Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

Michael Magera

May 4, 2016

Meet Michael Magera who moved to Brazil at the start of the year. Read the following interview in which Michael tells us about some of her most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I’m a New Yorker, an almost real New Yorker, born in the city (Queens. not Manhattan) but grew up out on Long Island before returning as an adult. I work in telecommunications but essentially I am a cabling guy. If your Internet works at work, I’m behind it.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I came to POA in 2003 for my first time for just a month, but began spending more time in 2005. I’d say that the balance has become nearly 50/50 since then.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Brazil as a whole struck me much harder than I expected. Being married to a Brazilian, I had certain expectations. Foremost was the beauty, which my wife did not exemplify through her speech; however the beauty and cultural diversity made me gasp. WONDERFUL!

4. What do you miss most about home?

Although Brazilian food keeps me “fat enough”, I miss my New York City pizza, bagels and Chinese food. Of course, I miss my family and friends as well.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

Frustrating? Brazil? Brazil has lent me to believe that frustration is not possible. Early on, adapting to the coffee culture was difficult as I’m used to gulping down a few cups before noon. Now, occasionally, I get uptight by the relaxed nature of the country when I am in a personal rush.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Stepping on the Internacional field with my late father-in-law. Colorados!

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

The food is huge but the culture is my favorite part. I love the family value and the acceptance of friends.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

Pimguim! Lima e Silva e Republica.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

I went to Mulligan’s one night and met some Americans who thought I was Brazilian and spoke to me slowly. They talked to me for a while and ultimately told me about a spot in NYC that I knew. When I rattled on about it, my NYC accent kicked loose and we laughed for hours.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

Culture. When in NYC can you have someone say “Good morning?”

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

My Portuguese is pretty good now. I am learning the tenses now. I’m often found speaking around the bush so to speak in order to complete a thought. I’m getting better.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Be quiet. Enjoy. Look. Learn. When you try to be yourself and speak, you miss subtleties and cues that Brazilians offer. Watch and learn.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

Do what you want, just be mindful about appearing ostentatious. Watches, bracelets, rings and sharp sunglasses at the hotel. Never been outside of an airport in SP, but a close friend was robbed there. Rio is awesome! Gotta do it! just use common sense.

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to gringoes@gringoes.com with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

Fernando de Noronha, a Paradise Off the Coast of Brazil

Fernando de NoronhaBy Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016

When Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Fernando de Noronha in 1503, he reportedly said, “paradise is here”. In fact, few other words suffice to describe the beauty of Noronha, an archipelago that stands 376 km away from the coast of Natal. The archipelago is a natural reserve, which is absolutely teeming with wildlife. The place is full of birds and reptiles, with lizards roaming in the rocks and among the grass. In the crystal clear waters, one can find a variety of fish, dolphins, stingrays, turtles and many other animals. There are also many sharks to be found, but unless meddled with, they do not pose a threat to tourists. So far, there have been no reported shark attacks in Fernando de Noronha.

The variety of wildlife in the seas and the clearness of the water have turned Fernando de Noronha into the hottest spot in Brazil for scuba diving, with people all over the world travelling there solely for this purpose. For those who are not interested in scuba diving, there are plenty of opportunities for snorkel diving. Either you can go with one of the many tours that are being offered or you can simply put your mask on and freely explore the wonders of the sea. There are also many boat tours on Noronha, where one can sail around the island appreciating it’s beautiful scenery, dazzling beaches and playful dolphins, which makes for a really relaxing evening.

If you are into surfing, Noronha is known as one of the best places in Brazil so surf. Known by some as the “Brazilian Hawaii”, the archipelago has beaches such as Bode, Quixaba, Boldró and Cacimba do Padre. With waves that reach up to 12 feet of height, Cacimba do Padre is home to many surfing championships, and it is considered by many to be the best surfing spot in Brazil.

