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Monday, August 24, 2009

Research Results

My research on the possible trip to Brazil leads me to suspect that they do not really speak a lot of English. Sure you can find people that speak English in the big fancy hotels and in the hot tourist areas. And I might stay mostly in these areas. The big cities can be very dangerous if you venture into the wrong area, so when in a big city Ill have to be careful.

But even in the safe areas of the big cities, the average person you meet on the street may not speak English. This could make ordering a beer somewhat difficult.

So I will need to learn some Portuguese. I am thinking Ill need to obtain a copy of Rosetta Stone. Maybe. That program is somewhat expensive. Maybe I can find someone who has a copy?

Anyone have a copy of Rosetta Stone Portuguese (Brazil)? Please note that Portugal Portuguese is not the same as Brazil Portuguese.

My research also indicates all I need to to to have a phone is obtain a SIM card for my phone. Supposedly, my phone is a "world band" model that can use any GSM network. I think I can also have it unlocked to work on a CDMA network. If I get a prepaid SIM card that allows for data access, my Google Maps will work - so the phone is also a GPS. Handy for finding your away around when you have no idea where the hell you are.

I will also need a travel visa. Brazil has a "you do it to us we do it to you" immigration policy. This means that as a US citizen, they charge me whatever the US charges a Brazilian citizen who wants to travel to the USA. In this case, that amounts to $130. The Brazilian Consulate will determine how long my visa is good for. It could be as short as 6 months, or as long as 5 years.

Further research also indicates that I should not really bring much with me. Lots of places suggest you pack really light, and shop for more clothes once you get there. Domestic clothing brands are really cheap and of good quality - but more importantly you do not like some idiot tourist. As easily as I can play "spot the old French Canadian" during the winter in Florida, people in Brazil can play "spot the gringo". So to as not draw any more attention to my dumb ass (Ill be the guy constantly using his phone GPS to find his way around, and ordering a cold beer like I just had 3/4 of my brain removed including 100% of the speech processing center), I should get some Brazil clothing.

This probably means a Speedo for the beach. I promise not to wear it when I get back, unless it turns out I look really good in a Speedo.

Oh yea - the beer! Brazil seems to have some decent beer. They have a lot of German style beers. They drink the stuff ice cold - as close to freezing as possible without the beer turning into ice.

I do not yet know the proper way to say "beer" in Brazil Portugese. I will need to do something about this.

Tipping for food service is accomplished by adding 10% to your bill. This is all the tip the locals will pay. It is not necessary to add any more.

One Brazillian Real = $0.546 US dollars. The best exchange rates can be found at the national bank. So Ill only exchange a little bit of money at the airport before I leave.

That is if I leave. I am still in the research phase. But really, the idea seems like a better and better one as time passes.

If I go, the trip will be in November. This is the "off" time and so airfare is generally cheaper than other times.


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