July 25, 2006 GMT
(6) Brasil: The Way Back to Rio

Statistically Brasil is a 3rd World country. Visually it is something totally different, especially in the section south of Rio de Janeiro to Foz Iguaçu.

The infrastructure is 1st World. The architecture is 1st World. The people are 1st World. I have not seen anything to support the label.

Alcohol fuel (Alcool) is available universally at roughly half the cost of gasoline. LNG is available in the major centers, a step North America has not yet made. Fuel of all sorts is readily available throughout the country.

There are more paved roads than it seems they have the time and money to maintain now that they are built.

The hotel infrastructure is at least as good as North America, if not better. Tourist hotels and facilities rival the best. Prices range from a few dollars to over a thousand for a nightly stay. Water parks and leisure facilities are world class. Beaches are immaculate.

Restaurant food and services have been excellent. Only in one other country south of the USA border have I been able to patio dine without being pestered by vendors and people begging. That other country is Argentina. None of the others can make that claim. More often than not I have had to pick up my food and retire to the sanctity of the interior to avoid the begging. In the poorer countries they follow you inside and stand by your table. Not so in Brasil...at least not in this part of Brasil.

Brasilians are beach people. On the weekends it is a tradition to go to the beach. Any place with a strip of sand and some water seems to attract the crowds...or not.



You would think they would tire of the beaches, but they seem to crave them. Small towns swell to many times their size with the beach crowds. Come Monday everyone has gone home except for one gringo and a gringa.


A hotel room always includes breakfast in the fare...a nice buffet of coffee, fresh fruit, assorted cold cuts and cheeses, breads, sweet breads, cookies and cakes, cereal and juices. The standard American breakfast is but a fading memory. It will be difficult to re-adjust once the time comes.

Brasil is heavily industrialized. Industry is conducted on a world scale. Large factories and plants dominate the landscape. In part, industry has been located outside of major centers to ease the transportation burden and to provide employment in outlying areas...a concept that is no stranger to America.

Brasilian cities have no equal in all of Mexico, Latin America and the rest of South America. Wherever a population base exists a "wall city" quickly evolves. Dozens, even hundreds of skyscrapers for businesses, hotels and apartments spring up. Most city scapes have a "Wall Street" look extending for miles across the urban sprawl. This look is limited to only a few North American cities but here in Brasil it is more common than not.

I think in the background lurk the hidden evils of poor education, illiteracy, poverty and health care. Somehow, this part of Brasil south of Rio de Janeiro has managed to cover those evils...to keep them from prying eyes much the same way America has. Statistically they must be there but they are not on the surface like in Mexico, Latin America and the rest of South America.

Brasil...you paint a pretty picture of a country confident of the present and proud of your past. You are a definite crowd pleaser...you are a 10.


Posted by Robert Bielesch at July 25, 2006 01:27 AM GMT

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