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Old 02-26-2013, 04:36 AM   #1
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Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Yes, let's make Champion Thread together.

Ask me about anything, poker, ladies of the evening, living costs, best neighborhoods, best hotels, best spots for weekending, how do I get there, restaurants etc. Fire away.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:16 AM   #2
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

poker cash games.. limits rake etc?

ladies of the evening, how are they for being with white people?

living costs, whats the cost for a serviced apartment with access to a pool?

where is the best neighborhood?

how do I get there?

what restaurants do you recommend?
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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poker cash games.. limits rake etc?

ladies of the evening, how are they for being with white people?

living costs, whats the cost for a serviced apartment with access to a pool?

where is the best neighborhood?

how do I get there?

what restaurants do you recommend?
Cash games; they play NLHE and PLO (if they get enough players).
Limits go from R$ 1/2 to R$2/5, one club run a R$ 5/10 game on weekends. Mostly it's 2/5.

Exchange rate from Brazilian Reais to USD: 2 BRL is 1 USD.
Games are pretty soft, lots of gamblers/action types, you get very few internet kids during weekdays.

Rake is in general 5%.

Most clubs run tournaments 3-4 times a week, buy in varies.

Ladies of the evening; Not sure what you're asking here. You get all sorts of types here, there are a lot of them. They are in general safe to be around, tho some might steal you blind.

Living costs; A decent apartment in a high rise close to one of the beaches, fully furnished, will go for about R$ 1.500, with parking. This is dependant on size. You will find cheaper ones, smaller, bigger, what tickles your fancy type thing. I know of guys who lease at the right time, during the low season, who can get 60m2 for like a R$ 1k a month.

Houses in gated communities will go for like R$ 1.700-3.000. These houses will typically have above ground pools and a decent garden/barbeque spot.

When it comes to pools, most/nearly all condominiums have them, at least the newer high rises. You shouldn't have this as a criteria though, it's usually built in by surrounding high rises. You will find apartments, cheaply, right on the beach or very close by.

Best hood; Depending on what you're here for. Poker, chicks and nightlife, the best choice would be Ponta Negra, 15 minutes south of the city center. Stay away from "The Vila". If you're more into the shopping and up scale type things, you would like to stay in Petropolis (very close to the shore/beach inside the city) or Tirol (further back from the sea, but very nice). Petropolis have the best options for shopping and fine dining in the city, IMO. Temaki, a sushi joint, holds a very high standard compared to other major cities' options for instance.

Restaurants are very diverse and almost always very Brazilian. The ones that stand out as per now; Fogo&Chama; a churrascaria with all you can eat lobster, Abade; very good bacalhau and other seafood, Piazzale; very good Italian, Sal e Brasa; another churrascaria (not as expensive as Fogo, but still good for meats). Long list of good places. For casual dining, almost every corner has one. In Ponta Negra you will find several foreign joints, like kebab and stuff like that.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Hello HelloFriends.

That's really good info so far - thank you. One question: where are the live cash games?
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

How ghetto is it?

My impression of Brazil - having never been there - is that if you're white you will be targeted by criminals. It seems like half the people who go on Latin American trips run into problems and they are clearly targeted by criminals.

How sketchy is Natal if you like to wonder around different neighborhoods and go out at night to different neighborhoods?

Is there a huge disparity in rental costs between the safe areas and the ghetto areas?

Also, for the prices you mentioned, are those apartments come decently furnished? Are the bathrooms western quality and decent kitchens? Or are we talking about a 20 year old stove and the 70s look in the bathroom for R$ 1.000- R$1.500?
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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Hello HelloFriends.

That's really good info so far - thank you. One question: where are the live cash games?

Hello tchaz.

They have several clubs here, especially since poker became legal a few years ago. Some of them have the proper licenses, others don't. This is Brazil, so you don't need to worry about licenses.

The two better ones are in Ponta Negra. One, the best imho, is Club Meza. This one is run buy a couple of Dutch guys. If you're familiar with Natal this one is close to the cemetary in Ponta Negra.

There is also one called Clube do Poker, which recently moved from the center of the city to Ponta Negra (I guess because there is more juice here in PN). They are by far the biggest group of players since they frequently run freerolls. This club is run by several Brazilians from what I understand. Also the oldest club here.

We also have a high stakes game, which is close to the new stadium (for the World Cup next year), these guys generally play PLO with R$ 25 OTB or higher. They also play NLHE here, higher stakes. High variance type games, bring your nerves. Lot's of gamblers.