Noronha is also home to Projeto Tamar, which is a project concerned with the preservation of sea turtles. It’s headquarters has a store and a museum, where one can see replicas of different species and learn about them. At night, there are talks one can attend to as well. You can also watch the baby turtles being market and set free on the beach depending on the time of the year, which is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

The main island is pretty rustic and welcoming. There are few hotels, and most people stay in inns. There are plenty of restaurants that offer great seafood and bars where one can drink by the beach. Locals are friendly and welcoming, which adds to the atmosphere of the place. When it comes to transportation, one can hire a buggy, a bike or simply walk. Noronha is not that large of an archipelago, so it is pretty easy to get around.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to Fernando de Noronha. The first one is that visitors are limited for environmental reasons, which makes it more difficult to access the island. The other one, which is its main downside, is that things are extremely expensive there. Due to the high prices, Noronha is not an affordable destination for many people. That being said, it is definitely worthy of every penny spent in the trip. If you are a fan of paradisiacal beaches, stunning sceneries, scuba diving or surfing, then this is definitely a place for you to visit!

Getting a CTPS in Brazil as a Foreigner

CTPS

By Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016

So you have finally got a job in Brazil, applied for a work visa and picked it up. Now all you need to do If you want to work legally in Brazil is to get a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social). This document allows you to be legally registered, and grants you access to labor rights. It also keeps track of your ages, employers and types of jobs that you have worked on.

To get a CTPS, you first need to go to an appointment at an MTE (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego), which is the Brazilian Work Ministry. To do that, you should first look for the nearest branch in the following website: http://portal.mte.gov.br/postos/. If you are a foreigner, you will have to go to the Head Office (Superintendencia), not to the smaller branches. Once you have found out which branch you are going to, you can mark an appointment in the following link: http://saa.mte.gov.br/default.aspx.

Once you have set up an appointment, you should gather all the documents necessary. You will need to bring your passport, two recent colored 3 cm X 4 cm photos of you with white background, a copy or printed version of your CPF card, a proof of residence such as a water or electricity bill, a copy and your original CIE (Cédula de Identidade de Estrangeiros), two copies of the publication in the “Diário Oficial da União” showing that the MTE branch in Brasília has authorized you get a work visa and the SINCRE (Sistema Nacional de Cadastramento de registro de Estrangeiros) printout that was given to you when you registered at the Federal Police. You should also bring your work contract in case they ask for it, although it is not stated in the MTE website.

Once you have all the necessary documents gathered, you should present them to the MTE during the appointment you have scheduled. At the end of the process, you will be given a protocol that notifies when you can return and pick up your CTPS. When the time comes, all you need to do is return to the MTE and pick it up. Now that you have your CTPS in hands, you are finally allowed to legally work in Brazil. Congratulations and good luck!

How To Get Your CPF Number as a Foreigner

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.

Understanding Brazilian “Boteco” Culture

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.

Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes

MaggiaParra250

March 5, 2016

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Maggie Parra. Read on as Maggie tells us about her impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

I am from So Paulo. I have worked as a bilingual executive secretary for 38 years working mainly with expatriates. I have also a degree in Psychology.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

Number 1 always – the language. The huge amount of red tape also may pose a frustrating experience for most foreigners.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

Some do not try to research about the culture of the country they are going to live in, which may prove to be annoying for them when living here. Another issue is to believe in what friends say about the country without checking the story. Once I had to drag an English gentleman, who lost his wallet, to a police station to file a report. He was freaking out since his best friend told him he might be be arrested (since his work permit was being processed), and also that the police are totally corrupt and he could be fined for no reason… LOL. Eventually, he understood my arguments and he finally had his "B.O" in hands to get new documents i.e. temporary foreigners ID card, drivers license, etc.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

British and Asians are very formal. On the other hand, French, Dutch, Italians are the least formal and mostly with a great sense of humor.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

Since Ive lived in the US, I prefer the American one.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

Barbados. It’s a beautiful tiny island with marvelous beaches hwith awesome sunsets. The locals are extremely welcoming and helpful. It’s also a place where you can mingle with a great variety of nationalities.

7. Favourite foreign food?

Mexican and Italian.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

Band = Rolling Stones & Alan Parsons Project. Book = Conversations with Morrie. Movie = City of Joy.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

Dating a Brazilian is like driving a new car for the first time – it is hard to find the right buttons (ha, ha). There are exceptions, of course! The foreigner, on the other hand, usually is more attentive and more respectful, he tries to understand our culture and adapt to it and does not take the relationship for granted.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or culture shock that you have experienced with a foreigner?

