Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Heart Palm Hearts

The palm heart is a staple in Brazilian cuisine. It is added to a variety of dishes, and is even a popular pizza topping. Up until yesterday, I thought that I'd seen every way to eat it: on pizza, in salads, in stroganoff, on a veggie tray... the list is endless. However, I'd never seen it prepared in the trunk, on the grill. It was awesome!

There are three main varieties that are used in this region. The hearts of the açaí, pupunha, and guariroba palm trees are the most common types of palm hearts found here in the Central-West ("centro-oeste") region of Brazil.

The heart of the açaí [pronounced: "ah-sigh-ee"] palm is the most popular. It is sold canned & preserved, and is used for most dishes that call for palm hearts or "palmito" [pronounced "pawl-mee-toe"]. The name "açaí" comes the native Tupi language, and means "the fruit that cries."

Açaí, the most common palm heart available in Brazil.

You may be familiar with the fruit of the açaí palm, which was recently touted as a miracle weight loss fruit in the U.S. (which it is most definitely not). The fruit is commonly known in Brazil as a fruit high in calories, which gave people here a good chuckle, after they heard how it was being promoted for weight loss elsewhere. It's along the same lines as in the movie Mean Girls, when Cady turns Regina on to the secret "weight loss" bars... {*wink, wink*}

The pupunha [pronounced: "poo-poo-nyuh"] palm is the only type of palm heart that is grilled while still in the trunk, or stem. The name originated in the Tupi language, but the meaning is unknown.

Pupunha palm heart fresh off the grill.

After grilling it, the stem is split, and the now soft heart is seasoned with a little butter and salt. Words cannot describe how good it is. It has an almost nutty flavor that, combined with butter, is irresistible. (Yum-yum-yummy!) It wasn't just me. Last night, after tasting the first one, our normally reserved and well-mannered group suddenly resembled the seagulls in Finding Nemo: "Mine, mine, mine..." There were all sorts of claims to the rights of the last piece, but in the end, the birthday boy had the final say.

Sorry, it's a little dark! The flash wasn't cooperating on this one.

The guariroba [pronounced: "goo-wah-rdee-rdoh-buh"] palm is considered the "palmito of the Cerrado," [pronounced: "seh-hah-doh"] which is the tropical savannah ecoregion that encompasses the Centro-West region of Brazil. Guariroba is grown in the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Tocantins, and in the nation's capital, the Federal District.

Like açaí and pupunha, the name guariroba originated in the Tupi language, and means "the bitter one." Guariroba is quite bitter, and the heart is typically served a bit bigger. I'm guessing that it has to mature longer, as young or "still green" fruits and plants tend to be more bitter than at ideal maturity. Too young, I'd imagine it would be too bitter to eat ― bitter beer face would have nothing on the bitter Guariroba face.

The increasing demand for Guariroba in other regions of Brazil has become, like anything with short supply & high demand, something that people are willing to obtain illegally. Here is a photo from the Federal Police in Minas Gerais, who seized 9 trunks of illegally harvested Guariroba palms.

According to the Portuguese Wikipedia page on palm hearts there is an additional type of palm heart that is harvested from the "Palmeira Real," or "Real Palm Tree." I've asked around, and no one in this region has heard of this palm tree being used for this purpose.

Are there other types of palm hearts that you are aware of in other regions of Brazil, or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!

For more images of palm hearts, go to the Brazilian Google site ( and do a Google Image (Imagens) search for "palmito."

To enlarge pics, right-click and open in a new window.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Gawkin'

So much for those people who say that Goiânia is a boot-scootin' cowboy capital...

This morning I went downtown to sign some papers with my husband. It was great to be out & about in this cooler weather. It's one of my favorite times of the year!

On the tail end of fall, we are almost upon the "coldest" time of the year. The lows are in the mid 50's and 60's, and the daily highs are in the 80's. Hey, that's cold to me these days, and I'm not ashamed to say it. It took me too long to get acclimated! I've earned every one of these goose bumps.

Winter will be here in June. The first third of the winter is pretty cold, although the last two months are the hottest of the year. June, the coldest month in Goiânia, gives us a brief taste of comfort before July, August, and September arrive with an oppressive heat.

We actually had an early set of cold fronts this year, starting the first week of May. Something that is a bit different for those of us from the northern hemisphere is that cold fronts come from the South.

