Since this blog is dedicated to finding the optimal place to live, I’m coming to the following conclusion, that the optimal place hugely depends on the persons age.
Based on North East of Brazil (Ceara/Pernambuco/Paraiba). I’ve been there 3 times, first in early 2010 for few days, then in late 2011 for few weeks, then 2014 for a month contract.
In the beginning it was lovely – I was mesmerized by the culture, people and food, and though the girls were not as beautiful as in the south of Brazil, the ocean was much warmer and the overall weather better (meaning less rain).
1) The quality of food. Here’s where I noticed the first crack.
I shifted into cooking almost exclusively instead of eating out during that four years. I also started actually reading carefully what are the products ingredients that I’m purchasing.
Only that made me realize that really many things in North East of Brazil contains sugar. Not that I’m on any diet, I just don’t like it and don’t believe that its necessary in, for instance, tea. All the juices in the shop, hell, even dairy had sugar in it (something I didn’t notice before).
While having occasional lunch out, was always either taking coconut water or fresh squeezed juice. To my surprise, it was always served with good amount of sugar, unless I explicitly said before that I want “sem açucar”. In some lower end bars they said they had the fresh squeezed juice prepared before, so there was no option to order it any other way (or you take coke, sir).
2) Girls. First times in Brazil 2009-2011 it was.. Among the best experiences I had so far being in 30+ countries I’ve been to. They seemed to love the foreigners. And I was in love with their culture, language (which level was gradually going up for me, and for few years I speak advanced brazilian portuguese), and on.
This time, in spite of going out a lot clubbing, grabbing quite a few numbers and getting some kiss closes, I was, during almost a month there, unable to get more than a couple of dates with girls that were attractive to me.
I was living in mid-upper class neighborhood, and didn’t need a car – was going everywhere by bike or by walk. The problem was, girls were living in rather distant areas, and even a couple of times I almost managed to set a date at Beira Mar walking boulevard, they would come up with:
there was a bus drivers strike,
I’m working, then studying,
or something yet else (not this week, but maybe in 2 weeks, my schedule is soo busy).
So all in all, it was frustrating girls-wise. I figured out that if I had a car and would pick them up (most didn’t have cars), then take them to the bar (no drinking for me), it might have been better. But, I didn’t have budget for that.
So to assume, I stopped liking the food and the dating game.
Also, the traffic got much worse due to oncoming Brazil 2014 cup (and I don’t think much changed after it finished)
Now, what remained good?
Free time spending. I was on Beira Mar at least 3 times a week.
There was open air gym, with delightful ocean view.
There were people doing slacklining, and I was glad to join and try it few times. The general attitude of people was still friendly. . The real significantly (good thing if you are earning in different currency, worse if you had any investment like real estate there).
Couple years before, I would say that North East of Brazil was a place to be. Now I consider it to be ok, but not worth trying to get to live there at any cost.