I decided I would do a post on my first impressions of Brazil: the people, the culture, food, fashion etc. However I found I had so much to say, I have had to do separate posts! So in true British style, what better subject to start with than…
Brazilians talk about the weather just as much, if not more than, the British! Not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say that it is too cold or too hot.
Personally, I find it very strange to live in a country where 18 degrees is considered positively chilly, jumper-wearing weather! In Britain let’s face it we would be close to stripping off! I am sure I got some funny looks the first time I visited Belo Horizonte. It was deep into the Brazilian winter, so probably about 25 degrees outside, and naturally I chose to wear shorts and strappy tops everywhere. I may as well have had a “hey I’m a foreigner” sign over my head.
Belo Horizonte averages around 25 degrees, year round. In the summer, temperatures can stay around 30 degrees, sometimes higher, and in the winter perhaps the high teens. For me, that’s hot enough for day to day life. After living here for a few months, I had hoped I would have acclimatised to the tropical weather. Unfortunately, I am still always too hot and sweaty – my body just seems hardwired to cooler climates! I have to try very hard not to baulk at people I see wearing jeans, jackets and boots when the temperature gauge reads 30. I feel for the people that have to put on suits every day to go to work, but at least you hope they have air conditioning in their cars and offices (I know my husband’s office is like a fridge).
Not everywhere seems to have got the memo about the heat though. The gym in my building doesn’t have any air conditioning, and there is so much heating in the indoor pool that it is like trying to swim lengths in a hot bath!
Nevertheless, in some ways I have adjusted. I like to walk really fast when I am going somewhere, but the heat combined with the hills means I have to copy the locals and walk like I have nowhere to be. And given that nobody here is ever on time for anything, what’s the hurry? I try really hard not to put my fingers in my ears at the first sign of a storm, which are far more scary than any I’ve witnessed in the UK. I also prefer not to arrive at places looking like I took a shower fully-clothed, but when you walk around in summer here, you just have to accept it! (Yes I have an umbrella but have you seen Brazilian rain?).
Speaking of summer, that is where I feel duped when it comes to the Brazilian weather, at least in Belo. I didn’t think it was possible to be worse than an English summer, but it really does rain almost non-stop. And when I say rain, I mean RAIN! This is a bad photo I know, but this is a road we drove through on our way to a party last weekend. For a second I thought it was a river!
Thankfully, the rest of the year isn’t like that. There is nothing like a spot of sunshine to lift the mood. I have however made a mental note to follow the Brazilian tradition and go on holiday in January next year!
PS If you’re a Portuguese speaker and haven’t yet seen the hilarious video on this blog about brazilians and the weather, check it out….American Heart, Brazilian Soul.