You perhaps didn’t expect to hear from me this week. I didn’t intend to write but then I thought there are a couple of topics that I can provide updates on, including: Do we know where we can next travel to? What about my very real expiring Visa situation?
A week later and I’m able to physically move a little more freely which is, you can imagine, quite liberating. I’m not 100% though so still relying on Vivian to help with the typical manly things such as loading and lugging our bags onto hotel trolleys. An action that attracts confused looks lol.
Hospitality in the city remains active but with obvious restrictions in place. Swimming pools, gyms, even breakfast/restaurant areas are closed. Breakfast is provided in bags to take to your room. Is that the same for hotels back home? I really can’t remember. Ordered food must be collected in the lobby, then taken to the rooms to be eaten, no exception. Face masks to be worn in the public areas. Other than that, you are as you are.
So what and where do we eat the rest of the day? We happen to be in a large city so the food delivery service is big around here, like it is in many places over the world having exploded in growth a couple of years back. In fact, last week my friend staying in my house sent me a picture of him ordering a McDonalds from bed and it being to the doorstep 12 minutes later. Lazy sod.
Check out a small sample of our typical daily food deliveries. As I’ve described over the months, the cost of living here is (thankfully) very decent, especially for a Britton – even an unemployed Britton!
Within the space of just one week, we’d tucked into cuisines including: Brazilian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican and American fast food. The novelty has very much worn off. It really felt like groundhog day over and over. It would be easy to portray a cushy life of no cooking, no cleaning, eating whatever we like but in reality, we miss the independence. Like anything, too much of something and we crave an alternative. Don’t get me wrong, living this life hasn’t been unpleasant but we have since craved some cooking facilities so only yesterday we did something about that.
Next up, to the big questions of the day….
Do we know where we can next travel to?
No, sadly not. Ideally Argentina will today announce after so many push backs that foreigners can now enter their country and off to Buenos Aires we would go! But I doubt we will be so fortunate so research re-commences after this blog extract!
These last couple of weeks have been tough; travelling without purpose and during lockdown isn’t enjoyable. Our aim is still to leave Brazil at our earliest opportunity which will ideally be next week – cost and indeed access permitting.
What about my very real expiring Visa situation?
Despite us wanting to leave asap, I thought it prudent to set up a Visa extension just in case so we went about ‘sorting’ this just yesterday. I’d always heard, largely through Vivian, that Brazil is way behind in its processing departments and boy, did I witness that.
Here’s what happened….
We arrive at an official looking building. Here they accomplish a variety of things including tourist related matters such as mine. Despite some signage in English, there wasn’t a single person that spoke English to me. There were a lot of Spanish here also wanting to extend Visas. Not surprising given that South American is largely Spanish-tongued.
We first had to pay approx. £15 but I’m told this is for the “processing” – this would NOT guarantee me the extension itself. Oh. We go to pay but the clerk who is in an administrative office points out it’s dinheiro only. I’m speechless. At this point, a colossal dollop of luck lands on our laps. (Well, Viv’s wallet). The cost was 104.40 reais. Viv delves in and discovers 1×50, 3×20, 1.×5 and a single 1 real coin overall totalling 106 reais.
She’s from the card-only generation we would have been in trouble here but thankfully the aging and wiser traveller next to her had always drilled into her to have some cash available on you at all times – and she did 👏 That, though, was crazy luck huh.
We move up in the 3 story building to see a lady to show her that we have all the documentation required to support my extension. She and Vivian chat in their native language but it doesn’t take me long to notice Vivian going through her familiar building up of annoyance. (Except for once, I would agree with her frustrations).
Despite having these forms electronically, they wanted them printed. Hard to believe considering a) we could just email them over there and then, b) it’s the Covid era, everything is moving electronically. and c) most shockingly they don’t provide access to a printer. They advise us to go to an on-street newsagent type pop-up shop 5 minutes walk away to pay for the prints. Wow.
But we’re not done. Before getting to the pop-up shop, we sit down and I watch Vivian go into her deep solo zone to perform a further task. I know from experience I cannot really ask what she’s doing until it’s done and has either achieved success or failure. In this case I’m relieved for multiple reasons that she sees success just ten minutes later.
At this point I should mention there was honestly no WIFI either. Thankfully Vivian has a local SIM which is how of course we are able to use Uber when out and about. But her battery from her aging iPhone is dying. This is like the movies!
As for what was Viv’s last task that she completed? They wanted a sample flight ticket for three month’s time (we put in a 3 month (90 day) extension just because we could).
Sample? Sorry, what?
Vivian had to then find me a flight in mid June only to then take screen shots to then print to give to them. Now, you could argue that was to show an estimated price to see if I had funds to cover that cost? Okay, I kind of see the logic here but no, my bank statements were never requested.
With everything successfully printed (and the tiny pop-up shop taking card transactions LOL), back we went and within 15 minutes, it was all done and dusted.
You, like me, are now apprised to the Visa extension debacle in Brazil. Never again, thanks.
So yeah, there you have it. Yesterday proved to be really quite eventful with having moved hotels in the morning and the Visa fiasco in the afternoon. We were relieved to return back to our latest hotel with a fresh feel after so many days at the former. It wasn’t long before we had popped to the shops for Viv to put together this wonderful spread and me returning the favour the following morning for breakfast. It felt so good to have some independence back and be useful once again.
Here’s a quick video of our current room that we really hope will be our last in Brazil 🤞
Old hotel views…
New hotel views…
At least one similarity I suppose 😄😋