Porto Alegre, sits on the eastern bank of the Guaiba Lake, that really is not a lake as such, but the convergence of five rivers forming the Lagoa dos Patos or "Lagoon of the Ducks". This monstrous fresh waterway is navigable by huge ships and the port is the commercial hub of Brazil. It is by no means a tourist destination town, so don't expect to find the typical Brazilian icons of tropical beaches, swaying palm trees shading bronzed and totally waxed sculptured bodies wearing impossibly minuscule swimwear. Porto Alegre does not have the international holiday vibe of Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. It is a university town, having 3 important universities within the city.
Port Alegre is the bastion for "gaucho" culture reflecting the mixed bag of culture from Portugal, Italy, Spain and Germany, with a marked contingent of Arab and Jewish people. The cuisine reflects this diverse cultural heritage that is famous for churrasco (barbecue) and chimarr?o (strong and hot tea).
An outrageous and diverse nightlife can be found, especially in the "SoHo" area where there is block after block of restaurants, clubs and bars. From afternoon jazz sessions to art-house theater, galleries, cafes and numerous bookshops, the university student vibe is unmistakable.
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