Impact of Tourism – Dilemma?

White sand beach and cultural vibe, as well as the recent FIFA world cup, make Brazil into one of the most popular tourism destination in South America. Tourism plays major role in economic activities in several regions and constitutes a large part in boosting the economic growth. Many people were benefited from the industry through creation of jobs and the increase of money spending activities. In some sense, for Brazil becomes one of world largest economy, tourism sector is undeniable one of the major contributor.

Brazil White Sand Beach

Brazil White Sand Beach

However, while exploiting the benefit of tourism, some of the issue rise upon can’t be ignored. Similar to many other tourism destinations for its culture authenticity, Brazil suffers from loss of local identity and values. As this “tourism” authenticity become commoditize, “there is a loss of authenticity due to adapting cultural expressions to the tastes of tourist like performing shows as if they were ‘real life’”(Terrero 2014). Another example would be local handcrafts, it losses the original meaning and tradition to match up with the tourist demand. Displacement of the indigenous is another issue arises due to the popular tourist demand. In a more urban content, ethical issues such as increase in crime, child labor, culture clashes are also some of the negative impact of tourism.

Handcraft Store

Handcraft Store

Commentary: As a frequent traveler (I have admit, traveler does sound better than tourist), the dilemma of tourism towards one place was never once brought to my attention until recently. I guess most of time, when we travel to a place (short-term), we are still mostly self-orientated. This is as while we experience the other culture, we are actually going from the perspective of our own culture. In such way, it is near impossible for us to learn the culture deep enough to differentiate what is been commoditized. I guess the lesson from this is to just keep an open mind while travelling, after all, there is nothing much we could do towards this dilemma.

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Culture “shock” in Brazil

Sunshine, beaches, great party, lay-back attitudes, friendly people, great food, etc. are all tags of this fabulous Country. However, here are few things you need to know before going that might cause culture “shock”:

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Languages

Languages barrier is an issue while traveling in Brazil. Being a Portuguese speaking country within Spanish speaking continent, English is not widely spread and only a limited number of people would understand and speak it. Outside of tourist hotspot, San Paulo and Rio, people that know how to speak English is rarely found. Because being foreign place, the language barrier is the number one thing for “shock”.

Brazil Beach

Beach

On Time

If you are a puncture person, then you are out of lucky. It is a social norm to be late and it is actually consider rude to the host if you show up right on time. Basically, NOTHING happens on time.

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Kissing

Expect no introverts in Brazil. You are expected to give a kiss on both cheeks between adult male and female when introduce as well as upon departure. It’s customary way of greeting in Brazil.

 

Commentary:

The reason behind I use quotation mark for shock is that Culture shock is often times missed use for describing confusion while exploring other places. Traditionally, culture is used in anthropology to identify the shock in more of long term context where involve the process of adaption or oppression. In general, traveling as a tourist does not involve with much of a shock but more of confusion with the expectation.  The difference between the new culture and your own often times cause the sense of confusion and discomfort.

Personally, I have been traveling to as well as living in many different places. One of the best way to mitigate “shock” is to manage your expectation. Do your homework before travel and hold an open heart while traveling.

Brazilian Cuisine – From Ingredients to Etiquette

Brazilian Cuisine is rich and diverse; it is heavily influenced by Portuguese, Native Indians and African overall. The impact from Spanish, Italian, German are also played a major role in impacting regional modern Brazilian cuisine. It is often set apart from other South American cuisines by its unique ingredients and flavors only native to the regions. Food like acai berry, recently comes into fashion worldwide due to the raise of health consciousness, is native to the Amazon Rainforest and has been commonly consume over the country. Yams, cassava, hog plum, okra, peanus, Pão de queijo (cheese bun), tapioca, and chouriço (chorizo, the spicy sausage) are some of other popular food choices throughout Brazil. The food choices and the taste in Brazilian cuisine deeply reflect the richness of the history and culture background of the country.

Acai Berry

Acai Berry

One of the secret to the rich Brazilian cooking is the use of spices. The biodiversity offers a wide range of distinctive spices natives to the region. Tempero Baiano, translates as “seasoning from Bahia” and one of the top spices in Brazil, is originated in northeastern of Brazil and is used in most of the Brazilian dishes. Garlic, Bay leaves and Cayenne pepper are also spices that can be found in almost all Brazilian dishes along with many other spices.

Spices

Common Brazilian Spices

Beside the extraordinary use of spices, the table etiquette is also worthwhile mentioning. Because of the love for food and appreciate towards food in Brazilian culture, Brazilians tend to have extremely good manner around the table. Utensils are used for all food even for the little kids (Giving utensils from Godparents to children is even a tradition in the country); food needs to be present elegantly onto the table, etc. This reflects the importance of food in Brazilian culture.

Silverware

Silverware

Commentary:

Personally, I love food. And I think food are amazing. Tasting the food is the best way to experience the culture. Eating the food of what people in other culture are eating kind of make me feel like I am making some kind of connection, or a mutual feeling. Learning how a culture eat and behave around the table is one of the most important and one of the few first step to take when you arrive in a new place.

 

5 Things to do in Brazil

From Sunshine and beaches to rain-forest and other nature’s splendor, from Carnival to rich experience of colonial culture, Brazil is a country of abundance. And here is a top 5 list of things to do in Brazil.

5 – Salvador da Bahia

Salvador da Bahia. Brazil.

First colony the Portuguese developed. The richness in colonial history and architecture is worthwhile to wonder through.