Back in Texas, our cold fronts come from the North, and as such, are called "Northers." Hmmm... Does that make our cold fronts here in Goiás, "Southerns?"


With the cool weather, I decided to wear my cute boots since I can never wear them any other time of the year, as it is either too hot or too wet.

You would've thought that I had a small animal strapped to my head — or one on each foot.

I was oblivious, at first, but finally noticed person after person looking at me. I wondered why. Do I really look that different? People usually assume that I'm from Southern Brazil, so I'm able to fly under the radar, more often than not.

What was the deal?

When we were leaving, I found out. My husband asked me if I'd seen the "hundred different people looking at my boots."

Me: "Was that it?"

My man: "Uh, yeah! Do you see anyone else in boots around here?"

Me: "I haven't noticed... It's the cool season — it's 68 degrees! I would expect to see some, that's for sure."

I suddenly recalled that every single time I ever saw a chick wearing boots here, it was at night.

Me: "Wait! Do people in Goiânia only wear boots at night?"

My Man: "Uh, yeah!"

Me: "That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. Well, at least I can claim that I'm bringing some international culture to the region."

Him, mumbling: "...and at least the Rodeo's in town." (It really is.)

When I got home I called my friend, D, to see what the deal is. She's one of those style mavens. I asked her if it's really true that chicks only wear boots at night in Goiânia. She said, "Unfortunately... yes, that's the way it is here."

She told me that she'd met a girl on a flight back from São Paulo last month, and they had discussed this very thing. She said that the ladies wear boots regularly in São Paulo, whereas here in Goiânia it's a fashion faux pas to do so if the sun is shining.

Men typically only wear boots if they are in the ranching or construction industries, but unlike women, they are not bound by the rising or setting of the sun. Styles vary according to their practical use.

I still maintain that this is one of the more bizarre things I've heard here.

...and why on earth didn't I know this? I've been here for almost 6 years. I have no excuse, but I do have Exhibit A of what not to do in broad daylight, in Goiânia.

Exhibit A

Monday, May 28, 2012

Allergies Abroad

It's thrilling to travel to new places, try new foods, and experience other cultures. Where the food is concerned, it can either be an exhilarating experience or excruciating, depending on your personal taste...

sense of adventure...

...and allergies.

One aspect of going to another country that should be taken into consideration is that you've had X number of years to figure out if you have any allergies in your native environment, and if so, how severe they may be.

Of course, several of my 30-something friends back home are only now discovering allergies like wheat and gluten, so I guess you never really know. Just consider that as a part of the adventure when traveling.

Oooh! Perhaps this leafy thing will close my throat.


I honestly didn't have too many allergies back home in Texas. Mold has always been my nemesis, but as far as food went there were only three things that I was sensitive to, and two of those were man-made "flavors" (liquid smoke & "raspberry" flavoring) so it wasn't too hard to avoid them. I thought that I could eat pretty much anything. I was, by all accounts, immune to the dreaded, seasonal "Cedar Fever" that everyone else seemed to suffer from in Central Texas.

When I moved to Brazil, my whole world was turned upside down. (Wonderland, or o país das maravilhas, will do that to you.) I was perpetually ill for the first 9 months. After the 6-month mark, I determined to track down the culprits, and discovered that I am allergic to blooming (no, I'm not using an Aussie expletive) Mango trees, and a family of peppers that is used in almost every dish in this state (which also happens to be quite tasty).


I come from the land of peppers.

I bleed Chipotle sauce.

I'm that person that orders jalapeño slices on my Whataburger, and jalapeños on the side when I get a pizza, so that I can stack up a bunch on each slice. (Mmmm... Yummy!) I like my Phở [pronounced: "fuh," and said with a hint of a question mark] with a good blast of Sriracha sauce, and take my salsa hot or medium, not mild.

What I've learned is that in Texas, we mainly eat the Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens families of peppers. Here in Goiás, the most common families of peppers are the Capsicum chinense and the Capsicum baccatum. It truly is a shame that I cannot partake.

Interestingly enough, the Capsicum chinense family includes one that I ate back home with no problem. The Habanero is one (which any Texan is familiar with) of many varieties of this family. As is my lot in life, in this particular region, it is actually hard to find a Habanero. C'est la vie!

