You surely noticed that we mentioned Brazil already a couple of times. Because it’s a beautiful, colourful and quite exciting country. Because everywhere we go we somehow run into Brazilians (they are easy to recognise… in a good way of course! And because we have the feeling that it’s an extremely promising market, which has just overtaken the UK as the world’s 5th biggest economy. But most of all, we keep mentioning Brazil because of our strong personal connection to the country and its people.

Christian Leyk: “The beauty of Brazil is that it’s so multi-faceted. That makes it difficult to describe, because you will never really run out of things to say. Brazil is green, yellow and blue like it’s flag. It’s also red, pink, black, white, purple and everything in between! And every time you think you know it, it’s changing. It’s vibrant and alive.
And this is even more true when visiting the country’s biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The first impression is usually quite overwhelming, some might even say it’s a big mess!
First of all, there is the traffic, which is pretty mad. Traffic jams and suicidal folks on motor bikes. Then there is graffiti pretty much everywhere, including the fact that everybody running a business has its marketing painted on the front wall. And when you look up, the sky is criss-crossed by a mind-boggling network of cables and wires… Sao Paulo is even worse, because it doesn’t have Rio’s landmark mountains, so there is hardly anything that helps you navigating. It has, however, thousands of hills, therefore streets are either going incredibly steep uphill or downhill (and I haven’t even mentioned the complexity of one way streets!) If you’re looking for a challenge, enjoy!”

Brazil is colourful and extremely diverse. It is poor, it is rich. It is said that God must be Brazilian, and indeed he has a lot of churches in Brazil (even though some look like bingo halls that are are often established by preachers who since then have moved to Florida).

Brazil is certainly blessed by the richness of its soil and the climate and an amazing eco-diversity. It doesn’t suffer from many natural disasters (with the exception of flooding after strong rainfall, but then again the effect is often magnified because of human error, i.e. building dwellings in unsuitable places, etc.) What Brazil mostly suffers from are human disasters, such as crime and corruption.

“If I’d be living in San Francisco, I might be making sure that when I move into a place, it’s designed to withstand earthquakes. And until the day the earth might shake I won’t be thinking about earthquakes. In Brazil, you have to be alert every day. When you go out, you have to think whether or not to wear your watch. When you drive (especially at night), you might consider whether or not it is save to stop at a red traffic light. Which means you have to be aware when crossing a green one that somebody else considers not stopping at his red… Needless to say, you should always lock the doors in your car, and driving a convertible is practically out of question.

Somebody might ‘copy’ your car’s license plate. In that case you have to be prepared for many months of bureaucratic struggle to prove that yours is actually the legitimate one. And when you think that you need to protect your home by high walls and electric wire, you might just start thinking that something is wrong: You’re behind bars and the criminals are running free?”

This should of course not stop you from visiting Brazil. Use common sense and you won’t get into trouble. People do wear watches and jewellery. People carry a camera and take photos. Visiting Brazil is an amazing experience and you will come back richer in many ways.

But for the team of coquine![design] the question remains: Could we imagine (in the long run) settling in Brazil? And, if so, where? Truth is, there is no perfect place in the world. There are places that come close to perfection, and Brazil is certainly on the short list. Until then, we keep on dreaming…

  • Date Posted - 16. January 2012
  • Key Words - Lifestyle, Opinion, Photography