Before we moved to Sao Paulo, I trawled the Internet and Foreign Service info files for information on life in Sao Paulo. Among the many items I read was that U.S. TVs don’t work in Brazil without a special decoding box. Without the box, you get the signal, but the picture is in black and white, and there is no sound. So, you need a converter if you want to watch local TV.

Incorrect. That’s the problem with the wealth of information available today. Not every piece out there gets updated in a timely manner, even info sent out by the government on behalf of their employees.

I could have spent several hundred dollars on a converter, or sold my new TV in the U.S. in order to buy a TV here…as was suggested on the government info sheet. I didn’t want to sell our new “big ass” 46-inch TV, since we’d waited so long to buy one. Good thing we didn’t.

The TVs here are about four times the cost of those in the U.S., and contrary to what we had been told, there is no problem plugging and playing here. We get all the shows in vivid color with sound.

So, those “in the know” must update their data sheets, stressing instead the fact that nothing with batteries can now be sent through the mail to Brazil. That means, the GPS that you must have if you don’t want to spend your waking hours lost in the maze of one-way and dead-end streets here in Sao Paulo: it won’t get here if you mail it. Bring it in your carryon luggage, or in your household effects, if you can get it boxed without a label on it (otherwise, your possessions will get held up in Customs while they decide whether or not to allow the item to enter).

I hadn’t realized the problem with battery-operated items when I first ordered my Garmin GPS. Four weeks after I’d ordered it, I got word from Amazon that it had been returned to them. Stopped by Customs. I ordered a second one sent to Aubrey, and Scott hand-carried it here when he came down.

Computers, cell phones, and all the other electronic necessities of life: hand-carry them. They won’t arrive, otherwise.

I’m going to need a new computer soon, so I’ll either pick it up and bring it back with me in September when I go home, or in January when we visit. I’m praying that this one lasts without problems until then. I sure don’t want to pay local prices…and I’m not even sure I can get an Apple computer here. (Met a fellow from Apple at the Mercado Municipal, who said that Apple is setting up shop here. They’ll succeed immensely if they do so; there’s an enormous market for all things Apple here in Sao Paulo.) Samsung is huge here, but people crave the apple.