When I was first invited to visit Brazil by a family friend, I had no idea what to expect. I have heard many good things about it, but I’ve heard such horror stories as well. I had mixed feelings. I remember talking about my planned trip at work and they warned me to make sure that I don’t travel at night by myself or go anywhere without a companion because it is too dangerous. One person said that when she travelled to Brazil on a business trip, they were escorted from the hotel to the office and the same when they returned from the office to the hotel. That pretty much scared me.
My friend, a Filipino who speaks Portuguese well had guaranteed me that those horror stories aren’t true. He said, just like any big city, you have to have your wits about you and be conscious of your surroundings. We’ve all lived in Manila and we know how a city can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
When I got there, I realized how beautiful the country really is and all my misconceptions disappeared. I felt right at home in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. And I fell in love with the people. Their culture is very close to the Filipino culture. It’s faith in God, family and having fun. Those are the most important thing to them as well.
I met so many beautiful Brazilian people – men and women – who were so accommodating and they made me feel welcome. They were quick to share their meals with us, tell us stories and really just great hospitality. One of the Brazilians I met is an MMA fighter. He’s inked all over his body (tastefully) and muscular. He says that he loves Mixed Martial Arts and has been fighting professionally for several years. I mean, he looked really great and I asked him how he avoids injuries in such a contact sport? I mean, I can see boxers after a match and they look like they’ve been through hell and back. How does one protect himself? I thought they fight bare. No gears.
Apparently, they do have some protection. They wear mouth guards (which of course you don’t really see) and groin guards as well. Whew! I could just imagine getting hit down there without protection! Ouch! Actually, you can buy MMA Fight Gear online at a reasonable price. I actually told him that as a friend, I wouldn’t want him to get hurt and I offered to buy him some. He was really gracious and says that he has enough but would let me know if ever he needs new ones in the future. I just can’t believe that I now know someone who is a professional MMA fighter. I think it’s pretty cool.
Another person introduced to me is a business owner. He owns an ad publication in Sao Paulo and is making tons of money. He’s got a great team of advertising professionals and runs the company by himself. He knows the big CEOs of Brazilian magazines who visit him regularly at home. As a matter of fact, we stayed at his home (a penthouse in a Sao Paulo high-rise). It was amazing. We were waited on hand-and-foot by a wonderful house help (Sonja is her name I believe) even if it wasn’t necessary. I mean, she washed our clothes, made our beds, and cooked our food – every day that we were there. Our host was very glad that we were staying there (he has many Filipino friends and have been to the Philippines once or twice. Well-connected to the Marcoses) so he made sure that our stay was very pleasant and indeed it was.
My visa of five years to Brazil had just expired and I told myself that I will stay away from Brazil for a while. I have been there each and every year since I got my visa. This year, I decided to go to Europe instead of Brazil. Somehow, something is calling me back to Brazil. Three years ago, I was blogging about Brazil so much that Brazil’s Department of Tourism sent me some promotional goods and materials. That was before the World Cup and the Olympics in 2016. This time, they don’t need publicity from a lowly blogger like me. 🙂
I am thinking of renewing my visa and visiting Brazil again. I have made a lot of good friends there. Who knows, I may even be able to watch my friend fight.
Just watch Nike’s World Cup Commercial – – tell me if this will not make you want to visit Brazil.
And here’s McDonald’s: