Right Back at Ya

Americana Esquisita does not mean exquisite American.

(for more Born Again Brazilian, go to http://www.bornagainbrazilian.com)

I’m back in the ‘ole U.S. of A. until the first shipment of our stuff arrives in Sao Paulo. Having been more observant this trip to Brazil, I decided to apply the same level scrutiny to my surroundings during the short time I’ll be here in America. Since oddities are all relative, here are a few things that have got to be weird to a Brazilian:

1. Lying about plastic surgery.

This must be one of the more puzzling behaviors for the Brazilians. Plastic surgery in Brazil in like tennis in Connecticut. Everybody plays. Some play a little. Some play a lot. Everyone talks about it. The most astounding conduct is probably celebrity surgeries. A well-know figure, with documented public appearances, makes a major adjustment to their features or physique and completely denies it ever happened. Before and after pictures appear everywhere, and instead of confessing, publicists release asinine statements like “she’s just drinking more milk now.”

2. Apparent mandatory tipping.

In Brazil, tipping is not the largest percentage of a service provider’s income. It’s not customary, and you either round up to the nearest dollar, leaving the change, or if someone did a really outstanding job, you give them a buck. Nearly every Brazilian I know has encountered, or heard a story about, a taxi driver or restaurant server going crazy and throwing change back in the face of a completely bewildered Brazilian. Tips are even expected if you get mediocre-to-bad service. I myself have lost sleep over both tipping, and not tipping, someone who has given me bad service.

3. Rude people.

Let’s face it. In the more traveled-to locations, such as big cities or resort areas, the people you encounter in places like stores or post offices are extremely rude. Unless someone is working for tips, they are most likely not going to put out the effort to be nice. Apparently, they have no motivation.

4. Cold milk in hot coffee.

Adding something cold to a beverage that is know for being hot must also be baffling. In Brazil, the milk is warmed so not to impact the temperature of the coffee. Here, we dump in milk right from the fridge and then often need “a warm-up.” Does seem weird.

5. Drive up ATMs.

You can have your car hijacked and your bank account drained all in one convenient location. This concept would not survive the night in Sao Paulo.

I’m sure my international readers, Brazilian or not, have other things they found to be odd on American soil. Would love to hear it.

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2 Responses to Right Back at Ya

  1. TLC says:

    “Americana Esquisita does not mean exquisite American.” –So funny.

    My Brazilian husband pointed out the drive-up ATMs to me when we lived in Ohio, to me, the idea that you have to get out to go to an ATM would be insane. In NYC, it’s different because of the public transport/cabs/foot accessibility but in Cleveland, lots of things existed (as a consequence of laziness and weather) to avoid ever getting out of the car (coffee/bakery/library/bank)–we had several drive-through mini-markets too…that has got to seem weird I’d imagine, but it really was great when you did not want your car to get cold in the winter or wanted a 6-pack in your PJs.

    • HA! Exactly. I don’t remember drive through mini-markets growing up in IL, but we had pretty much everything else by the time I left. I also believe that I visited Texas one time and they had a drive up liquor store…

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