Here in the US, tipping is a customary 15 to 20% of your total bill and is not included unless you have 6 to 8 or more in your party.
In Brazil, 10% tip is always included in your bill and you're not expected to leave any more. If you do - well, you'll make great friends of all the wait staff!! But, you really don't need to. Brazilians NEVER leave money on the table after paying a bill. It's just not done. This kind of extra tipping is not expected so, just pay the bill and you're all set.
If you do want to tip, place the tip directly in the hand of the person you want to give the tip to. You'll make their day (and out yourself as a tourist). But, never just leave money like you would at home. Leaving money on a table is a sure way for it to quickly vanish into thin air the moment you turn away.
Don't Touch Your Food or Burp
Being an American, we eat everything with our hands and have no trouble with it. Basically because we wash our hands all the time and especially before we eat.
Brazilains, however, don't touch their food. They'll eat pizza with a knife and fork, and routinely hold sandwiches with a napkin or wax paper so their fingers never touch the food itself. What American;s might consider "finger food" is even served this way in Brazil, in a little pouch to hold. Needless to say.. I touched my food often and didn't care one bit to try not to - to the obvious dismay and disgust of many.. oh well for them! I know my hands are clean! LOL
As for burping.. well.. just don't do it. I think, Americans understand that some bodily functions are OK sometimes, (in certain situations anyway). Burp and OK... Oh, excuse me. NOT in Brazil.. oh no.. burp and every Brazilian around will give you a dirty look. Some may go so far as to tell you "falta do educação " - equating to.. you're uneducated.
I found these things to be hilarious considering that men and women alike will hock up a big loogie anywhere, anytime and everyone spits all over the place.. but GAWD FORBID you touch your food or let a little gas escape your stomach in public!
Go figure.. ;-)
Getting Someone's Attention
To get someone's attention in Brazil it is customary to whistle or if you can't whistle, to make a noise something like you're calling a cat and saying "phew" at the end... Kind of hard to explain.. but you'll see and hear it right away. i.e. "pppssssshhhhheewwww".
Also, saying "AAAAAAAyy" is common for the same purpose.
These are true for both local men and women - but especially the women, who have no problem being downright rude to waiters or public servants of any kind.
Getting Stopped by Police
We were stopped at many military police roadblocks while traveling.
There are two kinds of police in Brazil, State and military. The state cops can be distinguished in Natal by the word ROCAM on their uniform. They generally travel in twos in buggy or by motorcycle. The military police are easy to spot, with automatic rifles (AR15s, FN FALs) at the ready and more of a military look about them.
All police in Brazil generally will not bother you too much if you are a tourist as they know you have no need to pay the Brazilian fines or tickets they might impose on you.
Of the four times we were stopped, all were at military roadblocks, and we had no issues. If you get stopped for speeding or some other driving offense, I can't comment on how that might turn out. Just obey the speed limits and you should be fine.
Fishing on the morning
If you a an early bird, you can catch men and boys fishing on the beaches. I watched a couple of times this fishing by seine and saw some eight different fish types, all of them unknown to me. One type looked some kind on small bass.
Catch was about twenty kilos on average.
Getting the Bill
You will find it takes forever (and a day) to get your bill when eating out. If you plan on leaving soon, ask for the bill THEN! If you wait until you WANT to leave to ask for the bill, you'll end up staying another 1/2 hour waiting.
So, just be sure to ask early and all will be good!
Blow the Car Horn - Always!
Using the Horn in your car in the states - well, it means something. In Brazil.. it's debatable as to if it means anything at all. Much like speaking, horn usage requires context in Brazil. Use it to say "hello", "get out of my way", "you're cute", "I'm passing you", "you're in my lane", "look @ me, I have a horn", etc. LOL..
Basically.. blow your horn for any reason and for no reason at all and you'll fit right in.
think of the climate
Natal is very close to the eauator....and brazilians have their life much at the beach...= don´t bring to much clothes...especially not worm ones.....
The oldest Portuguese Mark in...
The oldest Portuguese Mark in the World.
The Gaspar Lemos and Americo Vespucio expedition - 1501
Reis Magos Fortress Museum
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