4 – Rio Carnival

rio-de-janeiro-carnival

Rio Samba Parade, festival vibe, endless celebrations and parties all over Rio de Janeiro’s every street, squares, bars, clubs and all other venues. It’s the best possible way to experience the passionate and celebrative spirit of this country.

3 – Amazon River

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What else could be better with than cruising along the river of a tropical rainforest? Amazon River is the second longest river in the world. Abundance of species is waiting to be seen.

2 – Iguaçu Falls

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Sits on the border of Brazil and Argentina, the Iguaçu Falls is one of the grest natural wonders of the world with 273 falls scatter along Iguaçu River. The U-shape Devil’s Throat fall is the most impressive of all.

1 –   Christ the Redeemer

Christ_on_Corcovado_mountain

Needless to say, the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janerio in one of the most appeal icon in relate to the image of Brazil. This 39.6 metres statue sits on Corcovado Mountain with the most amazing views to Rio and its splendorous landscape. And of course, no one is going to forget about the sunshine and beaches in Rio as well.

Commentary:

I have to say, for someone never been in Brazil, comprising this list is not easy. The temptation of traveling there is overwhelming. This temptation is actually a well demonstration of the effects to place essentialism. However, what it is not on the list regarding the economic, social, environmental sides of Brazil is also worthwhile to explore. What is so called “authentic” experience of the country is nothing more than just the essentialised image.

Churrasco – A Sit-down Experience of Exploration

The story of a place/people through the experience of their food.

Open Flame, sizzling meat, cattle and sheeps – the life of the Gauchos (cowboys).

????????????????????????????????????????Gauchos is the name for the men worked the cattle, or so we call cowboy.  They are originated  in the great wide plains areas of southern Brazil, Pampas, in the early 1800’s. The Gauchos raised cattle as their primary way of life while roaming through the land and trying to explore the unknow as well to look for gold (for some). There are many legends about the Gauchos. Wide flat hats, wool ponchos, long pleated trousers or loose baggy pands called bornbachas, and leather boots men around the open flame with fresh meat slow roasting/basting as the ash blown is the typical image of  the Gauchos life.

churrasco gaucho 3

Through the inspiration and the long tradition of the Gauchos, Churrasco, the brazilian cowboy barbecue, is served in Churrasaria, brazilian steakhouse. As following the tradition of the Gauchos, a variety of cuts of meat are slow roasted on charcoal or wood and service to you by slicing the meat freshly to your plate. “The slow-cooked meat basted in its own juices and resulted in tender, flavorful steaks” In a typical Churrasaria, waiter, who normally dresses in Bornbachas, comes and goes with a skewers of different meat and slices sample of each to your plate until signal of enough is shown. This style of eating is referred as espeto corrido or rodízio, where the ‘espeto’ means skewer.

CHURRASCO

Normally, a typical churrasco consists of free-flowing (all-you-can-eat) beef cuts, pork cuts, chouriço, chicken heart, dark chicken meat, grilled or fired pineapple or banana, etc. Some churrasaria feature over 15 different cuts of meat in one serving. The free flowing meat is complemented with a “not-an-average” salad bar, which provide a wide range of refreshing salad and other Brazilian side dishes.

The charcoal is burning, slight ash flicks up, the warmth of open fire along with the smell of the meat, a scenes of exploration of the Gauchos spirit.

Source:

Gauchos Brazilian Steak House, The History: A South American Tradition of Taste, 20th August 2014<http://www.gauchosbraziliansteakhouse.com/History.html&gt;

Batel Grill, The Origin of Churrasco, 20th August 2014 <http://www.batelgrill.com.br/en/batel-grill/the-origins-of-churrasco&gt;

Feijoada – A Culture Icon

An authentic dish often times reflects the culture of where it is from. The reasoning of each ingredient that is used reflects and illustrate the past of the culture. The way of the dish is cooked and served, in a way, also resemble the local culture and their ways of life.

Feijoada

Feijoada (source: forkfingerchopsticks.com)

Feijoada is claimed to be the national dish of Brazil by many, for those who disagree still can denial  that is one of most representative dish in Brazilian cuisine. Feijoada is essentially black bean stew with salted pork or beef cuts served on rice, and side with sauteed green, farofa (fried cassava meal), and orange slices (as shown in picture above). It is traditionally only served for Saturday lunch and special occasions.

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Slave Quarters Brazil

The dish is a perfect illustration of fusion between different cultures. The ingredients reflects a mixture of Native American, Indian and European influences. The dish is often time associated with the slave quarters, and it is claimed to be first cooked by slaves from gathered leftover meat and beans (very similar to the story of the famous southern american food, gumbo). However, this is not entirely true. The name of “Feijoada” is originated from Portuguese and is translated as “black bean”. Though, Feijoada, as the raw material, is originated from South American, it was used 300 years before the discovery of Brazil in the 1500 by the Europeans. The dish itself is a derivation of Europeans dishes that came to Brazil along with the Portuguese. The one of very first references of Feijoada  is not from slave quarters but with the restaurants patronized by the urban slavoratic elite, and later appear again being patronized by the “good society”.

As the lyric of the song Feijoada completa  (complete Feijoada), “Woman/ You are going to like that/ I am taking home some friends to chat”, Feijoada is not just a dish, but a reflection of the way of living. In some sense, it resembles the festive Brazilian culture.

 

Source:

Elias, Rodrigo. “Feijoada: a short history of an edible institution” <http://dc.itamaraty.gov.br/imagens-e-textos/revistaing13-mat06.pdf&gt;

Simplyrecipes.com <http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/feijoada_brazilian_black_bean_stew/&gt;