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Faux Pas: Rio

When we go for a relaxing holiday abroad, that is exactly what we want, to relax while abroad (obviously!). However, there is nothing less relaxing than making that belter of a faux pas and ending up in the proverbial soup. What we thought we would do is, over the next few weeks, give you a list of what and what not to do in some of Dehouche’s and your top South American spots so that you can avoid making those absolute howlers and potentially ruining your holiday. This week we start with Rio.

Those who have been here (and many of those who have not) know that Rio is an incredible city, fun, vibrant, diverse and best of all, filled to the brim with good food, samba, welcoming locals and boat loads of caipirinha fuelled fun. However, there are a few, easily avoidable, holiday horrors and here they are;

Food

Don’t – Now you may think this an obvious one, but, do NOT buy pre-cooked shrimp from the nice but insistent man on Copacabana or Ipanema beaches. You would be surprised how many times we have heard the words “but they looked fine”. Do not be fooled! This is a bad idea and a certain holiday-ruiner!

Do – So what do we suggest you do instead? Well you could assuage your hunger and do something truly Brazilian by going for a good churrasco at Fogo de Chao. If you have ever had a churrasco before then you will need no convincing, but for those who have yet to marvel in their glory, allow us to explain. After having chosen your salad and sides from the never-ending, incredible buffet table, an army of waiters bearing skewers of the finest, most succulent cuts of meat parade past your table, offering you a gorgeous delectation of the finest cuts available. Trust us when we say that this feast, that is the world famous churrasco, beats the pants off a questionable prawn on a stick.

Drink

Don’t – As you know the national alcoholic drink of Brazil is the horrendously potent cachaça. This spirit, which is the main ingredient of the beloved caipirinha, when drunk neat could blow the back end off a rhino.

Do – The Brazilians can take it, much in the same way as the Russians drink vodka, but for us we prefer it mixed with lime and a little brown sugar and a lot of crushed ice and we suggest that you do the same. If you do, however, come across a shot or 10 of cachaça or a “caipi” too many, you couldn’t do better than an Agua de Coco on the beach to cure you of your hang-over. We mentioned this wonder drink in the blog two weeks ago https://dehouche.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/the-magic-formula-dehouches-top-tips-from-latin-america-for-a-healthy-holiday/. As you can see we simply cannot recommend it enough.

Nights Out

Don’t – Rio is well known for its party scene. With a mixture of the aforementioned caipirinha, saucy samba and beautiful people, it is one of the easiest places on the planet to have the best nights of your life, but it can also be a huge disappointment if you go to the wrong place. Here in Rio there are a number of the most dreadful tourist traps. One place in particular is Plataforma who have a very generic, almost tacky Samba show. If you fancy joining the herds of tracksuit-wearing German and American pensioners fresh off their cruise-ship, who begin grumbling the moment the scantily clad samba dancers waltz onstage, then on your head be it.

Do – Give yourself a chance of enjoying samba as a true local. You are much better off heading to Lapa on a Friday night with all the cariocas to drink caipirinhas under the arches and then move onto a genuine samba bar where you are guaranteed a new experience and a good time in true Brazilian style. We suggest you head down to Carioca da Gema where the beers are cold, the caipirinhas are flowing and the Beautiful Brazilians are strutting their stuff.

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