Porto Alegre notes

by on April 12, 2011 at 11:46 am in Travels, Uncategorized | Permalink

Dinner with ravioli, ice water, and a small coke cost $40.  It was very good, but no better than in the days of hyperinflation.  The real has risen more than forty percent against the U.S. dollar since 2008.

There is much here to study if you favor a greater density of high-rise buildings in cities.  The population tends to grow beyond the limits of the infrastructure, but arguably that would happen with sprawling suburbs too.

You can taste the future (and past) of bananas, once current U.S. brands are devastated by rot.  It is a bright future, though with lower quantity and probably higher price.

People keep on asking me if I know what acai is, and how Americans consume it.

“Cheeseburger” is spelled “Xis,” because that sound is how some Brazilians mispronounce the opening sound of”cheeseburger.“  Xis is now as much of a platform for culinary innovation as it is a specific meal.  It needn’t have meat or cheese at all, and it might be based on chicken hearts.  “Sweet pizza” is another creative culinary platform here.  Churrascarias are the static part of the food sector.

Pastels (a bit like empanadas) are very good and the expected rate of return from sampling random chocolate desserts is high.

If you imagine the Jardin section of Sao Paulo, and make it quieter and safer and greener, with an influence from B.A.’s Palermo district, you have the nice part of Porto Alegre, Moinhos.

The English-language expat sections of foreign bookstores are interesting; you get to see what people wish to read, not which books they wish to buy.

IVV April 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

“The population tends to grow beyond the limits of the infrastructure, but arguably that would happen with sprawling suburbs too.”

I’ve always felt that this is part of the condition of being human; if there’s enough food, water, and shelter around, we’ll naturally fill it until there isn’t. Heck, this might be part of the condition of being a living being. When we talk about why there is always poverty, this is a big piece of it. We won’t let surplus resources go to waste.

What do you answer about acai, and how do the questioners respond?

jseliger April 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

The English-language expat sections of foreign bookstores are interesting; you get to see what people wish to read, not which books they wish to buy.

Can you speak more to this?

Gustavo April 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I once asked for a cheese-egg-burger and received the following reply, “we don’t sell xis-egg-burger here, we only have xis-egg”.

Andrew Montgomery April 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

“The population tends to grow beyond the limits of the infrastructure…”

Therefore at some point in the not-too-distant past, the population was below the limits of the infrastructure. What has changed between the past (when we were able to built more than enough infrastructure) and today (where there is never enough)? How do we create the economic and political conditions to get more infrastructure built?

Alberto San Martin April 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

As a native from Porto Alegre, I must say you nicely described Porto Alegre’s Moinhos quarter: partially globalized blend of Brazil and Argentina, yet with strong early 1900s German Architecture influences.

Jimbino April 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm

While you’re down in Porto Alegre, you ought to check out nearby Colina do Sul, a great nudist resort.

Matt April 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

When I lived in Russia, the English-language section of Russian book stores (as opposed to specifically English language book stores, like Shakespeare and Company) tended to be heavily dominated by “classics”, especially those that were read in schools. This lead me to believe that their primary market, even in places like Moscow, was not ex-pats (they probably went to Shakespeare and Company or somewhere similar) but rather school kids who were studying particular texts for school.

Sean Brown April 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

“here is much here to study if you favor a greater density of high-rise buildings in cities. The population tends to grow beyond the limits of the infrastructure…”

Tyler, sorry but in the high-rise filled cities of Seoul, Busan, to a lesser extent Tokyo and Osaka (in terms of # of true high-rises), and now Beijing and Shanghai as well, the infrastructure seems to be very good. In fact, arguably the ultra-density makes some infrastructure (subways, high-speed trains, very frequent buses, wide variety of neighborhood schools and private academies, area parks and recreation areas, etc.) economic when otherwise it would likely be highly operating-cashflow negative.

Zamba April 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

The web is really a great thing. Right now i’m on the liberty forum website watching your speech Tyler, because I couldn’t go to Porto Alegre to watch you live. Thank you web.

Zamba April 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Tyler, have you ever tried the cheesebread (pão de queijo)? It’s very famous here in Brazil, specially in Minas Gerais. Maybe you could try in Porto Alegre. Delicious.

dearieme April 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Why on earth would anyone be interested in the views on food of someone who drinks coke with his dinner?

Saul April 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Tyler,
Great speech at Forum da Liberdade, I’m writing from the audience.
Zamba gave you a valuable tip, you should try the cheese bread.
If you are going to stay in Porto Alegre, have a barbecue dinner, a local specialty. Try ‘Na Brasa’ or ‘Vermelho Grill’.

Matheus April 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Tyler, I’m brazilian and also live here in Porto Alegre, where I study International Relations – UFRGS =)
Hope you enjoy Redenção park as well!
(besides, I have followed marginalrevolution for a long and it was really nice to see you personally in your lecture about globalization)
where are you working on by here? would like to watch another lecture of yours.

Lori Feldman April 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

What I would like to know is how Brazilians stay so thin when sweet dessert is de riguer with every meal. There are no fat or old Brazilians in Porto Allegre :)

Daniel April 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Can you give a few examples of the kind of English-language books you’re talking about?

And should we be surprised if they’re mainly classics like, say, Dickens? I imagine the Brazilian equivalent of The Da Vinci Code isn’t available at most extensive American bookstores.

Daniel April 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Also, phonetically what does “Xis” sound like? like “zeees”?

Pedro April 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Daniel, more like “sheees”

Matheus April 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Daniel, we pronounce it [ʃis], instead of [tʃi:z] =))

Pedro April 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Tyler, are you heading to Brasília next? Are you giving any lectures or talk here? I am an economics grad student at University of Brasília and haven’t heard of anything yet: would be nice to have you here.

Luiz Felipe Costamilan April 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Daniel,
Xis, in Porto Alegre, sounds something like Shiss, Sheesh, in Rio de Janeiro.

Daniel April 12, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Ah Sheees, that makes sense.

Elisa April 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

The plural of pastel is pastéis, not pastels. :)

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