São Paulo’s diverse demographic means that it is relatively easy for an estrangeiro (foreigner) to go about their day without anyone noticing their non-Brazilianness (until they open their mouths that is). In fact, I’d say it would almost be impossible for anyone to stand on Avenida Paulista and consistently be able to spot gringos or other estrangeiros without being very quickly mistaken.
Perhaps, to my eyes at least, the only distinguishable ‘outsiders’ are those from the city’s growing Bolivian community, whom are recognisable by their distinctive indigenous features. Maybe this is because I became familiar (not in that way) with Bolivia’s largely indigenous (55%) and mestiço (30%) population when I travelled there in 2007, although for the unknowing I’m guessing you could probably mistake them for belonging to Brazil’s own indigenous population.
Nevertheless, as a relatively unremarkable looking guy in the UK (pasty white, short, weedy, etc), the novelty of being ‘found out’ in Brazil still retains its charm – even after almost a year of living here.
One of my favourite things is when I speak English in public, especially when I’m in a crowded place or answering the phone. However, it’s not the speaking bit I enjoy (especially on the phone, which as a very self-conscious Brit I actually despise), but the reaction of people around me when I do.