buying a car in Sampa

For the past fifty days, we’ve managed to get around Sampa via our feet and a la Uber. And although it’s been sufficient, the thought has lingered in the back of our minds: how do we get out of here?! Traveling beyond the city limits begs for a car of our very own. And so last weekend we found ourselves at a local auto shop recommended to us by several people from school: Auto Handel.

Marcus and Rosa in front of their shop.
There Marcus and his wife, Rosa, guided us through the process of picking, buying and securing insurance for a car (2012 Renault Sandero Stepway). In English! Thankfully, Marcus speaks at least three languages. He also worked us through driving in Brazil (or not driving on some days: Rodizio), managing a flex tank that switches from gas to ethanol, navigating traffic tickets, discerning trustworthy gas stations from those to avoid, and storing the car safely while we’re out of the country. It was a pleasant and efficient experience, which came as a huge relief to Dave and I, who were both nervous about the whole process (we downright avoided it in the beginning).

Now, we can transfer all those nerves to driving in Brazil, where the motorcycles are always just one tiny, minuscule, microscopic, holy crap swerve away. Well, at least this Chicago native can.

Dave has yet to drive.


Here’s my first time driving Sampa streets. The face says it all!

Safe at home!