Thursday, October 16, 2008

Useful information about Sao Paulo

Business Hours
The standard business hours are from 9 A.M to 6 P.M. Banks are open from 10A.M to 4 P.M. Shopping centres are usually open from 10 A.M to 10 P.M, Monday through to Saturday; and on Sundays from 2 P.M to 6 P.M. Pubs andrestaurants have flexible hours. Some restaurants only open at lunch-time and others are open all day long. There are also those which remain open all night, even during the week. We advise you to phone ahead if in doubt.

Customs & Immigration
At immigration, non-Brazilian nationals must have their passport, visa (if required) and any other immigration formalities checked.
Like most airports, in Brazil there are different lines for national passport holders and foreign visitors. Foreign passport holders should make sure they get their passports stamped and that they retain half of the immigration form they fill in on arrival. Visitors who miss getting their passport stamped or who lose the form will have to get clearance from the Federal Police to leave the country and may have to pay a fine.

Electrical Current
In São Paulo, the current is 127 volts (60 cycles) but many of the larger hotels also offer 220 volts. If in doubt, check with the front desk of the hotel or the owner of the house or apartment. Transformers to boost the current from 110 volts to 220 volts are available in most electrical supply stores.
For most electric appliances, Brazil uses a two-round-pinned socket.

Foreign Exchange / Currency
The Brazilian monetary unit is the real (R$) (plural, reais). There are 100 centavos to the real.
Most major international credit cards are accepted in Brazil. Credit card receipts from stores and restaurants will be priced in reais although you will be billed in the currency of your own country, the official exchangerate having been taken into consideration.
The official exchange rate is published daily in the newspapers and can also be obtained at Brazil’s Central Bank website.
The US dollar is by far the most widely accepted foreign currency in Brazil. There is also an extensive network of ATMs at which some foreign cash cardscan be used, although you should check with your bank before departure thatyour card can be used overseas.
The Santander website offers a list of agencies where money can be exchanged.

Most hotels in Brazil offer web access and there are cyber-cafes in many ofthe main shopping centres.

Phone calls / Long-distance calls
Phone cards are sold in pubs and news stands. For long-distance calls, dial zero + telephone operator number + city code + telephone number. To make international calls, dial zero + telephone operator number + country code +city code + telephone number. Brazil’s country code is 55. São Paulo’s area code is 11.

Time Zone
São Paulo is in the same time zone as Brasília (minus three hours inrelation to Greenwich). The daylight savings time begins in October and end sin February. In the daylight saving time clocks are adjusted forward onehour. 24-hour services In this non-stop city 24-hour services include much more than chemists and locksmiths. Many supermarkets, flower shops and even fitness centres and convenience stores are also open. The following website (in Portuguese) provides a list of some of these 24-hour establishments:

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