The clubs will open about 7pm and run until is there is no more players in the wee hours of the morning. All the clubs have very friendly and service minded staff, good dealers (Meza in particular), cheap food/drinks etc.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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How ghetto is it?

My impression of Brazil - having never been there - is that if you're white you will be targeted by criminals. It seems like half the people who go on Latin American trips run into problems and they are clearly targeted by criminals.

How sketchy is Natal if you like to wonder around different neighborhoods and go out at night to different neighborhoods?

Is there a huge disparity in rental costs between the safe areas and the ghetto areas?

Also, for the prices you mentioned, are those apartments come decently furnished? Are the bathrooms western quality and decent kitchens? Or are we talking about a 20 year old stove and the 70s look in the bathroom for R$ 1.000- R$1.500?
There is a ghettoness to it, but not in same way as you would see in Rio or Sao Paulo. There are neighborhoos here that you most certainly should not enter after dark, but in general you are very safe. In all my years here I have never encountered anything malicous or remotely dangerous. Stick to the normal hoods and you should be fine. Don't venture in to the poorer hoods. Just this weekend the police registered seven homicides. But it very rarely concern the nicer places.

As far as gringos go, tourists, the white man and so on, this is also a southern thing. Up here people in general are very friendly towards gringos. There will be cases to the contrary of course, especially in business. They see a gringo and they automatically thinks he's stinking rich. Some of them would want a piece of that. But, as I said, in general the people here are nice and pleasant.

There is a huge disparity between them, yes. You could for a far cheaper option in, let's say Zona Norte or Alecrim. This would however render plenty of sleepless nights I'm afraid.

The prices mentioned are nicer apartaments, with modern furniture. Newer places basically. Western standards yes. I get a sense that Brazilian furniture and installments are generally of a very high quality, at least the furniture part. The high rises in Ponta Negra are generally newer constructions.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:55 PM   #8
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Forgot to answer the part about "how do I get there":

AA run flights from Miami to Recife. Recife from Natal by plane is under an hour. There is also plenty of bus routes between the two.

From Europe you have many options, TAP from Lisboa (nice, direct flight abt 7hrs), Amsterdam to Natal, Madrid, Rome etc.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:11 PM   #9
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Do you know anything about visas for staying longer than 90 days?

What about being able to setup playing online (banks, etc)?
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:40 AM   #10
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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Do you know anything about visas for staying longer than 90 days?

What about being able to setup playing online (banks, etc)?
On a tourist visa you only can stay 90 days at a time, then 90 days outside, then go back for another 90 days etc.

However, you could basically stay as long as you want. The police will never come to your house and deport you, but you must be prepared to never being able to come back once you leave the country. I've had friends here tho whos left after 1,5 years, coming back a year later and only pay a relatively small fee. YMMV. The safest thing is to try and get a visa though.

It should be a smooth setup as far as online goes. I'm Norwegian and as such I can't make deposits or withdrawals using my Norwegian account, I have to use my Brazilian or go through entropay etc. Thats because the Norw government have a thing there, blocking Norwegian banks for Stars/Tilt. I'm not sure how this would work for Americans for instance, but I will sure ask one of the US players here.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Sounds very interesting.
I've been thinking about moving to NE Brazil, so this is great info.
Some pictures would be cool too.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:33 PM   #12
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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poker cash games.. limits rake etc?

ladies of the evening, how are they for being with white people?
?
Aren't you engaged? lol
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:44 PM   #13
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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Sounds very interesting.
I've been thinking about moving to NE Brazil, so this is great info.
Some pictures would be cool too.
If NE Brazil is your preferance I would seriously only look at Natal and Joao Pessoa. Both cities have a good arena for poker and are safe. Same size more or less too. Recife imo is too big, same goes for Salvador.

Will see if I can add som photos here eventually.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:51 PM   #14
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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However, you could basically stay as long as you want. The police will never come to your house and deport you, but you must be prepared to never being able to come back once you leave the country.
Well, the same thing applies in virtually every country. It's not like they go out of their way to find illegal immigrants anywhere.

The problem is when you unexpectedly run into authorities or need authorities for some reason. You might have a car accident. Or maybe you get sick and end up in a hospital. Or there may be a nightclub raid where they check everyone's ID. Or you might get robbed and cops arrive. Etc.

