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Ingrid Gregor | DESY | Germany

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Christmas Upside Down

The view from the balcony where I have my coffee.

The view from the balcony where I have my coffee.

While everybody else is reporting on the possibility of white Christmas, I am actually sitting in shorts and T-shirt while typing this blog entry. Today we have 33 degrees plus and in two days I will be on the beach. A few days ago I travelled with my husband from Hamburg through Paris and Rio de Janeiro to Porto Alegre in the south of Brasil. My husbands family is living here and we are going to spend Christmas and New Years with them. And afterwards we will stay a bit longer as this is actually my summer vacation. With a family in the souther hemisphere it is not the first time we go on summer vacation during the European winter, but it is the first time over Christmas. And this is really strange!
Porto Alegre is the capital of the southernmost Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul and one of the biggest cities in Brazil. The city was founded in 1742 by immigrants from Portugal. In the late 19th century the city received many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Italy, and Poland. The vast majority of the population is of European descent. Therefore the city is a very interesting mix of Southern American and European charme. Most people who have not been to Brazil think only of Carneval, the Amazon or beaches. Or people ask me if I was robbed already. Of course this are very limited pictures of such a huge country and I only can speak for the South of Brazil.
Here in the South, Brazil is a very prosperous modern country with a good economy. Porto Alegre is the city with the highest living standard in South America and this is visible all over the place. I love to be here as the Brazilians are the friendliest people I ever met. They always want to make sure that everything is perfect for us and that we spend a very nice holiday. And not only the family members are caring, but just everybody we meet. When we ask for help (for example to find the way) the people are very eager to help. And if we do not understand, as our Portuguese is limited, they take our hands and show us the way.
Now is the first Christmas we spend here in Brazil. For us it is of course very unusual to think of Christmas and Santa Claus in the middle of the summer. The Christmas decoration is usually very green and the use of artificial snow is not common. As they don’t have that many fir trees here, the typical Christmas tree is a pine tree, or a lot of people have artificial Christmas trees, as the fresh trees don’t stay fresh in this heat. These are my very first impressions of Christmas in Brazil upside down and I think I have to report later on again.
A typical street in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

A typical street in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

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