Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
My first experience of Brazil was looking out the window of the plane upon decent. The first thing that is easily distinguishable between Brazil and Argentina is the landscape. Florianopolis reminds me a lot of Costa Rica with the tropical climate and lush green hills in the backdrop. For some people I think the hardest thing about Brazil will be the language barrier, because many students speak at least a little spanish but none of us know portuguese. I on the other hand am at a slight advantage as far as adapting goes, because I knew no spanish and got use to communicating via other means which is exactly what I will have to do here in Brazil. The landscape is beautiful and it is nice to escape the noise and pollution of Buenos Aires, although I will miss the familiarity I was beginning to experience there. The first thing we did after unpacking and finding an ATM was to set out for some dinner. It is amazing how similar the restaurants are in item choices. Pizza and sandwhiches seem to dominate the smaller restaurants menus. The layout of the restaurants are very different though. In Brazil, much more of the restaurant is located outside to take advantage of the tropical climate, while in Argentina the majority is inside to avoid the smog and noise of the city streets. The prices of the various meals were similar to those in Buenos Aires, however the exchange rate is less in our favor here in Brazil. Upon arriving in south america I would always mentally convert Argentine pesos into US dollars in order to decide if something was worth purchasing. After about the second week I stopped converting and was able to build a local reference system in my head and was only thinking in pesos. Unfortunately now I am in a new country with a new currency and now have to start from scratch again. Ironically though I am not converting prices from reals to US dollars but rather from reals to pesos, since that is something more similar to reference. It is interesting after only a month how you can disconnect yourself from such a strong attachment and way of thinking and evolve your daily life around the local currency and culture.
I have only been here 24 hours but in that short time I have noticed a significant difference in personality. Brazilians seem more relaxed and friendly than Argentines. I understand Florianopolis is more of a resort town and Buenos Aires is a bustling busy capital city, but even when I compare the people to those I met in Mendoza I am still able to see a distinction towards their attitudes towards tourists and americans. The waiter at our dinner table struggled to understand our english/spanish mix with patience and friendliness. It was hard for me to integrate with the local culture in Argentina, and I unfortunately found myelf only ever hanging out with friends from the program, which was fun but I feel I missed out on the local experience. In Brazil, I already feel I have more in common with the younger crowd here, even if it isn´t much its enough to notice and make me feel more comfortable and excited to be spending the next 50 days here.