Business Plus

 

Some say, Latin America has a triple B rating

Business, Beaches and Beauties!

Latin America is more than a business destination. It is a place to be experienced and enjoyed. It fills the eyes, ears and heart of the visitors with a unique sensation. It has all the ingredients for fun: pleasant climate, beautiful beaches and wonderful people. Latino businessmen value personal relationships and are friendly, warm and hospitable. Business meetings in the offices are supplemented by invitation to family barbecues, beaches, bars, restaurants and football

One should keep extra days and nights during visit for the businessplus experience.

Some Indians say that after their visit to Latin America they go back to India " happier and younger"

Enjoy the videos and music to which links have been given in this section

 

 

Tourist attractions

  • Rio de Janeiro tops the list of tourist attractions in Latin America. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.The Brasilians call it as the "wonderful city " in portuguese "cidade maravihosa" . Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are more than sand and sea. It is a new way of life and enjoyment.

More on Rio

  • Here is the statue of Christ in Rio, on top of Corcovado mountain. A must see... . One can go up by train or car

     
     

Foz de Iguassu waterfalls in the border of Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay is spectacular. The falls can be seen both from the Brasilian side and argentinian side. The view from the Brasilian side is below the Falls while Argentina offers the view from the top. The Sheraton Hotel on the Argentine side has a beautiful view of the Falls and is the best place to stay

More on Foz de Iguassu

Here is the view of the Falls.

 

Amazon... does it need introduction? Manaus is the capital city of Amazon state from where one could explore the overwhelming river and the mysteries of the jungle. From the aircraft window one can see the black river and the red one joining together to form the Amazon.Tropical Hotel at the bank of amazon river is the ideal place to stay. More interesting is to stay in the interior jungle lodges. Dont miss the Tambaqui fish and the piranha ( the fish that eats human and animal flesh ) soup.

more on Amazon

This is part of the Amazon river and jungle

 

Pantanal in Brazil- for those interested in wildlife and fishing

 

Bahia in the north east of Brazil is the cradle of afro-brasilian culture. Many writers and artists of Brazil come from here, including Jorge Amado,who has written about the culture of the region in his novels. Bahia also has some pretty beaches

Here is Salvador,the capital of the state

 

Angel falls in southern Venezuela is the highest waterfalls in the world. Canaima, the region in which it is located is a bewitching place with gold colored lagoons and reminder of the "Lost World"

More on Angel falls

This is Canaima.

 

 

Machu Pichu, the ruins of Inca empire is the top tourist destination in Peru.

More on Machu Pichu

author´s blog story after visit

 

The pyramids in Mexico built by the Aztecs and Mayas are impressive.

This is close to Mexico city

 

 

Patagonia in the south of Argentina and southern Chile is a nature-lover's dream land and has glaciers, forests and exotic natural beauty

More on Patagonia

 

Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate in Argentina.

This live glacier is a unique experience. Here is author´s blog story after visit

 

This is Patagonia in Chile

 
 

Bogota is like an airconditioned city where the golf shot goes ten yards more because of the altitude.

Plaza Bolivar in Bogota

 

Santiago city, Chile - In winter one can ski on friday, golf on saturday and go to beach on sunday

 

 

Music and Dance

Samba is the typical Brasilian music and dance which takes over Brasil during carnival.

More on Samba

watch live samba dance at the Rio Carnival

 

Bossanova - This is from the Brasil of the sixties. slow and soft music. Gal Costa is the most popular singer.

watch a bossanova video here

 

Lambada - Remember the eighties when this Brazilian sensual music took the world by storm. It then disappeared when the Brazilians took to other more sensual things...

watch a video of Lambada

  • Sertaneja is the country music of Brasil. Comes from northeast and Goias area.

  • Forro, Pagode and Axe are musical forms from north east of Brazil

Watch a video of Forro

 

 

Tango is the typical song and dance of Argentina. Tango show is a must experience in Buenos Aires. The lyrics of Tango explain why Argentina is what it is !

More on Tango

watch a live Tango here

Tango

 

Salsa this is popular in Cuba, caribbean, Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia.

Salsa

Watch a live salsa dance at this site

Salsa is becoming popular in India.

