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
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
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.
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"
This is Canaima.
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
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
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.
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 !
watch a live Tango here
Salsa this is popular in Cuba, caribbean, Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia.
Watch a live salsa dance at this site
Salsa is becoming popular in India.
Watch a live Merengue
Watch a bachata dance (In this video, Bachata comes 3 minutes after salsa)
Watch here a live Mariachi band
The Latino pop scene is livley and diverse
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
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...
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.
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.
The following website gives an overview of Brasilian culture, uniqueness, entertainment and more.......http://www.brazilbrazil.com/
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
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.
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 !
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.
Maracana stadium in Rio is worth a visit. It is one of the largest in the world.
Latin America has some enchanting beaches and interesting beach culture.
Heard of the bossanova song " the girl from Ipanema?" by Frank Sinatra...
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.
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 in Mexico has fabulous resorts http://www.cancun.info/
Argentina is the golfers' paradise. Buenos Aires has around 100 courses and there are a total of 280 courses in the country.
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
Gavea Golf course , Rio
This is Valle Nevado ski resort, near Santiago where the author has skiied in August 2003
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:
Rio - Copacabana area, beach front and also within a few blocks from the beach. http://www.ipanema.com/rio/nite/e/home.htm
Sao Paulo-NovaFariaLima,Pinheiros http://www.frommers.com/destinations/Sao Paulo/2851010030.html
Bogota -Zona Rosa http://www.world66.com/southamerica/colombia/bogota/nightlife
Buenos Aires - Recoleta http://www.allaboutar.com/en_nightlife.htm
Caracas - near Hotel melia
Mexico City - Zona Rosa
Santiago - calle Florida
Lima - Miraflores
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.
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.
Frida - mexican- real life story of Frida married to Diego Rivera, the famous mexican artist.
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