In this space, we're going to try to introduce Brazil and it's culture and produce a simple guide to the foreigners who are planning to come to debconf4 in Porto Alegre, you can help to build this up, by sending your doubts about Brazil to firstname.lastname@example.org, they'll be answered via e-mail and the information gathered added to this page.
First of all, some Geography
Brazil is the largest country in South America, with an estimated population of more than 178 million inhabitants and an area of more than 8.5 million Km2. It spawns 4 timezones and it's climate ranges from temperate to tropical
If you want to know more about Brazilian
phisical and geographical characteristics, you should visit the IBGE site IBGE stands for Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute, they are the official source of this kind of information.
Communicating in Brazil
We're a latin american country, but we're colonized by the Portuguese so we speak Portuguese and not Spanish.
Portuguese and Spanish share most of their roots. If you speak Spanish it will be easy for you to be understood,
just speak clear and calmly (and maybe have a little patience).
In the larger cities (like Porto Alegre) or in touristic places it's easy to find someone who speaks some English
but don't expect this someone to be the Taxi driver, the guy who sells the tickets in the bus, or the clerk in a restaurant. My personal suggestion is to form a small group and invite a Brazilian debconf atendee to go with you when you go for a ride.
We, Brazilians, are well known to be very gentle and willing to help, we try to do our best to make our visitors feel at home. Helping a Debian fellow will be a pleasure.
There are some countries where the majority of people are alike: almost all black, almost all white, almost all asian, almost all with blue eyes. There are others who have all kinds of people living together, but still apart: there are blacks, asians, latinos and whites, but almost no "half-white-half-black", or "half-indian-half-latino", or "one-third-indian-one-third-black-one-third-white". Guess what!? Brazil is different!
We have people of all kinds, and the mixture of all these kinds. In fact, it's pretty hard to ask a brazilian about his "race": most will not even know how many mixtures they've had in the past generations (and you'll not find many that would care anyway).
In Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre's state) one can still find an almost all german town, or an italian village, or a strong-rooted portuguese location. But that is just because its colonization begun later (and most of the europeans that came here found non-occupied locations). That is changing gradually and, nowadays, most parts of the state are already just like the rest of Brazil.
Brazilian Currency and Economy
Please see this page.
Common Myths about Brazil
Yet to be written, don't forget to come back later