Merengue is a faster version of salsa. Originated from dominican republic.

Watch a live Merengue

Watch a bachata dance (In this video, Bachata comes 3 minutes after salsa)

 

 

Mariachi is a typical music which could be heard everywhere in Mexico

More on Mariachi

Mariachi

Watch here a live Mariachi band

 

Cuban Music and Dance. Cuba has enriched the music and dance of the world with Boleros, Rumba, habanero etc

More on Cuban Music

 

 

Popular Music

The Latino pop scene is livley and diverse

The author's favourite singers and songs

Carnival

  • The carnival of Rio de Janeiro is a unique, spectacular and fantastic event. It is in late february or early march every year.The culmination of the carnival is the competitive parade shows (all night) between the different samba schools at the Sambadrome, the special stadium for the carnival show. Hotel has to be booked well in advance. tariffs are twice the normal rates. Tickets have to be purchased in advance to watch the parades. Better to go in pacakage tours, which are normally for a minimum of four days. Besides the Sambadrome show, there are lots of parties and street parades and the whole city goes crazy !

More on Carnival

Carnaval

picture above: Carnival parade at Rio Sambadrome (stadium specially built for this)

watch live the carnival in Rio

 

here is a video of street carnival in Bahia

 

  • Sao paulo also has Carnival shows, slightly on a lower scale than Rio. The street carnival in Bahia is the original and authentic and spontaneous one.
  • In December- january one can see and even particpate in the rehersals of carnival parades in samba schools. Every year the schools choose different themes and dance to a new samba lyric.

  • List of samba schools and their home pages.

  • The cowboy festival in Barretos, (a small city 300 km from Sao Paulo ) is the best in Latin America. Non- stop fun for a week with rodeo shows, country music and drinking...and much more...

  • It is also a unique experience to be in the New Year celebration in Copacabana beach, with a million Brasilians dressed in white ( for good luck) partying and having fun. The fire works are as impressive as the 4th of July in USA. In the evening, thousands of AfroBrasilians do ceremonies in the beach sands and throw little floats with lighted candle and flowers in the sea for the sea goddess Eemanja, who has inspired dozens of the novels of Jorge Amado, the Brasilian writer.

 

 

People

  • Latin Americans are friendly, fun-loving and emotional. Weekend, holidays, vacations and beaches are sacred and they dont like pleasure to be disturbed by business, although they like pleasure to be added to business.

  • Persons are generally more important than systems and rules. This is why establishing personal relationship and rapport is more necessary in Latin America. This can be done over lunch, dinner and in bars and cafes.

  • Dont get upset if you are called as "Hindoo" or " Indio". These words used by the Spanish colonisers have stayed. We are educating them that there are other religions in India and advising them to call us as "Indianos" to distinguish from the native Indios.
  • In general, Latin Americans regard India as a land of civilisation, culture, yoga, philosophy and religions. There are thousands of followers of sai baba, radhaswami, brahmakumaris, harekrishna and others. Some of these are businessmen and political leaders and professionals, besides common people.

  • In recent years, there is a positive change in the mindset of Latin Americans about India. Business and political leaders have started realising the importance of India as a IT power, globally competitive producer of pharma and other products as well as a large and growing market.

  • Besides people of European origin and native Indians, many countries have other ethnic groups such as Japanese (Sao Paulo has a million), Lebanese (all over Latin America) Africans ( Brasil has the largest black population outside Africa), Korean, Chinese and Jewish. There are some cities, which have significant business communities with people of Italian and German origin. Blumenau, the knitwear centre of Brasil is known for OctoberFest. There are more people of Italian origin in Sao Paulo than in Rome or Milan

  • People prefer to use titles before their names such as"Doctor". An engineer is addressed as "Ingeneiro" and professionals addressed as " Licenciado" (means- the person has been to college).

  • People have generally three parts in their name: example- Maria (first name) Vazquez (paternal) Laredo (maternal). This person will be called as Maria Vazquez.

  • Latin Americans use body touch in interaction and to express closeness. While men shake hands, women offer cheeks for light kiss on the cheeks. In some cases it is one cheek, generally twice but if it is three times (Brasil) she is not married.

