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You Know You Are Brazilian When You Know Who Santos Dumont Is and When…

Santos  Dumont * You applaud the pilot when the airplane lands. You also applaud the band after the national anthem is played.

* You wear the national soccer team T-shirt when you are abroad.

* You watch all the matches of the World Cup among friends and family. Or in your working place, if necessary. The experience includes beer, swearing, crying and insulting the mother of the referee.

* You wear really pointy shoes with high heels (well, if you are a girl).

* You are in a foreign beach and you are the only straight man wearing speedos.

* You drink coffee at least three times a day. Religiously. And you never heard of decaf. Or chicory coffee.

* You despise the Wright Brothers – Santos Dumont invented the airplane!

* You have at least one pair of Havaianas flip-flops.

* You have already worn fitinhas do Bomfim (ribbon supposedly blessed in Nosso Senhor do Bonfim church, in Salvador. You make three wishes while you tie the knots. They will be granted when it gets rotten).

* You think you can speak Spanish. You pronounce Portuguese words with Argentinian accent and believe Spaniards will understand you. It can be very embarrassing.

* You learn how to carry your purse in a way nobody will be able to open it or drag it away. You choose fake jewelry that really looks fake. You lock your house with several keys. You take with you the sound system when you leave your car.

* You have prejudice against Portuguese and Argentinians. Well, it’s sad, but it is a fact.

* You kiss your acquaintances (of opposite sex) in the face twice when you meet. Women also do the 2-kiss ritual among them.

* You visit daily the neighborhood bakery. To buy fresh bread. To drink coffee. To have lunch. To buy cigarettes, or ice cream, or a pint of milk, or chocolate. To chat with the chapeiro (the guy who makes warm sandwiches – they are invariably entertaining). To talk to the Portuguese owner. To watch TV (they are fairly common in padarias). To drink cachaça. To put a few chairs in the outside and play samba with your friends (while the girlfriends dance).

Brazilian born, French citizen, married to an American, Regina Scharf is the ultimate globetrotter. She graduated in Biology and Journalism from USP (Universidade de São Paulo) and has worked for Folha de S. Paulo, Gazeta Mercantil and Veja magazine as well as Radio France Internationale. Since 2004 she has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the US. She authored or co-authored several books in Portuguese on environmental issues and was honored by the 2002 Reuters-IUCN Press award for Latin America and by the 2004 Prêmio Ethos. You can read more by her at Deep Brazil – www.deepbrazil.com.

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