Hire a guide
When I went to Rio, a Brazilian friend suggested I hire a guide for both safety reasons and ease of movement. He picked me up at the airport, drove me straight to the hotel and would come by to tour me around whenever I wanted to. I was thus able to visit the "favellas". the pao de acucar etc. with the luxury of a private guide. All of this for less than 10$ US per hour (car, gas, translation included).
Help the poor
Okay, you're so very fortunate! You get to travel around the globe, see everything you ever wanted to see, get to meet the nicest people, get to see the best views possible (my god Corcovado!), ...
Some people are less fortunate, and they can't always help it! I used to think that whoever is poor can always try to find a way out, but I'm afraid in Brasil that is not the case... My tip is to buy things from vendors on the street. Things that are safe to buy are:
- bus/metro tickets (good to see that public transport authorities also try to solve poverty)
- candy, such as chewing gum
- lottery tickets
Probably other stuff as well, but these were the ones I noticed. The people selling this are really bad off, and they deserve sth extra for once.
Of course you can buy counterfait stuff as well, such as CDs, CD ROMs, batteries, ... but I won't recommend that! (ahum)
I bought four A4 batteries from someone on the bus for R$ 1, thinking they were real Duracell(c) batteries, but they were Powercell; I put them in my walkman, played Red Hot Chili Peppers, and instead of "Standing in Line to see the show tonight, and there's a light on, heavy glow!" I heard "Standingggggggggggg" and they were gone :-) Okay, maybe they're not that good :-/ There are also other ways for people to get money in Rio. Sometimes someone steps on the bus, hands out candy with a small paper connected to it to everyone in the bus (friendly huh?) and then returns to get his reward. To my astonishment, a lot of people actually did give him money, sth that wouldn't happen in Belgium. People would just sit still and act like he wasn't there.
What I encountered: someone looking like he was covered in chalk (he was black) enters the bus, gives everyone candy with a piece of paper, which said that we should all believe in Christ or sth like that. He came round the bus, and I think almost everyone gave him something. And also ate the candy :-)
Another thing: at crossroads, small children in groups of 3 or 4 perform a juggling act, e.g. with balls, making a pyramid with each other, ...
In Brasilia: someone buys lottery tickets (a whole bunch of them) and then just sells them to others for a moderately higher price. This way the buyer feels good that s/he gave sth, and still gets an opportunity to win the big bucks!
RIO IN AUGUST
It is still our winter, and sometimes the city gets naturally foggy, it gives us a sense of mistery and Rio remains magic.
August 14th, 2005 When it is sunny, you can easily go to the beach, during the month of august we have the so called VERANICO, it is a little sample of the summer! :)
Beware of the "OK" Hand Gesture
Brazilians still get a kick out of Americans and other tourists, who use the thumb touching index finger gesture to make the all is "OK" sign. In Brazil, this simple gesture is the equivalent of giving someone the "finger" in the United States.
To signal everything is "OK" in Brazil, the universal "thumbs-up" signal is well used.
The signal comes in handy if you rent a car, because no matter how mad you might be at a passing motorist, they'll signal you the "thumbs-up" sign to show you that inspite of your feelings, everything is really AOK. Too bad this Carioca attitude cannot be imported into the United States.
1 Jan, New Year’s Day; 20 Jan, Rio’s Founding Day; 16 Feb, Carnaval (half of the city takes off 13-17Feb, though);2 Apr, Good Friday; 21 Apr, Tiradentes Day; 1 May, Labor Day; 3 Jun, Corpus Christi; 7 Sep, Independence Day; 12 Oct, Our Lady of Aparecida; 2Nov, Day of the Dead; 15 Nov, Republic’s Proclamation Day; 25 Dec, Christmas.