What is a good gift for someone traveling to Brazil?
December 14, 2022 8:19 AM   Subscribe

My husband will be spending two weeks in Brazil in January, and I'd like to get him some helpful items to take with him. What would be a good gift for someone spending two weeks playing samba in Rio de Janeiro?

I will be getting him a Lifestraw, for example, but I haven't decided on which one, so I'd love advice on that. Are there any other items particularly well suited to traveling to this place at this time of year? Thank you!
posted by TrarNoir to Travel & Transportation around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (12 answers total)
Best answer: Is he going to be playing in a samba school batucada? If so, a good pair of musician's earplugs. Those drums are incredibly loud.
posted by dr. boludo at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Earplugs for defo esp if practice sessions are indoors. Sports strapping tape / bandaids or similar esp if those fingers are new to whatever instrument they'll be playing; even shakers like a chocalho will wear out the skin on a two week session.
posted by BobTheScientist at 10:23 AM on December 14, 2022

Seconding earplugs- although I’d suspect he’d have thought of this. Samba playing means long hours on your feet - so really comfortable shoes. A waterproof notebook and pen is good for taking notes on patterns, etc. A wide hat to protect from both sun and downpours. Not sure exactly what people use these days but a small and rugged recording device is very useful. GoPro or similar?
posted by rongorongo at 10:29 AM on December 14, 2022

Flip flops, plain shorts, nondescript t-shirts. My friend said that when he traveled in Brazil, he felt safest, the more he looked like any guy on a Brazilian street.
posted by Oyéah at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2022

A lifestraw itself is kind of annoying to use. It is literally a straw so you need to have an open container to drink from and it requires a strong suck to pull the water through. Then, you have a wet dripping straw you need to keep clean.

I would suggest a Grayl filter, you fill with dirty water, push to filter (takes some strength) and then use it like a normal water bottle.

If that is too spendy, a sawyer squeeze is about the same price as a life straw and screws onto a waterbottle so you can squeeze instead of just sucking. It also comes with a lid for the drinking spout so is easier to carry around.
posted by Narrow Harbor at 12:53 PM on December 14, 2022

A minty foot cream for his tired feet after a long day of walking/dancing. I also always travel with activated charcoal capsules, which are fantastic if he ends up eating or drinking something that doesn't agree with him. They've saved me from terrible food poisoning countless times. I also would not get him the Lifestraw. Unless he was going deep into the wilderness, it's not necessary or convenient. Bottled water is widely available in cities.
posted by quince at 2:10 PM on December 14, 2022

He's going to be in a very large and cosmopolitan city with plenty of bottled water, not the jungle. He does not need wilderness survival equipment.

Get him an inflatable neck pillow for the plane ride, or some really good insoles if he's going to be on his feet a lot. A front pocket wallet is good for foiling pickpockets. Oh, and see if his phone carrier will allow you to prepay for cell data in Brazil.
posted by ananci at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

It’s a big city—no need for any camping stuff. Anything you’d need you can get there. Sometimes I see tourists in Brazilian cities dressed like they are going hiking, and it looks a little silly. Just know that you can buy a pay-as-you-go sim card at the C&A (Brazilian H&M store) so you don’t have to pay roaming charges.
posted by umbú at 4:17 PM on December 14, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you for all the answers so far! Just to clarify, I was going to get one of the Lifestraw water bottles, not the straw alone. He has asked for that, but I will look into that more based on these comments.
posted by TrarNoir at 4:33 PM on December 14, 2022

For the flight, you might print out O Americano Outra Vez, about Richard Feynman's love affair with samba.
posted by BobTheScientist at 10:00 PM on December 14, 2022

High quality masks. No fun in being sick for two weeks in a foreign country!
posted by Bottlecap at 11:41 PM on December 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Something small and specifically samba related would be an apito - this is a tri-tone whistle which is traditionally used to signal impending calls to a batucada group - but it is also used by general partygoers.

Another possibility would be to get him a local tour of some kind. I know a very good local tour guide who grew up in Ipanema and is particularly into the history of music in Rio - so meMail me if interested.
posted by rongorongo at 12:32 AM on December 15, 2022

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