There is something very unique about not only Rio De Janeiro, but Brazil as a whole. There are some countries that are similar to others and very few countries that are completely unique. I wouldn’t consider Brazil to be entirely unique but the way that everything comes together is unlike any place in the world.
- The music is different
- The language is different
- Brazilian Bundas (backsides) are different
- Everything is so different
The only place that I have been that is 100% unique is Ethiopia; Canada & USA are similar, many places in Europe are similar, many countries in Latin America are very similar and even Africa has countries that resemble each other. Brazil has hints of other places I have been to but how it is all put together is completely unique.
This isn’t my first time in the country, I attended the fantastic chaos that is called Carnival in Salvador, Brazil. Salvador is the city that Brazilians go to for Carnival while Rio De Janeiro is where tourists go for Carnival. I hope you choose the right city. I didn’t have many first impressions of Brazil after Carnival simply because I know that I didn’t get to know the true element of the culture. I only visited one city and it came at a time when everyone is partying and not working.
This time around I would be living in Rio, upon arrival, I happily learned it is one of the most expensive cities in the world. I debated leaving the city and heading to a smaller one like Porto Alegre or Florianopolis but I did what any day trader would do, I invited my friend Brice from TravelingToColombia and we rented a penthouse together.
When people think of other countries they only think of one culture, one people. Everyone in the United States considers themselves Americans but we can
Rio & The USA
Brazil is absolutely massive, it is the 5th largest country in area and also the 5th largest by population. The diversity that you see in the city of Rio De Janeiro and the country reminds me of the states. United States is known for being a melting pot of cultures, Brazil is a melting pot of people but they have already assimilated into being Brazilian.
You can find every shade of person here from purple to green, black to white, caramel to Japanese. Yes there is a massive Japanese population in Brazil. The diversity I could compare more to Canada than to United States because everyone lives with each other. In the United States, ethnic groups hang out with their ethnic groups, Hispanics hang out with Hispanics and Asians hang out with Asians.
People don’t usually mix in the United States while in Canada everyone lives together in harmony. The attitudes of people in the city also reminded me of the United States. Living in Africa for roughly 5 months made me start getting accustomed to sticking out;
I was constantly getting second looks by everyone in my Somali neighborhood in Kenya, called Farangi (gringo) in Ethiopia, and even attacked by being the only white boy at the club. In Brazil, there are no foreigner points because there is such a vast array of people.
The attitudes of the people in the city are hard to explain, there is an I don’t care attitude similar to the states but at the same time once you get to know someone they are some of the nicest people in the world. We attended a hippie hoppie concert, oops.. that’s hip hop, and people were smoking more than just cigarettes.
It isn’t legal but many people do it, there was a time my buddy Brice was kind enough to pass the illegal smoking object to someone else. It was between two women and after the other woman accepted it from Brice, no thank you or smile. She just snatched it from his hands and didn’t even look back.
Rio & Israel
When I visited Israel thanks to my friends at the Once In A Lifetime project, I was lucky enough to see another side of Israel. It has become one of my favorite countries in the world because of the people. Many people mention the politics but I chose to instead enjoy my time in the beautiful country and make new lifelong friends.
Everyone in Israel is so laid back it blew my mind away. In Tel Aviv, where many of the hi tech technologies that create the 2nd most businesses on the Nasdaq are created, everyone goes to work in jeans and a t-shirt. In Rio, the beach culture, poverty, and personalities of the Brazilian people have created the same effect. When people go out to party they wear shorts and sandals.
In the famous Lapa party district I was amazed to see a giant block party, not clubs and bars that people enter to. Many times you would have one bar with music blaring and everyone dancing on the streets. I am still learning how to dance Samba, the official dance of Brazil.
Rio & Latin America
This can be attributed to all of Brazil and not just Rio but there is a Latin American feeling to the country (even though Rio & Brazil are part of Latin America); it isn’t quite western, it’s not quite European, the only way to describe it is Latin American. The people of Brazil do not speak Spanish but there are a lot of similarities with their culture Latin America with the first being Brazilian time.
From the buses that pass by to the waiting for friends, everyone is usually late. Like many Latin American countries, when you go out on the weekend you will see people from the 16 years old all the way to 50 and 60 years old. I am still amazed how older people can still move so well. Those 1920’s and 1930’s treated them really well.
Even though Rio was overwhelming at first, I am certainly getting acclimated to the country. As I write this from the beautiful beaches of Florianopolis I am excited to return to Rio to see my new apartment and go out and have some fun.