Habanero closeup by Ryan Bushby (HighInBC on wikipedia)

The most common peppers, or pimentas [pronounced: "Pih-men-tuh," and not to be confused with Pimentos] in this region are the following:
  1. The "Pimenta-de-Cheiro" [directly translates to, "The Pepper That Smells," and is pronounced: "jee Shay-rdoh"] is, hands down, the most popular Capsicum chinense pepper in this region. It looks similar to a banana pepper, has a very strong smell and flavor, but no heat to speak of.

  2. Pimenta-de-cheiro
    photo found amid a great collection of Brazilian sights on Flickr

  3. The "Pimenta-de-Bode" ["The Goat Pepper"] is another pepper in the C. chinense family that not only has a strong smell and flavor, but adds a little kick to the cuisine. I haven't been able to find out why exactly the Pimenta-de-Bode [pronounced: "jee Boh-jee"] is referring to a goat.

    Think that would be an easy one, huh? Is it from the shape of the pepper? Does it, at any point in its stages of growth, resemble two little horns? Do goats like to eat these particular peppers? Does one need the digestive system of a goat to survive the experience? Will it 'put hair on your 'chin'? If I ever find out, you'll be the first to know.

  4. Pimenta-de-Bode
    by Adilson Lopes Garcia
    via Flickr

  5. The "Pimenta-Chora-Menino" [pronounced: "Shore-rduh Meh-nee-no," and roughly translates to, "The 'Cry, Boy, Cry' Pepper" or "The 'Makes-All-The-Boys-Cry' Pepper" ...There's no direct translation.) is hot — but it's sneaky. The heat from this little pepper of the C. chinense family ambushes you only after you've committed to ingesting it.

  6. Pimenta-Chora-Menino

  7. The Pimenta Biquinho [pronounced: "bee-keen-yo"] aka Pimenta de Bico (or "Beaker," as I like to call it) is another pepper in the C. chinense family that has become quite popular here. There are two types: one that has no heat, whatsoever, and another that can be a little spicy. It is actually from another region in the Americas, but was bred to flourish in this soil, which it has. These "beak peppers" are the new rage in Brazilian culinary circles.

  8. Pimenta-Biquinho

  9. The "Pimenta-de-Cumari" [pronounced: "Coo-mah-rdee"] is a small, bright, yellow pepper of the Capsicum baccatum family that has a very strong smell, as well as a bit of a kick to it. The word Cumari comes from the native Tupí language, and means "pleasurable taste."

  10. Pimenta-de-Cumari

  11. The "Pimenta-Dedo-de-Moça" [pronounced: "Deh-doh jee Mose-uh" and translates to, "The Lady's Finger"] is another pepper from the C. baccatum family that is about 4-5 inches long, and more mild than most, with a delicious flavor. They are most often seen preserved, but are used under the name calabresa when dried. This is not to be confused with the "Crushed Red Pepper" flakes that are known as "calabresa" in Europe and the United States, according to Portuguese page of wikipedia on C. baccatum peppers.

  12. Pimenta-Dedo-de-Moça
    by Mats Pettersson via Imageshack

Unfortunately for me, the "Americana alérgica," (allergic American woman) I'm allergic to the first five, and they are a part of everyday cuisine here in Goiás. They are added to almost everything! People in this region add these peppers to most dishes, including white rice. The most popular version of rice incorporates pimenta-de-cheiro with garlic.

Snack bars, or lanchonetes, usually have an assortment of snacks (all chock-full of pimenta-de-cheiro) that I now know I cannot eat, aside from a pizza slice or "misto" (grilled sandwich made with a slice of cheese, ham, and possibly a slice of tomato).

There have been some restaurants that actually refused to serve a dish without pimenta-de-cheiro because it is their signature style. In this case, I have a granola bar on standby, and only order a drink. It's been quite an adjustment. To compound the issue, allergies are seen a bit differently here, than back in The States. More on that soon!

If you are one of the fortunate ones who isn't allergic to these peppers, you'll be on a hot, spicy, and/or flavorful cloud nine. If not, bring an extra granola bar. Saúde! (Cheers!)

Stick an EpiPen in me — I'm done.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Holiday!

Today is May 24th, which here in Goiânia is the day of "Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora," ["Mary Help of Christians"] the patron saint of Goiânia (which also happens to be the co-patron saint of Bagé and Niterói). This day is also referred to as, "another day off," by those who aren't quite sure what this day is about.

