By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
April 5, 2016
CPF250b

If you intend to live in Brazil, you will need to get a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas) among other documents. The CPF is used by the Receita Federal, which is the Brazilian Tax Authority, in order to store information about citizens in a database. You will need a CPF number in order to buy pretty much everything beyond basic items. When buying a car, a house, a plane ticket or when opening a bank account, your CPF number will be requested.

In order to get a CPF number, you first need to fill out an online form, which can be found at this link:http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Aplicacoes/Atcta/cpfEstrangeiro/Fcpf.asp. Unfortunately, the form is available only in Portuguese, but this obstacle can be overcome with the help of a Brazilian or using Google Translate. When you are done filling the form for your application, print it out and take it to a bank or post office so you can pay for your CPF. It is recommended to do it in a post office, as the lines are shorter and the process is simpler.

When going to the bank or post office, remember to bring a passport and a proof of residence. Once there, you will be asked a bunch of questions. After answering them and paying R$5.70, you will be given a yellow receipt. Next, you should bring both your passport and the yellow receipt to the Receita Federal, where your CPF will be issued. Once there, you have to take a password and wait for your number to be called. The wait is quite lengthy, and can take up to a few hours in some cases, so it is recommended to bring a book or some other reading material to make the process less boring. Once your number is called, tell the attendant that you want your CPF number. They will ask for your passport and yellow receipt. If you have both of them, your number will be issued and given to you. Now that you finished the process you have your own CPF number. Congratulations, and enjoy your stay!

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com.

Botecos250

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
April 5, 2016

Brazilians have a reputation as a merry and easygoing people. These characteristics manifest themselves in many aspects of Brazilian culture, from parties and celebrations to Brazilian music and art. They are also very evident in the famous "botecos", unpretentious bars that have become one of the main staples of Brazilian social life.

Botecos started as dry good stores where people occasionally stopped for a beer, developing soon into low-end bars. Nowadays, they come in all shapes and prices, and are enjoyed by people from all generations and social classes. Throughout the cities, you can expect to see botecos in almost every corner, with tables and chairs out in the streets where people sit in groups or by themselves. Some go there to have a full meal, some just want a coffee and a snack. Others gather there with their friends to socialize over a cold beer and fried appetizers.

Nowadays, one of the most common places to socialize is the boteco. When going to one, expect to drink ice-cold pilsner beers such as Antartica, Bohemia, Itaipava or Skol, which are close in taste to North American beers. Brazilians will not ask for individual beers, but will buy one liter bottles known as "litrão" (big liter) and share them amongst the table, so the beer goes down quickly and doesn‘t get warm. Bottles are served inside a "camizinha", a plastic insulator that keeps it cold.

Apart from the beer, you can also spice things up by ordering individual liquor shots or drinks. The most sought-after liquor in botecos is cachaça, a sugar cane based liquor that is as delicious as it is strong. Some foreigners do not like cachaça at first, but like whiskey, it is an acquired taste. Another common drink is the caipirinha, a mix of cachaça, sugar and fruits.

Snacks will come in all shapes and sizes, but plates of fritters are a favorite. French fries, fried yucca, "coxinhas" (shredded chicken meat and catupiry cheese fried in batter), croquettes, "linguiças" (spicy sausages), fried gorgonzola cheese or pieces of "picanha" (a meat cut) are some of the best. While these are all delicious snacks on their own, they go down really well with cold beer and the merry company of friends.

One thing foreigners should be aware of is the payment method used at botecos. When arriving, your table will be given a "comanda", which is a slip of paper that keeps track of the orders. Whenever someone makes an order, it is written there. When leaving, the comanda is then brought to the register and the customers sort out how they are going to pay. When going to a boteco, always remember to not lose your comanda.

With these things in mind, you are now ready for the "boteco experience". If you enjoy a good bar, you will soon become fond of spending an afternoon at a boteco sharing beers, fritters and good times with your friends. Maybe all you want is to sit at a table in the street eating your lunch as you watch people passing by. Whatever rocks your boat, I‘m sure you will enjoy our botecos!

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com.