  • Indians should speak English slowly with Latin Americans and should avoid complicated and long sentences.

  • In Latin America, there is obviously no premium on punctuality. People are more relaxed. Dont get upset if business meetings are not held in time. Dinner and parties start after 10 pm and go till morning.

  • As in India, businessmen in Latin America also find ways around rules and regulations and find shortcuts. In Brasil, it is known as " Jeitinho " meaning way of doing things.

 

Cafe
  • Cafe means more than coffee in Latin America. It is part of culture, social interaction, politics, livelihood for millions of cofee- growers and legends. "A cafecito story " by Julia Alvarez of Dominican Republic is a fascinating short novel based on her real life.

  • There are so many varieties of cafe in cafterias,depending on strength, amount of milk and quantity. A small cup is affectionately called as "cafecito" in Spanish and "cafezinho" in portuguese. The affection extends to the girl serving cafe and she is called as Amorcito or Amorzinho.

  • In Brasil, cafe com leite means someone with the skin colour of coffee with milk. That description applies to people from India. Some have more milk and others less and others pure coffee( black) or milk ( blonde).

  • best coffee comes from Colombia, while Brazil is the largest producer.

  • Cafe is vital livelihood in some central american countries, where the coffee prices affect the economy and the livelihood of millions.

  • If you thought Chileans are somewhat less Latino in their approach to fun, try the cafe con piernas.. which means coffee with legs. It is a Chilean invention, not found elsewhere in Latin America. Downtown santiago has plenty of these Cafes, which are clean and decent and not seedy. Young women, with minimum dress, serve cafe and rejuvenate the spirits of men. More ... www.cafeconpiernas.cl

  • In Argentina, uruguay and southern Brazil local herbal tea called as Mate is popular. They have a special vessel like hookah to savour the tea leisurely.

 

Food
  • Latin America has delicious local dishes, besides international and mixed cuisine. SaoPaulo has the largest number of international restaurants in Latin America. Italian, Chinese and Continental restaurants are the most popular.

  • Churascaria Rodizio restaurants are a typical and unforgettable Brasilian experience.These are large barbecue places with varieties of meat served unlimited in skewers. One needs to work out a strong appetite before the service starts. Put the button on the table on red side, when you need a break from the non-stop serving of meat and turn it to green for resumption of service. Strong drinks( caipirinha - typical Brasilian drink is ideal)and company of friends helpful. Forget about going to work after the sumptuous food!. Besides so much meat, there is a large salad buffet. Beginners tend to fill themselves with the salad and run out of space for the meat ! Price is fixed between 20 and 50 dollars. Sao paulo has more of these. Rio does not have so many, although the other cities have.

  • Feijoada is a typical dish of Brasil, cooked overnight with all parts of the meat including tail, eyes, tongue and balls with a heavy gravy. This was what the slaves ate in the colonial period, cooking the left-overs after the masters ate. Restaurants serve this during weekend and one day(wednesdays) during midday. Forget about work , after the heavy meal !

  • Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) is also a typical Brasilian one. Small and round, one can consume dozens!

  • Por Kilo Restaurants is another Brasilian invention. It is self service restaurant, where you choose meat, fish and salad and pay by the kilo. These are found in all the cities.This is for a quick bite , not for entertaining clients. price ranges from 2 dollars to 8 dollars per kilo

  • Bahian food from the north east of Brasil is like Indian food, hot and spicy..but not enough for someone from Andhra Pradesh. Jorge Amado's novel " Dona Flor and her two husbands" enlightens the readers about Bahian cooking and has even some recipes. The Hollywood film " Woman on top " is about Bahian food.

  • Habibs is the second largest fast food chain in Brasil. They serve Lebanese food.

  • Beef steak in Argentina is the best and inexpensive and goes with the Argentinian red wine... Beef speciality restaurants are called as Parillas.

  • Sea food and salmon are plenty in Chile.

  • Ceviche is a delicious and healthy fish dish of Peru. It is like a soup.

  • Taco, tequila, enchillada, mole and tamale are well known mexican items.

  • Arepas in Venezuela are like the Indian roti. Areparias are fast food joints serving Arepa rolls with meat and cheese.