One of the cool things about living in Brazil is that there is always a holiday around the corner - or there was one just last week. If it's not a national holiday, it's a municipal holiday. Being a "predominately Catholic" country opens the door for even more "religious" holidays.

While Brazil boasts the largest number of Catholics in the world, Brazil also has the largest number of "lapsed Catholics" in the world. Of the Brazilian population, 68.4% are self-declared Catholics, yet only 20% of that cross section of the population attend Mass or participate in religious activities.

Some sociologists of religion contend that Catholicism in Brazil is more of a tradition, than a true practice of religion. The most commonly seen traditions are infant baptisms, appointed godparents, traditional church weddings, the use of religious necklaces (and/or other paraphernalia such as ornamental car accessories, etc.) and the ever popular act of crossing oneself (which you must have seen if you've ever watched a soccer game).

Although quite a few of these religious holidays translate into a day off (or two, if it falls on a Thursday) there are few who actually use that time for religious purposes. The majority of the population use the time off to party late into the night, travel, bar-b-que, or just catch up on R&R.

In my case, I used the time to surf the internet reading up on just why exactly it is that I have the day off, and looking for images of the perfect party cake. (Isn't the one below completely awesome? It seems like the ideal Unbirthday cake.)

Am I a big nerd? Do I not have a social life? Probably. But you see, I generally have to ask an average of 10+ people what the significance of a holiday is, and even if they do know the name, they might not be clear on the actual significance. I always feel a bit like I'm Jaywalking, and eventually somewhat like KiKi when she asks Bib,

"But what does it mean?"

And now we know. I dedicate my extra day off to you, the reader. No one will ever have to lose another May 24th in Goiânia, on research. As a reward, tomorrow I shall actually go out and do something.

All pics found on Google Images.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hair Today - Blonde Tomorrow

Most Americans have the misperception that Brazilian women are hair-free, waxen [I'm taking the liberty of using the 2c definition: "lustrously smooth"] females whose skin glistens in the the tropical sunlight.

Where do we get this idea? This erroneous assumption is derived from what we see advertised in salons across the U.S. that offer, "The Brazilian," a type of waxing session that takes it all off. Then again, the recent Nair 'Brazilian Beauty Challenge' campaign isn't helping, either: "São Paulo style. Rio de Janeiro smooth."

In actuality the truth is much hairier - like Harry and The Hendersons hairier. Yeah, I'm talking yetis.

Yeti used with the permission of Corey Smith.
Check out his illustrations. They are awesome.

A lot of you are already shaking your head in disbelief. Sorry, guys, if I burst your bubble... but I'm about to take away the wand, as well.

The truth about body hair is always seen clearly beachside or poolside. The first time I saw this phenomenon, I was at the fitness/water/country club. I was there tanning, minding my own business, when I saw two girls next to me start slathering on a white paste. I wondered what sort of tropical beauty secret it must be.

I asked them about it & they said, "Oh, it's peroxide. Would you like some?"

I then wondered what sort of skin ailment they must suffer from.

"What is it for, exactly?" I queried.

They laughed and said it was for their body hair - to bleach it. Then I noticed just how many girls around the club were doing this very thing. I thought back to the Brazilian beaches I'd visited, and vaguely remembered seeing the same ritual. Huh.

After covering their bodies, they stood in the sun, soaking up the rays until one said she couldn't stand it anymore. At the time, I assumed she meant the heat on the pavement (being barefoot, and all) but later, in my first and only attempt at trying it out, I found out why. It itches like nothin' else.

The only reason I even tried the bleaching thing, is because it's a cheaper alternative to waxing my entire body, and the real reason being that my man urged me to try it out. (These were the days where I was doing everything the Brazilian way. You know, when in Rome...)

The most popular body hair solutions in Brazil are waxing (there are actually 2 different kinds of waxing procedures) and bleaching [full-length body hair]. Veet's (formerly known as Neet) foray into the Brazilian body hair solution arena has added the option of hair removal cream, but the most popular choices are still bleaching or waxing.

What about shaving? Well, that's almost unheard of for a female [insert look of horror!]. There are limited options as far as disposable razors go, and the refills for a regular razor are super expensive here. My husband and I stock up whenever we go back home, because yes, I have returned to my roots - er, let my leg hair keep its roots - and have gone back to shaving.

