USA's World Cup Travel Advisory offends Brazilians..... well too bad!!

The Brazilian government has taken offense to the USA's Travel Advisory for US citizens who will be coming to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

CDC Advisory for World Cup

Well, as someone who has lived here in Brazil for almost 13 years now I really have to say... suck it up guys! While you crybabies say the US warning is exaggerated and you get all bent out of shape over it, I would say that it's a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT of things here.

For everybody coming to the 2014 World Cup I would suggest that not only do you follow ALL of the recommendations in the CDC advisory, but also the safety tips below which is an excerpt from my Gringo's Survival Guide to Brazil:


Learn and use only the Portuguese language in public... you will not stand out that way. Some people see foreigners either as hated invaders while others see them as easy marks. In most places if you speak Portuguese you will generally not get quoted the higher (exploitative) prices everyone here has for foreign tourists,

Dress down / Dress Brazilian - shorts (baggies), sandals or flip-flops, T-shirts, tank tops, etc. are the ORDER OF THE DAY here. Do not wear expensive watches or other jewelry; don't carry expensive cameras out in the open.

Get to know the city you will be living in, find out what areas you can frequent in safety any time day or night (these still exist) and which areas to avoid at night unless you are part of a group. Favelas, generally speaking gringos are not too welcome in nor would they venture into favelas unless they are accompanied by a Brazilian who either resides in, or has family in, the favela. If you do go into a favela NEVER TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH IN PUBLIC, this could be extremely dangerous.

Avoid walking alone. Be it day or night you are always much safer if you are accompanied by others. You should avoid going out alone at night at all costs.

Try always to walk on the left side of the street.  Walk on the side of the street closest to oncoming traffic, not with your back to it. This affords you clear vision traffic movement and anything that might be suspicious. Remember that the vast majority of crimes are committed by those on motorcycles, so steer clear of motorcycles as much as possible. If one stops or slows down near you move quickly to a place of safety. It may be that a person is just looking for directions but you cannot afford to take that chance.

Backpacks/Wallets - When in public crowded areas especially, turn your backpack around so that it is on your chest. Street thieves can open your backpack and remove its contents without you ever knowing it if you keep it on your back. Wallets should not be carried in the hip pocket of your pants for the same reason, if at all possible carry it in the front pocket or use a moneybelt. I have seen some interesting money pouches that look like a shoulder holster and are made to be worn under your shirt. If you  have no other option than to carry your wallet in your hip pocket tightly wrap several large elastic bands around it, this will make it almost impossible for a pickpocket to remove it. You also may want to carry a "dummy wallet", one that contains copies of documents and a very small amount of cash, if someone wants to try and rob you turn over the "dummy" immediately and never resist. (Please try not to laugh too hard as the thief runs off with a couple of Brazilan Reais and a bunch of photocopies).

Money - carry only as much money with you as you will need for what you plan doing, never carry large amounts of cash. Never take your wallet out and count your money in public, which is inviting trouble. If you are making a purchase have a bit more that you anticipate the price in your pocket, use that to pay for the purchase. Separate the cash you do carry, some in your wallet, some in your pocket, some inside your sock, etc. For large transactions/purchases use cash transfers, ATM or online deposits to the individual's account or banker'a checks (cheque administrativo). NEVER CARRY LARGE SUMS OF CASH IN PUBLIC. If you need to make large cash withdrawls at a bank do not use the ATM, go to the manager, explain the situation and arrange to have the money counted out and turned over to you either in a private area or at the very least in a plain envelope so not to attract attention.

ATM transactions and credit/debit card transactions - NEVER use an ATM in an isolated area at night, if you need to make an ATM withdrawal at night look for a machine in a busy location such as a major gas station/convenience store. Avoid using ATMs in bank branches after normal banking hours and on weekends when organized groups of criminals tend to practice their frauds. During banking hours on weekdays most ATM transactions are safe, but you must take certain precautions. When you are keying in your PIN code ALWAYS hide the numbers you are entering (using your other hand), many machines have fake fronts installed that skim the magnetic info on your card when you put it in the card slot and a micro-camera positioned to see the keys you press when entering your PIN. If the ATM looks at all unusual or has anything you don't like the look of DON'T USE IT. Make sure there is nobody hanging around either outside or inside the bank watching those making transactions. When paying for anything by credit card, never let the card out of your sight. If a waiter or service station attendant has to swipe your card for the transaction and doesn't have a portable/wireless terminal then go with him or her to process the transaction. There are card readers that record your information and your card gets cloned. If the transaction is on the old paper forms, make sure to ask for the carbon paper and not leave it behind for somebody to read. If you are using an ATM at a bank branch and have the time it is always best to observe for a while first. Make sure there is nobody hanging around outside the bank or in the area around the ATMs. If there is somebody just hanging around in the lobby area and not actually waiting to use one of the machines he/she could be a spotter for somebody on the outside waiting to rob someone who withdraws a large amount of cash. Don't take any chances, in this case I would recommend finding an ATM in some other location. If someone seems really suspicious don't be afraid to call the police in order to have the individual checked out.

