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« Episode 24: John of God | Main | Episode 26: Catching Up On Feedback »



I really enjoyed this epidsode...espically the part about you trying to get back to brazil. i find that ridicoulus about them thinking the paper saying you was married to a brazilian and you live in brazil a joke. Even though im not married to a brazil nor live in brazil i hope its not hard for me to get into brazil or have the trouble you had lol. So im wondering if any of you have been to Rio De Janerio ?...i keep hearing some negative stuff about how easy it is to either get killed or robbed or something since there is favales all over the place down there. But i have also heard people that live in the favelas are not so bad. I am also wondering as us americans coming to brazil to live or for a vist does the brazilians not take kind to us or is it just certian people that dont like us. I have talked to quite a few brazilians from rio and they seem really friendly....they dont show any hate toward me or any negative engery at all toward me. also i have watched a moive called touristas and its about a group of people that take some american toursits to a house and try to end up taking thier organs and hearts for kids on rio...does any of this junk happen down there lol..but thanks for another great podcast guys.



*delurk* Chris, ignore the guys' anti-carioca bias. Because it is the cultural capital, party capital, tourist capital, etc. money flows into Rio at the expense of less fortunate places. It is probably the most developed Brazilian city in terms of infrastructure and is on par with most Western European cities in terms of amenities, attractions, and accommodations for foreigners. Cariocas are very friendly and - while they tire of tourists' antics - are usually good hosts who make everyone feel welcome. For most people outside Brazil, Rio might as well BE Brazil. Hollywood has had a love affair with the place for its beautiful beaches, beautiful mountains, and beautiful people since the early 20th century. Consequently, Brazilians LOVE to trash Rio... the accent, the food, the people, the politics, everything. Paulistas, in particular, love to hate Rio (and vice versa).

So Milton is just jealous. (Sorry, Milton!) However, he is right that a lot of cariocas have gotten a big ego. And cariocas are bad travelers. Whenever they go somewhere else in Brazil, they act like New Yorkers who have just been forced to visit Ohio. So if Milton meets cariocas in Minas, they are probably behaving even worse than usual.

Don't worry about favelas (unless you plan on going to one). But travel safely and use common sense, especially if you wander around drunk or alone or in areas frequented by sex workers and drug dealers. Tourists telling you their mugging horror stories are probably leaving out the fact that they were up to no good when they got robbed. And don't worry about organ trafficking, for god's sake. Besides, that movie was set in the Northeast. ;)

Bruno Mesquita


Now that you got a heavily biased vision on Rio de Janeiro, let me give you another vision.

Cariocas seem absolutely sure that they got beautiful, perfect beaches on their city. I don't think so, and not all beaches are safe for swimming like they used to be.

Another point, Rio is not in par in terms of infrastructure with Western European cities! LOL! LFB, have you been to Europe?

"For most people outside Brazil, Rio might as well BE Brazil." I have to agree with that, but I hope it really changes some day, because it's one of the reasons that foreigners think brazilians are all "carnaval, samba, mulata".

Apart from all I said, I think Rio is an interesting place, very worthy of a visit. Just not THE ULTIMATE place to be. More like a place to be on your list. And make sure to be on the safe side, know where you are going and when you are going or just find a nice carioca host for yourself.

Good Luck


Bruno, I don't think you read my comment very closely. I never said it had the infrastructure of European cities. I said it had more infrastructure than other cities in BRAZIL, and that its AMENITIES and ATTRACTIONS were on par with European cities. Rio has plenty of first class hotels with first class amenities, if you have the money.


PS) I probably should amend my infrastructure comment and award that to SP. Rio's airport is truly terrible, and I will surely meet my death on a carioca bus one day. I guess I was thinking of its roads and subway, etc. And - final caveat - there are HUGE sections of Rio with zero infrastructure, but Chris was talking about tourist places.


thanks for the replies...hahaha i have talked to some brazilian girls from rio and they seemed to be very helpful with information and said they would help me throughout my vist and everything and hang out with me. which is nice of prolly cant find that in alot of citys or countrys. I tend to try to think that brazil and its states are not much different than here in america. cities have thier bad sides and good sides. anybody and everybody should be safe about what they do when they go to a city they have never been to. but i mean is it easy to fall into a bad situation in rio. i have good comman and street sense hahaha..i know when im in bad situations. and i knew that that moive was just a moive...but i mean shit like that may happen everynow and then in other countries haha..are you saying that the moive was based in the amazonas?....but i just plan go and get a hotel and hang out around the beach and go out and eat may party a lil bit and hang out with the people i have talked to. Is it not a good thing to bring a laptop with you down there.
?...and another thing there is books on learning protugese...but i know that the brazilian portugese is different than other portguese that is spoken like in portgual. so what can i get something to teach me to speak the portguese spoken in brazil...and the easiest way to learn it. I want to be able to come into this country knowing what im doing and can speak thier language...not a dirty foul mouth nasty other words id wanna be able to sit in with the people there and be nobody differnt...other than im an american.


