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Aires cabaret show
Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Linda & Mel Coffman
Research is high on my
list of things to do when preparing for a cruise to foreign ports.
Guidebooks are naturally a good place to start, as is the Internet.
However, one of the best sources of information is someone who's
already been there. In my case, I began my research for a cruise to
South America in my own kitchen by interviewing my husband. Mel has
traveled extensively throughout South America for the past decade.
These are Mel
Coffman's tips for cruise passengers visiting South America and
Take the time to
learn a few phrases in Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (the rest
of South America), especially greetings and pleasantries
such as hello, please, and thank you. Don't hesitate to make
mistakes; your hosts will appreciate the effort and be happy to
assist you with the correct pronunciation.
favorite restaurants in Brazil are the churrascarias—what
we would call a barbeque. Those that serve rodizio-style
bring meat to the table continuously until you turn over the
small chit placed beside your plate to indicate you are full.
prepared to be the only restaurant patrons if you arrive for
dinner before 9pm. South Americans linger over dinner, often
well into the early morning hours.
(pronounced gua-na-na) is a carbonated soft drink made using the
Amazonian fruit of the same name. Try some—it's quite
refreshing. (The local brand in the green bottle is Mel's
Coffee, or cafezinho, is served strong, black, and with
sugar in demitasse cups. Don't look for decaf. For coffee with
milk, ask for café com leite.
of Brazil's best beers are Cerpa and Antarctica. Most Brazilians
prefer tap beer, called chopp.
national drink is the caipirinha, a mixture of sugar,
crushed lime, and pinga (a sugarcane liquor that somewhat
resembles rum). Again, try one; however, be prepared for the
inevitable "morning after" if you drink more than two.
the gateway to the Amazon, has many fine restaurants and a
fairly new cruise ship terminal. Taxi service is reliable and
there are numerous markets for shopping.
only bottled water. In Brazil, it's água com gas (carbonated
water) and água sem gas (non-carbonated water).
care consuming fresh fruits, salads, and uncooked vegetables as
cholera is not unknown in South America. You may even find
warnings about it posted on your airplane. Good establishments
are probably okay, but use caution.
miss the opportunity to take in a dance club for elaborate
performances of Tango in Argentina and Samba in Brazil.
beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are all about people. You'll
find residents and visitors alike soaking up the sun, playing
volleyball, bike riding, and kicking back sociably. Beaches are
patrolled and quite safe. Take care not to get too much sun and
swim only where you know it's safe—certain areas are known to
be polluted or have a strong undertow.
the beaches and enjoy the sights, especially the famous thong
bikinis. Don't stare (the women are beautiful). Okay, go ahead
and stare but wear sunglasses so you aren't too obvious.
semi-precious stones can be a good buy in Brazil, although you
would probably be advised to purchase emeralds from reliable
jewelers. Vendors in Argentina offer fine leather goods at
traveling in South America, use common sense and exercise the same
caution as you would in any other part of the world. While I have
never felt personally intimidated, crime isn't unknown. Leave
expensive jewelry and other valuables on your ship or in a hotel
safe. Better still, leave good jewelry at home. Carry only a credit
card and the cash you need with you. ATM machines are plentiful and
VISA and American Express are widely accepted. Viagem do
bon! ~ Mel Coffman.
to South America - Escape the winter doldrums!
© M. D. Coffman
Guide & Cruise
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