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living in Brazil
Old 01-07-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
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living in Brazil

braumeister, another of our group, has lived in Brazil for some time as has a friend who also lurks here.

Please tell us about Brazil.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:24 AM   #2
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Hello Ed,
I am living in Brazil for more than 10 years now, in São Paulo state. Now that is a good place for w*rking in Brazil but most likely not a place to retire.

There are tons of beautiful beaches all along the coastline of Brazil, usually with wonderful weather. The rule for basically everything in Brazil is: in São Paulo you can have everything you want: Restaurants, good hotels and roads, good hospitals, schools etc. Moving from SP to the north of Brazil it gets worse.
Of course the City of Rio de Janeiro also has reasonable infrastructure but not comparable with SP. The best tourist sports are further in the north of Brazil, in the states of Bahia, Pernambuco etc.

Pricing: Brazil is no low cost country anymore. Inflation of 6-10% every year and a very stable exchange rate had the cost of living at least doubled in the last 5-10 years. Actually lots of Brazilians spend their vacation in Florida because it is cheaper than some Brazilian vacation resorts, especially during local holiday season. Electronics and brand clothes are also much more expensive than in the US, so most people combine their vacation in the US with shopping trips.

Weather and people: What we love about Brazil is the weather and its people. Sunshine basically every day, I do not count the days but I would estimate like 300+ days of sunshine per year. Nice climate in SP state, hot days and usually it cools down in the evenings. People are very warm hearted. It took us some time to get used to all the hugging.

Just tell me what else you would like to know about and I can try and tell you more.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:30 AM   #3
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FIRE2016's summary was very good.
My knowledge is out of date, since it has been a long time since I lived there, but a few notes might be helpful.

First, I was being paid in US dollars, so the high inflation was only a nuisance, not a problem. That should also apply to retirees who have their portfolio or other income source in dollars.

Second, while the best beaches are definitely in the north, I am not a really hard-core beach person so occasional visits to places like Alagoas, Sergipe, Recife, or Fortaleza would be fine for me.

The two big states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro could be thought of as similar to Chicago and New York. They are almost totally identified by their respective huge cities, which have different lifestyles. The standard legend is that Paulistas w*rk their whole life in SP, then retire to Rio and become Cariocas for a more pleasant place to spend their money.

I also like Porto Alegre, the major city in the south, which is a very different climate and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Beyond the big cities, there are quite a few smaller ones that offer more than you might expect. For example, São José dos Campos is between SP and Rio, and is the home of Embraer, the center of the Brazilian aircraft industry.

You can find some very surprising places, too. The first one that comes to mind is a little town where I used to enjoy short vacations called Campos do Jordão, which is up in the hills between SP and Rio. The place seemed (or it did while i was there) like a Bavarian or Swiss village.

As FIRED2016 mentioned, you can find just about anything in the world in SP. For one simple example, a large Italian community offers a huge assortment of unbelievably great restaurants.

Also, as mentioned, the Brazilian people are the warmest, friendliest people I have ever met anywhere in the world. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Just a few comments, so as not to make this too long.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:12 AM   #4
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Thanks, guys! All good stuff.

Do either of you have any comments about Curitiba?
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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FIRE2016's summary was very good.
The two big states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro could be thought of as similar to Chicago and New York. They are almost totally identified by their respective huge cities, which have different lifestyles. The standard legend is that Paulistas w*rk their whole life in SP, then retire to Rio and become Cariocas for a more pleasant place to spend their money.
I lived in Brazil for a year, and often describe SP vs. Rio as New York vs. Miami.

Chicago vs. Miami would be just as apt.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Do either of you have any comments about Curitiba?
Sorry, that's a city I'm not at all familiar with.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:45 AM   #7
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As far as I know Curitiba it is a nice city, a little bit more European than the average Brazilian city.
They have nice restaurants, not too far to the beach, but too cold in winter time for my taste!

Unfortunately I cannot tell you more about Curitiba.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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Hi, I'm a brazilian and lived here my whole life. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #9
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Belo Horizonte is a very nice city a bit further North. I visited there for work. I visited Sao Paulo for work, and that city is way too big and crowded for me. Traffic in SP is pretty bad.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Never been other than flying over it to get to Uruguay and Argentina. I recall there were a ton (perhaps a Brazilian?) of Brazilians in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Apparently it is much cheaper to vacation there instead of in Brazil (I guess like Americans vacationing in Mexico). In fact I think I heard more Portuguese among the tourists in downtown Montevideo than Spanish.

So that may say something about relative cost of living in Brazil (if that was a primary motivator for going to a "developing" nation - low relative costs for USD holders).
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:19 PM   #11
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A colleague of a few years ago with a Brazilian wife told me that the best health insurance in Brazil was a plane ticket to Argentina.