don't take a laptop unless you have to... at least not out of your hotel room... it will make you a target.

unfortunately, portuguese is very hard to learn. pronunciation is especially difficult, so there is probably no hope of mastering it without formal classes. if you live in a city, hire a brazilian tutor. but it is so rare for tourists to speak portuguese, even a little is appreciated. the best most americans do is just speak mangled spanish at them, so even a few phrases of portuguese will be appreciated. because brazilian portuguese speakers vastly outnumber continental ones, most books and CDs tend to favor brazilian forms. just ignore the informal "you" and stick with "voce" as only a few places in Brazil still have the informal form.

Bruno Mesquita

Ok, maybe you didn't say Rio has a good enough infrasctructure to match European's, but you did say "It is probably the most developed Brazilian city in terms of infrastructure".

Well, thats a little too much. Have you ever been to southern Brazil? Rio has a few places with very high quality infrastructure, but its not as good on most places in the city. At least you mentioned Sao Paulo, wich has a LOT more infrastructure than Rio.

Even Brasilia has a better overall infrastructure, lol. You cant base the city's infrastructure on 5~10% of the whole city.

I don't think Chris is going to try the first class hotels, because they are heavily overpriced in Rio. If he does that he's gonna have to bring a good fat amount of dollars! :D

There are probably enough good places, not 1st class, but very good and not costing all that.

And, as he said, he already got some help from brazilian girls! Need he any more? :)


Haha, having help from friendly brazilian girls is always great. :D I have several who I always hook up with when I visit every year, and it makes for a great time.

The great way to experience it is not to stay at some high class hotel, but rent a furnished apartment for a couple of weeks. That way you can much more live like a Carioca and not like a tourist. Plus it's much better if you want to have a little party back at your place, to have a living room and kitchen instead of just a hotel room!

I definitely recommend Brazilian Portuguese classes. I took small classes at a language school that really helped out, plus there are numerous portuguese language podcasts that will drill you in how Portuguese is spoken there. There is even a special one done at a university in Texas that is about pronunciation of Brazilian Portuguese for people who already speak Spanish. Since I have studied Spanish already, that podcast really helped out and greatly improved my pronunciation. Now I talk like a Carioca! :D


I think Brasilia was meant to have great infrastructure, but they overdesigned it so much that it is often very inconvenient and didn't turn out quite how they intended. All the urban planning still didn't stop poor people from altering the grand plan because it didn't suit their needs.

But I will have to concede the infrastructure point if you think Porto Allegre or other points south are better than Rio's southern zone, as I haven't been to P.A. When I was in Sampa, there were those bus bombings so that totally biased me against Sao Paulo's transit systems. I guess I could see SP has being better overall in terms of infrastructure if I put those aside.

Nonetheless, most of Rio's zona sul that a tourist would stay in or rent an apt in would not be lacking infrastructure at all, even in a more bohemian area. So an apt in Lapa, e.g., would will still have public transport, well paved roads, access to supermarkets, proper sewage, hot water, etc. And best of all, gas-heated showers are popular in Rio and you might be able to avoid the dreaded electric showerhead!

Bruno Mesquita

Wow! Hey, Chris, you're getting more info here than you thought you would, right? That last post by LFB was very informative even for me, a brazilian, concerning Rio.

So, we all wish you good luck on your stay when you come over.


Yes, I had a brazilian girl tell me about a hostel to stay at down there...its pretty much an aparment but can yall get me some help on some websites i can vist to arrage me a lil aparment to stay at in rio. Im thinkin of either staying in Barra Da Tijuca, Inpanema, Leblon. im not sure which place. Inpanema and Leblon are pretty close to each other i do believe. but I have a podcast downloaded called Brazilian Podclass...but the woman speaks in english and then speaks in portguese but she speaks in portguese way to fast for me to understand everything lol. Most of the girls i am friends with from down there live in Inpanema and Leblon so is Barra Da Tijuca a pretty far travel to Leblon ?...But yeah im getting alot of information which is a good thing lol...thanks guys. But how much would a hostel cost...or an apartment ? I assume those are the same thing.


so a friend of mine sent that to me...i dont know how much 25 R is in american dollars but if yall can check that out and see if it inst no scam lol hahaha.


