Wednesday, July 16, 2014, PM – Belo Horizonte
1 Brazilian Real = 45¢ US Dollar
The Real has beautiful detailed illustrations of wildlife and plants. I didn’t realize this Brazilian currency was only introduced in 1994.
Life is expensive in Brazil, with most prices just as high as in NYC (my current point of reference).
Here’s an interesting radio program on the recent history of money in Brazil. “The Lie That Saved Brazil” from NPR’s “This American Life”: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/423/the-invention-of-money?act=1#play
Pilar and I also have our very own, very local currency, JACA tickets, beautifully designed by Daniella Domingues. We can exchange these tickets, in denominations of 25 Reais, for food at one of four local restaurants. Our favorite, Bem Natural, is right downstairs from the apartment and the food is always fresh, healthy and delicious!
I like watching the city wake up from the wide open windows on the balcony in the morning. One particular morning I woke up extra early and trimmed my nails over the balcony. As I shook off the clippings out the window – all of my papers tucked into the pocket of my notebook went flying over the city.
I strained to see which papers they were – a flier for a Funk party danced its way 10 floors down to the ground and my immunization record and JACA tickets landed on the windowsill one floor below me. I could see the top of a man’s head also leaning out the window right where the tickets landed. I called out to him in my few words of Portuguese, “Hello, good morning!” and I could see him look around to the left and right trying to figure out where this voice was coming from.
If only I could communicate with him, he could simply reach his hand out the window, pick up the tickets and I could meet him downstairs and retrieve them. But instead he must have thought he was hearing voices because he quickly disappeared and my immunization card and JACA tickets blew off the window sill and flew further down to another roof below where there was some construction going on. I walked down all 10 flights of stairs to see if I could figure out how to access this ledge, and considered climbing out the bathroom window of the medical clinic but thought better of it figuring this would be even more difficult to explain. Luckily Daniella was able to print more JACA tickets and call the restaurants to invalidate the tickets with the orange stickers, just in case someone who found them figured out the system and tried to cash them in. Since then, I’ve found a safer place to keep my JACA tickets. Las cagadas que hace, Tamara. Oh well, the adventures of Tamara – even before 7:30AM!