What better time to think about all things British than with the arrival of the new future King!
I should start by saying that I’m not a huge royal family fan. Personally, I think their purpose is primarily for tourism, but that is a whole other discussion. However, royal family events are some of the few events that seem to unite a big portion of the British population. It’s the perfect excuse for Brits to wave union jack flags (in contrast to brazil where there always seems to be someone around with a brazil flag!) and throw a street party.
Since I’ve been in Brazil I’ve been asked a number of questions regarding the royal family, ranging from “are you excited about the royal baby?” and “is it true the Queen’s dogs have their own bedroom in the palace?”, to “do you like Camilla?” to which apparently the correct answer is no.
However there seems to be a lot of love for this lady, the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton seems to have replaced the late Princess Diana as the sweetheart face of the royal family. Brazilian women love her and her style (they don’t like Camilla!) and were definitely more excited than I was about her pregnancy news last year. Of course the whole notion of a royal family is a bit of a novelty for a country that doesn’t have one and doesn’t need to worry about paying for them!
There are other British things that are loved by Brazil besides the royal family (thank goodness!). I was recently having my hair cut and desperately trying to follow the hairdresser’s small talk.
Having found out that I was from England, he ask me if it was the home of hockey. I said no, I don’t think so. He was so shocked that I thought maybe the hockey scene is bigger than I thought back home! Only later did I realise that he meant ROCK, not hockey.
The influence of rock music is huge in Belo Horizonte. To date I have only met one brazilian who doesn’t love the Beatles. Last year I went to the wedding of a couple in their twenties who had a Rolling Stones tribute band as their entertainment. It’s interesting that the young generations here still like these older bands. In fact it was a group of young girls that started a petition last year which resulted in Paul McCartney’s sell-out concert in BH this year.
Unfortunately the One Direction fever has also hit Brazil. A rather annoying product of the UK’s X Factor TV show, they seem to have hoards of young fans all over the world. Brazilian Twitter users even started a hashtag trending to get the boys to visit Brazil, which was sadly mocked by other twitter users because of its terrible English.
Then there’s tea! Whilst I can’t claim this to be a British product, it’s certainly a tradition of sorts – part of the british culture. I’ve met lots of people here who like tea too, although not necessarily made in the same way and definitely not consumed as religiously. When I say I don’t like coffee, they can understand. She’s a foreigner, that explains it. But when I say I also don’t like tea, eyebrows are raised over my authenticity as a british national.
Following the drinks theme, we have whiskey and beer. Huge taxes on imported products means that even a basic black label is comparatively expensive here. My husband’s friends swoon over his Scottish single malt collection, and my father-in-law has paid circa R$25 over here for one bottle of London Pride, after being introduced to it by my dad.
I’m going to finish here with good old fish ‘n’ chips. Even Brazilians who haven’t been to the UK seem to have heard of it, and those I know who have tried it seemed to like it! Personally, I think there’s nothing better to bring on indigestion, but I’ll take a plate of bangers ‘n’ mash any day 🙂