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Guide for living and working in Brazil
A guide, information, advice and useful addresses to be able to leave well-informed.

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Geographical situation
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Other sectors
Weights, measures and voltages
Main towns


Working in South Africa
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Connections with France
Time differences
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in Johannesburg :

Usefull Addresses

City Ville Guide

18 - Transport
There are frequent flights between Paris and Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (6 times a week), Brazilia and Recife, Belem and Manaos.
Varig is a Brazilian company flying from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle to Rio at 10.20 pm every evening.
Some flights stop over in Rio (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) and others in Salvador (Thursdays). The flight lasts 11 hours.
Air France has five flights a week, three of which are direct to Rio and two stop over in Recife.

Other companies.
Tap Air Portugal, Iberia, Aerolineas, Argentinas.
There are no charter flights.

Internal transport :
As Brazil is such a vast country, most of the travelling is done by plane.
Also the train services are limited, there are less rails (only 30,000 kms) than roads.
Roads and highways covers over 1.5 million kms.
Not many people have cars, only one person in ten.

The main airline companies :
VASP, Transbrasil and Varig. T
here is a travel pass system of 5 flight vouchers for 440 dollars.
Airport taxes vary between 50 and 60 FF.

There are plenty of taxis and they are divided into two types, the first is reserved for business men (Executivos). Watch out for public transport, it takes lots of detours before arriving at the final destination. The underground network is rather limited.

There is a lot of maritime transport. Brazil has 35 major ports and deals with a global tonnage of 40% of all the Latin American cargo.


9 -Time differences

The time difference with France is -3 hours in winter and -5 hours in summer.

20 - Telecommunications

Telephone :

The telephone system works well.
The telephone booths look like big ears and work with cards that you can buy in newspaper kiosks and post offices.

How to phone Brazil from Europe :
Dial 00 55 followed by the indicative of the town and the number of your correspondent
(11 for Sao Paulo, 21 for Rio)

How to phone France from Brazil :
Dial 00 33 followed by the number of your correspondent.

Radio/Newspapers :

21 - Airports

There are 10 international airports in Brazil.
The international airport of Garulhos is 40 kms out of the centre of Sao Paulo.

22 - Car rental
Car rental Brzil, Car rental Rio de Janeiro, ..

23 - Hotels & restaurants
Aparthotel Brazil, Sao Paulo Hotels, Rio de Janeiro Hotels, Apparthotel

24 - Your suitcase

From December to April take summer clothes, preferably in cotton or linen with one or two sweaters for the airconditioning and a raincoat.
For May to November take more woollens and a jacket for the evenings.
If you are going to Brazilia, Sao Paulo and the south coast take light clothing with something to protect you in the cool evenings and from the winter wind.
If you are going to Amazonia take cotton clothing which is easy to look after and covers you completely to avoid mosquito bites. You will probably also need a light jacket in this part of Brazil.


25 - Banks

Nine French banks are established in Rio de Janeiro.
The bank agencies are open from 10 am to 4 pm.
To withdraw money it is better to go the the bigger Banco do Brazil agencies.
They are the only ones, with the Banco National, able to do major operations.

Banco BNP Brasil S.A.
Rua Joaquim Floriano - 14° andar
04534-000-Sao Paulo (SP) - Brazil
Tel. : (55 11) 3048 90 00 - Fax (55 11) 3048 91 91
Telex : 31938 BNPR BR - Swift : BNPA BR SP
Swift : BNPA BR SP 

BNP Agency of Sao Paulo
Rua Joaquim Floriano - 14° andar
04534-000-Sao Paulo (SP)
Tel : (55 11) 820 6320 - Fax (55 11) 822 6493

Schools & Schooling
Follow International School

27 - Guides

Collection Un marché : Brazil
A general view of the Brazilian economy, of the market approach, trading and practical advice. CFCE.41003 - 1994 - 199 pages, 120 frs.

Brazil : List of companies and products. Kompass. 76684 - 2 volumes - Annual - 1835 frs.

Conditions of access to Brazil. Note PEE (the Trade Commission) Brasilia. E34236/94X - 1994 - 55 pages, 345 frs.

Foreign investment in Brazil. Note PEE Rio Brasilia. E37738/94X - 1994 - 21 pages, 345 frs. (all these documents are in French)

28 - Observations

The standard of living :

75% of households have running water, 88% have electricity and 73% have mains drainage.
Child mortality is four times higher than the average in industrialized countries, 56 for 1000.
Literacy is progressing, the rate is 84% nowadays.

The basic local diet is black beans and rice.
A European in Brazil can continue to eat as he is accustomed, but the quality of the food is usually not so good and it is very expensive.
Some things like French cheeses cannot be found.

Price of a restaurant : 160 to 320 FF
Price of a good quality hotel : 1 300 à 1 800 FF
Taxi airport -town centre (Sao Paulo) : 300 FF
Cinema seat : 55 FF

A bachelor needs 8,000 to 12,000 FF a month to live and a couple with two children will spend from
12,000 to 20,000 FF a month.

Salaries vary enormously from one region to another and are much higher in the Sao Paulo region.
On average a manager earns over 30,000 FF,a senior engineer about 10,500 FF,a commercial salesman about
6,000 FF and a bilingual secretary about 7,000 FF.

It is not difficult to find accomodation whether it is a flat or a house, but the prices are constantly going up. For instance a simple 3 room flat in San Paulo costs 8,000 - 10,000 FF a month, in the best districts you have to count about 4,000$ a month for 200 m2 with 3 bedrooms.
Watch out for the extra charges like caretaker, cleaning, water, garage etc which are extremely high.

