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
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.
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.
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”:
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”.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.