quirky observations of brazil

Before all these things seem totally normal to me (as I’m now two months in!) I want to take note on a few things I find strange and interesting in Brazil.

Thumbs Up



Putting a thumb up is still a very alive and commonly used gesture here in Brazil. I’ve seen it used to say thanks (as well as you’re welcome!), cross the road and just to say “Hey I’m alright!” This will be something I’ll have to work hard not to do back in the U.S.

Cushy Toilet Seats

yup that's my toilet
yup that’d be my toilet

On not one, but a few occasions I’ve gone to perch my little behind on the porcelain god and instead of rebounding a bit, I sink right in! It’s comfy but a little disgusting. Especially in this hot weather…I don’t think I need to explain.

Hocking Loogies

0725-justib-bieber-spitting-fans-photos-launch-v2-31 (source)

Wanna know something else I found repulsive? On a DAILY BASIS I have to listen to my roommate snort his snot into the back of his skull and then precede to hock that snot in his throat. I suppose after, he swallows because I’ve never seen him spit. Although many a Brazilian love to spit on the sidewalk…where I walk…often in front of where I’m walking. I’ll have wrinkles by the end of my stay here because of all the cringing I do!

And that’s not all! Apparently sniffing your snot back in is a perfectly socially accepted thing to do. After meeting a new student for a coffee I had to sit through and pretend I was oblivious to his constant sniffing and snorting. So tempted to offer him a napkin (WHICH WERE RIGHT THERE ON THE TABLE), but I couldn’t find  the balls to do it.

Ice Cold Beer



Estupidamente gelada! Brazilians love their beer really freaking cold. I once saw a girlfriend get into it with her boyfriend for serving a hot beer. At the time I didn’t speak Portuguese so well, but there were a lot of angry gestures at the beer and the word “quente”. Some may say that Brazilian beer is bad and that’s why it’s served so cold. I’m not sure about that, but it is super refreshing on a hot day!

Cat Calls


Brazilian cat calls and compliments are the best! My favorites are:

Parabéns- Congratulations! Like “Congrats on being hot.” Lol maybe you should be telling my mom that!

Gostosa– Delicious! Like “You look so good I can eat you” hehe The acai beach seller (you know which one I’m talking about) once very slowly and sensually dragged out a deliiiiiiicia for me. Still not getting R$15 out of me!

Gata, Gatinha– Cat! Kitty cat! Like “Meeeeeow!” A gata is a hot chick.

Coisa Linda- Pretty thing! Like “Hey you pretty little thing.” I just think this one is cute.

Que Isso- What’s that?! hahaha this one is too good! If someone thinks you’re looking supa fine they can show their shock by asking “What’s that?!” kind of like saying “I can’t believe my eyes!” I’ve only gotten one of these as the person was checking out my backside, but maybe that’s just me (??)




Brazilians are very hands on people. I’m still confused whether to kiss my students on the cheek or not. When I try not to, they seem to feel uncomfortable and have to pat me or shake my hand. It’s the strangest phenomenon and I don’t know how to stop it. HALP!

Often in the grocery store I’ll feel a breath on my shoulder while waiting in line. Anyone’s baby is completely fair game to cheek pinch and coo at. Brazilians just seem to be okay with that kind of proximity that Americans aren’t.

Tan Lines



The above is an actual ad for a brazilian diet pill! My own bunda resembles it because I have my wannabe tanga and my legit up my arse tanga.


But enough about my bumbum!

Most women wear a thong much like the ad picture and so have nearly no tan lines on their behinds besides a small white triangle on their tailbones. But what I find baffling is that they actually strive to have tan lines across their chests! After days and days of beach-goings, I noticed the women around me weren’t tying their straps around their backs like any normal person would do. Confused I asked some Brazilians chums what gives. Their response? Tan lines are sexy!

Leg Hair



Yeah that wouldn’t be bad image quality alone! I’d say it’s safe to say that the majority of women here don’t shave above the knee, but many don’t shave their leg hair at all. What do they do instead? Bleach it! Even dark skinned women will have curly blonde hairs cascading down their shins. Being as lazy as I am I thought I’d join in on the fun and stop shaving above the knees. Two weeks into it when my leg hair blew in the breeze I knew it was time to shave.

Gym Wear



Possibly my favorite observation and something I find hopelessly Brazilian, is their style at the gym. Skintight spandex, socks pulled up like leg warmers and cleavage revealing deep Vs are Brazilian sex goddesses’ choice workout wear. Although their figures show they put in work (can you say SQUATS), I’ve heard the gym is an excellent place to pick up babes. Actually I’ve heard that a lot and still have nothing to show….

maybe it’s time I get myself into a catsuit! Miau!


10 thoughts on “quirky observations of brazil

  1. Hi Britt, just came across your blog and enjoyed your observations. One thing I would like to explain is that Brazilian women wax their legs so they have to wait for it to grow out a bit. They also wax a lot of other body parts as well. It’s actually one thing I will miss if I even go back to the US… Abundant cheap beauty salons where you can do any kind of primping you need 🙂

    1. Hi Santista! Thanks for the comment! 🙂 This would explain a lot of the leg hair, but actually I did a little research and found that many of the legs I’m seeing aren’t from women in the awkward grow out stage, but rather ones who opted for a “banho de lua”! Guess just another kind of primping you can do at the salon lol

  2. “Skintight spandex, socks pulled up like leg warmers” – So glad someone else finally said something this. If only someone could put up a billboard saying “Socks pulled up like leg warmers is NOT sexy!” It totally destroys what would otherwise be a “hot” look. Please Brazilian women… “JUST SAY NO” to long white socks! lol (or rather… rsrs)

    1. haha I don’t get it either! The rest of the look isn’t exactly what I like to wear while getting my gym on, but you’re right, it is a hot look!

      1. Hi Britt, I have never seen these long white socks before in any gym in Sao Paulo. Just would like to say that the overall of your article is fine, however not all it is Brazilian, it could be Carioca or Paulista. We Paulistanos, from Sao Paulo capital city find cariocas to be different in many ways as well as bahianos or curitibanos. Saying we Brazilians do this or that, or we are like this or that it is just the same as if I say an american from NYC dresses exactly as someone from Miami or Texas. 🙂

      2. Good point! I’ve just seen these things on repeat here in Rio and thought my friends and family (other viewers??) would find them interesting/funny. I’d go as far as saying even typing people based on city isn’t fair, but it’s just what we do to make sense of it all 😛

  3. also, i suspect your usage of the word bumbum is not quite 100% accurate here. The word you want for butt cheeks is bunda. The bumbum is a slightly smaller, more intimate area. Not that it’s not loved. Just not normally displayed 😉

    1. omg you just scared me so bad! lol but I googled and all I see are butts in the images and buns, buttocks and behind as the translation …?? there’s even a beauty(?) competition called miss bumbum apparently 😛

    2. No, bumbum is bunda. Bumbum is just a more polite way of saying bunda. Nothing related to more intimate area otherwise we would not say this to our kids.

      1. Thanks for clearing that up! Knowing these things is important! Apparently I’m (still) not pronouncing bread properly lol

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