By Nikola Grace Radley
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Foreigners (gringos) flock to Rio every year. Many stay for a short time, and some never leave. Here is a breakdown of ten stereotype gringos you’ll probably encounter while here.
1. Backpacker – divides time between drinking caipirinhas at happy hour at the hostel, taking photos with the Brazilian flag on the beach, feeling risqué dancing to funk in the gentrified favela of Vidigal, and buying Havaianas as souvenirs. Speaks mediocre Spanish while here picked up in a Spanish crash course in Colombia.
2. Expat Mum – only wants to live in upmarket Leblon or Barra, has read everywhere else is far too dangerous to set foot in. Priorities when arriving are finding a maid, cook, and cleaner but doesn’t have a job. Toys with the idea of doing some volunteer work. Vaguely did something in finance twenty years ago. Proudly states that her children have picked up Portuguese alongside their three other languages in two months.
3. A student on a six-month exchange – goes to a private university. Only hangs around with other exchange students and speaks English. Parents think they are learning Portuguese. Wants to spend a small amount on rent, preferably living near a favela to collect danger stories to recite when back home. Has excess amounts of money to afford to travel through the Amazon but will only drink “chopp” (draft beer).
4. Gringa partner of a Brazilian – tall, blonde and pale with a physically contrasting Brazilian partner. Met while she was backpacking on an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ trip after realizing an office job wasn’t for her. Now has Instagram friendly hippie family. Abandoned life in their own country to be here. Has food stand from her native country at local gastro markets.
5. Bucket lister learning Portuguese – in midlife crisis, plans to stay six months, to “absorb the culture”. Is often from the USA. Wasn’t able to travel when younger. Has held dreams of learning another language after their trip to Paris eight years ago. Enrolled in a fancy language school. Has awkward broken Portuguese conversations at a coffee shop after class with other course-mates. Is also learning samba.
6. A worker at an NGO – is twenty-ish and has at some point backpacked South America. Hates “barbie saviors” and voluntourism. Thinks they know everything about the mechanisms of a favela after one month. Goes to political marches supporting the left wing workers party but has never read any in-depth analysis of Brazilian politics.
7. Lost person — has been in Rio for over four years. Doesn’t have a Brazilian partner but has lots of Brazilian friends. Teaches English. Can’t leave Brazil as has overstayed their visa and cannot pay the Reals fine upon their return. Holds strong leftist views on politics. Has something a bit “off” about them.
8. Older hippie — has lived in Rio for over ten years. A mysterious character who seems to have money but people aren’t quite sure from what? Casually drops in conversations the many exotic places they have lived around the world. Name drops semi-famous people that they know. Unsure of age. Has a Spanish or French accent.
9. Gringo Casanova – “smooth” operating male. Uses new found confidence obtained from recent self-rebranding to charm women. If British, plays on his accent. Often is over the age of 40 (but not on Tinder…), unfit, and owns a collection of bad shirts.
10. Braziophile – a person who identifies with Brazilian culture. Often into samba, capoeira, or jujitsu. Hung around with Brazilians in their home country. Desperately wants to assimilate while in Brazil and not be the gringo they still are. Writes in Portuguese on social media and shares niche Brazilian memes upon one week of arrival.