After traveling through Brazil for three months and living in Rio for two months, I still have some unanswered questions. If you have answers or your own questions, please add them in the comments.

– Why do Brasil’s maxi-pad packages contain so few maxi-pads, say, 8? Do Brazilian women have lighter periods than American women or do we Americans buy in bulk for the menstrual apocalypse?

– How do Brazilians survive on the minimum wage of about R$500 per month in Rio or any of the other major cities in Brazil? That’s about US$270 for four forty-hour weeks. Bus fare alone is more than US$1 per ride.

– How did the telephone companies get away with such oppressive plans in Brazil (and I gather much of Latin America)? Many people use prepaid plans, and on these plans, even a local phone call can run about US$1 per minute.

– Why do Brazilians always default to party mode, while Argentineans default to protest?

– Why do Cariocas (Rio residents) use the definite article “o” and “a” before the names of people and cities? A Carolina, o Rio, por ejemplo. . . (And the rest of Brasil does not?)

– Why do most pharmacies offer scales for customers to weigh themselves near the entrance? Is it a way to lure shoppers? I saw one clever pharmacy position the scale near the weight-loss products but often drugstores don’t even sell weight-loss products. Can most people not afford scales? Does any other country’s drugstores offer free scales?

– Why are there always SO many people working in shops, juice bars, drugstores, each person with a minute job as part of a complex division of labor?

– Why are Brazilians so friendly toward foreigners?

– Why are Brazilians so obsessed with taking showers? Are other hot cultures just as shower-obsessed? I can’t believe all of them are as obsessed as Brazilians are. And why is taking a shower and going swimming both called taking a bath?

– Will abortion ever be legal here?

– Why are people so fast to make out and exchange tongues with people they meet at a party or on a dance floor? I don’t know anywhere else where making out is so light and acceptable? Sex on the other hand is treated with more caution.