Brazil 2019

HI FROM RIO JANEIRO, BRAZIL

It is 7:05 PM in Rio de Janeiro, cultural capital of Brazil. It is 5:05 PM in New York City, capital of the world.  I am here with 57 friends and colleagues to enjoy what is left of the week-long Brazilian carnaval that ended three days ago, on Ash Wednesday.   The group left JFK-New York, at 11:25 PM on Thursday, and landed in Rio on Friday, at 7:15 PM,

CHRIST REDEEMER. PARADE OF THE CHAMPIONS.

A regular visit to Rio de Janeiro involves paying due time to the Christ Redeemer perched on top of Corcavado Mountain. The famous statue, 38-meter tall (with its pedestal), has a span of 28 meters due to his stretched arms. The Cristo de Corcovado was built by Heitor da Silva Costar and inaugurated in 1931.   It has become over the years a symbol of Brazil. However, it is no

BRAZIL: THE COUNTRY OF CARNAVAL, FOOTBALL AND BEACHES.

“Brazil is not what you see but what you feel. Once you spend time here – a week, two weeks – you get in the vibe. It’s really intoxicating.” Francisco Costa.

Should we start with the clichés that Brazil is the Land of Carnaval, Football, and Beaches? Or should you know that Brazil started the internal trade of black Africans and was the last country on Earth to end slavery?

DANCING WITH MONOBLOCO.  SWIMMING IN IPANEMA

Monobloco is the new sensation in Rio de Janeiro.  The trio electrico has adopted the Bahia concept of an ambulatory street party.  Their show has become a staple of the post-carnaval feria. After some scant sleep hours, the Group in red abada t-shirts, headed toward downtown (o centro) to meet Monobloco.  The atmosphere was at high excitation level. The weather was hot and dry.  The band was playing on Avenida

RIO DE JANEIRO, CIDADE MARAVILHOSA.

Once simplistic way to conceive Brazil is to see Brasilia as the political capital, Sao Paulo as the financial capital, Rio as the cultural capital and Salvador as the ethnic capital. Unless, you have some political or financial business to take care of, you will essentially end up in Rio or Salvador where the fun is.  Rio, by far the best known, is a traveler’s magnet. It is the leisure

SKY-RIDING TO SUGAR LOAF.  FLYING TO SALVADOR.

In Moonraker (1979), James Bond (Roger Moore) was attacked by Jaws (Richard Kiel) in a cable car that was riding toward the Sugar Loaf Mountain, in Rio. The mid-air epic battle lasted three minutes. Jaws’ car crashed into the Sugar Loaf station building. A 7-UP sign fell onto the crowd having lunch. Do you remember?   The Sugar Loaf (Pan de Acucar) Mountain is located at the mouth of Guanabara

SALVADOR DA BAHIA, THE BLACK ROME

“No matter what, people should come to Salvador. Even people who are afraid to travel, who say, Oh, well, but I hear…” Anthony Bourdain.

It is very difficult to explain Salvador.  It is almost impossible to explain why so many travelers fall in love with this city.  It is true that the city it the birth place of Denilson, Ze Roberto and Dani Alves,

LOVING PELOURINHO.  ADORING COLISEU.

The international visitor has much to experience, alongside Salvador’s exotism. Pelhourinho, the Old City, by itself is worth a trip.  You will take a walk into the past century, strolling on plazas, admiring 400-year old buildings and monuments.  You will stop at souvenir shops, vendors’ carts, merchants’ display.  In Pelourinho, you will feel like on a movie set. Pelourinho is named after the pillories that used to occupy the plaza

CANDOMBLE TEMPLE.  FLAMENGO BEACH DELIGHTS

The two large Arembepe buses could not come close to the Candomble temple.  They stopped 100 yards away.  The Group had to walk to the edge of an escarpment, then go down a steep slope toward the majestic gate of the white house of worship built below street level.  The gate opened. The travelers descended at least two dozen steps before reaching the reception area of Terreiro Mokambo, the temple

THE FUTURE OF BRAZIL

On the international front, Brazil does not seem to be getting a fair shake.  The country occupies half a continent, is the first biodiverse, the fifth largest, the sixth most populated, and commands the 8th largest GDP on the planet. Besides, it is the only country in the world that has close to 50% miscegenation, basically a new race. As such, it is to wonder why Brazil is not a

FUN FACTS ABOUT BRAZIL

Human settlement in Brazil is thought to have begun at least 32,000 years ago. Brazil was the first nation in South Americas to use African slaves, and the last, in the Americas, to abolish slavery (1888). Brazil also has the world’s second-largest black population after Nigeria Brazil is the country with the largest number of Catholics. It also has the second largest number of Christians, after the United States. By

TRAVEL TIPS: BRAZIL

Brazil seems to be the only country in the Americas that requires an “advance” visa to board your flight. You must acquire one online ($45) or at the consulate near you ($180), BEFORE you arrive at the airport. Otherwise, you will not travel.   Other countries, such as Cuba and Paraguay, would allow you to get the visa at the airport, upon departure.     The Traveller (O. Robert Jeanlouie,

BACK FROM BRAZIL

“Brazil’s most famous celebration, Carnaval, storms through the country’s cities and towns with hip-shaking samba and frevo, dazzling costumes and parties that last until sun up…” Lonely Planet.

I have been to Brazil for at least two dozen times.  In the wake of this week’s stay, I feel as enthusiastic as if it were my first.  Anew, with 57 friends and colleagues, I visited Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia, the culture and entertainment capitals of the largest country in South America.