There is a famous old Brazilian saying, 'Para ingles ver', 'for the English to see'. It's been wryly defined as 'the difference between legal requirement and actual behaviour', and for many Brazilians this relaxed attitude to the law is still a guiding principle. But, especially in the more Europeanized south of the country, where the economic boom is being managed, I detect that times, and national stereotypes, may be changing. With BRIC prosperity comes responsibility, a strong voice in the world economy, a seat on the UN Security Council perhaps. And this, some think, demands a new discipline, a new work ethic. The Brazil of beach and carnival is also a Brazil of banks and billionaires. Will it, I wonder, become more like the Western world, wealthy and worried? I hope not. Socrates, the footballer, not the philosopher, described his fellow Brazilians as 'a shrewd, vain, happy people'.
That certainly accords with my own observations. And I can't think of any other nation that it could apply to. Welcome to Brazil.
Michael Palin, London, June 2012
Notes on the text.
The Day Numbers refer only to those days on which we filmed. Travelling days spent on planes and days off are not recorded. For those who like fine detail or may be encouraged to see Brazil for themselves, our filming trips were as follows: Amazónia and Brasília in January 2012 - The North-East in June and July 2011 Minas Gerais and Rio in October 2011 - São Paulo and The South in April 2012
Choose another day from Brazil
- Series: Brazil
- Chapter: Introduction
- Country/sea: England
- Place: London
- Book page no: 6
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