Go, Go Brazil!

I don't want to compare to any other group of people, but Brazilians are not pushovers," says Jaro Pribyl. "They want to do something for themselves, they want to make more money, be more successful." Brazilian-born Pribyl is the nucleus of San Diego's Brazilian community -- he is the publisher and editor of the Brazilian Pacific Times, the director of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the producer of Miss Brazil USA for this region, and he sits on the board of the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles. But if you ask him, he is not a Brazilian. "I am American, as a matter of fact. English would be my first language, and [Portuguese] would be my second language, though I'm absolutely fluent. I came here when I was 16 years old; this is where I went to school. But I visit my family in Brazil at least once a year." On Saturday, September 8, the Brazilian Fellowship in El Cajon will host the first Brazil's Independence Day Fair in San Diego. Brazil gained independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822. According to Pribyl, approximately 17,000 Brazilian transplants currently live in San Diego County. "There is a good gathering [of Brazilians] in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma," he says. "Lately I have been finding gatherings in Encinitas and further away, like Carlsbad."

Pierre Rosa, the pastor for Brazilian Fellowship, a Christian church in El Cajon, says his congregation of approximately 45 people is "100 percent made out of Brazilians and their American spouses." The fellowship's services are in Portuguese. Rosa came to San Diego as a student in 1997. "I wanted to learn English and go to school here. I was a business major, and then I became a Christian and switched to theology. I knew if I had an American degree, I could go back home and have better opportunities. The number-one reason Brazilians come [to San Diego] is for better opportunities. Number two might be the weather, because it's so similar to many cities in Brazil."

"Most of the Brazilians that come here are students," says Margot Pribyl, Jaro's wife and owner of Margotour, a South American--specific travel agency in Point Loma. Mrs. Pribyl says most students arrive with some money from their families and begin work as pizza deliverers while attending school. "When they get here, they have to buy a car. Because all their friends are [delivering pizza], it is easy for them to get a referral." She says the situation is different for Brazilian immigrants in New Jersey. "They would come broke, just to work, and would clean houses, work as gardeners, everything. But in San Diego, it's more students."

Aside from surfing (Pribyl says, "All Brazilians here are surfers," and at least three surf shops in San Diego are owned by Brazilians), Brazilian jujitsu is "very popular" in the community. Another popular Brazilian pastime is capoeira. At the fair, students of Paulo Batuta of Capoeira Mandinga San Diego will demonstrate their skills in the acrobatic fight-dance that was created by Africans in Brazil.

Mrs. Pribyl sells imported goods from Brazil (Maguary passion fruit juice, Caboclo and Pilao coffee, Garoto chocolate, and Guarana Antarctica soda) out of her office. "I know two people tried to open a big store in P.B.," Pribyl says of Brazilian food market Nossa Terra. "It closed down about three or four years ago because most of the Brazilians here, they are young, they don't cook. They'd rather buy a burrito. I only sell here stuff that the kids like, like chocolate, juices, cookies, and stuff."

Four restaurants offering Brazilian fare are Rei Do Gado, Brazil by the Hill, Samba Grill, and Brazil by the Bay. Pribyl's favorite food is steak, "with rice and beans, of course." She adds, "Farofa is a big thing for all of us. It's a type of powder, but a little bit thicker; you can compare it to breadcrumbs, like the seasoned Italian ones, but to eat with meat. You get your rice and beans, get a piece of meat, dip in this farofa, and eat." Farofa is ground, toasted, and flavored manioc, also known as yucca or cassava. It is often seasoned with bacon, onions, and other herbs and spices.

The Pribyls know most of the local Brazilian-American business owners. "Carmen Tepper owns Studio Academy [an entertainment-arts school in Sorrento Valley]," says Jaro Pribyl. He recently befriended another transplant from his native land who owns two Living Room coffee shops, one near Old Town and one in Point Loma. "We do have a cop, a Brazilian cop, on San Diego's police force," says Pribyl. "His name is Marco Polo, and he's been one of San Diego's finest for ten years." -- Barbarella

Brazil's Independence Day Fair Saturday, September 8 10 a.m. East County International Ministry and Arts Center parking lot 389 N. Magnolia Avenue El Cajon Cost: Free Info: 619-201-8635 or www.christianexaminer.com/Regions/SD_calendar.html

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I'm a native to San Diego who grew up in the Point Loma/Ocean Beach area and I've definitely noticed the presence of Brazilian students in the Point Loma/Ocean Beach area for several years now. My experience with them has not been positive. Large numbers of Brazilian students have lived in the two apartment complexes I've lived in over the past several years, and every time they have been noisy, inconsiderate, and disrespectful of the rights of everyone around them. Whether its been eating in restaurants or residing in apartments close to mine, these Brazilian students are very loud vocally, they're usually in groups, they smoke this sweet-smelling type of cigarette (could be marijuana) that permeates the apartment complex, and act as though the world centers around them. They routinely violate the apartment complexes' quiet-time policy, having parties late into the night that are loud and disrupting to the tenants around them.

There was one incident when a large group of them came on to the apartment complex premises and used the barbecue facilities, turning their radio on real loud, smoking those stinking sweet-smelling cigarettes, and talking loud (and sometimes yelling). Some tenant called the manager who came down and confronted them, and it turned out that none of them were residents of the complex. The manager told them to leave and a few drunk ones were belligerent with her as they left. I confronted some as they were leaving in their car and they told me they weren't on the premises at the barbecue facility. I told them they were lying because I saw them there (which I did - they were active participants in the loud behavior). I don't know how they were raised, but I've known since I was an elementary-school kid that you don't trespass on someone else's property, let alone use their facilities. The age of these students appears to vary from around 18 to 24 years old, but they act like junior high kids aged 13 or 14 - very immature, spoiled, inconsiderate brats.

I always see them in groups when they act this way (I suppose being in groups gives them a feeling of security while they're acting like noisy adolescent children).

As far as I'm concerned, when you're in someone else's country you should show respect and regard for the local culture. If you don't want to do that, then you should leave and go back home. These spoiled Brazilians students need to change their behavior and show respect while they reside in my home town and in my neighborhood, or they need to go back home to their parents. I feel I've earned the right to say this because I'm the local native here and they're the visitor, and the visitor needs to show respect (and they are the visitor). They need to either grow up or go home.


Point Loma/Ocean Beach resident/native

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