Published May 31, 2005

We got to see two countries. Both were pretty cool! But which should I go back to (or, maybe, go back to first)? Let’s figure this out for once and for all with this one-on-one deathmatch between these two South American countries.

Beverage (Alcoholic)Pisco SourCaipirinhaPisco sours taste like lemonade and include raw eggs; Caipirinhas include all sorts of fruit (although bad ones can taste like industrial solvent)
Beverage (Non-Alcoholic)NoneGuaranáBy default; Guaraná is also awfully tasty
BeggarsSpeak pretty good EnglishMostly scam artists instead (also speak pretty good English)Beggars are good for conversation
BusesDirty; will run you over if you cross the street in front of their right turnKnown for armed robberies on the busesDepends if you’re walking or riding
CabsAggressive driversUltra-aggressive driversAs long as you’re taking your life in your hands, it might as well be exciting!
CoffeeAbsolutely awful; mostly NescaféStrong, thick, deep, slightly burnt-tastingMmm strong, deep coffee served in small cups
CrimeNone notableTorture/murder/dismemberment; gun battles on freewayBoring but safer
Food (Fast)NoneHabib’sGave all of us intestinal distress; anything is better (R$0.35 Bib’sFihas are a great deal, tho…)
Food (Gourmet)Thoroughly-grilled meat; thoroughly-grilled fish; thoroughly-fried fishVarious properly-grilled meats and sausages; highly-spiced fish dishes; pizzas; carne secaCarne seca alone wins it; incredible sausage is a strong back-up
JuicesGood fresh juicesAçai and Acerola and Maracuja, oh my!Açai alone wins it
MaidsEnter room at 7:15 am to check on mini-bar; when told “later”, return in 15 minutes; enter at 7:40am the next day despite the “Do Not Disturb” signSmile and seem to appreciate my five words of PortugueseEasy winner
Restrooms (Public)Pay, but well-maintainedVery few public, mostly at tourist destinations; free and clean, but often stall door locks are broken, rarely have hot water in sinks150 pesos, at an exchange rate of 650/$1, is a very fair price for a clean restroom (but remember to take a handful of toilet paper when you enter!)
Restrooms (Private)Clean, often have seat protectors; no toilet paper, grab a handful as you enterClean, equipped with toilet paper, rarely have hot water in sinksShouldn’t have to remember toilet paper, but hand-washing seems somehow ineffective
TV Shows (Dubbed)Los SimpsonThe FlintstonesBeing current is a good thing! Also, the puns don’t work in Portuguese
TV Shows (Native)NovelasCow auctionsThose are some good-looking and cheap cows!
WaterPotablePotableTieEither way, surprisingly enough, beats Mexico!

What’s the verdict? Brazil, 9-6. Take me to São Paulo and Rio, baby!