I remember that medicines are inexpensive in Brazil due to the government denying patent protection for medicines.

Is health care in Brazil satisfactory? Is it evenly good? Evenly bad?
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:05 AM   #12
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Health care in the major cities in Brazil is excellent, as good as it is in NYC. For some treatment, even better.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:34 AM   #13
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Health care in the major cities in Brazil is excellent, as good as it is in NYC. For some treatment, even better.
Not to mention the fact that it's pretty much the world capital of cosmetic surgery, so you can look as good as you feel!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:58 AM   #14
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Any comments on Salvador? My son is going to Rio & Salvador. He is a drummer, loves Brazilian music particularly the sound from Salvador. He grew up in southern California and spent time in Chicago so I hoping he will be able to discern what areas of town to stay out of or do different rules apply in Brazil?
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:09 AM   #15
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Any comments on Salvador? My son is going to Rio & Salvador. He is a drummer, loves Brazilian music particularly the sound from Salvador. He grew up in southern California and spent time in Chicago so I hoping he will be able to discern what areas of town to stay out of or do different rules apply in Brazil?
That sounds like a lot of fun and can be a memorable trip for him. Bahia is a very nice area and good opportunity to do some local tourism, especially to see Colonial Brazil. Only time I ever got sick traveling was there, and it was entirely my own damn fault.

I've been to Rio more times than I can remember and came very close to moving there. It's not hard to avoid trouble but just as easy to find more than you can handle. Anyone visiting Rio needs to take care and not drink too much.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:12 AM   #16
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Salvador is great, very different from Rio, much more Afro-Brazilian. Your son will have a blast.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:31 PM   #17
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Any comments on Salvador? My son is going to Rio & Salvador. He is a drummer, loves Brazilian music particularly the sound from Salvador. He grew up in southern California and spent time in Chicago so I hoping he will be able to discern what areas of town to stay out of or do different rules apply in Brazil?
What a coincidence, I live in Salvador! I can say that music is the strong point of Salvador, what bands is he interested in? Axé, Pagode or something more like Timbalada, Ilê aiê, etc.?

Make sure he visits Pelourinho and Farol da Barra! I think every thursday there is a show of Timbalada at Pelourinho, the music is awesome and 40% of the attendance is foreign.

The city is very dangerous, however, more than Sao Paulo and even Rio. Stay away from the slums, don't walk in the streets after 8pm and he will (hopefully) be fine!

Sorry for the spelling mistakes, no time to review the post!
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #18
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Beside the music and the history, I would say another one of Salvador's nicest features is much more interesting food than you find in the south of Brazil. Actually, that whole section of the coast, all the way up to Recife had spicier, more flavorful seafood dishes than I found anywhere in Rio or points south.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:43 PM   #19
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Having travelled to Brazil and having married a Brazilian. I will give a few of my candid observations.
· Watch out for the shower heads, do not adjust while showering as they have 220volt wires on the shower head
· Not the best place to work and live- but if you were earning in dollars it would be a fairly decent deal
· Imports are extremely expensive- think an iPhone with a plan being upwards of $1000 USD
· Cars are double (at least) – only very well off people drive Honda Civics
· Major cost of living and lifestyle difference between different cities
· Friendliest most welcoming people anywhere
· Great food
· Health care in Brazil is satisfactory and affordable compared to here- the public health system in brazil is not satisfactory to most middle-class Brazilians
· Public high school is bad. Most middle class Brazilians strive to send their kids to private schools. Public college/university is highly desirable and often time years are taken off to study for placement exams to get into public colleges.
· Cosmetic surgery is more affordable and for the most higher quality than in the US
· If you do not speak Portuguese – be very very careful. My wife mother-in-law will not let me walk around alone- particularly in the NE cities, for fear if someone stops me on the street and says “Give me everything in your wallet or I will kill you” I won’t understand them… The cities in NE are the most beautiful some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but very dangerous
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:48 PM   #20
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Any comments on Salvador? My son is going to Rio & Salvador. He is a drummer, loves Brazilian music particularly the sound from Salvador. He grew up in southern California and spent time in Chicago so I hoping he will be able to discern what areas of town to stay out of or do different rules apply in Brazil?

Salvador is very dangerous....
Most Dangerous Cities In The World - Business Insider

Although I vacationed in the number 3 most dangerous city and had a great time. But I was with 3 native speakers. If your son is blonde-haired and blue-eyed he will need to excercise additional caution as he will clearly stand out. I would personally not feel safe walking around in any of the north-east cities in Brazil without a basic level of fluency in portuguese and strong understanding of the neighborhoods and areas of the cities. The proximity of slums to nice areas of the cities in Brazil can be very close.
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