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10 things you might not know about Brazil

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LOS ANGELES (BDCi) – When it comes to Brazil, most people already think they have a pretty good idea of what the South American country and its people are like.

In addition to its famous beaches, music and soccer culture, there are some things you may not have known about Brazil.

1) Not everyone speaks English
Portuguese is Brazil’s official language and not many people outside the major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro can speak it. However, Brazilians are known for being hospitable and taking a phrase book with you always helps.

2) Brazil is 100 percent energy independent.

3) There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor
Brazil has the 11th biggest disparity in the world when it comes to rich and poor, preceded by several impoverished African nations. Despite a rise in living standards over the past ten years, a large proportion of the population still lives “day to day.”

4) Nearly 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located within Brazil’s borders.

5) Piranha don’t actually eat humans
Though depictions of these Amazon fish and their feeding habits tend to be gory, these tiny swimmers will not eat you alive if you fall in a river. They may occasionally nip at you in the water, but they will not strip you to the bone.

6) Brazil has more species of monkeys than any other place in the world.

7) One of Brazil’s biggest cities is in the Amazon
The seventh largest city in Brazil is located halfway up the Amazon river and is an industrial titan with 2 million residents. In Manaus, different kinds of goods are produced and there are office buildings and modern factories to be found all over.

8) Brazil borders all South American countries except for Ecuador and Chile.

9) Personal boundaries are different
Upon introduction, it is quite customary to kiss on both cheeks, as well as upon leaving. Guys will put their arm around another guy’s shoulder to emphasize a point. Hands are placed on shoulders, tight hugs are given and air kisses are often sent. All of this should give a very welcoming vibe to any traveler.

10) Brazil’s official drink is the caipirinha, made with sugar cane hard liquor, sugar and lime.

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