  • In some big cities, there are Indian retaurants. Contacts given in the country pages under basic information. In some places, Hare Krishna people run vegetarian restaurants. The Indian embassies can guide you.
  • Popular local desserts are dulce de leche (sweet of the milk) and tres leche (three types of milk cream together) Fpr more Information .. Dulce de Leche

 

Drinks

  • Tequila is the typical drink of Mexico.How to drink Tequila http://www.itequila.org Tequila -based cocktails such as margarita are popular.
  • Caipirinha is a typical Brasilian drink. strong with lemon and sugar.Made from Cachasa, cane-liquor.Not advisable before a serious negoitaion involving prices and terms !

  • Garota de Ipanema ( girl from Ipanema ) is a legendary bar in Rio de Janeiro. Sitting in the corner table there, Vinicius de Moraes wrote the famous song " the girl from ipanema" , watching the tall and tanned blonde walking to the beach. Address: Rua Vinícius de Moraes, 39
    Phone: 021/2267-5757 http://www.ipanema.com/rio/nite/e/nite.htm
  • Brasilians are fond of draft beer and call it as choppe ( pronounced schhope). There are chopperias at each street corner. one of the popular brands is Brahma. That gives the Indian a starting point for spiritual conversation.

  • Argentinian red wine is a secret to be discovered and relished with the delicious red meat. Malbec is the signature wine.

  • Chilean wines are world famous. One can visit the vineyards around santiago.

  • Pisco sour is a light cocktail drink of Peru and Chile. Dont ever tell the Peruvian, it is a Chilean drink. You might lose the business.

  • Caribbean Rum, particularly from Cuba and Jamaica are famous.

  • The national drink of Venezuela is Black Label. when you are with your clients, order a bottle ... not pegs ! Venezuela is a unique country, where there there are mini bars in the rest rooms of golf clubs. Players cannot wait to finish the shower before the drink. Black label is also a popular drink in the beaches. No wonder, per capita consumption of Black label is the highest in Venezuela.

  • In the beaches of Brasil, kiosks sell chilled tender coconut water. They also serve CocoLoco, with alcohol added to coconut water. Loco means crazy.

 

Football

  • Latin America is football crazy. People identify themselves emotionally with their football clubs. One should not miss an opportunity to watch a match in a stadium. Executives, businessmen, old and young people transform themselves into emotional fans. One can pick up all the choicest swear words from there. It is a treat to watch match between Brasil and Argentina... like the cricket between India and Pakistan.
  • The match between Boca Juniors and River Plate of Argentina is called as super classic. Here is why

 

Maradona

  • Maracana stadium in Rio is worth a visit. It is one of the largest in the world.

  • Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba are more into baseball, although football is also popular.

 

Beaches

  • Latin America has some enchanting beaches and interesting beach culture.

  • In Rio, beach is part of everyday life. Cariocas ( as the inhabitants of Rio are known) go for walk, cycling, jogging, beach volley ball or a drink in the beachbars in Copacabana or the Ipanema beach. The typical copacabana beach game is footvalley in which volley ball is played without using the hands ! only legs! Barra de Tijucas is another long beach in Rio worth visiting. http://www.ipanema.com/citytour/copa.htm

Heard of the bossanova song " the girl from Ipanema?" by Frank Sinatra...

Ipanema Beach

 

 

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana

 

Here is the sugarloaf mountain and the beach - Rio

  • Brasil has hundreds of beautiful beaches all over its long coast. The one nearest to Sao Paulo city is Guaruja about 90 kms. Buzios Beaches about 100 kms to the north of Rio are upscale and chic !

  • In the north east of Brasil, there are pretty beaches around Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza.

  • Mar del Plata is the famous beach resort in Argentina 400km from Buenos Aires.

    Punte del Este in Uruguay is the Riveira of South America, where the rich and famous have residences and party in December-February. Most of the tourists and owners of beach houses are Argentines and Brazilians.

  • Los Roques in Venezuela has some pristine and scenic island beaches. One has to take a plane (20 minutes) and get on to a catamaran package to visit the different beaches. http://www.los-roques.net/.

  • Moroccoy, about 200 kms from Caracas has some spectacular island beaches , which have to be reached by boats,which take 20-40 minutes.

