Thursday, 29 September 2011

Banking in Brazil

*An update from our Bank Manager in HSBC Brazil

Global View limits are:

Per day: US$ 2.950,00
Per Month: US$ 15.000,00

Always choose American dollars currency because that's GV currency.
If you choose to do a wire transfer in R$, GV will exchange it into dollars twice and you will lose money this transaction. 

So for those of you who have opened a bank account in brazil you have bled the same sweat and tears... We spent the first 8 months here drawing cash from our HK account each day - max withdrawal of R1000 meant lots of pre-planning when rent day, Juliete's payday etc were all due. We couldn't even start to apply for an account until we had other paperwork in place (CPF, RNE, rental agreement)

We were already knew we we would be going with HSBC since we already have accounts in Hong Kong,  UK and US but it does you no favours (so much for being the World's Bank...... I'm about to take this comment back in few paragraphs).  The paperwork we had to endure - no different from your Visa, CPF, RNE, renting an apartment, renting a pousada, having a baby - was painful but we got it altogether and had been recommended a manager at HSBC here who spoke English.

We had been pre-warned that our first set of bank cards would go missing as the bank could ONLY send it to the residential address and the delivery had to be signed for but you would be given no forewarning of when it would arrive - it could arrive in 1 week, 1 month or 6 months. We asked the Bank Manager if we could change the delivery address to Tim's office but he said it was standard procedure - we would only be able to change it once the cards were sent back to them. So instead we got a note from our Bank Manager (the same one) saying the cards had been returned and would we like to pick them up from him or have them sent to another address. Super efficient huh!

But the reason why I still LOVE HSBC is for things like this - HSBC Global View. Again, as most of you know - bringing money into Brazil is a complete pain in the a**!! I believe you can bring in up to R15k every 2 weeks that will stay under the radar - any amounts larger than this would have to got through the mandatory banking system here, and who knows how long your money could be stuck. I think our last major transfer took about 6 weeks to come through and that wasn't including all the paperwork needed before.

Another side note on this money stuff here is how to write cheques in Brazil. I was given an example when I first arrived but thought I would never use so threw it away - cheques are so old school where I'm from - but here they are not! I've slowly been learning how to write cheques. 

1. No name needed - just the amount
2. Write the amount on top right with a hash symbol on eitherside, e.g. #R400.00#
3. If you are writing 'Um' as your first number put an 'H' infront so it reads as 'Hum' and no one can add a few other numbers..
4. Use a capital letter for your first number e.g. Quatrocentos, Cinco, etc
5. cross twice on top left so the person has to deposit it into their account and can't just cash it
6. Any other tips?

Bus to Guarulhos Airport

We just had one of my sister's friends from NZ staying who has been backpacking around South America and it was such a pain working out how she was going to get to the airport. Major international airports will usually have a few public options, which are not necessarily the most efficient, but certainly a cheaper option than taking a taxi into the city. Take the F train to JFK, the bus from Port Authority to Newark, the Heathrow express or the tube in London, and of course my beloved, super-efficient Airport Express in Hong Kong but in Sao Paulo there is no easy way to do this unless you want to spend R100 minimum on a taxi. Hello SP people - what are you planning on doing for the World Cup!!

We found a website about the airport bus but it seemed to be pretty useless as it just had a generic pick up point (i.e. Paulista/Augusta - but which corner?) and a mention of a hotel circuit - but which hotels?!? I really didn't want Steph wandering around at 5:30am trying to find the right corner or hotel!

Our favourite Brazilian family, from Boteca da Cesinah on our old Rua Delfina (who btw, got a cute write-up in Time Out Sao Paulo), told us that she could pick the bus up from the Renaissance Hotel on Al Santos, but it was to late for us to call the company to confirm; the Hotel was taking no responsibility. First bus was leaving at 5:50am so Tim woke up early this morning to drive Steph there.  I haven't heard from her since so I'm guessing she made her flight!! Safe travels Steph! x

*apparently there is also a free airport transfer from Guarulhos to Congonhas Airport which takes about an hour, and then you could take a taxi from there which would be a slightly cheaper than taking a taxi all the way from Guarulhos - but I guess only worth it if you have a few hours to spare, and feeling pretty perky after your long-haul flight here.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New English pub opening tonight!

Rua Tucambira, 163, Pinheiros

Friday, 23 September 2011


I grew up in Hong Kong. I like to shop... quite a bit. But Oscar Friere and the shopping malls just don't do it for me. Tim has bred in me, being the English-man that he is, how to take pleasure in scouring through antique and vintage shops.

I was forwarded an email inviting me to the sale of someone's entire house, run by Meredith Promoções. I wasnt' sure what to expect but it was walking distance and there are a few things we are looking for, like an old record player for all the records we buy in the markets but can't play! Unfortunately, that had gone but I did pick some random pieces - an old clock, radio, a sugar pot and an old English-Portuguese dictionary all for R40-. 

Next Friday there is a sale in Higienopolis - please leave the record player if you see it!!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Restaurant Week in Sao Paulo

Unfortunately we didn't get to try any of the restaurants this week but the bonus is that I know have a list of must-trys!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

On the Economist: Brazilian equivalents

The Economist has compared the GDP of Brazilian States with other countries; Sao Paulo's equivalent GDP per person is Poland! Note that the stats are taken from 2008 and I think that if they were to do the comparison now there would be some states showing significant differences.

Click here for the comparison.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Footage of Amazonian tribe!

First footage of one of the remote tribes living in the Amazon. Really amazing!!

More photos and information here

A Day at the Races with CIS - 17th September, Jockey Club

Some of the things I miss...

It's hard not to make comparisons when we are away from Brazil - things we love and things we hate. I was never the biggest fan of living in London but coming back always highlights all the things I do love about being here, much to the surprise of my husband.

Being in London has also been a good reality check. Sao Paulo is expensive but London still is!!

Old friends. It's so lovely catching up old friends - so many of them are as close to me as my own family and it is like coming home. After a day or even a few hours, it's like we haven't been apart. We have made fantastic friends in Sao Paulo and as it always in expat circles, you make those friendships strong and fast and share your deepest darkest secrets after your second or third week (nothing to do with pinga of course!). I just wish I could collect all my lovely friends up and put them all in the same city!

Shopping. I went a little crazy but to be fair, I don't do much shopping in Sao Paulo apart from the supermarket and have been really excited about some silly things like clingfilm in a box with a razor, cute kitchen shops, Peter Jones, Waitrose, Primark! We have 120kg to bring back so have a bit more shopping to do while we are in France though maybe some of that luggage allowance maybe taken up by some good old bottles of Sancerre.

Food. I love my rice and beans but I don't miss it like ... hmm, sausage rolls, frazzles, dairy milk, clotted cream and scones, chinese and thai takeaway... ok, basically junk food!

We are heading back to SP this weekend after being away for almost a month and looking forward to some warm weather, seeing all our NEW friends (and sadly, saying goodbye to some more) and having a pastel or 2!