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My Time with Pedro* – Day 8

Spending time with Pedro also gave me the opportunity to learn more about Brazil and the Brazilians. Starting with a trivial fact, Brazilians don’t look you into the eyes when lifting their glass and saying “Cheers!” but they look somewhere else. In Germany as well as in many other European countries we actually look people in the eyes when saying “Cheers!” and there is also a superstition you will have seven years of bad sex when you don’t do so. Therefore, I always look people in the eyes because the last thing I want is bad sex…

There are also some products you cannot simply buy in Brazil such as specific types of cars. You can still get these products when you import them but you will need to pay a high import tax which will make them much more expensive as they are in their country of origin. This is probably because the Brazilian government wants to support locally manufactured products in order to strengthen its economy. Brazilian people with a high income also like to show their money to others and one way of doing so is by owning imported goods such as driving a specific car model which isn’t available in Brazil.

One of my plans for the future is to start my own business. Brazil, as one of the leading emerging countries in the world (BRIC), seems to be an excellent spot for entrepreneurship. Brazil is also one of the world’s largest economies and there are lots of business opportunities. However, Pedro said if a foreigner wants to start a business in Brazil he will need a Brazilian partner and he could act so for my business.

Brazil also has a need for educated people. While Pedro is extremely well educated many other Brazilians are not. I noticed it when Pedro was placing simple orders in restaurants and some waiters were not capable to understand and / or memorize them correctly.

Another challenge Brazil is facing is the infrastructure of the country. The country is huge and there are still places where it’s difficult to travel to without the use of an airplane which we experienced during our own travel from Manaus to Belém. There is also no countrywide train system as we heavily use it in Germany.

As a Poker player it was also interesting to experience gambling being illegal in Brazil and so I wasn’t able to officially play the game in any public place. I hope this restriction will fall one day since Poker is a very beautiful game with lots of strategic, mathematic and psychological components.

Lastly, it’s not allowed to sell alcohol in stadiums. This will be challenging during the upcoming World Cup in 2014 since one of the major sponsors is a beer brand. However, I heard just for this event an exceptional rule will be made. Another exception is related to ticket prices since students and senior citizens pay lower ticket prices in Brazil which is not accepted by the FIFA for the World Cup.

(* name changed)

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