At some point, when you least expect it, you might be asked to present your documents. And when you fail to do so - depending on the country - they will throw you in their 3rd world jail for 1-? month(s) until you get a hearing before the judge, and then you spend another month in that jail as you organize and finance your plane ticket out of that country.

I don't know how things work in Brazil for people who are found skirting the
visa rules, but in many developing countries they are more than willing to make people pay for skirting visa rules and those 3rd world jails are no joke.

Plenty of people get away with it everywhere obviously... In the USA, there are people who live 30 years without proper papers and make do. There are also people who get caught after being only days in the country. It's just luck of the draw with you being a heavy favorite. But I'm not sure I would risk it in developing countries... I would definitely look into what happened to to other people who got caught with expired visas first.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:09 PM   #15
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

No, not worth the risk, and like you say there will at some point be a situation where you need documents.

Fortunately there are visas to be had and ways to go about it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:39 PM   #16
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

This is a long shot question but I will ask anyway... Do you know if any sort of motorcycle rentals are available (aside from super expensive BMW rentals) or if it's possible to buy a cheap motorcycle on a tourist visa (registration and insurance complications.)
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:39 PM   #17
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

You need a social security number for just about anything here, so not having a visa would complicate things a lot. im currently doing portuguese classes and got a one year visa without any questions asked.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:49 PM   #18
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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You need a social security number for just about anything here, so not having a visa would complicate things a lot. im currently doing portuguese classes and got a one year visa without any questions asked.
Could you give more information about this.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:08 PM   #19
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

What lead you to Natal from Norway? Is there an expat community, easy to meet people in general? How would you compare it to other places in Brazil if you have been? Pros and cons vs Rio or Florianopolis for example
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:18 PM   #20
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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You need a social security number for just about anything here, so not having a visa would complicate things a lot. im currently doing portuguese classes and got a one year visa without any questions asked.

Anybody can get a CPF here, without visa. The CPF - Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, is the universal SSN here. This is what you need to open bank accounts, register property (and vehicles) etc. You don't need to A) be a Brazilian or B) have a residency/visa. As long as you contribute to the Brazilian community in one way or another, you must have it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:24 PM   #21
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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This is a long shot question but I will ask anyway... Do you know if any sort of motorcycle rentals are available (aside from super expensive BMW rentals) or if it's possible to buy a cheap motorcycle on a tourist visa (registration and insurance complications.)
I've never seen a place renting out motorcycles, tbh. They are everywhere, and cheap.

Problem here would be insurance, I guess. Registration is easy. I've never encountered these types of problems because my work provides me with a car.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:04 AM   #22
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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What lead you to Natal from Norway? Is there an expat community, easy to meet people in general? How would you compare it to other places in Brazil if you have been? Pros and cons vs Rio or Florianopolis for example
All good questions here.

Work lead me here. I went to see a friend of mine in 2002, who lived here (still does), just for vacation. He had, back then, a real estate gig going and he hired me in 2003. I was here until 2006, when I got a job back in Norway I couldn't say no to. My friend's company, in the meanwhile, grew like crazy and he called me a couple of years ago and I came back.

Expats range from Italians, Spanish, Brits, a few Americans, a huge Scandinavian community (mainly Norwegians), Dutch++++. It's a typical vacation place, they've had tourism here for decades. Very friendly and welcoming people.

Rio, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Florianopolis (all southern cities) are more European, more structured than up north. Historically, the North Eastern part have been the poorest part of Brazil since the beginning. That shows, still. In general I would say that it seems more civilized further south, and they tend to be a little condescendant towards the north easterns for this.

Pros and cons is a little difficult, but I'd say that the standard of living is better in the south. But it's also a lot more expensive. It evens itself out. We have by far the best climate for instance, being so close to the Equator.

Last edited by HelloFriends; 02-28-2013 at 12:14 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:55 AM   #23
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

Beware of dating Brazilian women.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:24 PM   #24
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Re: Ask me about Natal, North Eastern Brazil

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Beware of dating Brazilian women.

please explain^. Also any good places to train mma?
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:04 PM   #25
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please explain^. Also any good places to train mma?

They will mess you up in the brain department. Short explanation.

I've given this some thought. One week they can be the best GF you'll ever have, the next they can be insane/cooking rabbits.

MMA:

Yes, def. They have a very good one in the city (Natal), I can find the name if you want. A Dutch friend of mine (former Vale Tudo Champion) trains three local talents there when he is in the country. They also have a lot of Gracie-franchises around the city.

Not sure about the prices tho. Can find out. PM if interested.
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