How To Get Your CPF Number as a Foreigner

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
April 5, 2016

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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.

Understanding Brazilian “Boteco” Culture

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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.

8 Tips For Beginners Learning Brazilian Portuguese

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
November 13, 2015

So you are thinking about spending some time in Brazil but you feel the language to be a problem. In fact, Brazilian Portuguese is not the easiest language to learn, and things get even trickier when dealing with spoken Portuguese, which is full of slangs and expressions that sounds a lot different from written Portuguese. With that being said, some dedication and time will get you through these obstacles. Below, we have compiled 8 tips for bginners learning Brazilian Portuguese.

1. Get yourself a English-to-Brazilian-Portuguese dictionary: If you are serious about learning Brazilian Portuguese, this one is a must have. When trying to read in Portuguese, you will be coming across many unfamiliar words and expressions. With a dictionary, you will not only be able to understand and learn these expressions but also learn how to pronounce then, which is something you will need in the future.

2. Read something in Portuguese as often as you can: Reading is one of the most important activities for you to build your vocabulary and become familiar with the language. There are plenty things to read, from books, blogs, news websites and much more. A suggestion is to read the news in Portuguese at least a few times a week. Some of the most popular news websites in Brazil are <a href="http://www.estadao.com.br/">Estado</a>, <a href="http://www.folha.uol.com.br/">Folha</a> and <a href="http://www.uol.com.br/">Uol</a>.

3. Keep a language notebook: One practice which can be really helpful for beginners is keeping a language notebook. In this notebook, you should write new words and expressions that you have learned. Studies have already shown that writing down things help to consolidate them in your memory, even if you never read what you wrote down again. And if you need to check what you have learned, you will have it written down.

4. Watch movies and series in Portuguese: Brazilian Portuguese sounds a lot different when spoken. One way of getting familiar with it is by watching movies and series in Portuguese. Brazilian cinema has a wide array of excellent movies, and are a great choice if you want to get familiar with Brazilian culture while you learn the language.

5. Seek out someone who you can speak Portuguese to: This tip is essential if you want to train your conversation skills. The best thing you can do is find someone who you can speak Portuguese to in real life, or at least through skype. If this isnt possible, you can find many places where you can interact with Brazilians on the internet. One option is debating in forums and facebook groups in Portuguese. You can also look for a Brazilian pen-pal with whom you can hone your skills. For those that enjoy computer games, a good option is to play a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) in Portuguese. Many games such as Ragnarok Online, The Duel and World of Warcraft have a Brazilian Portuguese version, where you can find plenty of people to talk.

6. Listen to Brazilian music: Brazil not only has its own musical styles but it also has many vibrant music scenes. Delving into Brazilian music is a great opportunity to improve your vocabulary while you enjoy yourself and expand your musical repertoire.

7. Learn the jargon of your topics of interest: Once you start to understand the basics of Brazilian Portuguese, try learning the jargon of your fields of interest, or you might find yourself in trouble when trying to talk about these topics.

8. Be consistent: Last but not least, be consistent with your learning. Try to work on your skills constantly, and do not go for long without practicing, and review the things you have learned by using them as often as you can.

Sao Paulo Slang and Expressions

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
October 18, 2015

When trying to speak Brazilian Portuguese, the language that is used on a day-to-day basis is riddled with slangs and expressions. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, these expressions change a lot from region to region. Below, we have listed some slangs and expressions that will help you to understand the people of So Paulo, Paulistas.

Meu/mano: Both of these expressions are frequently used by young people, and they are the paulista equivalent of "dude", "bro" or "man".

Ta ligado?: This expression literally means "are you on?". This is asked after making a statement, and it is the same as asking in English "You know what I mean?"

Na moral: To do something "na moral" is to do it in a way that is not arrogant or disrespectful. But when you ask "Na moral?", this slang has a completely different meaning. In this case, it is the same as asking "really?"

Sinistro!: As one can easily guess, this translated literally to "sinister". People say that as a reaction to something that is bizarre, cool or freaky.

Mina: A shortened version of "menina" (girl), this is the paulista equivalent of "chick".

Firmeza: This word means "firmeness", but when used as a slang it is the same as saying "all right". It is also used as a greeting, with one person asking "firmeza?", and the other person answering "firmeza!".

Fica Frio: When telling someone to relax, this is what paulistanos say. Literally, this expression means "stay cool".

Pode crer: When people from So Paulo agree with what someone just said, they often reply "pode crer", which literally means "you can believe).

Tipo: This word is pops up a lot when paulistanos speak. It means "type", but they also use it in a way similar to a comma, without altering the meaning of the sentence at all.

Farol: The paulista word for "traffic light".

Lombada: This is how paulistas call a speed bump.

Mo cara!: A way of saying "a long time"

Se pa: A slang with no possible translation that means "maybe".

U: This expression has no real meaning or translation, but it is used a lot by people from So Paulo. It is usually said when questioning something unusual.

Top: Taken from english, paulistas call something "top" when it is really good.

Suave: One of the most common slangs used by young paulistas, this expression has a few uses. It can be used as a greeting the same way as firmeza, but it can also mean that something or someone is easy or relaxed.

Tenso: Meaning "tense", this expression is used to describe something or some situation that is difficult or bad. If someone tells a story about getting robbed for example, someone else might reply "tenso!". Another person might use the word to describe a difficult videogame level.