It is difficult to get a French car repaired in Brazil because there are no French cars sold there.
There are however the same models as sold in France for Volkwagen, Fiat, Ford and Chevrolet.

Only private clubs offer sporting facilities (academias), the alternative is to jog in the parks in the main towns.

If you are an art lover there is a very dynamic cultural life in Brazil. Most of the bigger towns have their museums, their cultural centres and their temporary exhibitions.
In Sao Paulo, for instance, apart from the International Biennial of Plastic Arts there is also 90 theatres and 120 cinemas.

Practical recommendations :
If you live in Brazil don't make long term projects, in Brazil life is lived day by day, and you have to learn to be free the way the Brazilians are.

Don't be offended if you are called by your first name (with your university title to show respect), in Brazil it is normal to be quickly on first name basis.

It is advisable to be discreet about your wealth, don't flash it around, there is a certain amount of criminality and people are obsessed with security.
Don't forget to keep 36 dollars for the airport tax for your return flight.

29 - Tourism Public Holidays

1st January

New Year's Day

20th January

São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro

15th February


16th February


17th February

Carnival (only in the morning)

2nd April

Good Friday

2st April


1st May

Labour Day

8th May

Victory Day 1945

3rd June

Corpus Christi

14th July

French National Day

7th September

Brazilian Independence Day

12th October

Nossa Senhora Aparecida

2nd November

Finados (Day of the Dead)

11th November

Armistice 1918

15th November

Proclamação da República

25th December

Christmas Day

The name Brazil comes from Pau Brasil, which is a red wood.
Brazil is a tourist heaven, you can find everything in this magnificent country : nature, carnival, exoticism in its art and culture.
With 800 kms of beaches, rivers, waterfalls and forests Brazil presents us with a colourful picture of paradise.
But under its tropical skies, splendid riches are mixed with the deepest poverty.
In Rio the sea is cold and dangerous, it is safer to swim in the hotel pool.
However in Sao Paulo the nearest coast line has wonderful beaches and at only 2 hours out of town you can find secluded ones.
Among its many cultural rites, you will discover Brazilian dances, particularly the Capoeira in Salvador (Bahia) and over a dozen folklore dances.
Also music, theatre and carnival where spring is welcomed to the sound of sambas, bossa-nova and cariocas.

The Carnival of Rio :

It started off as a little "stupid and naughty" game, called l'entrudo, imported by the Portuguese, where the aim was to throw a mixture of flour, vinegar and wine on passers by.
In the 19th century the game became a festival with streamers and confetti, and music with the legendary drums of Zé Pereira.
The Carnival as we know it today, only took its true dimension when the first samba schools opened up in 1929 in the Estacio district.
Over the years it has continued to grow, becoming a myth.

Day and night, for 72 hours, the main street overflows with a continual stream of masks and costumes, competing with each other in extravagance and creative genius.
Each 'tribe' has its batucada, its samba group. In the evenings everyone goes to the balls, only leaving at dawn.
Until Ash Wednesday, the last day of the carnival, the town lives at the rythme of this extraordinary festival where all the superstitions in the world have been mixed.

February is mid-summer, and temperatures vary between 30 and 35°, sometimes going up to 40°, but the sea breeze makes the heat bearable.

Not to be missed in Rio : a visit to Santa Teresa, an old Portuguese colony district, with its wheezy yellow trams.
A walk along the legendary overcrowded beach of Copacabana, the meeting place of every Carioca (as the inhabitants of Rio are known).

In Brazil you can

- go up the Sugar Loaf in the cable car and look out over the panorama of the beaches of Copacabana and Flamenco
- take a trip to Buzios, 130 kms north of Rio, it will take you several days to visit all of its 80 beaches
- cross the forest of Tijuca by train, it is the biggest urban tropical forest in the world, passing via the Taunay waterfall and finishing at the summit of Corcotado overlooking the bay of Guanabara
- if you are a football fan go to a match, if possible in the Macarana which is the biggest football stadium in the world (170,000 seats)
- go on a cruise on the Amazon
- take a dugout canoe ride on the Rio Negro
- visit a gold mine
- hunt or fish
- go on a photo safari in the forest and discover the monkeys, pumas, toucans, pink flamingoes, jaguars and lots of other animals.
The Amazonian fauna and the flora is really unforgettable.


You can admire or buy precious and semi-precious stones : aquamarines, saphires or emeralds
Silverware, leather and fossilized wood and other artisan work is also available.
Records : "Patrulha do samba", Oasis
"Harmonia do samba", Abril
"Swing tropical" Daniela Mercury


You can't leave Brazil without having gone to a carnival show evening in a samba school or spent an evening at the opera in Rio.


Brazilian cooking is very spicy. You will find a lot of tropical fruit, fish, lobsters, shrimps ...
- Mineira is a dish made of beans and rice, cabbage and thin slices of beef
- Muqueca de Peixe is a speciality made of garlic, onions, tomatoes and coriander over fish and shrimps. The end of the cooking is done in coconut milk.
- the Brazilian national dish, Feyoada, is made of beans with the feet, tail and ears of salted pork, sausages and smoked pork brisket, beef, garlic, onions and olive oil and it is eaten with boiled rice.
- Churrasco is an assortment of grilled meat
- Sarapatel is a mutton and pork stew with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

- Brazil makes its own rum, called Ccchaça
- A guarana is a sparkling drink of Amazonian fruit juice
- a maté or matche is an infusion of maté herbs, a drink of Indian origin

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