 

Cayo Sombrero beach in Morroccoy, 150 kms from Caracas. Author's favourite.

 

  • Margarita island in Venezuela is a popular resort destination for Europeans

Cancun

 

Golf

  • Next is Bogota which has around 20 courses.Many of them are pretty against the backdrop of Andean mountain and are undulating. The ball goes ten yards more because of the altitude. The country club has 36 holes.List of courses given in the following website in spanish http://www.federacioncolombianadegolf.com/noticia.php?nt=89

  • Dominican Republic has some interesting golf courses.. The Dog's Teeth (seven holes curving into the caribbean sea) and Dye Fore courses in la Romana resort area are among the best in the world. http://www.dominicanrepublic.com/Tourism/english/sports/golf_courses.htm

    The author has played in this Teeth of the Dog course in Sept 2004

  • In Brazil, Gavea golf club in Rio has fantastic view of the beaches and goes up and down the hill. Itanhanga Golf course has 27 holes and is close to Barra de Tijuca beach . In Sao Paulo the main courses are: Sao Paulo Golf Club ( within the city), San Fernando Golf Club ( Ravi Ramanathan, Mit Mohan singh and Ivan Noronha are members here), Club de campos.

Gavea Golf course , Rio

GGC

 

  • In Venezuela , Caracas has some attractive clubs: Caracas Country Club, Iscaragua ( in the bowl of a spectacular mountain) , El Junko ( knee-breaking up and down but interesting and cool- due to altitude), Lagunita ( the best ) and Valle Arriba Club( within the city).
  • Chile has some scenic courses in the south against backdrop of Volcanoes and glaciers. In Santiago, Los Leones Golf Club is located at the heart of the city.

 

  • Mexico has a number of attractive resort courses.

 

  • Panama has some interesting courses, including Summit club owned by Mr Mirpuri, a Sindhi businessman.

 

Skiing

  • Argentina and Chile offer skiing in july- september. There are some ski resorts (Valle Nevado) close to Santiago city itself.
  • Bariloche and Las Lenas are famous resorts in Argentina.

This is Valle Nevado ski resort, near Santiago where the author has skiied in August 2003

 

 

Night Life

In Latin America there is no hypocrisy or stigma attached to a night- out. The Latin Americans say that it is as natural as the night following the day. One can talk about it, seek advice and invite your local contacts to go with you and they will be happy to accompany.

Well known Night spots:

  • It is advisable to go with locals and take security precautions.

 

Books

The author reads Latin American poems, fiction, biographies and autobiographies and books on politics, economics and business. Click here to see the favourite writers and books

He has started writting reviews of the books since he started his Latin American affairs Blog in 2005.


Films

  • Latin America does not produce many films, although TV soap operas are numerous and popular. Mexico produces the largest number of films.

  • The author has written reviews on some films in his Latin American Affairs blog. Some interesting films (available in english or with English subtitles) are:

  • Motor cyclist's diary - Argentinian - real life adventure of Che Guevara travelling in a motor cycle in South America. This brings out the Latino character and the socio economic realities of Latin America.

  • El Embajador de la India (the ambassador of India) - a hilarious Colombian film based on a real-life story of a Colombian pretending to be the Indian ambassador.
  • Frida - mexican- real life story of Frida married to Diego Rivera, the famous mexican artist.

  • Su Excellencia ( your excellency ) - a comedy about diplomats by the Mexican actor Cantinflas. He has made a number of other comedies.
  • La Libertadora del libertador - colombian - the name says it.. the lady liberator, who liberated the liberator ( simon Bolivar )of South America - available in spanish.

  • Bossa Nova- Brasilian - full of football and Rio de janeiro

  • City of god - Brasilian - violence in the slums of Brasil... close to reality

  • Like water for chocolate - mexican - about mexican cuisine and traditions

  • Central station - Brasilian - about life in north east of Brasil.

  • Woman on top- hollywood - about Bahian food and bossanova music

  • Buena Vista Club - a documentary film in English on Cuban music

  • Yo soy Bolivar (I am Bolivar) a Colombian film, satirical about the one who claims to be like Bolivar these days.