Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Piece of Home -- the OTHER Home

This post was written a few months ago as a guest post for someone, but then they kind of disappeared.  Oh well, I can still share with you.  YOU, afterall, are my favorite readers :)

Welcome to Ribeirao Preto (pronounced Hee-bay-rou[n] Prey-toe)!  Although I cannot claim this city as my own, my husband can.  And we are here to show you a little bit of life from Brazil.

Life in Brazil is in many ways very similar to life in America, yet in other ways completely different.  Ribeirao Preto, or RP for short, is one of those cities where the similarities outweigh the differences yet Brazilian flavor is sure to be found.

Both countries have shopping areas; both have residential areas.  The biggest difference we notice between the two is the lack of parking lots (and the need to pay someone to “watch your car” while out and about) and tall gates around the homes in Brazil.  Where America is wide and open on the streets, Brazil seems to be tucked away. 

But walk into those stores and life is not much different…

… although the produce and products offered might take on a different size and shape.

What makes Ribeirao Preto different than other Brazilian cities?  It isn’t the public market, which every city has…

Like a full time flea market, people can rent stalls here to sells their goods.  Want beans of any color?  Come here.  Want some seasoning fresh from the local farms?  Come here.  Simply want cheap and sweet treats?  Once again, come here.  The prices are low and the variety is wide.

Or on Friday mornings you can visit the feira livre (free fair), what we would refer to as a farmer’s market.  Once again, it doesn’t set RP apart, but is a vital part of the city.

Feira livre is packed almost every week.  How could it not be?  Look at that fruit!  Those nuts!  And the best… that pastel and sugarcane juice!  These deep fried cheese pastries and juice squeezed fresh out of the sugar cane is the biggest hit in any Brazilian farmer’s market, not just RP.

And of course, this being Brazil and all, you can find futebol anywhere and everywhere you look, from outside on the street or inside in a fancy basketball court.

Ribeirao Preto, however, does have some things that make it unique.  It is rated as the 4th highest quality of life throughout all of Brazil (which is the size of the continental US, to give you an idea).  Although we have not seen an official list of reasons why, we have our guesses.  Beautiful architecture and well-planned downtown-areas allow for the residents to enjoy the beauty around them as they are doing their errands.

If city scenes aren’t your thing there is ample green space to be found.  Curupira Park is the perfect place to go throw a Frisbee, unpack a picnic, or ride a bike on one of the many trails.  On the weekends it is packed, but come on a weekday morning and you can have the entire place to yourself.


Want some more wildlife?  Head over to the zoo which is free to the public and open all year round.  You will see turtles sauntering along all by themselves and probably a field trip or two – and of course, our favorite, Blue. 

In reality, though, it doesn’t really matter how pretty the parks are or how fancy the downtown is.  What makes a place a “hometown”?  The people you share it with – your family!  This is something that remains the same all through Brazil, America, and the world.  Home is where the heart is, and family is usually the in the center of that space.



  1. The area I grew up in had a large Brazilian community. I've been dying to visit for a few years now. There's so much to love - the beautiful language, food....ahhh! If you have travel suggestions please let me know :)

    1. If you ever seriously want to go, let me know and I will tell you how to do it RIGHT. Don't be the typical American and just stay in a fancy hotel in Rio... Rio is great, but really expensive, and there are many other places that are great close by, as well. Seriously, just give me a holler! :)

  2. Your last paragraph is so true! I wouldn't mind my family being there though. That market! Looks like sensory overload. I'd love to visit that zoo too.

    1. Since we live here in the States we get to spend a lot of time with my family. (A lot of time? Not really, actually, but enough time...) Whenever we go to Brazil each year we really soak up this family time for my husband. It is his fuel for the next year or so :)

  3. I love this post so much! I grew up in a very different place than Ribeirao Preto, but just seeing pictures of Brazil make me smile :)

    I love your comment about soccer. It is everywhere, every time of the day. I remember going to school at 7:00 am and people would be playing soccer. I remember coming back from work at 10:00 pm and there'd still be people playing soccer. I miss soccer. And people cheering. And Sunday lunches. And people not looking at me weird when my team wins a championship!

    1. You grew up in Rio, right? Very different place, yet very similar in many ways. Soccer, pastel, Sunday lunches... it's all there ;)

  4. Oh, it does look similar to America~ I would love to travel there, it seems so fun!

    1. It's so funny because many people think that people in Brazil all live in the favelas (slums) or right on the beaches, because that's what we see in the movies, and the truth is, people do. But people also live in apartment complexes and houses and shop in malls and whatnot. THIS is the Brazil I am most familiar with, although I have seen the other, as well. But even though it is so similar, it still really is very different at the same time.

      And GO! It is a wonderful place to visit, but I might be biased ;)


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