terça-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2013

Xerox, Authenticated Copies, I need caipirinha, please.

Here is another guest post by Ms. Gringa da Silva.

It is funny, but also carries a lot of truth and street smart advice.


Hello my pretties,

How was your first week in Brazil? Did you miss me? Have you clogged a toilet yet? (You know, that little basket beside the toilet is not a hint, it is a strongly worded suggestion, sort of like those letters the UN writes to the naughty countries? So put your paper in the basket and live a happy and clog free life. Gringa has clogged toilets twice so far.. but who's counting?)

Getting over jet-lag and dealing with trying to cross the road in a major city in Brazil can be trying enough, but chances are that if you are here for business or some official reason, versus simply backpacking (we will get to teaching English as a scruffy, unwashed foreign student taking a gap-year later) you are going to have to start dealing with the various steps needed to do that official business stuff here.

All of the steps will include bureaucracy.

In Brazil, the Religion may be football, but The King is paperwork and absolutely all of it has to be done correctly, lest you are looking to hear: Falta! (we covered this word last week, my dears.. do try to keep up)

Enter, Authenticated Copies. (drum roll please)

This does not mean that you go to some random photo copier and sit on it and take that obligatory copy of your authentic and real-life derriere (your mother is so proud whenever you do that) this means that you need to find a Cartório, and deal with bored bureaucrats to whom you are not allowed to be rude. (Example of how to behave in a bureaucratic location in Brazil: http://youtu.be/2NKY_-u6AmA?t=58s)

I can hear you asking: But why would I be rude, I am a polite person! My mother taught me not to burp in public and to wash behind my ears!

Just you wait, my pretty. We are still very low on the caipirinha scale...

An Authenticated Copy, means that you will get a copy of whatever document you need copied certified as an Authentic Copy. Clear as mud, yes? Bring cash, your patience and be prepared to be annoyed and confused.

You will enter the Cartório, need to find the correct Senha from the relevant machine or person (a number that will allocate your position in the line - remembering of course that no one who works in these locations speaks English) and have to sit on 'comfy chairs' (http://youtu.be/XnS49c9KZw8?t=1m26s) and have to pay attention while you wait for the word, Próximo (next) to be called out in a low voice, indistinctly over lots of background noise.

Alternately, it is possible that your specific number will be displayed along with a noise that is about as soothing as fingernails on a blackboard on some LED panel somewhere that will point you to a specific bureaucrat to go to.. assuming of course that the bureaucrats are numbered, biensûr.

No one will be clear about what you need to do next.

It is good to remember that using cell phones is not allowed in these locations and the bureaucrat won't speak to anyone on the phone anyway, so don't bother calling for help.

Basically, you need to hand over your document(s) and you will be handed a number, which will then be called out later after which you will pick up your documents, the Authenticated Copies and will be required to pay in cash for the service.

The copies can cost a fair deal of money, especially if you have many to do, but it will vary by location. Make sure you have enough small bills and large bills to pay the fees.

These places are not reliable enough to leave your documents at while you run to get cash and they will not return either the originals or the copies until you have paid.


If you don't know what to ask for, have a Brazilian write it down.
Bring enough cash.
Expect large lines, inefficient and/ or confusing service and short and nasty opening hours and to have your time wasted.
Exactly no one cares who you are or what you want or if you are in a hurry; they only care that you do not inconvenience them and don't bother them.
Don't be rude. It is an offence punishable by arrest without bail.
Be pragmatic. There is no escaping this procedure if it is required. Brazilians live this stuff every day. You as a foreigner are just starting to put up with it. Deal with it.


On the caipirinha scale, this experience only rates a 1, my dears. Well, perhaps a 1.5 in which case you might as well upgrade to a full 2. With caipirinha, you always upgrade!

Until next week, yours in the spirit of cachaça,

Ms. Gringa da Silva

All rights reserved © 2012 by Ms. Gringa da Silva (http://msgringadasilva.orgfree.com/)

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