Sunday, October 7, 2007


We are all part of a brand new globalized world, in which frontiers are almost inexistent. If you are from Japan or New Zealand you can buy a ticket today and tomorrow you are in a plane to Australia, US or England, hassle free, travelling has never been easier.

Now, I am not sure about you guys, but I love watching that program on TV, Border Security every Monday at 8pm on channel ONE. The reason I love it is because it plays with stereotypes so well it’s amazing. And if you are from Australia and watch that program it makes you feel proud of your system, how well it serves to protect you from unwanted people that may come from overseas. But remember something, like in physics, for every reaction there is a counter-reaction.

Finally after two paragraphs I reach the topic that I am really interested in telling you guys; a little Internet community with over 8000000 Brazilian members, Orkut, I will explain this a bit later. But as I told you before travelling has never been easier, but only if you come from a rich developed country; truth is for most people in the world travelling has never been more difficult than now. Take for instance myself; I was staying in Australia before I came to New Zealand. I bought a return ticket from Brisbane to Tokyo to Sao Paulo, but before I got into Brazil I had to stay in New York for a couple of hours in order to change planes, so far so good. But on my way back is when all the trouble starts; I already have a return ticket that will take me all the way to Australia, so all I have to do is buy a ticket from Brisbane to Auckland and I will e soon ready to start Uni. But now, if I want to stay two hours in New York I need to apply for a US Transit visa; that will cost me around USD$180, I will need to bring a whole bunch of documents and queue for almost five hours and have an interview with an Immigration agent in the US consulate in Sao Paulo, after I have told my life story to this agent I may wait for about 10 working days in order to get my passport back, with hopefully my visa stamped to it. Now I am ready to go to the Japanese consulate, luckily I don’t need a transit visa to Japan, I can even stay there for three days if I am on my way to a third country without a visa, but I wanted to stay there a bit longer; unfortunately my visa to Japan was rejected. They don’t need to give you a reason to reject your visa, but they told me that I am will potential overstayer; even though I am already enrolled and have paid my fees to study here in Auckland; does it make sense to you? That’s ok, I don’t need to stay there for a week or two; I can just stay there for three days while I wait for my plane to Australia.

I think this is becoming too long and you can get the point, travelling has never been easier, all you need to do is fill in the stereotypical image, that is why Orkut is so good. This internet community tells you everything you need to know, from the point of view of Brazilians living around the world. Take for instance New Zealand; inside Orkut you will find a community called “Brazilians in New Zealand”. Over there they will give you all sorts of tips, how to get a job once you get in, how to renew your visa, where to live… absolutely everything that you may possibly need, even how to cook a Brazilian dish if you are either homesick or would like to impress a señorita(o). But one of the most important things that it tells you is how to get through border security in the airport; it even gives you all the tips of what you need to tell an immigration officer if you are unlucky enough to be interviewed.

So next time you are in an airport and you see a Brazilian with a backpack, a camera hanging from his neck and a lonely planet on his hands, be sure to know, he isn’t a stereotypical tourist, he has just been reading Orkut.


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