“Excellentisima Katarina, you are too hard on Portuguese. Thanks to billionaire Calouste Gulbenkian funding schools to teach the language around the globe, it is cheap and easy to learn Portuguese. I studied the lingo at Gulbenkian’s former mansion in Paris on the avenue d’Iena, now unfortunately, turned over to more elegant uses, along with six drip-dry nuns who were preparing to go to Brazil.
“Turkish-born Armenian Gulbenkian was ‘Mr. 5%,’ an intermediary of the oil giants, and he had lots of women but no heirs. So he left his loot and his art collection to Salazar, the Portuguese dictator, who was nicer to him than the British authorities when he lived in London. His eclectic collection is now a museum in Lisbon.
“By the time I got to study Portuguese, Salazar had died, and democracy had arrived in Portugal and Brazil. The Fundacao Gulbenkian teaching in Paris was good, with lots of audio-visual to get you talking, much better than studying French in that period. And, even if you make grammatical errors, you will be respected for trying, again, unlike with the French.
— Vivian L., United States
“Kathleen, just a quick note of concurrence with your Brazil story. I’ve been working mainly out of Brazil (offshore, for Petrobras) for the past couple of years. I had initial thoughts about buying (fun, warm-hearted people, big beautiful country, strengthening economy, and so on), but they withered due to the factors that you mention–which I’d say are mainly reducable to Brazil’s staggering ability to shoot itself in the feet. The process for getting and then continually renewing an offshore working visa has to be experienced to be believed.
“There’s an additional issue that you didn’t mention: the crime rate. The police and criminals in Rio, for example, are now so well intermingled that the situation there is basically bribery-based civil anarchy, with everybody trying to pretend otherwise. It’s a crying shame, as the place does have incredible positives.”
— Keith S., United States
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