The smart traveler in Brazil will do what they can to pick up Portuguese. It’s a rich, melodic language that’s softer than Spanish and is fun to speak. It’s the only way that you’ll get a clear picture of how the country works. Until you speak the lingo you’ll always be seen as just a dumb gringo.
On the other hand it could be argued that you’ll always be seen as a gringo in Brazil due to the fact that you can’t dance, you arrive at appointments on time and that you somehow think there’s more to life than beer, barbeques and girls in bikinis on the beach .
For in truth the beach is almost a religion in some parts of the country. Only gringos wear large bathing costumes so get with the fashion and wear a skimpy pair of speedos or teeny bikini when you head to the sands. Get a beer, surf a wave, pick up some tanned beach bomb and you have the Brazilian meaning of life.
Whether you enjoyed CIty of God or not, stay away from the favelas . There are neighbourhoods where you just shouldn’t go or else you’ll be robbed down to your underwear. Ask advice from the locals on where is cool to go and take their word for it.
The best of Brazil is in the street life and live music. There are rodas de samba (samba circles) in the street at weekends and at cool clubs. Brazilians love to party and that’s when you see them at their best.
Brazilians will always be willing to help you out so don’t be afraid to ask. Also if you want to speak to someone they’ll rarely be rude. Even if they’re not too interested they’ll be chatty. People here just aren’t mean.
Some will see you as a millionaire and try to take advantage. The more you live as they do the more you can dissimulate this image. There’s no harm in being generous but don’t make a show of your wealth.
It’s easy to meet people but harder to make friends. People will often part telling you ‘te ligo’ (I’ll call you) whether or not they even have your number. No one likes to feel compromised by things like keeping in touch or turning up on time if at all.
Cocaine is cheap and good here but don’t push your limits. Too many travelers in Brazil end up burning their nostrils to shreds and developing the worst personality in the world.