The Rio Gringo

Grrr. I just read another empty short travel story about Brazil. 

I love Rio as much as the next person but perhaps for different reasons. I’ve lost track of how many “Gringo in Rio” short travel stories I’ve read over the years and how they all write about eating the same food (churrasco), drinking the same drinks (caipirinha), going to the same locations (Ipanema, Cristo) and at times, sadly buying the same types of ‘entertainment’. The moral of their little stories always ends up being ‘ditch the rat race in the States, live the good life in Brazil’ yet I’m sure this pretty much never happens in the end. They sprinkle their writing with the (better than) good but never the bad and the ugly…but for good reason, because what would be left for the sensational foreign journalists to write about if not the bad and the ugly? (Save the Frontline piece in the post below)

Now forget the good, bad and the ugly and I’ll tell you what I would prefer. How about the Brazilianized story? The reality that the average gringo would eventually face if left on their own for more than 6 months in Brazil. Better yet, where is the Rio Gringo that cares about the Brazilian story? Ahhh, now it starts to make sense, its the majority of those just passing through that don’t care about anything but having a good time, a slice of home while far away.

If only I could make the laws, I would ban any kind of tourism that wasn’t of the eco(cologial) or cultural type…instead of pouring money into a cycle of allowing for and serving those who couldn’t care less about the country they are going to.

6 thoughts on “The Rio Gringo

  1. I so agree with you. Mindless, cheap tourism is so damaging. We all hear those gringo stories, fear not, you are not alone. Maybe people should approach tourism in a responsible manner (as if, I am dreaming now, aint i?).

  2. Thanks Anna for your thoughts. Its definitely a tough thing to get rid of due to all the money that gets poured into cheap tourism (on both sides of the coin) in Brazil and all over the world. The best solution then becomes to increase other forms of tourism through awareness and basically promotional means so that one day they might equal out.

  3. hmm, but you forget that these gringos, however misled they are about the “real brazil”, also bring dollars which helps the local economy. i don’t believe tourism as such is a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t fall into activities that hurt others (child prostitution, etc.) one could write a similar tirade about people who come to the u.s. and see only disney world and shopping malls. but hey, if that’s what they want to do and where they want to spend their money, unload your wallets!

  4. Thank you Laura for the response. I haven’t forgotten that point, I merely chose not to mention it because I figured it to be an obvious point. Even as such, I still would write the same post because I care more about an honest portrayal than about making money off of a false portrayal. Likewise, I would hope people would not come to the US just to see Disney World, etc as there is no lesson in experiencing such things. I also understand that not everyone wants to get a lesson out of every single thing they do but I attribute this to commercialization of society and the dumbing down of most things for a dumbed down public (a match made in marketing heaven). I’m not for limiting freedoms but more so I am for educating people on better ways to make use of their freedoms.

  5. Pingback: Why is Brazil so cool? « Eyes On Brazil

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