One of the first things I needed to immediately do convert my American dollars to Brazilian reais . I stayed at the Tupiniquim Hostel in Botafogo and I exchanged my money there directly at the hostel. I remmeber the exchange rate being fairly decent. For example, apx 198 USD was equal to apx 305 Reais (as of 2008 it was). If you're staying at a hostel or even a hotel, see if they can do a currency exchange for you. You might even get a better rate.
On 1st January 1502,the Guanabara Bay was found.As the Portuguese mistook the bay for the mouth of a large river,they named it "Rio
De Janeiro",or January River,if translated literally.
When people realized it was not a river,but a bay,it was renamed as Guanabara Bay!
The city was created in on 1st march,1565,by Estacio De Sa,Mem De Sa nephew,who was Brazil's third general Governor,and the one responsable for expelling the French from Rio on 20th january, 1567.
It was also the day catholics celebrated Sain Sebastian Day,than he became the patron of Rio De Janeiro.
The city was built close to the Sugar Loaf,and after the Frenchs gone,Mem De Sa decided to remove the city from there,in order to better protect it from invaders.
The city was the second capital of Brazil(the first was Salvador),until 1960,when Brasilia was created and Rio ceased to be the capital.
Rio remained the largest city in Brazil and also an important economic center for a long time,loosing its position to Sao Paulo.
During the 18th,it was the main trade center for gold and diamonds from Minas Gerais.
Later,its status as the Nationa Capital and as the royal residence of the Portuguese Monarch Dom Joao VI,influenced Rio's continued growth!
How to join the Rio Carnival Parade.
Give yourself some nine months preparation prior to the event. Some schools require a few days or few weeks at least prior to the parade. Note the carnival sked falls in the month of February.
Secure a list of samba schools from the nearest Brazilian consulate or refer to the following Samba Schools - Address List.
Be aware of each school's rehearsal schedule, the frequency and the location of the school. Some samba schools rehearse in various favela districts (slums) which are not advisable for non-locals or tourists. Always be accompanied by a local guide. Never be by yourself.
Samba schools prepare early or immediately after each carnival finishes. Others start in July once or twice a week. Each school specifically mentions the sked for rehearsals and training way in advance in preparation for the next carnival.
Inquire about the package deals from each school. Oftentimes a contact with a native Brazilian who joins the parade will be the easy route as they can assist you to join without further delay.
Certain samba schools will assign last-minute participants at the tail-end of their parade. You see them with different costumes not necessarily in sync with the theme colors and pageantry of the real samba students. Others will require specific costumes you have to provide your measurements way in advance. Other samba schools charges Brazilian $200 just for participation, i.e. you secure your own costume by buying ready made ones or designing one for yourself. Rates for participation varies from school to school.
Some tourists book participation with their local travel agent. Brazilian consulate offers the list of these travel agents.
Samba schools are judged on different points. Costumes that fall easily or floats that malfunction and ground due to technical problems can be costly with big points deducted from the total score.
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Our commentary is in digest form due to space limitations. More details and the Samba schools address list are located at:
Abraços & Beijos
It is not uncommon for a Brazilian to sign their letters or e-mails (even at work!) with kisses or hugs. They will also say this when getting off of the phone. When talking to a woman, they will say kisses. When talking to a man, they will say hugs. Yes, Brazilian men say 'hugs' to other men...it was a new concept for me, especially in a work setting. And as you probably know, people greet each other with kisses, one on each cheek.
RIO IS A BIG CITY
When you go to the top of Corcovado Hill you really notice how huge is Rio de Janeiro, jsut in the urban area we are more than 6 million people, in that picture you can see the districts of Ipanema, Copacabana and Botafogo. Just in Copacabana we are ONE MILLION PEOPLE.
But you will have 6 million chances to be treaten like a king. You should come to Rio and do not be afraid!;)
May 14th, 2005