Tagged: dining

What’s happening with Rio?

Record levels of the Real against the US Dollar and the Pound…  That’s nice isn’t it!  If you are a tourist coming here.  For a Brazilian, it is making going to the US or Europe extremely expensive.  Indeed I understand that flights to the US are being cut back as Brazilian passengers are thinning out.  There are however some excellent deals on flights right now to the US – I saw a return to JFK from Rio for just $350 USD the other day on AA.

Today we are trading above R$4 to the USD, and R$6 to the GBP…

And in other good news…  This weekend there was a lot of trouble and violence in Zona Sul.  On Sunday and Monday there was a series of muggings and attacks around the beaches in Copacabana, Arpoador and Ipanema.  There was a major arrastão on Sunday, and a series of different incidents on Monday, stretching as far as Botafogo and Humaita, rather than the normal tourist heavy hotspots…

On Sunday we were out having lunch near Praça General Osorio, and were told to be careful leaving as there was a big fight going on just a few meters away on the beach.  Needless to say, we went the other way.

What’s happening?!  Yes, it was a nice weekend, but there are plenty of those…  2015 has seen more arrastãos in a month sometimes than I heard of for the whole of 2014.  Maybe I just pay more attention now, but for sure they have increased.  For those not familiar, an arrastão is where a load of kids/guys storm through somewhere, mugging everything they can…   And unfortunately it seems to be becoming a regular occurrence on the beaches in Zona Sul.

It was never the safest place in the world, but for me I see so many things going down hill….

However, on the plus side, I now live only a few tens of metres away from a new branch of Guerin, one of the best bakeries in Rio for french style breads.  Having said that, I actually think the croissants in Zona Sul have been better lately!!  Heresy some might say, but from arriving and finding all bread was terrible, it has improved a lot… just not that cheap, unless I think in pounds now… then things do start to seem cheap here now at R$6….   My mind moved from a divide by 3, settled on a nice divide by 4 technique in 2014, and slowly pushed to divide by 5… now I have to keep learning…   maybe I need to refresh my 7 times table for when I need to know that, and at the rate it is going, it might even be by the end of the year!


What’s going on with the exchange rate!?

So a bit of a bad period financially again it seems in the world…
Chinese stock market crashes, depression in the US and European markets…
And Brazil is in a recession, even if it seems to be in the depths of denial! On an campaign video two weeks ago PT (Dilma’s party) were talking about how there is no crisis, it is all down to the media overplaying it and scare mongering. This week she has made a statement saying that perhaps it is worse than first realised…

And I see no where better to show that than a look at the exchange rates. For me, I am interested in the rate against the pound.
Today we are close to hitting R$5.6 to the GBP (oops… I checked at midday, seems we have shot past 5.6 since then to 5.64). When I first arrived in Brazil it was around 3. Enough said?  Actually, perhaps a few pictures can be worth a thousand words!

Looking at the last 90 days (all rates courtesy of Oanda) shows quite how much it has changed lately, from 4.8 to 5.6 representing almost a 20% swing, which for any Brazilian wanting to go abroad makes it a very expensive prospect…

last 90 days

In fact, looking back at the 3 years I have been in Brazil, it is a fairly solid trend of increasing. I have highlighted the 2.9, which was around when I got my Brazilian work contract.

last 7 years

In fact, we have to go back a long time to find when it was last like this! 2002 was the previous time the exchange rate reached these levels… In fact, in the last 20 years, it has only been anywhere near here twice, and had a very volatile journey from 1995 to 2015… From around 1.5 to 5.9!

last 20 years

But for a Brazilian, the current state of the economy must be very worrying. I had hoped that the rate was stabilising, but it seems not with another increase over the last 2 days. There’s lots of people talking about setting a new record of hitting 6 by the end of the year… It doesn’t even look like we will have to wait that long unfortunately.

Of course, for anyone visiting Brazil, now is a great time, and in fact every day is that little bit better!  I’ve had many posts in the past about how expensive things here can be, however now some things that used to seem expensive are now seeming far more reasonable when I think in terms of pounds.  And as a fan of fine dining, Rio and São Paulo can have some true gastronomic bargains going on with a great set of Michelin Star restaurants to visit, as well as just a great set of restaurants that didn’t quite make it in the first ever Michelin Guide for South America.  For me, there’s a visit to D.O.M. is coming up in October and I can’t wait!