As the President pointed out during his speech from Rio de Janeiro this past weekend, we have a lot in common with the people of the great country south of the equator. We both have vast natural resources, economies that struggled recently in the past few years, a diverse leader that promised change, and a country that is considered one of the super powers in the world. Also, tourists are driven to these countries in droves throughout the year to experience what each has to offer in their unique parts of the world.
As I've mentioned in a past article, they both share in common a dark past of slavery and a discrimination towards people of color that is still inherent in both cultures today (with a more profound and darker shade of racism found in Brazil, even in their most popular cities including Rio and Sao Paulo). Attitudes can be down right mean and hurtful as those in the white elite point their noses to the sky while their underprivileged dark skinned brethren are left to eat the scraps of the aforementioned dinner plates.
What really sets the cultures of these two countries apart though (other than the endless speedos that the guys wear and thongs the gals flaunt on the beach) are the methods they use towards one another in regards to affection. When I was there on vacation this past New Year's, it was apparent that hugging and smooching anywhere in public (and I mean anywhere!) is such as social norm there that all ages and types of couples (both opposite and same sex) take part in for this seeming ritual of the heart. Sorry if I sound like some prude, but when I see that type of behavior happen here it almost naturally results in calls of "get a room already!"
Call me old fashioned but smooching right next to someone while standing in line at McDonald's is just So High School! And no, we can't Blame it on Rio :)