Aside from old wives' tales, the idea of a woman shaving is about as foreign as it gets. I receive looks ranging from horror, pity, suspicion, and wonder when I let it slip that I still choose to shave my legs. I do wax my arms, however, as that has always been a dream of mine.

So, what about yetis? They exist.

They must, because they have a cult-like following by a good portion of the females in Brazil. Some of the women I know here look like they have blond [blinding white, in the sun] fur leg warmers on, simply due to the amount of hair they have that they've decided to bleach. It's an interesting look, though not one that is my personal preference.

While I'm not against bleaching hair, as a personal choice, I believe that the amount of hair one has should factor into that decision. Some women are blessed with barely-there hair. They are perfect candidates for this option. Other women whose body hair rivals that of Cousin Itt should reconsider.

As Americans, we are raised to think that arms, legs, and tummies are to be hair-free. I remember the trauma of not being allowed to shave in the fourth grade, when I discovered that I was a little hairy monster of a girl that belonged on the island with The Wild Things. In fifth grade, I decided I would take my chances with my mom finding out, and proceeded to shave my legs. I quickly found out what a challenge it is to navigate around the Achilles Tendon.

I also remember my disappointment in junior high, when one of my teammates brought over her Epilady after school one day. I was sure that I would finally have flawless arms. Five tearful minutes later, and only 1 square centimeter into the job, I realized that it wasn't meant to be. My friend, on the other hand, must have been born without nerve endings, because she was able to do her whole body like it was nothing.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that waxing is a great solution for my arms. Surprisingly enough, I've been questioned by countless women here on why exactly I don't choose to bleach it, instead. Like all other options, it really is up to the individual. I've discovered that my legs are too sensitive for waxing, whereas my arms feel nothing. Who's the one without nerve endings, now?

Here in Brazil an "alergia" [pronounced: "ah-ler-zhee-uh"] is what people say when you don't like, or have an aversion to something. (...which is why they don't take my true allergies seriously...) I'm secretly glad that I'm "allergic" to that mix of peroxide. It's so horrible that it made me want to peel my skin off. My humble opinion is that peroxide has no business being in direct contact with skin, unless it's the bubbly kind that helps to treat wounds - but that's just me.

So now you know the not-so-naked-and-probably-hairier-than-you-ever-imagined truth on Brazilian Beauty Care for Body Hair.

Unless otherwise noted, all pics found on Google Images.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teeth Impressions - Serra da Mesa

It could take a month to capture the rows of teeth that line Lago de Serra da Mesa.

The "gullet" (valleys between the points of the teeth) as well as the "set" (the amount of bend of a saw tooth) vary from place to place within the expanse of the 689 square miles now covered by Serra da Mesa, the largest reservoir by volume in Brazil.

Here are a few more examples of the horizon on "Table Saw Lake."

Somewhere in the middle of the lake, amongst the islands...

Just after sundown...

Abstract Sunset - courtesy of a bobbing boat.

(To enlarge pics, right-click and open in a new window.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cool Clip Art Reflecting Brazilian Culture

As most bloggers are aware, finding just the right visual is essential in giving the added emphasis to whatever point you are trying to get across. I have been searching for a specific artist's style in clip art, and finally thought to check the Microsoft Office Clip Art homepage. Not only did I find a few from the artist I was searching for, but to my surprise and delight, I found several designs that are inherently Brazilian.

Here are two that are common scenes from everyday life here in Brazil. I present the motoboy, and a guy talking on the Brazilian-styled payphone, or "orelhão" [literally translated, "the big ear"].

The "orelhão" [pronounced: "oh-rdeh-lyown"] was designed in 1970 by Chu Ming Silveira. His inspiration? The human ear. The design is still the same today, as it was then.

The motoboy keeps Brazil moving at the momentum it does. The backbone of the economy may well rest on the delivery guys, or "motoboys." (Yes, among other the English words, "boy" crept into the Brazilian Portuguese language.)

Pharmacies deliver medications to patients too sick (or sometimes too lazy, *ahem*) to go pick them up.

Run out of coke, beer, Red Bull, juice, or water? There's a local "Bebidas 24 Horas" [literally translated: "24-Hour Drinks"] that delivers near you!

