Hey dave! welcome to tpunk!
Well, last time I went to Brazil the dollar was at 3 reals. So consider yourself lucky in the fact that the dollar is slowly falling so I'm guessing the violence has fallen too. When I went, my mom was all worried telling me to not speak English and only speak Portuguese, even with my aunt and sisters. Once I got there I noticed that it was all exagerration. The city that is most known for danger is Rio. I haven't actually been there but I have friends who have and they all say the same thing: It's all exagerrated.
You're in danger is you have a huge red white and blue backpack with an American patch and you're wearing and "I want You!" shirt with Uncle Sam on it and you're skipping down the street screaming the Star Spangled Banner at the top of your lungs. That is assuming that you are American... If you're not, then whatever. The thing is that a lot of the people who assault you are the poor kids from the favelas in Rio who think you're a rich foreigner. Don't carry a lot of cash around the favelas (basically worse then ghettos--you'll know once you see em) don't flash around money. That's the mistake that most people do which gave all of Brazil a horrible reputation as being violent. If you go to the inner towns and cities you'll definetly have less problems. But as long as you don't flash around that you have dollars/euros/a lot of money you shouldn't have ANY problems.
I've never been there, but they say that Rio Grande do Sul (in the very south of the country) is very beautiful and a lot of Brazilians go there for honeymoons instead of leaving country or something. If you want more info go here
for a post foofiter posted about Brazil/South America. I posted a bunch of pictures there and another member posted a lot of beautiful pictures of Argentina too in case you're thinking about going there too.
Anyhow, welcome to travelpunk!!! and happy travels!!!
Brazil, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Portugal, The Netherlands, USA
Belfast, Northern Ireland