Thursday, 23 August 2012

Money, Moolah, Cash

Moedas (Coins)

In Brazil the sides of the coins are known as cara (face) and coroa (crown). They're equivalent to “heads” and “tails” in English.

In the late '90s the Real coins were given a revamp, and the new style/pictures were chosen by the general population in a contest made by Brazil's national bank (Banco Central do Brasil).

R$ 0,5 

On the coroa side: Tiradentes, with the flag from his revolt in the background. 

Tiradentes is considered to be a martyr for the independence of Brazil. He was a leader in a revolt to become independent from Portugal and when it failed he was publicly hanged.

 The flag from his revolt is now the flag of the state of Minas Gerais. 

His nickname, Tiradentes (Teeth Remover), is due to the fact that he was a dentist.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Better Safe Than Sorry

If ever in Brazil (or any tropical place for that matter) there are some safety tips northerners - and by that I mean anyone who lives in the northern hemisphere in general – don't seem to be aware of.

Dealing with potentially poisonous creatures (mainly insects and arachnids).

To anyone in the tropics this will seem like a stupid thing to point out, but you must never ever put your hand into a dark place (eg mail box) without looking first. The tropics are rife with insect and arachnid life, and nice dark spots are their favourite hiding places. That isn't to say you will always find a bug (let alone a poisonous one) poised to pounce on unwary victims, but it is a very real possibility. And that doesn't mean you should wear gloves every time you get the mail, but rather remember to take a quick peek first just to be safe.

You also should never rummage around woodpiles/rubble/etc without being very careful for the same reason. A nice woodpile is a spider's and scorpion's best friend. Which again isn't to say that there will be anything to worry about hiding in there, but it's better to be careful than have to make a panicked mad dash to a hospital.
    - Note: a good rule of thumb to guess how poisonous a scorpion is is “the bigger the scorpion the less poisonous they tend to be”. That's because they will generally gely on their pincers for hunting and defence. If you ever do get stung it's best to hurry over to a hospital just to be safe. The scorpion being big just means you probably don't need to panic about dying within the next five minutes, not that you should just shrug and go back to business as usual.
With that being said, even after it's dead a scorpion's sting is still poisonous

If you're in the country (as in “not in a city”, not as in “the country of Brazil”) it's always a good idea to shake out closed shoes (eg sneakers) before putting them on, just in case someone came across it when you weren't looking and thought it looked like a neat place to spend the night in.

Remember, when you run into these creatures their point of view is that they are in their home and you are the intruder. Always show them due respect, no matter whether that might truly be the case.