A colleague of mine even had her car’s licence plate cloned 😉
#17 NO SALAD ON HAMBURGERS
Well … holy mother**** sh*** those are hamburgers! If you eat that stuff, Brazil will be your meat heaven. It’s bacon, more meat and a lot of cow titty juice! But there is no salad on – unless you order a “hamburguer salada”.
There is also “Hamburger X”, but the X is pronounces as /:ʃiz/ which can be kind of translated into Cheese. By the way the Brazilian letter X /:ʃiz/ sounds like the German word for “liquid shit” – just saying.
#18 SPARKLING WINE IS RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE
When I met my girls in Germany we were always hanging out at some place and everyone brought 1-2 bottles of sparkling wine.
You actually only pay 3-4 Euros for a good bottle!
Due to ridiculously high import taxes, here in Brazil sparkling wine (the still terrible ones) is about 70- 100 Reals upwards. Which is about 15-22 Euros for a bottle.
#19 FIREWORKS DURING DAYLIGHT
Right now while I am writing this article there is a massive shooting outside! And those are no guns haha!
Fireworks are being shot up in the air during events – I guess just because the sound is nice? You can’t see shit because it’s bright as hell, but who cares 😉
Sometimes fireworks are also used by drug dealers to announce that some new stuff has arrived.
#20 INSANE USAGE OF PLASTIC BAGS
The above picture shows how your stuff is being packed in bags when you shop and forget to bring a reusable bag. There’s one bag for just a few items and absolutely no education about the harm it does to the environment.
Apparently laws have changed and businesses have 1,5 years to adapt to using less plastic (Leandro, “Worldwide Expats Brazil”). Officially straws are already forbidden all over Brazil, but not everyone “knows” that. It is said to see changes by the end of year 2019.
#21 FRUIT HAS OTHER DIMENSIONS
OKAY I mean those avocados are out of this world.
Damn! Back home they are not even one fifth of that .. and probably cost more than a car!
And look at those cashews! Did you know that Cashews are actually a fruit – you can make some delicious juice out of?!
Ah- I Iove Brazil!
Is there anything else you can think of?