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Culture Brazil

Europeans behave differently from Brazilians in many ways. In fact the differences are so big you that could write a book about them. The following hints should help you avoid the biggest misunderstandings.

Transport
In the cities you can take a taxi or local bus. The latter is the cheapest. In taxis, be sure the driver turns on the meter. Taxi drivers use an official conversion table, which they will show you, if you don’t understand or are wary.

Begging
In large cities you will undoubtedly be approached by beggars. They will ask you for money, soap or pens, sometimes sweets. Some beggars will mention the amount they expect from you. By giving them money you will not solve their problems. It is more likely that they will become dependent on this kind of income. In the larger cities there will be mothers with children begging. Sometimes they lay in the streets and are not a pretty sight. Often these children have been ‘borrowed’; one method is having two or three babies in the entrance to a building. A number of beggars are very proficient in using grease paint: wounds and scars are washed off in the evening. Shoestring holds to the rule of never giving money to children, at most offer them, fruit or something else to eat. If children bring in a lot of money in this way, their parents won’t send them to school anymore. Giving money to old people and invalids is fine. The reality behind every beggar can be very different. One or two actually beg for food, but most of them are forced to pay for some space in a house through this activity. There are an increasing amount of drug and alcohol addicts in the cities. It is best to give your money to a renowned charitable institution.

In general
Always remember that you are a guest in a country where other conventions are observed. They are not deviant you are, the one that is different.

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