I'll take that as a compliment, Bruno. :)

chris, skip bd tijuca and leblon. they are going to be too residential and shopping-mally for what you want. ipanema is the chic, happening neighborhood, filled with clubs and also filled with tourists. (it's also very expensive). copa has faded from its glory days is now ipa's trashy little sister, but still fine. a better bet would be the more bohemian, artsy, hippie-ish, alternative scene in lapa or santa teresa. no beaches, but plenty of spontaneous street parties with locals and fewer tourists (look for the Alley of the Rat.)

25R is about 12 dollars. this is very cheap, but expect that hostel to look like a victorian orphanage (i.e. lots of single beds in rows, dormitory-style) with only a foot locker for your stuff. an apt is not a hostel. it is literally an apt just like you would rent in the US, except you can get one that is furnished. check craigslist. prices will vary depending on season, location, and amenities, but count on it running you at least 60 or 70 USD a night if you go that route.


"All the urban planning still didn't stop poor people from altering the grand plan because it didn't suit their needs."

That's the biggest bullshit I ever heard in my life, it lacks so much knowledge... what a shame. Just to illustrate your mistake, our HDI is 0.811. Still if anyone needs information heres a good start:


There's quite a bit of research on this, humberto.

see The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasilia by James Holston for extensive documentation.

See also, chapter 4 of James C Scott's Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed.

It's not that Brasilia is a bad place, just that the experimental urban design did not function the way planners had intended it to.

Moreover, both are far better researched than wikipedia, and will have extensive bibliographies for you.


Sorry, the wikipedia link was not for you, but for the girl so she can choose better her destination.
As for the book, thanks, perhaps I might reed it, some day, but it doesn't change the fact that your comment is wrong.

Chris Murray

So check this out guys...does this look legit or anything

its in IP, i dont see prices or anything so i dont know how much this will call me...usually if you have to ask for the price you can afford it lol.


sorry bout that here is the link?


you have expensive taste. that will probably run more than a good hotel. it looks like it's run by a large corporation, and its in a very expensive location. maybe 1k USD a week?

find one owned by a local. this one is 250/wk.

or consider looking for a pousada, which is a bed and breakfast or a guesthouse. probably still 30-50 a night, but it would allow you more interaction. pousadas look more like this:


Wow that first one is nice...i believe i will make my resavation there..250 a week...cant beat that at all...and the people thas signed the guest book seem to have all postive comments on the place. plus the people i have talked to from down there and near that place. so thas a good thing.

So what about the partys down there in do you have to go to a favela to go to a party...specifcally with funk carioca music ?

Im really interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...and would love to vist the Gracie Acadmey and Gracie Barra acadmey. Gracie Acadmey is in Humatia and the other is Barra Da Tijuca.

also how can i learn how to work out the money without somebody telling me. like R1 is how much in america. i want to be able to know how much something cost down there if im going to buy it without looking stupid hahaha. thanks guys for all the help you are giving me. LFB are you from down there in Rio it seems like you have alot of knowledge about rio.


i'll be returning to brazil next year for most of the year, and spend half my time in rio. when i was last there, $1 = 2R. Just use that as your basic guideline, divide all Brazilian prices by 2. Financial markets will cause fluctuations, though so google "currency converter" and check for exact numbers before you go or before major purchases.

if you know people down there who can help you move the stuff, consider doing like Kinsey and bringing electronics to sell.

do NOT go to a favela looking for a party. seriously. watch city of god or city of men to cure yourself of that idea. also, police are suspicious of tourists wandering into favelas. i was stopped and taken out of a car by police once while leaving a favela because they assumed i was there for drugs (i'm a researcher.)

spontaneous street parties happen, esp in the bohemian places i already described above. and if you make friends, they'll take you to parties too. i think that's what you want.

pick a cheap time of the year to go. carnival is very expensive. just remember summer and winter are reversed, so july can be a little chilly (jacket weather, not snowshoe weather.)

unfortunately, i know nothing about brazilian jiujitsu so i am utterly useless to you there.

enjoy your trip!

El Spanko

El Spanko is very pleased. Many happy people using Brazilianisms. Many happy people visiting Brazil.
New content, good.
Sound quality, good.
Focus, El Spanko doesn't expect miracles.

