Monday, July 15, 2013

Brazil/U.S. differences

How is Brazil different from the U.S.? You're smart enough to know they speak Portuguese instead of English, and they prefer soccer to football. Here's what I've noticed that I wasn't really expecting:
  • No hot water heaters. Taps at the sinks only have cold water; hot water is generated at the shower. Incidentally, in the shower you can only control the temperature and not the pressure. While both are sufficient, you can't get a truly hot, invigorating shower by American standards. Then again, they shower more often than us, so perhaps they don't regard it as therapy.
  • No TP flushing. Either the sewage systems or the toilets themselves aren't as robust as the North American versions. Everywhere you go, you are expected to toss your toilet paper, not flush it.
  • Tight clothes. Brazilian women aren't terrified the Body Shame Enforcement Police will be called to the scene if they wear spandex after 40 or over a 28 BMI.
  • Fences and gates. In the U.S., only really expensive homes have meaningful walls and gates, and only homes in very inexpensive neighborhoods have window bars. In Brazil, every middle-class house has both.
  • Paving stones. I don't know if this is a regional thing, but many of the sidewalks and non-arterial streets have paving stones rather than asphalt/pavement. The sidewalks aren't close to ADA-compliant anyway, and the stones do make repairs easy.
  • No tipping. Tipping isn't really a thing in Brazil. Related to that, in restaurants, even nicer ones, you generally go up to the counter to pay.

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