segunda-feira, 17 de junho de 2013

Ai que bom! (How wonderful, how great. Yay!)

Here is another guest post by Ms. Gringa, full of useful advices. Hope you enjoy it!

Ahh, another post, another blister on my fingers. Add to this, I need to re-install my system, because unlike me, my computer can't relax, it has to have some fatal error.

Moving right along, though.

Hi my pretties, did you miss me? Of course you did. Ms. Gringa is unforgettable. (Now I have that song stuck in my head, thanks me!)

This post I thought I would go over some of the basics with you with regards to behavior  etiquette and people you will need when you visit office buildings, government institutions and so on in Brazil. This stuff will become important as you make you way through the country.

Firstly though, let me be clear about something. I am not trying to stereotype Brazilians. Never mind that Puxe in Portuguese means pull, and it is pronounced Push. Things here work, just in their own way. To illustrate this point I have made up the following super helpful pie charts to show you visually the differences between a Regular Brazilian, and a Brazilian Bureaucrat. Try to keep up now, my pretties. Ms. Gringa is late for her mid-morning caipirinha. (And her computer is making funny noises, so she needs to get busy.)

So here we have the Regular Brazilian:

And here we have the Brazilian Bureaucrat:

As you can see, it's simple but complicated.

The ratio of reinforced concrete versus falta, varies from place to place and depending on what or who you are dealing with, and in some cases, regular Brazilians have other components, such as TV Novellas, BBQ and driving motorbikes like lunatics.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yes...

Useful people to employ, know, become friends with and so on while you are in Brazil.

You will need eventually, depending on your level of involvement with the system: A lawyer, an accountant, a good motoboy (motorbike courier) company, a bartender, a bank manager, an insurance broker, a friend with a house at the beach and/ or country side, a good cafe, knowledge of where a good Alambique (cachaça distillery) is located and someone to take you there.

A doctor, a dentist, a friendly butcher, baker and candlestick maker would also help as well. What I mean is that make friends with the people who serve you and help you every day, they become useful allies and you won’t feel so lonely and in the end, the more you interact with the people here, the quicker you will learn the language.

You will not get very far by isolating yourself. You need to learn how to speak even rudimentary Portuguese to be in Brazil for any length of time or you are going to become lonely and will be too dependent on others to get your stuff done.

Other useful things include, a good and reliable photocopy shop, a place to get vitamins for when you are at the end of your rope. I don't mean vitamin supplements. If you are in Brazil as you are reading this, you know what I mean. If not, you will find out.

Good things to know about business and government buildings.

With any sort of business area, security guards will be reluctant to let you in if you are in shorts, are wearing flip-flops, or a tank top. Wear long pants, at least sandals, and a tee-shirt. If you’re a woman, a skirt or dress will do, but again some degree of modesty is expected or you might have problems. You will be asked almost without fail to provide biometric data on your entry into these business buildings and photo ID. Don't resist or complain, it is how it is. Deal with it. Seriously. No one cares if you complain, they simply will make it hard or impossible for you to proceed to where you are going.

In a government area, there is higher tolerance for shorts and sleeveless shirts, but try to be decent and do wear shoes of some sort, better safe than sorry. You will also spend a lot of time in government buildings, so make sure you are comfortable as well.

The sign saying, no cell phones is serious when it is displayed in these locations. It also means no computer, or smart phone usage either. At the very least you will be asked to stop, but you might be asked to leave and you will not increase your chances of having people be more cooperative with you in any case.

Do not even pretend to use your cell phone in any Bank in Brazil, but in Post Offices, no one will care if you make phone calls or anything else.

Also, remember being rude to a bureaucrat is against the law in Brazil. Simple like that. The level of cooperation and efficiency will go down in proportion to your impatience and irritation. If you want them to remain even somewhat cooperative, control yourself.

Remember my pretties, no one is really after you personally.

No one actually cares what you're doing or what you want. No one speaks English and no one is going to let you escape the rules However, a lawyer will know exactly how to bend the rules or find the shortcuts in them and a motoboy will stand in line for you within reason, so having the correct people around you will help. A lot. This will become more obvious as we proceed through the various institutions of Brazil, but for example when it comes to applying for visas, dealing with the Federal Police and so on, a lawyer becomes pretty much essential.

When in doubt, see the pie charts I have so helpfully made up for you in this post. Regular Brazilians are some of the loveliest people I have had the good fortune of getting unladylike with due to excessive laughter and cachaça.

On the caipirinha scale, the sum of the above only rates about a 2 most of the time. These regular day to day annoyances are just that; every day regular things.

Better to just learn to live with them, than to have an ulcer about it.

Next week we will be posting about some more exciting bureaucratic stuff, so stay tuned. Follow me on twitter, send me an e-mail, send the BLB a comment and stay chilled out.

Once more, yours in the spirit of cachaça,

Ms. Gringa da Silva

All rights reserved © 2012 by Ms. Gringa da Silva (

See other guest post by Ms. Gringa da Silva:

Xerox, Authenticated Copies, I need caipirinha, please.

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