Saturday, February 27, 2010
Steering clear of the pesky 'Malandragem' on a trip to Brazil by Dehouche Travel
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about Brazil is that Brazilians speak Spanish and a sure fire way to get off on the wrong foot in Brazil is to assume just this and start jabbering away in your best GCSE Espanhol to that seemingly friendly immigration officer. They may be able to understand what you say, but that doesn’t mean that they will be pleased, or grant you with the stamp in your passport you had been hoping for.
Brazilians will joke that foreigners will go as far as to believe that Buenos Aires is the capital of Brazil. However, when you take into account that the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina is akin to that between France and England, you begin to realize that this is in fact no laughing matter.
Many people travel to Latin America with a smattering of Spanish and find that this suffices to meet their needs. Portuguese is a language the majority of foreign visitors have no former knowledge of and to the untrained ear it can sound indecipherable, even to those who speak another language with Latin roots.
Attempting to learn a few phrases before your trip will always help to make your visit more enjoyable. Brazilians themselves complain that Portuguese is a difficult language and they will appreciate any effort you make to communicate. Unfortunately, it is a difficult language and so you may soon find yourself disheartened.
For a foreigner hoping to learn enough key phrases to survive a week or two’s holiday, the most likely difficulty you will encounter will be pronunciation. The trick is to hold your nose as you speak, but this may draw the very attention you had been hoping to avoid.
For starters try the following:
Bom dia (Bong jee-a)
Rio de Janeiro (Hee-o, jee, ja-ney-roo)
Rio de Janeiro
Brazilians almost never say ‘yes’ either repeating the verb used by the speaker or saying ‘isso’, literally meaning ‘that’.
Whether you’re looking for the right bathroom or trying to explain your sexual preferences, these two words may come in handy:
Homem (o- meing)
Feeling hungry? Try these two:
Yummy chocolate and condensed milk treat
Delicious Amazon berry usually served mixed with all kinds of other calorific goodness.
Unfortunately, in parts of Brazil more popular with tourists such as Rio and Bahia, there’s another word that’s difficult to say, but important to know and that’s ‘malandragem’, (ma-lan-dra-jeing) which is basically the act of taking advantage of someone. A ‘Malandro’ (someone who practices malandragem for a living) will be quick to spot a gringo accent and the consequences can leave you somewhat bereft.
Malandros come in all shapes and forms and simply taking a taxi from the airport can result in being led very much up the garden path, as you are taken on the most scenic route possible. Even if your driver adheres to the recognized route, the rule goes that the stronger your accent, the higher the fare.
But what can you do to avoid such pitfalls? Do you need to become fluent in the language before you visit in order not to leave the country a bankrupt? Fortunately not; take a tailor made holiday with luxury travel specialists Dehouche and they can arrange private transfers with English speaking drivers for you throughout your holiday, thus removing the need to get into difficulty before you have even left the airport. Dehouche have relationships with unique and fun local people who will in fact help to smooth over those language difficulties for you, whilst still allowing you to gain an insight into the culture.
Of course, just because Dehouche can provide English speaking guides and drivers doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still have a go at Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation. Dehouche themselves will provide you with a list of up to date useful words and phrases. The difference is that if you do run into difficulty, key Dehouche staff around the country are on hand to help you find a ‘jeitinho’ (Jay-cheen-yo) or ‘Brazilian way out’ of that miscalculated restaurant bill/interminable queue/undeserved parking ticket (delete as applicable)
Let Dehouche arrange your luxury boutique hotel and enjoy a whole host of insider tips on where to truly escape from it all on your honeymoon.
Rio de Janeiro ,
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