Went to the Brazillian consulate last week to apply for a visa. After getting a CARICOM and Venezuelan visa, I was pretty sure it would work out. I did go with a plan in case things went wrong. Thankfully, they spoke English so it was easy to communicate.
I decided to make another booking without buying a ticket. This time it was a multicity ticket, Paris to Caracas to Rio to London. After looking through the documents, the guy was nodding away till he noticed my French visa expires around the time I leave Paris. Since I don't have a residency permit, he seemed confused. I told him I was planning to move to London for a job, which confused him even more. Showed him the Venezuelan visa and said they didn't have a problem, so he looked clueless about what to do. He called up his superior, who came down, looked at my papers and asked why I was going to Brazil. It was time for plan B.
I said I was going to work with a professor at IMPA in Rio, but out of my own pocket. Since I'm here as a researcher I said the same project I'm working on, has a group in Rio (not true as there is no real project or group in my case), and wanted to spend a month or two in Rio. I mentioned IMPA is a world class institute (true) and it would help a lot to get a Brazillian collaborator. That made her happy, and she looked through everything and told me to come back today with some other papers from the University.
Went again today, and things went smoothly. They remembered me, and after 5 mins of looking through all the papers, said "Excellent, very good." Never heard that from a visa officer. Have to go back next week to pick it up.
That finishes off the visa hassles I had. The final step is to go to London at the end of the month and get the CARICOM visa stamped, and then in less than a month I'll be off. Haven't bought any tickets yet, but have decided I'll buy a one-way ticket to Caracas and keep it open ended. Might end up going all the way down to Buenos Aires and fly back from there, or might just rent a flat in Rio for a couple of months and see if I can get an office at IMPA and do some work while I'm there.