Documents - make certified copies (at any Cartório) of all your important documents, passport, visa, birth certificate, etc. and carry only the certified copies around with you... your CPF or RNE and if you drive here in Brazil your license are about the only original documents you will need to carry with you. I have lived here for ten years now and never had any problems relating to using copies of documents. Remember that a lost or stolen passport can be a real big problem so leave it in a safe place. You may get hassled by an airline using a certified copy of your passport for national flights, like I was once, but you are only required to produce the original if you are flying internationally. Dont let them b___ s_____ you into thinking otherwise. Any form of inter-city or interstate transportation requires that you produce ID, the law does not specify that it must be original, therefore a certified copy is acceptable. When I threatened to call the police in order to register a complaint which I would follow up with a claim against the airline for damages if I missed my plane, the certified copy of my passport suddenly became worth its weight in gold and I was allowed to board my flight without any further hassles.

REMEMBER ONE CARDINAL RULE - NOTHING THAT YOU OWN IS MORE VALUABLE THAN YOUR LIFE AND HEALTH. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being face-to-face with someone intent on robbing you do not react in any way. Comply immediately with whatever demand is made without any resistance or delay. Remain calm, talk in a calm manner and do not make any quick moves. Obviously this supposes you speak at least some Portuguese, but keep your hands in plain view and explain to the robber exactly what you are going to do before you do it... example: Ok, I'm going to reach into my back pocket and slowly take out my wallet. Remember that the robber will probably be even more nerveous than you are, you have to take control of the situation as best you can by remaining calm and making absolutely no noise or acting in any way that will startle or anger the robber. Lots of people are injured or killed because they delayed in doing what a thief wanted or because the made some sudden move which frightened or startled the robber. Don't make that mistake yourself.

Dating and Sex in Brazil - Finding your "significant other" or just casual dating is not the problem here in Brazil. In fact, the only way you will not hook up with somebody is IF YOU DON'T WANT TO. The problem is to find the right people to date. While you are spending lots of money everybody loves you. I rarely drink and never go to bars, but it stands to reason that one would tend to meet a better class of people at church than in a bar. So think about where you meet a person and not just the person before you enter into any kind of relationship. Casual sex is something that is common in Brazil, especially between Brazilians and foreign tourists during Carnaval. Here it is even called "Amor de Carnaval" (summer love). Just remember, NEVER HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX WITH ANYONE. I don't know about your moral beliefs, but speaking for myself when I entered into a long-term exclusive relationship I went and had HIV and STD tests, I then gave the printout of the test results to my partner. Having done this I also had no problem in asking for the same consideration. It is important to note that having sexual relations with anyone under the age of 18 years is a serious crime in Brazil, regardless of the circumstances. Prostitution is common place and it is especially important in tourist destinations on the coast not to become involved with anyone under the age of majority for two simple reasons - first the minor is immune from any criminal proceedings and may turn around and threaten to call the police in order to extort money out of you, and secondly if you get caught in a sweep or for any other reason you go straight to jail without passing GO while the minor gets a pat on the head and walks out the door. I've lived here in Brazil long enough to see that not all of those involved in juvenile prostitution have been forced into the life. Many enter the lifestyle by choice or because of lack of education/opportunity or financial need. I have lived in a number of tourist destinations and have seen this with my own eyes, unfortunately. This is the sad reality of Brazil and unfortunately "sexual tourism" is a constantly growing problem. If you are approached by someone who looks obviously too young it is much better to keep your distance and not take stupid chances.

Swimming - In addition to the CDC warning not to swim in freshwater rivers and lakes, that you should be extremely careful about the costal beaches in most locations in Brazil. Especially in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Bahia where most beaches are regularly too polluted for swimming. You should check daily pollution index reports before venturing into the water anywhere in Brazil since sewage treatment is almost unheard of in this country and raw sewage is piped directly into most rivers and into the ocean. In most cases just let your nose be your guide! If you don't like the smell, don't go in the water! You'll be much safer that way.