The real El Spanko.


Spanky, you've got to get over the focus thing!

I'm glad you guys are back. And Kinsey, was Toronto your only choice to fly back from or did you want to leave from Canada on purpose? Sounded like a weird choice to begin with.

Dan "On Tap"

Great episode, guys! I'm so sorry you had to go through all that trouble. Most documents express if you are not allowed to laminate right on the document. Is that how it is in Brazil as well?

Once again, great to have ya back. Keep up the awesome work!


wow LFB...the cop thing is kinda insane lol did you get out of it..i would have thought they might have thrown you in jail for just being foregin anyhow lol hahaha. so why is a favela so bad...why does people wanna hurt you or kill you in the favelas. im mean they are poor but why are they like this. i was told in a magazine in the favelas the poor peoples eyes are lit with hate and eager to do anything unlike poor people in america that really do anything to do you most of the time lol


Wow! I only just now discovered all these comments. The blog is supposed to notify me whenever I get a new comment, but for some reason, that didn't happen. Sorry, Chris, that I didn't answer any of your questions, but it looks like you got a lot more good advice than I could have provided on my own. I think it's great that you want to live in a favela. Those can be wonderful places to live. You're part of a community where everyone knows each other. It's like being in a small town with the advantage of being in a big city. If my wife weren't so against the idea, we'd be living in one now. Obviously, you'll have to be careful until you know what places are safe and learn your way around, especially in a place like Rio.

El Spanko, thank you. I agree that it's wonderful so many people are commenting now. (I think it's time I see about adding forums to the site.) The sound still has a bit of an echo, but I think I can fix that by turning down the gain on my mic next time we record.

Morgan, Air Canada had the cheapest deal at the time. Plus I hadn't been to Canada since I was six months old, so I was excited to pass through there.

Dan, in Brazil people laminate like crazy. There are even people who make a very meager living doing nothing but lamination.


chris, i didn't mean to stereotype about favelas, but Americans sometimes romanticize them. they vary widely in terms of how dangerous they really are. there are now tours of them if you are really interested, but the idea of paying some third party a bunch of money to go stare at poor people like its a zoo makes me kind of queasy even if it is educational. but it's a safe way to go and check it out, and to learn about them.


lol LFB i have seen that on a website where you can go vist them. thas ridcoulus..i dont want to distrub anybody like that. thas like having some foregin people come stare at me in my house. I dont consider people that live in favela's basd or anything....i just want to be aware of what they might do to me if i went to a party over there lol. since im american,they prolly dont care to much for me and see that i prolly have a million times better than them and they deserve a better life lol. And thas okay kinsey, im not wanting to live in a favela was just wondering about partys that happen over there.


Yipes, that airport adventure sounded fun...

Does that mean you have that stupid limp piece of white paper with a picture stuck on it like I do?

Mine looks like its on it's last leg.


Sherise, yep, that's exactly what I have. It wears out quick in my wallet, just like yours. That's why when I got a new one, I immediately had it laminated.


no episodio 30, vc colocou os nomes de alguns filmes americanos como Turistas, e os endereços deles. a gente pode assistir "Tropa De Elite" tbm.. eh muito legal.. e mais uma coisa, conheço muitas pessoas e tenho muitos amigos q moram nas favelas no RJ e no estado do SP tbm..eles sao boas pessoas..pq todas as vzs vcs acham q as pessoas q moram nas favelas vendem drogas ou matam outras pessoas ? vcs nao devem acreditar todas as coisas q vc vê nos filmes americanos..



Eu não falei isso. Acontece que eu já passei alguns dias numa favela onde não tinha ninguém vendendo drogas.


This was actually the first episode I listened to when I found the podcast. I started here because I'd really like to go to Dragon*Con, but haven't had the opportunity yet.

I remember the little strips of paper. I didn't use mine much. I just stuffed it in my wallet in case I needed it for something, and didn't take it out until a year had passed and I needed to renew it. I can't remember if I brought it back the the States with me or if I had to surrender it when I left. I'll have to look through my old things. I was issued a CPF, too. I wonder if it is still valid.

Interesting comments about Rio. I've never been there, but my brother-in-law has spent some time in the city. I'll have to ask his opinion.


Mark, are you going to Dragon*Con this year? Because I will be there, and I'll probably be on a couple of panels.


It is unlikely that I will be able to attend Dragon*Con this year.


Mark, that's too bad. Last year not a single attendee was a listener of Brazilianisms. Maybe this year will be better.

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