Well living here for nearly three months now I keep getting to know more and more f the brazilian culture. All I'm writing about are my personal impressions and how Im experiencing Brazil, but someone else might tell a complete different story... Brazil is an amazing country, it offers a lot of great things, but it's also a country with a lot of problems. The biggest problems in my opinion are lack of education and missing organisation. They are the things that would definitely make it very hard for me to stay here for a longer period of time.
there are the small every day things that just don't work: A thing that doesn't exist is for example: fast. You can't do anything fast. Don't even start thinking about just going to buy something quickly, because you won't ever be able to. The speed in which they scan the few items is absolutely incredible. As in I just want to quickly get some milk in the morning, so I head to the supermarket. unfortunately there is about 3 people waiting in fron tof me at the counter. That means about 15 minutes waiting. Since the person working there already is kinda slow. But if something happens to be scanned wrong or needs to be authorized by another person it takes ages for the other person to get there and authorize it. Because first they call for the person, not very motivated. Then the person realizes that they have been called. But unfortunately the person is already occupied with another authorisation. Or with looking at some piece of paper. Or with just standing there, waiting. Anyhow, it just takes the person ages to get there. Then once the items authorized the person working at the counter keeps going with scanning items. Unfortunately now I've been wanting to buy an avocado... and the girl doesn't know the number.... so she starts looking in the manual... and she's looking... and she keeps looking.... but the avocado on the photo doesn't look like the want I've been wanting to buy... so she goes through the manual again... until I manage to look into the manual for her and point it out... so she can type in the number.... and beep... and she keeps going with the next item... beep... and the puts it to the side, in order to extend her arm to the next one... beep... honestly, if one were to buy grass in the supermarkets you'd nearly be able to see it grow, it's amazing. So when you've finally gotten to the point where you can pay... well then they don't have the change... the have to call another person who gets 10 reais... and then walks to another person... gets it changed... comes back... and you get your change... and you can finally gett your stuff and get out of the store!!!! =D (this is the daily shopping experience around here. Never try to quickly buy something. You can't)
Also very nice is catching buses. Since there is only one metro line that goes from north to south I'm usually catching the buses. Also the metro has as many stops as a tram in zurich, and goes at about the same velocity. Therefore if you were only to go 2 stops, it's usually better to walk=D
I heard a very cool saying about the buses the other day: in Rio de Janeiro you don't catch a bus... If you manage to hop onto the one you wanted... you conquered it. Since sometimes it really is a bit of a fight to get them to stop for you. Because some numbers stop at some stops, at others they don't... And if the driver doesn't feel like stopping he obviously doesn't. So it happens that they just keep driving past you. On the other hand though, if they feel like picking you up in the middle of the road they do too, which is very nice sometimes. The good thing here is you never have to hurry for the bus. Because you might have just missed one anyway. Or it might take another half an hour anyway until it gets there. You never know. So to get to a place at a certain time is very hard, since you have no way to know how long it's gonna take. If the bus gets there when you'd like it to, there might be a lot of traffic (which happens quite often) and you might have even been faster walking. Maybe you're gonne be waiting for about 40 minutes, and then 3 buses with the same numbers come right after each other. If there is no traffic and the bus appears right when you get to the bus stop one can travel quickly in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately now with the whole construction sites for the metro extension and for the worldcup there is nearly always a lot of traffic. Also they are changin the ways the buses go usually, so after waiting for a bloody bus for about an hour I really do get impatient and ask someone, only to be told that they've randomly changed the stop for the bus I wanna get on to to two blocks away. So really, getting out of a bus at the place you wanted to, at the time you wanted to feels like a won battle=D
Very impressive is also how the people on the buses use their time very wisely. Since they are gonne stay on a bus usually for at least half an hour nearly everyone passes the time doing... absolutely nothing. I'm one of the very few people who's always got a book with me, most people just sit.
So since everything takes its time here I think it's save to say I've never spent so much time in my life waiting for things to happen. Waiting for the bus to appear, waiting for the bus to get there, waiting for the people to do their work, waiting for.... everything really.
In restaurants it actually varies a lot. Some are amazinly fast and others impressively slow. I actually once managed to wait for a sandwich for more than an hour. (a coffee took half an hour=D) But then other restaurants are so fast you've got your food in front of you before you've really decided what you wanted=D
It is then also not a surprise that pretty much any construction site is behind schedule. which might be because a lot of brazilian workers only work when someone else is watching them. Usually there is at least two people doing something. One doing, the other watching. Very interesting are also the work clothes they use here at the building sites. Carpenters, electricians and pretty much any tradesman is dressed in muscle shirt, boardshorts and thongs (flip-flops). Very safe=D And if a problem appears the best way to solve it, seems to be to wait until a solution falls from the sky.Surprisingly the constuction sites do get finished every now and then and a lot of houses are being built in Brazil. So it works. Somehow. =D
But since everything here takes ages, everything is kind of long away and to get things organized is usually very hard people tend to just not do much. Since it's not worth it going to the beach for teo hours if the way is one hour going there and one coming back. Same with trying to go and see people. There is a general ,,preguica'' (laziness) around here, that makes it hard for me to see Brazil as a country I could live in permanently. Since everything is long away and takes effort a lot of people tend to jsut not go to things, to just not turn up and since even letting people know they aren't coming takes a lot of effort they don't even do that sometimes. Which is gettin on my nerves sometimes. Since I'm used to the swiss, dutiful and reliable personality and organisation it gets to me, to be stood up every now and then.
But now, already knowing heaps of different people I've jsut started doing the same thing, never really organizing anything and just spontainiously calling someone when I'm close to their house. Since they are probably gonna be around there somewhere anyway, since gettin to far away from there would take too much effort=D
Also for the people working here it's very disorganized. For example: they are supposed to be moved from Rio to Sao Paulo and the company is meant to organize it. so They're told they will move on the 1st of April. But then it's already the first of April, they're still in Rio, since they don't have an appartment in Sao Paulo yet and the company hasn't yet organized anything. In general, organizing anything here is a very difficult thing.
I knwo I don't always seem to be organized, but what I really like about Switzerland is that I manage to do a whole heap of stuff in one single day, since everything is close and everything starts and stops at the supposed time. Here I always have to calculate an hour extra for anything, since stuff usually doesn't work out how it was planned. People don't turn up, buses get stuck or moved their way, traffic jams everywhere, it's raining...
But when the people do finally turn up or something does finally work out it's always very great=) I just wish it was a bit easier to get there=D