Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You know you are in Brazil when

You know you are in Brazil when people question the authenticity of a government agency website because it seems too well done for a government website.

There is a blogger in Niterói who blogs about all things Niterói. His most recent post lists all the locations (every neighborhood) and contact information for Military Police offices, kiosks (mini-offices), Civil Police offices, and the main training facility for the Military Police.

When he gets to directing readers to the new website for the 12th Battalion of the Military Police he offers a caution:

“A few months ago, they launched the website of the 12th Military Police Battalion (Niterói):, as well as an official Twitter feed. As the address is not “.gov” and the site is too well done, too much for a government agency (unfortunately so), we suspect its authenticity. We tried to contact the 12th Battalion by telephone, but no one answered.”

It's more likely they have a new, young computer wiz kid on staff and are exceeding expectation in the web design department.  The site looks a little too thorough for a practical joke.  But I guess local confidence is slow to catch up.


Rachel said...

THere is a 911. It´s like 190 or something. Of course they may not answer or it´ll take 40 min to get to your home ;)) Joking. I have no idea how well it works... or not.

Ray Adkins said...

Hey Jim,

The Brazilian 911 equivalent is divided the following way, instead of calling a Central Emergency Call Center you dial directly according to your emergency, back in the 90's the respective emergency numbers were listed on the front of every public phones, they were the following (if still the same):


Our experience with emergency phone numbers in Brazil was very good, they were fast and direct to the point, however I could picture a possible variation among different cities and states around Brazil, we heard in the Northeast of Brazil they are a little more laid back.
Sao Paulo was very good on the emergency numbers front.

I don't know about Rio, our experience was with the Sao Paulo police and they were highly skilled and even trained to help tourists/foreigners in distress situations, they will give you some cash for temporary food and lodging if you loose your wallets/documents and help you get back on your feet.
A client of mine forgot a backpack in the subway in 1998 with all his cash, credit cards and documents, including passport and the Police in the Jardins area of Sao Paulo placed him in a nice Hotel in the Paulista Avenue area, bought him dinner and helped him get in touch with Western Union for cash and the American Consulate and Policia Federal to replace his documents.
The Civil Police returned his backpack with all documents and valuables including all the cash 2 days later.
They explained that the subway has great security cameras and an efficient lost and found department, so no one would dare to empty a wallet of it's cash and return it to the lost and found in front of the security cameras, so the subway is probably a safer place to loose something if you are planning on finding it later :)
I hope they are still as efficient as in those days...12 years ago.


Jim said...

Thanks Ray - very helpful. I'm putting those numbers into my phone right now.

Rachel, when Tonico collapsed on the street with a heart attack is was a long 20+ minutes before the ambulance arrived, and unfortunately, contrary to Ray's experience in SÃo Paulo, the EMTs were less than inspiring. IT was painful to watch (as the life drained out of Tonico there on the sidewalk).

Here's hoping our experience was an unfortunate fluke and Ray's experience will rule the day in the future.

Ray Adkins said...


The idea of waiting for an Ambulance in a big city such as Sao Paulo or Rio has always freak me out...the traffic is just impossible at times, I always get shills down my spine when I heard Ambulance sirens during rush hour.