When working at a British company, there was a scheduled visit of the British Consul and his aides, which demanded a lot of planning for the meeting arrangements. Everything was completed to the tiniest detail. When introducing him to the employees, I was the last one. When I was greeting him as formally as the situation demanded, my boss "poked" me and said rudely "Come on, give him your hand!". I was shocked at first and tried to sheepishly smile when shaking the visitor’s hand. Later on, an Irish manager, who noticed how bad I felt tried to explain the boss "culture" and the "why" he acted like that. I managed to say thanks and left. Honestly, it is not fun to be treated like a second class citizen…

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

Learn a bit of Portuguese, although everybody in Brazil say they speak English, when looking for directions you will see that it is isn’t exactly true. Bear in mind that punctuality is not the best Brazilian distinguished quality, so do not get upset when a meeting, dinner party do not start at the set time. Go with the flow and enjoy it.

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@gringoes.com

Brazil: Good Luck in the Year of the Monkey!

PFChangs302b

By Marilyn Diggs
March 5, 2016

In February, while revelers in Brazil delighted in carnival delirium, the Chinese had their own celebrating to do. This year the Chinese New Year arrived on February 8th. The very day samba schools were shimmering down Av. Marques de Sapuca in Rio, the Chinese were welcoming in the Year of the Monkey with firecrackers, drums, red lanterns and of course, dragons on parade. Based on the Chinese lunar calendar, New Years Day can fall any time between January 21st and February 20th. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is the most important traditional celebration of the year.

A Festival for Family, Food and Fun
The two main reasons for the festival are to wish for a lucky and prosperous upcoming year, and also to commemorate accomplishments, rest up and relax with family. Besides wearing new clothes, decorating with red and shooting off fireworks, one of the main traditional ways to bring in the New Year is eating a "reunion dinner" with family. This smacks of our Thanksgiving meal, where family members try their best to reunite and savor the feast together.

P.F. Changs, the internationally-renowned Asian cuisine restaurant, is the official sponsor of events that focus on the Chinese New Year in Brazil. If you missed the dancing dragon and drums in its front entrance, dont fret. Until April 8th you can partake of P.F. Changs special Chinese New Years Menu, consisting of eight recipes to bring you luck in 2016.

FlamingGarlicBeef302

Spicy Firecracker Chicken symbolizes firecrackers used in a ritual to scare away evil spirits and open the door to fortune. Crab Wontons are in the shape of ancient coins and symbolize prosperity and a new start. They are served with chives for protection, and plum sauce for long life, youth and beauty. Continue with seafood, which brings abundance and prosperity. Since shrimp brings happiness Ma La Shrimp is a perfect choice. The Apple Crunch dessert helps new opportunities arrive to you. Just decide what you desire and choose the delectable dish symbolizing your wish for vitality, protection, communication skills, spiritual cleaning, happiness, good health, mind expansion, love, harmony, power, long life or even an aphrodisiac. Choosing the dish is half the fun and you cant go wrong because they are all winners.

If you still want more, request a red piece of paper (representing fire), then write your wish with black ink (representing water) and tie it onto the "Tree of Wishes" (a.k.a. decorative room partitions inside the restaurant). At the end of the Year of the Monkey, P.F. Changs will host a ceremony in which a Buddhist monk will bless the notes before burning them so they can be received by the universe and granted.

The Chinese New Year is a Season of Superstitions – Taboos
These measures will be especially helpful for those who were born in former Years of the Monkey (1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, etc.), washed your hair on Feb. 8th, and/or cleaned your house on Feb. 8th and 9th. It also goes for those who before Feb. 15th did not pray in a temple, asked for a loan, allowed your child to cry, did not have a girl/boyfriend and/or did not wear red underwear. It certainly makes the American tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck, seem trivial, doesnt it?

These dishes and wishes activity will be available at the four restaurants located in Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo state: Av. Juscelino Kubitschek, 627 in Vila Nova Conceio, S.P. city; Alphaville and Campinas. Until April 8.

