Friday, July 15, 2011

Stripped in Rio de Janeiro

People want to settle in Rio de Janeiro. They come here with a plan to live a good life and work a fun job. That is entirely possible in this city. I actually have friends with a flexible enough work schedule that they get two half days a week and work until 11pm other days when they like to go out at midnight.

What people don't talk about is the living part. It is not easy to make a home here. While us foreigners mock cultures where people live with their parents until they are 30, we have no idea how it is. That truth came to me the very first tiny apartment Mr. Rant and I looked at. We were looking to buy.

The tiny part wasn't shocking. I was prepared for that. I wasn't prepared for a place that was totally stripped. When I stay stripped I mean not even a place to screw in a light bulb.

You see, stuff is expensive here. People take cabinets, light fixtures, and even outlet covers. Don't even hope to find a place with a oven!

Of course things are changing now. Life is getting a bit easier. People actually now rent with some appliances. By the way, some appliances (aka. a Fridge and oven) classify as a furnished apartment to some rental agencies.

So when you come as a foreigner and feel totally ripped off with your place in Ipanema realize that you were only somewhat ripped off. It is not even worth bothering to try to "save" some of that money unless you are here long enough to use that fridge you bought and make some friends who are willing to buy it when you leave.

All that being said, I've been here for over 5 years now and have amassed enough crap to over-fill my place. Rio de Janeiro seems to come down to grit, staying power, and determination. If you have any of those you are golden!


  1. Dont worry Rachel , you have what it takes! In fact, you are a precious example for other expats!!

  2. I have always found it amazing that people moving out of their apartment will take EVERYTHING with them: ceiling fans, kitchen cabinets, faucets, electrical outlets -- everything!

    When renting, be prepared to start from scratch!

  3. You are right Rachel, things are starting to change for the better in Brazil. Perhaps the good economic times.
    People are slowly starting to leave more and more things.
    It also depends on where you are buying or renting a place, more expensive real state is certainly different and people leave a few things such as ceiling fans, faucets and cabinets.
    We have watched on "House Hunters" international and we found out that in Italy they they take the sinks, faucets, toilets, shower heads, cabinets, everything, you just get the walls, doors and windows :)
    However with the current economic crisis in the US people are taking appliances with them and it's getting harder and harder to find refrigerators, stoves and such.
    I have to say, Gil and I moved 12 times in 10 years and I can't even begin to imagine how much harder it would have been if we had to drag refrigerator, stove and dishwasher with us.
    I am so done moving... :)


  4. One home we looked at a while back was truly stripped - we walked into the kitchen to find four bare walls. Asked the landlady where the sink was, and she said, "Well, there's a hose outside." :|

  5. LOL. This was quite the shock when we rented our place out here. Luckily, I can do electrical, plumbing and any other requirements to "build out" a typical Brazilian basic apartment. I am sorely missing the Home Depot or Lowes from the states but the local mom and pop shops and Casa Show managed to supply all the required hardware. It's not so bad....