Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The rich life

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Life is full of non-monetary riches, no?
I opened a bank account at Itaú about a month ago. Two weeks later, the account was actually liberada, that is, free for use. Shortly thereafter, receiving my debit card in the mail, I returned to the bank to activate the card in their ATM machine. I submit, for your entertainment, the loosely translated dialog between me and said machine.
Machine: Insert your card, retrieve it, then press Continuar.
Me: Ok.
Now put your card in again and leave it in.
Ok.
Type your senha (password) here using these funky touchpad buttons.
Huh.
(Studying screen reveals 5 touch keys, each with 2 randomly generated numbers underneath. Something like this:
Button 1 = 0 or 8, Button 2 = 1 or 4, Button 3 = 6 or 7, Button 4 = 3 or 9, Button 5 = 2 or 5)
Now retrieve you card again.
Ok.
We’re ready to proceed. Here’s a menu of 38 possible transactions.
Well, although there are several enticing options here—some which I even understand—let’s just activate my card.
Ok. Activate card. Please insert your card and retrieve it.
Really??? Ok.
Now enter your senha using the numeric keys on the regular keypad to the side of the machine.
Um. Are you sure you know what you're doing?
Insert your card and leave it in.
Ok.
Great. Now take your card out. Do the Hokey-Pokey. Turn yourself around. Your card is active.
That was weird.
All that, and they forgot to warn me that when I use the ATMs, I enter my 6-digit password, but when I use the card for a debit transaction, I only enter the first 4 numbers of the password. My card was declined three times at shops before I figured that out.
Speaking of high(-ly complicated) finance, I enjoyed this R$5 note that passed through my life recently.
Wishful thinking.
Remember the orelhão? The payphone shelters shaped like a big ear? Because Brasil Telecom was recently bought by Oi (“hi”), all the old green ears are being replaced with new, blue ones. When I stumbled on some cosmetic surgery in action, I had to take a photo.


Ahh Brasil...how I (usually) love thy idiosyncrasies.
Victoria had a lovely party for her birthday last weekend. Lots of well-wishers. Lots of champagne. We had so much fun that I was shocked to learn it was already 4am as we made our way out. Bruno had collapsed from fatigue hours earlier. Naturally we…
Speaking of champagne, Guaraná soda is to Brazil what Coke/Pepsi is to the U.S., and like those, it’s alcohol free. So this packaging was curious and entertaining.
I share one more lovely sunset...
...and I’m off to Montevideo to explore a bit.
Tchau...mmm...Hasta luego,
LG