Further information: www.pfchangs.com.br

Marilyn Diggs is an American living in Brazil for over twenty-five years. She is a freelance writer, artist, lecturer and author of nine books – two about Brazilian art history. As an art reporter and travel writer she has written for the Miami Herald and Museum International (a UNESCO publication) as well as newspapers and inflight magazines. Marilyn has a degree in Latin American Studies and is often contracted by intercultural training services to give talks on expat challenges. www.mdiggs.com

The Gringoes Guide to Brazilian Folklore and Myths (Part 1)

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
March 5, 2016

Brazil is a country with a very rich folklore. Originally inhabited by hunter-gatherer tribes, the national mythology and folklore is still imbued with tales that have been passed down generation after generation from ancient times. When settlers came, the tales and myths of Europeans and Africans mingled with the native mythology to create a unique folklore that is ingrained in the culture of Brazil. As an introduction to Brazilian folklore, we have prepared this guide.

Saci Perer: Probably the most recognizable Brazilian myth, the Saci Perer has been depicted in countless movies, cartoons, comics and other forms of media. The Saci even has a national day, which is the 31st October. No one knows exactly the origins of the myth, but experts believe that it originated from the indigenous people of the south of the country, migrating later to the north. In the north, the myth of Saci was strongly shaped by African influences. Nowadays, he is depicted as a one-legged black boy that wears a red cap and is always smoking a pipe. According to legend, he rides around on dust devils and enjoys playing tricks such as letting animals loose, misplacing things and tying knots in manes and hairs. Supposedly, an offering of cachaa or tobacco pipe can stop his antics. Despite his liking for pranks, he is also said to be a connoisseur of forest herbs, and in some places it is said that one should ask the Saci for permission before collecting herbs. Folks also say that if the Saci decides to chase you, you can escape by crossing a stream, as water makes him lose his power.

Curupira: Another staple of Brazilian folklore, the Curupira is a mythical creature with European and West African influences. According to the legend, the Curupira is a red-haired dwarf with his feet turned backwards that inhabits the forests of Brazil. In most versions of the myth, he rides around on a pig and makes a high-pitched whistling sound, which can drive his victims to madness. He is said to be a guardian of the forest, preying on hunters that take more than what they need. He confuses his victims by placing traps and confusing them by leaving tracks with his backwards feet. Legend goes that if being chased by a Curupira, one should leave a tied knot in a vine, which will distract him. In some places, hunters asked the Curupira for permission before going out hunting.

Boto Cor-de-rosa: The Boto Cor-de rosa is a cetacean found in the Amazon river and known in english as the Amazon river dolphin. According to the folklore of the North of Brazil, the Boto has the power of transforming himself into an attractive human male. Legend says he joins the "Festa Junina" (June parties) disguised as a human male wearing a hat to hide the hole on top of his head. In this form, he is said to seduce and make love to women, disappearing into the waters when morning comes. This is why in some parts of Brazil people will call a child with no father a "child of the boto".

An Introduction to Brazilian Folk Sayings

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
March 5, 2016

Every country has its own sayings, which pass down from generation from generation. You never know where they come from, but you are always familiar with the ones from your country. Sayings say a lot about the culture from where they originate, and from the mindset of its inhabitants. Below, we have compiled and explained some traditional Brazilian sayings you might hear over here. They may not be unique to Brazil, but might have a Brazilian twist.

De cavalo dado no se olha os dentes (you don’t look at the teeth of a horse that is given to you): One of the most common Brazilian sayings, this one is about gratitude. You might hear someone reprimanding a person who complained about a present with this saying, or someone might say it in a resigned tone after receiving a bad present. In Brazil, gift giving is part of the local culture. Complaining about a gift however, is perceived as a rude behavior.

Ladro endinheirado no more enforcado (A rich thief is never hanged): Sadly, this one says a lot about Brazil. It is a criticism of the privileges and differentiated treatment that those with money receive here. All one needs to do to understand it is look at the news here, where rich people constantly get away with serious crimes while those less fortunate crowd our prisons.

