Portuguese is Hard

First thing in the morning, we called our bank. There were no new charges, but not too surprising, since my account was shut down. The mystery charge did get processed, so the money is definitely gone.

Not having many options, Angela went to a bank in Cassino and tried the ATM with her card.  First time, she tried without success. So, she switched banks and with a small amount – we got money.  Feeling confident, she tried again…. communication error. She stopped there and came back to the bus.  I was on the wi-fi and we immediately saw that money from a new mystery transaction (this time, $300 USD) was already gone from the account and posted as a cash advance. Bummer.

So, we called the bank and jumped through the hoops. Then, we called again and talked to somebody else just to make sure we covered all the bases.  Long story short: nobody knows exactly what’s happening. We’ll keep Angela’s card active and look for additional suspicious charges.  We can protest the 2 ‘fraudulent’ charges in a week – but it has to be on paper and signed and mailed.

What we can gather at this point is that *both* of the ‘fraudulent’ charges came through Banco do Brasil. Nothing from the other banks. You can bet that once we get this sorted out, we will never enter another Banco do Brasil.

So, we’re stressed about what to do and where to go. Right now, we’re not feeling too confident that we can put any card in any ATM machine in the entire country. Canceling both accounts will leave us without a good way to get money, but I’m not sure we have a good way right now anyway. Two days in Brazil and two big headaches. Kinda feels like we just got off the boat.

We decided there was no reason to sit and fret about it, so we’re going to keep moving north to a bigger town and figure it out where we hopefully have more options. Our emergency stash should keep us going a little bit longer.

I talked to a guy on the street who was admiring the kombi and he asked if we had driven the beach up from Chui. Apparently, you can take a right after crossing the border, hit the beach, and drive on the hard sand for 200 km up to Cassino. People do. Maybe next time.

We took the balsa from Rio Grande to San Jose do Norte. This is the tip of a long peninsula with not much but farmland and endless sand dunes.  The town here was interesting to look at because it’s starting to feel tropical, but not much else going on.  The plan for the day was to just drive.

We made it to a small lake and the dunes near Lagoa dos Barres (the small one – apparently there are two) right before sunset.

3 thoughts on “Portuguese is Hard

  • December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    From my experience in Brasil – the cards ONLY work in ‘International’ ATM Machines — and those are spread around randomly — always at an airport, at some banks, etc… Not easy to find. I’ve been to Banco do Brasil, and used their ATMs before and never had a problem, but I was always using an Amex card and it was for business, so even if I had, I wouldn’t have cared I guess.

    I was always in big cities too – so who knows.

    Regarding Brazilian Portuguese — Its a funny language where words are either spelled like in spanish and sound different or sound like spanish and are spelled different — with some French intonation thrown in. I only ever learned sin/nao (now) and nice to meet you . (which I can say, but can’t spell here.)

    Good luck — and Happy pre-42 Jason.


  • December 17, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    When we went we often chose to use the brazilian version on the dutch ABN AMRO bank. Generally yellow and green signs. Werent many around but never had issues.

    Portugues -> Brazillian is like US English -> UK English. Of course there are then also differences from south to north etc.

    Try the sugarcain drink if you havent done so in other countries. Bode will most likey also really like it ?
    Caipirinhas… ooh yeah 🙂 but not for Bode.
    Get ready for white rice and beans. Grilled abacaxi is also great with some picanha. We noticed that the large petrol stations for truckers were often nasty but the food was good and cheap.

  • December 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    Good luck, guys. Is it possible to have one of your bank’s CSRs on the phone with you while you withdraw cash from a local bank and then have them stop any other withdrawals? I had my card shut down once due to fraudulent activity. I found out that the card didn’t work when I needed gas while on vacation. :-/ My bank’s CSR stayed on the phone with me while I withdrew cash from a nearby atm and then shut off the card again until I returned home and we straightened out the mess.

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