Friday, 16 December 2011

Trying time...

It's been a long time since my last post. A lot happened but nothing I wanted to talk about.

The never ending saga of our visas... An email with bad news, a rushed return to England... a funeral... that's life.

The day day before we came back from the UK, the friend who was looking after the dog in my flat contacted me to tell me that the electricity had been cut in the flat. That was nearly the last straw.
"What the hell are we doing (in Brazil)" was my 1st thought. I was so stressed with everything by then.
Anyhow, we came back on a Saturday morning and we went through the bills. They were on direct debit with the owner until about 3  weeks before, when we switched the bills to our names. I then paid the November bill at  the bank but we assumed (wrongly) that the bill for October had been debited.

Anyhow, it was not and hence the electricity was cut off! We spent the weekend using candles and most of the food in the fridge was binned or eaten. Too hot to keep.
The following monday morning by 9am I was at the nearest office of "Light", the electricity company. I asked to pay October's bill if it was due and why on earth it was not added to our November bill?
Well they don't add the bill to the next month. Typical of Brazil, I could not pay the bill at their office because some machine was broken (that happens a lot around here!) so I had to queue in the sun for a bank to open at 10am, pay the bill, then go back to Light to get the electricity reinstated.

Now, few comments if you plan to rent a flat in Brazil: best to keep utility bills at the owner's name. As my neighbour told me, it is so complicated to get them back to the owner name when tenants leave that it is probably best not to change anything. Utility companies have bad reputation about stuff like that! Crazy bureaucracy again maybe???

You may be surprised that I go to the bank to pay my bills? Well, we cannot put the utilities in direct debit, as, without a permanent visa (of at least 1 year) you CANNOT open a bank account in Brazil.
If HSBC bullshit you on their wonderful Premier Account "Ideal for expats", it is a lot of lies and BS! No visa of  over 1 year, no bank account... unless of course Jeitinho... do you know someone high up in HSBC Brazil that can arrange this for you? One of my friend does, and despite the fact she has no visa, is not leaving here, does not meet any of the requirements to get a Premier Account... she still has one! Jealous me?!

The thing is, everything is very difficult  to get done in Brazil but nothing is impossible.. If you know the right personne in the right place. Jeitinho. You will hear often this word in Brazil. It's all about who you know.

Anyhow, we finally got some godo news yesterday. Our visas (after about 3 months of incompetence by someone not to be named here) have finally been approved! We can go back  to the UK in January to pick them up! at least some progress. We  can then get our container shipped to Rio. That, again, I fear will be quite a  saga... for what I've heard from other expats it is a real racket business run by custom. And stuff often get stolen as well.
We'll see. I keep saying, we live in hope! :)

Happy Xmas anyone!