O meu irlandês sobre o Brasil - 2ª edição - parte II


Segunda parte dos posts sobre a segunda vez do meu R. no Brasil. Para ler a primeira parte, clique aqui.


Rubbish and phone booths

Ok, this part might be a little controversial, but I have to say it: São Paulo is a dirty city.  There is a lot of rubbish in the streets – not in every part of the city, but those that have it are quite bad.  Related to that, the buildings don’t look as well maintained from the outside as they do inside – it’s always a startling contrast to me that I can be on a street with lots of rubbish and shabby buildings and then walk inside a business or a house on that street and see it as neat and clean (if not cleaner) than at home.  The appearance of buildings isn’t anything unique to São Paulo (parts of Dublin can be similar) so it’s less surprising to me, but the amount of litter in the streets is.

Brazilians are very clean people – both in terms of personal hygiene and household.  That’s why the rubbish in the streets doesn’t make sense to me.  One day I made the observation that the city has countless orelhões, yet I see comparatively few public bins.  Surely at this point the almost everyone has a mobile phone, meaning that the phone booths have little use anymore, so my big idea for São Paulo is to replace the phones with bins.  Of course, they’d cost more to run, but wouldn’t it be worth it?  Are you with me?

Washing dishes

This is a cultural difference I observed long before going to Brazil, but it seems appropriate to add it in here.  In Ireland, there are roughly two styles of washing dishes.  In the first one, the sink is filled with warm water and washing liquid, the dishes are placed in the water and scrubbed clean.  The second approach involves using running water – the tap is turned on, the dishes are washed one by one by placing them under the running water and scrubbed clean – washing up liquid is added as required.  Warm water is used if possible, if not, cold is used – provided that the dishes didn’t make contact with raw meat.  The first approach is used when there are many dishes – the second when there are relatively few.

In Brazil, a third style which is very foreign to me is used.  This approach involves taking a sponge and adding washing liquid and water to it to make a lot of suds.  The sponge is then used to scrub each dish one by one and lastly the suds are rinsed off with cold water.  In this approach, all suds must be removed – failure to do so gives the impression that the dishes are not properly washed.

The “discussions” Bárbara and I have had on this topic have been numerous and heated.  We each feel that our way is the right way.  For me, the absence of hot water for cleaning things which have touched raw meat is sufficient grounds for legal action due to the potential health risk.  For her, the Irish approaches are strange and “don’t clean the dishes properly”.  One of the first times she saw me filling the sink with water she didn’t understand how it was filling up, and I explained that I had put in the stopper in – an object that doesn’t exist in Brazilian kitchens.

In the end, we have agreed to disagree :)


Bárbara has already written a blog post on what weddings in Ireland are like.  Indeed there’s a big difference between a Brazilian wedding and an Irish wedding.  On both occasions we’ve travelled to Brazil, we attended a wedding.  My main observation is that Brazilian weddings are much, much shorter than Irish ones.  I made the comment to Bárbara’s uncle that “you have Carnaval, we have weddings.”  Ok, it’s not a direct comparison, but they are a much bigger deal in Ireland – mostly because of how the Irish celebrate everything with lots of alcohol.  On this trip, we went to a daytime wedding, and even though it started a little earlier than most Irish weddings, the whole thing was finished before dinner would have been served at an Irish wedding.

You Brazilians need to learn how to party :)
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