Archive for January, 2010

01.26.10

THE FAVELAS (SLUMS) OF RIO DE JANEIRO

Posted in Excerpts at 07:30 am by admin

Recently my husband and I visited the largest Rio favela called “Rocinha.” We went there just two weeks after there had been a large drug war, with police intervention in which many people were killed. We rode in an open jeep with a young man and women who arranged our tour. They were able to get permission from the drugs lords for our visit.

Rocinha means “little ranch” and it was started in the 1920’s. It is hard to get an accurate count of the number of people who live in this 0.80 square mile area but it is estimated to be 150,000 to 200,000. The houses are very interesting. They may be as tall as 6, 9 and even 11 stories high. This occurs because as their children marry, the parents build another story to their house. 

When they need electricity, they simple connect a wire from their house to the nearest electric pole, without asking permission or hiring an electrician.

This slum was surprisingly well organized; a city in itself and governed by drug dealers. We had the feeling of being watched but (more…)

01.18.10

RIO DE JANEIRO – OLYMPICS 2016

Posted in Brazilian Culture at 04:36 pm by admin

Though I find it hard to believe that Brazil is finally going to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, I am thrilled at this news and have heard from many Brazilian friends who share my excitement.

It’s unbelievable to me that no South American city has ever hosted the Summer Olympic Games. I am sure that all South Americans share in Brazil’s pride and they are hopeful that, in the future, they will have the same opportunity and honor.

This accomplishment will tell you how much Brazil has progressed since I was a young girl growing up in Florianopolis. In my adult life, I try to visit Brazil about every five years. I am always impressed by the progress. My Brazilian family, who had been very poor in the 40’s and 50’s, had never dreamt of having financial security or attaining social status, but today most Brazilians live in beautiful homes and own one or two automobiles. Twenty years ago I visited a cousin in Brasilia and saw his beautiful home with a swimming pool in the back yard and several newer cars in the driveway. Brazil has a growing middle class and the standard of living is escalating.

Of course, there is still poverty. The favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro are plainly visible from the luxurious hotels of Copacabana and Ipanema. I will blog later telling of life in the favelas.

The most common question I am asked now is: “Will Rio de Janeiro be safe for the tourists during the Olympics?” Many people tell me stories of recent visits and how they (more…)

01.14.10

DA UM JEITINHO – FIND A LITTLE WAY

Posted in Excerpts at 11:36 am by admin

Planning to travel to Brazil anytime in the near future? Let’s say you plan to attend the 2014 World Soccer Tournament or the Olympics in 2016, then this little known Brazilian phrase will certainly interest you, or it should anyway. I highly recommend that you understand it, accept it, and if given the chance, you should definitely use it. The phrase I am referring to is: “Da um jeitinho.” Loosely translated, this means: “find a little way.”

I will explain its importance and how it really works.

Firstly, in North America “jeitinho” would be considered bribery and some may find this difficult to accept. In Brazil it is an accepted way of getting things done, both in business and in one’s everyday life.

It is important to remember that in Brazil, (more…)


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