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Lesson Transcript

Hello and welcome to Portuguese Survival Phrases brought to you by PortuguesePod101.com, this course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Brazil. You will be surprised at how far a little Portuguese will go.
Now, before we jump in, remember to stop by PortuguesePod101.com and there, you will find the accompanying PDF. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.

Lesson focus

In Brazil, the currency is the Real (or Reais when plural).
Let’s practice the pronunciation: Real
And, Reais
Its monetary symbol is a capital R followed by $. Paper denominations range from
R$1 to R$100. As of January 1, 2009, the exchange rate was roughly R$2.20 to one US dollar or $0.45 US cents to one Brazilian Real. Put simply, just divide the Reais price by two and you get the dollar price.
"Brazilian coins" are called centavos.
Centavos, and run in denominations from R$0.05, R$0.10, R$0.25, R$0.50, and R$1.00 coins.
The first thing you'll recognize about the Real is that it is very colorful. Every bill is a different color and most have more than one color on them. For example, the R$20 bill is bright yellow with red and brown accents and a light yellow background. I've heard many Americans describe it as looking like Monopoly money.
Like most currencies, the bills have many unique images and designs. I'm going to give a quick overview of what is on most of the bills and coins.
The um centavo coin is rarely used and even though it was discontinued in 2005, some are still in circulation. Coins are said simply with the number value then the word centavos. All Brazilian coins have a large number indicating their value with the word centavos underneath. The southern cross, is also on the front of all Brazilian coins. The Southern Cross is a star constellation and is important in Brazilian culture, history, and religion. Bills are spoken similarly with the number then the word real. um real or reais if the number is more than one. Ex: dois reais.
So, on the back of the cinco centavos coin is a picture of Pedro Alves Cabral, the navigator who discovered Brazil. The dez centavos coin has a picture of Emperor Pedro I, the first monarch of Brazil. The vinte e cinco centavos coin has a picture of Field Marshall Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca, Brazil's first republican president.
The cinquenta centavos coin has a picture of José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior, Brazil's most influential minister of foreign affairs.
The um Real coin has a brass colored ring on the outside and a silver colored circle inside. The inside has the Effigy of the Republic, which is the symbol of the republic to the Brazilians.
On the front of all bills is the same Effigy of the Republic and a large number showing the value of that bill.
The um Real bill is green with the picture of a humming bird on the back. (It was discontinued and doesn't exist anymore)
The dois reais bill is blue with the picture of turtle on the back.
The cinco reais bill is a kind of pinkish-purple with a Great Egret on the back.
The dez reais bill is red as I have described above and has a green-winged Macaw on the back.
The vinte reais bill is yellow as described and has a Golden Lion Tamarin, a type of monkey, on the back.
The cinquenta reais bill is a shade of light orange with the picture of a jaguar on the back.
Last, we have the cem reais bill, it’s very rare and you probably won't see one unless you exchange a LOT of money or stay in Brazil for an exceptionally long time. It is a light blue color like tropical ocean water and has a fish called a Dusky Grouper on the back.
There is also a special dez reais bill that feels like plastic when you touch it and it is a mixture of orange, blue, and red. It has Pedro Alvares Cabral on the front and a bright red transparent circle on the side.
That was a lot of information I just ran through, and I hope you caught all of it. Now you have a better idea about Brazilian money and hopefully you've gotten an idea of about how much you'll spend by going through these lessons.
Now, with that understanding, how much money should you actually carry around with you? That's a hard question because it depends on what you will do. While I lived in Brazil I rarely had more than R$50 with me. But if you are going to be taking the taxi a lot or buying lots of stuff from street vendors you will need more. I would suggest at least R$100, maybe even R$200 in your wallet or somewhere on you that you can have access to.
One tip is to not have on you or use debit cards while you are in Brazil. Use credit cards instead. Two reasons, if your credit card gets stolen, it isn't your money that will be lost, it's the bank's. And you can call and cancel it within fifteen minutes of it being stolen and debit cards typically take much longer. Also, most credit cards (in my experience) won't charge you each time you make a purchase and debit cards will, usually about five percent of the money exchanged. So, bring cash with you, exchange it, and any time you need to use cash, use the cash you've exchanged; but if you can use a card, use it and use a credit card, not a debit card.
And just for reference, a Big Mac meal costs about R$10.00 or $4.53, but in Brazil you can get more and better food for about the same price at any self-service restaurant. Another nice tidbit of information is that in Brazil very few places have sales tax. The price you see is the price you pay.


Alright, that's going to do it for today. Remember to stop by PortuguesePod101.com and pick up the accompanying PDF. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.