We were looking a buying a car and had our eye on a Fiat Paleo. We thought we would like a four door with air conditioning, good motor, ABS brakes, air bags, electric windows - doors.
But... air conditioning is R$2,000 ($2,500 CDN), ABS is R$1,700, Air bags are R$1,000...
Everything is an extra. If you want electric windows they ask "Front or back?". Rear window defrost is extra, power steering is extra.
In the end we were looking at R$20,000 for a small car.
Then the interest! They said it's 3%. So I thought to myself "not too bad...", until they mentioned it's per month! I worked it out to be around 43% a year - ouch. Update: they just doubled the interest to 5% which is like 80% a year. I guess I'm taking the bus.
How is it to telecommute from Brazil? ISDN is popular here but expensive. ADSL is said to be on the way, but I won't hold my breath. Otherwise, the speed is about the same as it was at work (slow).
I remember when I was a kid going to Austria in the summer (my mother is from Austria). I always noted the little differences between Austria and Canada. You know, electric outlets, different cars, door handles, elevators. Things are just...different.
As you would expect, there are a lot of things different here as well. Like the electric outlets. These babies are never grounded and usually support two versions. The older two hole version and the two flat plug version.
The other funny thing is showers. With the ones in this house the water just falls on you from a great height. - I think it's because this house doesn't have a lot of pressure. Because Brazil has a lot of sun it's not uncommon for house to have solar hot water heating like this house has. Of course, this means that some days the water will scald you and other days the water is luke-warm. There's a supplemental electric hot water heater, but it's hardly ever turned on (it's manual).
This showerhead is scary because it has 220V wired to it. The water is heated instantly. I think the idea is not to have a hot water tank, if possible, which would heat up the house more than necessary.
Continuing in the bathroom is the toilet - - there's no visible tank. You just press a button on the wall. Kinda neat, but I wouldn't want to fix it when there's a problem. Bidets are common in Brazilian households.
Putting out the garbage involves putting it in one of these baskets on the street. Ostensibly to keep the dogs out of it. The city people pick up the garbage like four times a week!
Brazil is the worlds largest producer of coffee and the second largest consumer. I'm not sure how this can be when they drink out of cups this small! They even have tiny little spoons.
Brazilians like their beer cold. Often when I get a can of beer it's half frozen. In the picture below there's still half a can of beer left, but it won't come out. At parties they buy ice that has been made of salted water. Ice made with water just isn't cold enough!
That's it for now..