Brazil is the same as Europe but with a different twist. If you want to rent an apartment, you read the classifieds in the paper (O Globo and O Dia are the best) and you contact real estate agencies. Just remember that one room means one bedroom and a living room. The same goes for two, three and more rooms. A conjugado is big room with bathroom and usually a kitchen attached.
If you are a foreigner and only want to stay for a limited time in a furnished apartment it?s a little different. In the tourist neighbourhoods of Leme, Copacabana and Ipanema you will be approached in the street by people who have apartments for rent. In other neighbourhoods flats are usually not furnished and you have to sort out all the taxes, charges and bills you have to pay. That?s how I ended up in a conjugado in Leme (250 euros a month until the start of the tourist season).
The Copacabana area is one of the most densely populated in the world with 250.000 people living on 4 sq km. With this density half the world population would neatly fit into Holland. Yet when I open my window I only hear the sound of birds and occasionally the barking of dogs from the ………….. favela. Oops there?s the F-word that scares people all over the world. From my window I see hill that?s too steep for regular housing, but perfect for a favela. By no means a Rocinha and I didn?t hear any gunshots yet, so don?t worry.
What?s a Rio apartment like? For one it doesn?t have any form of heating and the only form of \”hot\” water is an electric shower like you see everywhere in Brazil. In this climate you don?t need any of this. Apparently you need a doorman 24 hours a day seven days a week, because every building has one (well there are various people of course). He opens the door and when your hands are full he pushes the button of the elevator for you.
An other thing that runs 24-7 is Brazilian TV. One of the few things I share with my favela neighbours. Next time I will write more about this.