Blog 2: Nights Lives and Safety (Argentina vs. Brazil)

Curitiba Travel Blog

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The night lives of young Brazilians and Argentines seem to differ in several ways based on the cities form each country that I have visited over the past six weeks. In Buenos Aires, people stay out and party all night in discos, particularly on Wednesdays through Saturdays. However, for the most part there are few visibly intoxicated individuals roaming the streets. In fact, at least in the neighborhoods in which we were exposed I felt quite safe at night. Conversely, Brazil based on Florianopolis, Iguazu Falls, and now Curitiba is very different. Here young people stay out very late but not quite as late. Walking the streets at night is uncomforting as well. Extremely intoxicated individuals can be seen all over the place. In fact, I watched a guy stand in the middle of the road as if he were playing chicken with oncoming traffic. As cars would swerve by him he would throw rocks at them. I was even walking home one night and felt so uncomfortable that I picked up a rock just in case I was to be approached. 

This idea of two countries so close to one another with such a difference in the night scene and safety immediately caught me attention. Could this be a cultural thing or could it have to do with available infrastructures within each country? The cultural idea stems from in my opinion a noticeable difference in the style of drinking. Brazilians seem to drink for the sole purpose of getting drunk. Argentines seem to drink to relax. I feel that the reason for such a difference is directly tied to the early inhabitants of each country. Argentina was full of more “sophisticated” individuals, where as Brazil had a very diverse mix of cultures and African ties connected to happiness and parties. Another, idea of the different scenes on the streets between Argentine and Brazil can be seen in the available or noticeable police force. In Buenos Aires, the police would patrol the streets, and there were even police on the corners of many intersections. In Brazil, however, police seem to be scarce. In ten days in Florianopolis, I saw one police officer. The streets seem to be lawless. For example, there was a man driving down the road holding a 600 mL bottle of beer out the window while honking his horn. An ATM window was scattered for more than a day before anyone arrived to “investigate” the scene as well. I do understand that Brazil and Argentina both have laws and do not drink all of the time. I just find it very interesting that two countries so close together differ in night lives, public intoxication, and police presence. Maybe the rest of Brazil is different that the cities that I have visited, but I guess I will have to wait and see if the nights draw a parallel to the nights of those cities I have visited.

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During one of the last days of class in Buenos Aires, we had a guest speaker from Brazil that gave us a presentation on how in soccer, “Argentina hates to love Brazil and Brazil loves to hate Argentina.” After spending one month in Argentina and now a couple of weeks in Brazil, I have noticed that this idea is most likely true.

In Buenos Aires, people would roam the streets wearing Brazilian jerseys and shirts without much of a conflict. However, in Brazil a conflict would most likely arise. I went with several others to a party at the University in Florianopolis one of whom was Norberto. He, of course, wore his Argentine jacket to the party. As we left he was given a really hard time about Argentina to the point that he finally took it off so no one else would see. I have also noticed through the media that such a hate and love for each country exist. Argentina has a series of commercials supporting its team. In no way do these commercials look down on another country or team. In Brazil, I have noticed several different commercials that mock one particular team, Argentina. One particular commercial is for a local beer known as Skol. The commercial shows the Brazilian soccer team playing in a game that they are dominating. The other team is dressed in uniforms that are obviously supposed to represent Argentina. The Argentine players are shown sliding into walls, falling down stairs, and running into the goal post, while the Brazilians dribble the ball and score. Another incident occurred in Florianopolis. A local news station came and interviewed several of us for that night’s show. They asked who would win the World Cup. Norberto, of course, said Argentina, while JB said possibly Brazil. Of course, that night when we were watching the local news, we saw ourselves sitting in the background, and JB’s interview was aired. Norberto and his Argentina comment, however, was conveniently skipped during the broadcast. 

Although I do not know the real reason for such a difference in attitude and feeling for each team, I feel that it could possibly have something to do with the perception of each country toward the other. For Argentines, Brazilians seem happy and like to have fun. They see the tone and rhythm of samba as well. The Brazilian soccer is also more well known around the world. Maybe, the Argentines feel that Brazil has something they do not, and they would like to be one day apart of that feeling. While Brazilians really don’t feel Argentina has anything to offer, so why like their team? All of these theories are only my personal questions and ideas. Maybe, one day I will be able to solve this strange mystery.

photo by: joesu