Restaurants deliver what we might call a "boxed lunch," that is known here as a marmita [pronounced: "mar-mee-tuh"] on a regular schedule to their clients. (Choices are generally 3, 5 or 6 days a week.)

Apparently, the local McDonald's delivers, as well. Perhaps in English that would be considered a "Drive To," as opposed to a Drive-Thru.

Miss the novelty of a local butcher shop? How's this for a novel idea? Have 30 kilos of meat delivered on a moto.

Home security companies employ "motovigias" [pronounced: "moto-vee-zhee-uhs"] or security guards, who do their nightly rounds on motorcycles.

In lieu of a regular taxi car, it might be faster to hail a mototaxista [pronounced: "moto-tax-ee-stuh"]. They can weave in & out of the lanes of cars, which might get you there 10 minutes sooner. In addition, they may (or may not) be game to running red lights, which could shave a few more minutes off of your time - or a few years off of your life. It's your call.

All joking aside, more than 65,000 people have died in motorcycle accidents in Brazil, in the past 10 years - that's more than the number of Americans that have died in the Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars combined! The Brazilian government is currently looking into additional safety measures and provisions for people in this industry.

Just this past February, Senator Marcelo Crivella proposed a wage increase of 30% for people in this field. This would allow for motoboys to buy better motorcycle helmets, protective gear, and help with any issues arising out of a potential accident - like the "extras" that aren't covered by insurance.

I spent over a year in physical therapy for a shoulder issue, and there was an undeniable link between motorcycle accidents, and the steady stream of patients. About 85% - 90% of the people in therapy were there due to motorcycle accidents.

Last July, President Dilma Rousseff took measures to promote safety in the industry. She sanctioned a law, also proposed by Senator Crivella, to issue a R$3,000 fine to any employer that encourages their employees to make speedy deliveries. If that has slowed down deliveries, I haven't noticed. Motoboys are just as efficient as ever, only now it appears they are valued more.

Unless otherwise noted, all pics found on Google images.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Guy Who Cried UMMMPH

or Why I Don't Reeeally Enjoy Watching Soccer [Futbol] aka Association Football

Hint: It has a lot to do with the same reasons I don't like watching novelas, or soap operas...
Over-the-top drama!!!!!

Image created on Wordle.
I played sports. I now what a foul is. I understand that sometimes it can be serious... but in the soccer games I've seen since I arrived in Brazil, there have been more Oscar-worthy performances depicting faux fouls (faltas) in a single game, than I've seen in an entire blockbuster season at the movies.

I never watched soccer games back home, but I imagine that it would have made the news if players writhed in feigned agony a minimum of 24 times in a game (that's accounting for 12 supposed freak injuries per 45 minute half).

I just can't take any of it seriously. I mean—once bitten, twice shy. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. Trick me repeatedly in a soccer game, and I lose interest.

At best, I have the burning desire to yell, "Have you no shame?" every time a player stops mid-writhe, looks out of the corner of his eye, and after determining that the ref didn't fall for it, he hops up & skips back to his position like nothing happened.

At worst, I look like a callous woman for not gasping, and hanging off the edge of my seat when it does, in fact, turn out to be a real-live injury. The way I see it, I have a 1 in 24 (okay, maybe 1 in 12) chance that something bad is actually happening. Rest assured, I will genuinely be concerned when I see the little ambulance take them off. Stretchers appear to be part of the show, more often than not, so that cannot be a defining factor.

Since I never watched soccer until I moved here, I have no reference. In the interest of trying to understand if this is a part of the worldwide football culture, I did a little research. Is it truly like this all around the world? From some of the comments I saw in the clip below, it seems like Italy gets a bad rap for this very reason.

Here's another video from some kids in Uruguay. Apparently I'm not the only one who's jaded...

Really, I think it would be so much easier to follow if they could just spell it out for us, like so:

So now I ask you soccer/futbol fans out there:

Who are the biggest offenders? Who is consistently trying to get their acting break via soccer? Break it down for us.

Out of the worldwide league, who are the top 3 UMMPH-A-WHOOMPH-As? What about the South American teams? Feel free to analyze the teams within a country, as well... I saw comments that pointed to a specific team in Brazil, while other commenters said it's a widespread epidemic. Who is right?

Also, how can I reconcile my trust issues with this game? Should I just liken it to another sport's version of The Globetrotters? If so, I'd like to see more tricks.


Any pointers? Please advise.