Warning to GLBT Community - Please note that there have been ongoing unprovoked attacks in the area of Rua Augusta in downtown São Paulo. These attacks have been motivated by homophobia and are directed randomly at anyone even remotely perceived to be a member of the GLBT community. While the Military Police will take a complaint about such attacks it really appears that taking any kind of concrete measures to prevent them simply IS NOT on their agenda nor is it a priority with them. Since these attacks generally take place in the late evening and early morning hours (around closing time of the local bars) one should avoid being on the streets during these times. If you do go out bar hopping at night you should call a taxi to take you back to where you are staying and do not leave the premises until the taxi arrives.

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

I have already received many travel warning about travel to Brazil during the World Cup. Rumor has it, TSA will be posting warnings at security checkpoints about travel to Brazil starting June 5.

I also think that those that protest are setting themselves up for disaster as the police will definitely be exercising their military authority and those that speak out will be silenced by any means necessary. A massive protest is already planned in Manaus right in front of the WC stadium the day the games open. What a great way to welcome foreigners to their country.

It's a very sad commentary on the situation here in Brazil when the world has so little faith in the governmen't ability to protect people from crime that the Japanese television media has to "teach" their viewers how to SURVIVE robberies while they're here in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The video is not translated to English, but really doesn't need to be because it speaks for itself. I don't know whether it makes me want to laugh or to cry!


William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Don't bring your tablets, iPads, notebooks or netbooks to the World Cup

There is a whole host of items that you are prohibited from bringing into the 2014 FIFA World Cup stadiums, among them horns/noise makers, video cameras, any kind of personal computer devices capable of capturing images (still or video) and broadcasting images or game results and putting them out over the internet or any other means of communications, so don't even think of trying.

Here's link to a .PDF file of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Code of Conduct. Paragraph 4 lists all prohibited items and it is quite extensive indeed.

Stadium Code of Conduct - 2014 FIFA World Cup

wjwoodward :

Don't bring your tablets, iPads, notebooks or netbooks to the World Cup

There is a whole host of items that you are prohibited from bringing into the 2014 FIFA World Cup stadiums, among them horns/noise makers, video cameras, any kind of personal computer devices capable of capturing images (still or video) and broadcasting images or game results and putting them out over the internet or any other means of communications, so don't even think of trying.

Here's link to a .PDF file of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Code of Conduct. Paragraph 4 lists all prohibited items and it is quite extensive indeed.

Stadium Code of Conduct - 2014 FIFA World Cup

This is actually very typical. The Super Bowl has the same requirements.

(impossible to enforce)

Let The Games Begin!

Well, as many of us here in Brazil have predicted the 2014 FIFA World Cup hasn't even started and already trouble is afoot!

A journalist from Serbia arrived at São Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport yesterday and caught a shuttle-bus to downtown São Paulo. No sooner had he stepped off the bus he was robbed in broad daylight. The thieves took absolutely everything that he had brought with him, 2 computers, cameras, passport and about R$7000 in cash. What a wonderful welcome to this country! Needless to say hes not going to be the only visitor to this country who will suffer a similar fate, not by a long shot; but you can be sure that because of his job this story is going to make front page news all over the world before today is out!

Way to go Brazil! There's nothing like creating a great first impression to make the visitors, that your government deprived you of almost every basic necessity of life in order to attract them to your shores, feel really welcome now is there? If this is the way were starting out you can really understand the universal phrase that many Brazilians have been saying whenever they've complained about the myriad problems in this nation "Imagine na Copa!"

With just a week to go before the official kickoff the country still hasn"t been able to come to grips with the public safety issues that they've long been sweeping under the carpet and ignoring. The whole country seems to have decided to go on strike at the same time, causing chaos in public transportation. São Paulo and a number of other major cities have just gone through a bus strike and now São Paulos subway workers have gone on strike. Banks in Rio de Janeiro have been on strike for over a week, police in São Paulo are holding demonstrations in front of the Itaquerão Stadium that will host the opening ceremonies, and President Rousseff still thinks theyre going to pull a rabbit out of the hat and be able to put on the "Cup of Cups". I hope that she's already ordered the largest steak that she can find to slap on the very public and international black eye that Brazil is going to end up with!

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

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