MORE BRAZILIAN EXPERIENCES FROM A FEMALE POINT OF VIEW
Your letters that you sent in....
I have been going (white 47 year old female) to Rio twice and at least 10 times to Salvador (Bahia) since I was 32.
My experience is that especially in Salvador (Bahia), where it is a lot safer for women and my second home now when I go abroad (I always stay with friends at home and have in the meantime become fluent in Portuguese), is a lot more beautiful and more interesting than Rio.
Here's why :
They nurture their african heritage and the law against discrimination is really applied over there, whereas elsewhere in Brasil I would not count on it. They are extremely proud of their heritage (with a 90% black/mix population) and teach the Yoruba language from Africa, have loads of religeous celebrations with offerings to the Gods and godesses (best know event 2 February "festa d'Iemanja - goddess of the sea- a must to see if you are over there as well as New Years' eve which I personally prefer over carnaval).
Even the whitest "black" person is proud to call himself black (rest of Brasil black people will allways call themselves "mestizo, mulato etc"). Hell, they even called me "neginha" (and I am white) as they will call a white tourist like this once they consider you as one of them, speak the language etc.
People, men and women approach you (especially when you are alone, partly out of curiosity but also because Brasilians are group' people and cannot imagine doing things individually).
Now when it is your first time and do not understand or speak the language you do have to be careful as there are lots of "gigolos" wanting to rip off a "gringa" (tourists), that is why I do not recommend going alone for the first time, unless you speak Portuguese.
Of course if you are black, you have the advantage that they will think you are Brasilian and therefore you will be less of a "potential" target moneywise.<
People from Bahia are now my best friends, they are very friendly, very open minded and social, most of the dancers and singers come from that part of Brasil. They are famous for wanting to party every day.
If you go between December and Carnaval you'll have the best time with loads of "free" parties everywhere (this is not so in Rio where most places you have to go to have an entrance fee); Concerning the men, they are just georgous and although macho they usually are very romantic and really know what a women likes.
The carnaval lasts longer than in Rio and is a mega party event '2 million people" in the streets for 5 days in a row. It is great and is even free if you do not want to join one of the so many "bloco's" (huge trucks with loudspeakers and artists singing and dancing on top of them, surrounded by their fans covering a 20km area).
I have to warn you though, if you are claustrofobic do not even try to get in the crowd as you will get pushed around. You can always watch and party safely and protected (from the terrace of a hotel or so, it is called "camarote", this usually is not so cheap but you can eat/drink/ sit down if you are tired/get to meet the artist...and most of all you will not get robbed by the other Brasilians but will make friends
Some things to take into account :
- try to look like brasilians and especially do not bring a lot of money to the beach (just enough for the day
- try to have cash money in your hand when hopping on the bus, to avoid others to see how much money is in your purse
- If you do not have any pockets in your clothes be creative and try to look for a spot on your body where a small purse can be easily hidden (especially carnaval period)
- visit beaches further away from the center such as Itapua (rua da musica) and Piata where they have "barraca's" places to eat and drink and where one can leave even her purse with the owner...do not be afraid if you ask for the "Dono da barraca" or "gerente da barraca" he will make sure your money is kept safely. Especially on sunday and mondays called "segunda sem lei" they will have live "pagode" (sort of slow samba) bands and you can dance or stare at a fantastic view.
I do not recommend "Barra" unless you go with a whole group but beware, besides the fact it is an overcrowded tourist beach it also attracts all the lowlifes...only to go to if there is an event and if you like big crowds and lots of tourists.
- Do not think that all brasilians look like models - this is a mega myth - sure there are lots of beautiful women but I disagree to say they are the best looking but they are definitely the most sensual as they exploit their femininity to the max even if they are fat or old. They do not criticize anyone else's body, but women will give you compliments on your looks if they like it.
- If a guy approaches you and ask if he can join you make sure he is not leaving before you, this has happened to me in the beginning and you are left with the bill...I now make sure they invite me or I warn the owner of the bar that I will not pay for a "unknown" person. From a female brasilian point of view "women should never pay" but get invited....so I have learnt to apply this as it is also the only way to see whether a guy is really interested in you.....or your money.
Poverty is a major issue. Do not be stingy give a poor/disabled or old person that hops on the bus some money, as even poor Brasilians themselves give to the needy, but if a streetkid asks you for money to buy milk or a burger or so try to buy this yourself as they often use the money for drugs.
