Have you ever seen a “suicide shower”?
You may have learned that water and electricity don’t mix but this rule is blatantly ignored in many parts of the world where showers come with an electric heating element built into the head. The temperature selector usually has three settings, high, medium and off. Whatever, don’t touch it. Just leave it alone, the only way to adjust the temp is to adjust the flow of water through the heater. Turn it on full blast for a fairly cold shower, turn it down to give the water more time to heat up on the way through. So basically choose between great water pressure but cold shower or warm and pleasantly warm drizzle.
Suicide showers are the norm throughout Brazil. I had a “hot” and “cold” tap yesterday in São Paulo and I was almost confused for a second. I took cold showers most of the time, especially in the Nordeste where it’s hot and humid.
Everything maracujá, from yogurt to body scrub
At one point I realized I realized I was surrounded by maracujá, the yellow passion fruit with big seeds. I had maracujá yogurt in the fridge, a maracujá pie on the table, maracujá body scrub in the shower as well as maracujá soap.
Maracujá is awesome. And I don’t even usually like fruits.
Delicious Brazilian coffee
Always cheap and tasty, whether you take it with plenty of sugar, with leite or puro. And I got free cups on Woman’s Day!
Chocolate bar instead of change at the supermarket
I rarely crave a 20-centavo coin at 2 a.m. but dark chocolate, anytime. Okay, it’s kind of annoying that supermarkets never have change, especially in the Nordeste. But at least you get some sweets you may have felt guilty buying otherwise.
And Brazilians are fun beach bums, there’s always something going on at the beach.
Comida por kilo and cheap fish
My to-go dinner was usually rice or pasta with fish—tilapia, linguado, salmão or just whatever peixe—topped with veggies and Parmesan cheese. Cheap, healthy, tasty. Add a goey pão de queijo for maximum happiness.
Colourful birds, big crabs, butterflies, lizards… Brazil is a tropical paradise.
Cheap and sturdy, that’s a basic you need in Brazil. Feng and I turned the famous brand into a verb, as in “I’m going to Havaianas it to the beach otherwise I’ll get sand in my sneakers again.” Warning, it does take a bit of practice to navigate Brazil’s uneven sidewalks in Havaianas.
Now, I won’t miss…
No matter where you are in Brazil, you can be sure to see big cockroaches all over the sidewalk. There are rats too, and one of my Airbnb buildings was sprayed for yellow scorpions.
Car horn sounds
In the Nordeste, two “beep beep” means “just letting you know I’m not actually going to stop at the intersection.” It’s also a way to call the doorman and ask him to open the garage door. Car horns are used a lot and it’s quite annoying.
Okay, this is not a Brazilian thing, but I’m looking forward to not having to take a COVID test every time I feel a bit meh. I took two tests during the trip, the mandatory PCR test before leaving the country and an antigenic test one night in Maceió because I had a headache that wouldn’t go away. Both tests were negative and I’m glad you can get tested easily and quickly in Brazil, but I’m really, really tired of the pandemic.