Seja dono da sua boca para no ser escravo das suas palavras (Be the owner of your mouth so you don’t become the slave of your words): Those who don’t watch what they say might become compromised by what comes out of their mouths. This is a warning against those that fall prey to their own words.

<strong>Quando a cabea no pensa o corpo padece</strong> (When the head doesn’t think, the body withers): A warning against intellectual stagnation, which can be the cause of mental and physical decay.

Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga (God helps those who wake up early): Another very common saying, it is a praise of hard work and diligence.

A palavra de prata, o silencio de ouro (Words are made of silver, silence is made of gold): Words have their worth but not as much as silence, at least according to this saying.

A duvida o travesseiro do sabio (Doubt is the wise man’s pillow): A call for questioning things like the wise do.

A ocasio faz o ladro (The occasion makes the thief): According to this saying one does not do bad things because he was born bad, but because the circumstances have pushed him towards doing these things.

aguas passadas no movem moinhos (Waters from the past move no windmills): What is gone is gone, and cannot do anything for you anymore. This is all there is to it.

De grão em grão a galinha enche o papo (Grain by grain, the chicken fills its stomach):Little by little, one can accomplish great things. This is what is being expressed in these words.

dando que se recebe (It is by giving that you receive): A call against stinginess and for generosity.

Na pratica, a teoria outra (In practice, the theory is another): As this saying cleverly expresses, things may work in a different way than we think that they do.

Quem no tem co caa com gato (Those who don’t have a dog hunt with a cat): If you don’t have what you need to accomplish something, you can improvise and use something else.

Rico bebe para comemorar, o pobre para no chorar (The rich one drinks to celebrate, while the poor drinks so he doesn’t cry): In a country with such high inequality, the poor have it hard while the rich have it too easy. This situation finds expression in many sayings such as this one.

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com

12 Tips For Enjoying Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer February 6, 2016

So you have finally decided to go the legendary Carnival party in Rio and see what the hype is all about. I guarantee you will soon get caught up in the spirit of Carnival and fall in love with Brazil. But before you go, there are a few things you should be aware of. With this is mind, we have compiled some tips so you can enjoy the party to the fullest.

1. Learn some basic words and expressions in Portuguese. As most Brazilians don’t speak English, this will help you a lot with your communication. Also, Brazilians really appreciate when foreigners attempt to speak Portuguese, no matter how badly they do it.

2. Buy your flight in advance. There will be many tourists coming from all over the world to Rio, which causes flights to fill and prices to increase.

3. Book your hostel/hotel in advance as well, as it becomes harder and harder to find accommodation as the Carnival approaches.

4. If you want to watch Carnival, go to the Sambadrome. If you want to be in the thick of the action, take the party to the streets and keep an eye out for the “blocos”, which are foot parades where people dance through the streets to the beat played by a samba band on top of a truck.

5. If you go to the Sambadrome to watch the parade, the best views are from the ground level seats, the terrace seats, and the “camarote” if you are willing to pay a higher price.

6. Watch out for your safety. Don’t wear expensive jewelry and keep an eye out for pickpockets. It is also a good idea to wear a money belt or to keep some emergency money in your underwear or bra. If you are bringing a camera, keep it out of sight. Be aware of where you are going as well, as some areas are extremely unsafe for tourists. Also, avoid getting blackout drunk, as that will make you an easy target.

7. If you are a man looking to hook up with local girls, be respectful in your approach. There is a difference between being direct and being forceful, and you should not cross that line.

8. Banks close during Carnival, and cash machines often run dry. To avoid running out of money, keep a stash in the place where you are staying.

9. If you are hungry, “por kilo” restaurants are a good choice. In these restaurants, you fill up your plate from a buffet and pay according to the weight of your food. These places are cheap and the food is usually tasty.

10. If you are partying in the streets, keep your mobile phone and other electronics inside a plastic bag. Trucks will often spray water into partygoers to offer some relief from the heat.

11. Don’t forget to exchange your money. Although some shops and vendors accept dollars and euros for their products, they will charge you much more than if you use reais.

12. Prepare yourself for high temperatures and lots of sun. Bring sunscreen and don’t forget to drink water, especially if you are plan to drink alcohol.

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com.