RIO DE JANEIRO :
- Very, very dangerous
- more expensive - no free parties
- Gorgeous most beautiful city ever this is true and one should at least have seen the city and its carnaval once if you are going to Brasil
- Beaches not so tropical, no foodstands or bars with music or animation on the beach. View behind the beach are big condo's (not my thing) but there are some gourgeous places if you willing to travel a little outside Ipanema and Copacabana such as Parati, Angra dos Reis, Buzios etc.
- People are nice but not so warm and hospital as in Salvador, they will not approach you that easily.
- Lastly as a black person you may not be treated as well as you will be in Salvador, simply because in Rio being black means one is usually either poor or criminal or prostitute, so if you as a black female want to have a good time where people respect you I would recommend going to Salvador (Hmmm, I have the impression they will have to start paying me for this kind of free publicity.....well, Salvador and their residents deserve it.
Well, lastly I would say that if I could earn a decent living I would definitely go and live in Salvador, this is how much I love this place. So have fun ...but beware and act and look like a Brasilian
Hello my Amber Childs,
I went to Rio, four years ago with my then boyfriend now husband, along with another couple. They were married and by the fifth day she had left him at the hotel and was on her on the next plane back to th US.
This was a fantanastic trip for me. Things are very diffirent there. I think this is not a place for women or couples. Women ( Natives) are really aggressive there they walk around all day dolled up and half naked with bomb shell bodies.
If you are single and going, don't think you will get any attention, no matter what you look like. Men are there to get spoiled in any kind of way. They can look at American beauties anytime.
Now there was plenty of clubs, bars and parties which were very all cool. We hung out at the beach daily and did many tours. If you were with your girls you may have fun but the couple thing was for the birds. I love Rio and would go back.
Hey Terrance. I traveled to Brasil in 2008 for the big New Year’s celebration. What made this trip a wonderful and exciting experience is that we had a relative living in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil – Everyday he took about 25 Americans on different tours so that we were able to see the culture and beautiful history that Bahia had to offer. It wasn’t about the Clubs, although the dancing was fun, but there is soooooo much history and art. We also felt very safe in his private home.
Our contact in Brasil is Russell Prince and I know that he rents out his 9,000 square foot guard gated mansion to travelers. Check out his web site at www.casadeprince.com
Have a great day!
My family and I went to Rio in May of 2005. I was 26 at the time. Although it was a family vacation, it was all women. I had a really good time in Rio. Majority of my time was spent on the beach...tanning.
The shopping did not impress me at all, but I was pleased with the exchange rate from US dollars to the Brazilian real. Brazil was pleasing to me in the sense that is was relaxing. I didn't worry too much about being approached or harrassed by men. I was able to relax. Now I did not vacation in Rio during a particular event, I just wanted to go and see what it was about.
I don't really remember seeing many American men while I was there. WAIT, CORRECTION!!!! There was this little bar on the corner by my apartment where PLENTY of white, married men (WITH RINGS ON) swarmed around them little Brazilian girls like they had honey on 'em.
All of the girls in the bar looked very young. And you have a picture on this web-site of 2 of the girls that was in the bar...nightly:) Anyhow, a man came over the me and my homegirl and asked us "Do you know what type of bar you are in?" We had an idea, but we didn't wanna jump to conclusions.
He preceded to tell us that the girls in the bar were "working". It didn't surprise me because on the cab ride from Sao Paulo the driver spoke these 2 words "trabaja" "nina". I knew that meant young working girls. It really was sickening witnessing that, but luckily I didn't see any black men in the spot.
The people in Brazil treated us normal. I didn't notice any special treatment. They probably couldn't tell we were foreigners though until they heard us speak. The children were gorgeous. The women didn't care. By that I mean they were laid back about their outfits, hair, beach attire, etc. They were just chillin...whether they had cellulite or an hour glass. But hell, if they were on them Caipirinhas like I was, they didn't give a damn!
Didn't do any clubs, but stayed tipsy! Got to see live shows which were good. The hotels were amazing. O Cristo was breathtaking. I had a really good time and would definitely go again.
One of my homeboys asked me why I went. He was like "That's only for men." Personally, I didn't see what the big fuss was about. The people were beautiful, but them chicks didn't look how they look on videos & runways. They were simple and laid back. They don't do all of that over there for the most part.
I would definitely recommend visiting Rio to anyone. The visa's are good for 10 yrs.