As you can see from the other blogs in the group, we have been working on our projects and have been going to wonderous places of Brasil. What is missing is how to survive in Brasil. So I am dedicating this entry to the Rio de Janiero Niteroi Brasil Survival Guide.
STEP 1 What to bring:
There are many things I wish I had and there are things that I brought that are essential. In the following paragraphs will be a list of items that you should definately pack.
The first thing you should bring especially visiting Brasil in July is a hoody and a light jacket. Remember that Brasil is in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that the seasons are opposite and the water really does flow in the opposite direction. So this is a definite item that will be needed. It is always good to bring it to handle the gentile breeze.
A good flashlight is definately needed. It gets dark around 5-6PM which leaves a lot of activities done at night, due to the danger that often comes with Brasil, a good flashlight will help you in many ways. The traffic is also pretty crazy around here and this will help keep you safe.
I really wish I remembered to pack speakers. How can you have a proper dance-off with your fellow PIRE researchers if you dont have a kicking sound system to get everything moving. Luckily another PIRE researcher remembered this golden piece of electronics.
Wireless router for the broadband internet is definately needed to share connectivity with many devices. Especially if you live with others. Make sure it can do 802.11g or better. I would suggest doing WPA encryption with MAC address filtering. There are tons of AP's that are running WEP that were easily cracked. This allowed us to gain access temporarily but not to any bandwidth that was usable.
I cannot stress the importance of bringing your own towels. Bring more than one too. They go fast and the more you have the longer you can survive between laundry. Make sure you have several sizes too. Make sure you also have a beach towel, even though it is winter here, the beach is still alive and a great place to go.
The phones here all run off of simm chips. If you have the ability to unlock a phone that takes a simm chip then you are all set, sort of. Due to criminals usage of prepaid phones, they must register any and all simm chips with a real live breathing Brasilian, so you need to convince a Brasilian to let you use his ID to purchase a phone chip. The prepaid cell phone simms are the best route, but there are drawbacks. The phone company works in different ways, any incoming call is free for you. Unfortunately any call you make, you pay for which happens to be REALLY EXPENSIVE. In the USA we talk until we practically see each other, down here in Brasil you see the briefest phone conversations on the planet.
The importance of a good bank account is another thing that you cannot leave Miami with. We all went to Citibank and opened an account that will not charge extra fees when we widthdrawl money from our accounts. Bank of America was charging $4 for every transaction and 6% of any widthdrawls. Exchanging money at the airport wasnt much help either. The best solution we did was to open up the accounts with Citibank. I am not trying to endorse Citibank here so go to several banks and talk to them about your situation and see what they can offer you.
OK GO NOW AND CREATE A SKYPE ACCOUNT!!! OK now pay for a Skype-Out number. We have all been using my Skype-Out number and my portable wifi Skype phone. Give us a call at 313-769-2900. This service only costs $7-$10 a month and gives you unlimmited calling in the USA. HOW CAN YOU BEAT THAT. You know what? I am going to call mom and dad now.