Adventures of a foreigner in the south of Brazil.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Living in Porto Alegre

I've been bitching a lot about the bureaucracy in Brazil. Well, dealing with it seems to have been my chief occupation at times, and I'm told Brazil ties with India in the first place.

However, it's not all paper around here. Living in Porto Alegre is truly enjoyable. The city is very green, has good places for going out, good food, and lots of places with live music. It's also reasonably safe. The Guaíba is beautiful, with parts of the road leading alongside being closed for traffic on Sundays when it's a popular spot for jogging, cycling or just having a walk at the riverside.

Last but not least, the people are good-to-be-with. The Gaúchos are proud, very open, welcoming and easy-going. They're also a lot of fun to have around. Historically, they've always been a bit more independent than the rest of Brazil: The Guerra dos Farrapos, the bloodiest civil war in Brazilian history, was supposed to make the Rio Grande do Sul a republic. It failed, but you still stumble over the historic references everywhere in the region, and there's a wide-spread attitude of "first Gaúcho, then Brazilian".