1. Ice cold beer. They don't mess around in Brazil. Literally the beer has frost on or sometimes in the bottle. And typically a big bottle is served in a koozie along with small cups for the whole table to share. Which means the last sip of beer is just as cold as the first. Awesome.
2. Night time showers. Everyone showers at night. Sometimes in the morning too. I have yet to adopt this night time bathing routine for fear of frightening people in the morning with my bed head.
3. Coxinhas. Cream cheese and seasoned shredded chicken surrounded by a mass of fried, breaded dough. Enough said.
4. Ham and cheese on french bread for breakfast. Sometimes served with cream cheese, butter or jam. It's called a “misto quente.” Amazing.
5. “Oba!” A common expression of pleasure in Brazil. I thought it was only exclaimed in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It makes me smile every time I hear it.
6. Diminutives. Brazilians like to diminituize everything with the expression “-inho/a” at the ends of words for emphasis. Examples: “bonitinha” (pretty), “fofinha” (cute), “coitadinho” (poor little thing), “jeitinho” (way of solving a problem).
7. Kisses on the cheek. The number of kisses varies depending on the city you're in. Particularly confusing for a foreigner. And this has made for many awkward moments of people diving in for the kiss on the other cheek when you're not expecting it.
8. Odd moments for congratulations. Cat calling females is pretty typical all over Latin America in my experience. But here I've noticed rather than than the simple “Hey beautiful,” Brazilian men say “parabems!” or “congratulations!” while scanning a female up and down. Seems like a strange way to pay a compliment, especially since it might be more appropriate to compliment the woman's parents for their aesthetically pleasing gene combination.
9. Skimpy swimsuits. Regardless of your body type, on the beach in Brazil it is not only acceptable but also seemingly expected to cover the least amount of your body. This applies to men and women alike.
10. Shoddy napkins. Seriously, the napkins served in restaurants in Brazil have got to be some of the most useless pieces of paper I've ever used. The quality is more like the paper used to pick up a donut in a bakery. The only good use I found at the table was making napkin roses…
11. Brigadeiros. Chewy balls of semisweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk rolled in chocolate sprinkles. Need I say more?
12. The Brazilian “thumbs-up.” While the thumbs up may be a globally universal sign of affirmation, Brazilians use it abundantly. It can mean everything from “yes,” to “I agree,” to “hey, thanks for letting me in that line of crazy traffic.” Thumbs up!
13. Sweet avocados. Yes, I realize the avocado is actually a fruit. And fruits, by nature, are typically sweet. But Brazil is the only place I've been where people find salted avocados as in guacamole, on sandwiches or salads to be strange. Instead, the preferred method for avocado preparation is to blend it with milk and sugar into a sweet pudding textured dessert. I was reluctant to tamper with my taste buds in such a way, but actually the dish was quite good!
14. PDA (“Public Display of Affection” for those who are unfamiliar with the acronym). Brazilians are very affectionate and very hands-on. This affection extends into the public arena between lovers who seem quite oblivious to the rest of the world. It's not uncommon to see a couple heavily making out on the subway, in the middle of the street, on the dance floor, in a museum, wherever. Took some getting used to on my part.
15. Botecos. Botecos are essentially small bars with tables extending out onto the sidewalk and sometimes street. In the evenings they are usually packed with friends sharing beers and appetizers and are one of my favorite places to just hang out with people in Brazil.
1/6/14 Note from Author: I am overwhelmed, pleasantly surprised and flattered by the number of comments I've received on this post in the last couple weeks. I started off replying to everyone, but there have been too many recently to keep up. This blog was originally (and still is) meant as a means to share with my family and friends at home my experiences of traveling abroad, and this particular entry was the first one that seems to have gone, as some of you have stated in your comments, “viral.” I had an amazing time in Brazil, and enjoyed visiting several cities in this beautiful country including Foz do Iguacu, Curitiba, São Paulo, Campinas, Vitória, Brasilia and Rio. I have enjoyed very much reading all of your feedback, and in response I'd like to say if I had to pick one more thing to add to my list about Brazil and Brazilians (aside from the feijoada, caipirinhas, pão de queijo, etc.), it would be to mention their warm and open hearts. I am no longer in Brazil, and will be leaving home in a few days for the Dominican Republic, where my travel blogging will continue over the next few months. Who knows, maybe I'll have to continue these top 15 lists in each place I go? Muito obrigada!