“The world is like that — incomprehensible and full of surprises.” Jorge Amado, Brazilian author
I havebeen to Sao Paulo before. My boyfriend had never been though we both have spent a lot of time in that airport.
Metropolitan São Paulo is more that three times the size of Moscow and six point five times the size of New York. With almost twenty million inhabitants, it is the biggest city in both Americas and the Southern hemisphere.
I guess that is why they have some really bad traffic jams.
Six PM – We land in Sao Paulo and check in to the lovely Hotel Emiliano. I would like to have spent more time there.
Eight PMDinner at house of new friends we had met in the Panatanal – fun.
Eleven AM We are picked up by Josanna (most upbeat person ever)and we start our tour of the city. It is Monday and everything I wanted to do was closed so I go with them. It isn’t raining yet.
Eleven Thirty AMParque Ibirapuera is the city’s largest green space and one of the largest city parks in Latin America. The name means a rotten tree in the Tupi language and despite the unfortunate name there are many beautiful trees.
There is plenty to do here…paths to walk or bike or people watch, museums, Niemeyer architecture, a lake, and more. It is rated as one of the best urban parks in the world.
Most of the buildings are designed by Oscar Niemeyer and the landscaping is by famed landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx.I sawalot of both their work and wrote about it the last time I was herebut it wasso fun to see it again.
One PM São Paulo is considered one of the best cities in the world for the development of creativity in street art.
For some of the best, we visited the area of Villa Magdalena, especially Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley).
One Thirty PMShopping!!!!
Two Thirty PMThe rain has started and we are having lunch at Figueira Rubaiyat ( Fig tree). The restaurant is built around a huge fig tree with a glass ceiling.
Four PMWe drive through the Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade. Brazil has the largest number of Japanese living outside Japan of any country in the world, and many of these Japanese Brazilians live in São Paulo. It is a fun place to explore and see how the influence of Japan has influenced Brazilian life here and, of course, try some great food.
Four Thirty PM We stopat Mercado Municipal to pick upcachaca, dende and Brazil nuts (which turned out to be stale.) The market, located in the old center of the city, attracts large crowds every day. The ground floor has hundreds of stalls selling fruit, vegetables, spices, and cured meats, while there is an upper level with a number of charming restaurants.
Five Thirty PMHead for Airport
Special thanks to Josanna for her knowledge, humor and kindness and maybe the best personality and attitude of anyone I have ever met in the world!!!!!!
You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person. ~Alec Waugh
Halfway between São Paulo and Rio on the Costa Verde is the perfectly preserved Portuguese colonial town of Paraty. ( pronounced pa ra chee)
In the seventeenth century,it was decided that all merchandise shipped to Portugal would pass through the state of Rio de Janeiro. Paraty’s whole existence was based on shipping gold mined from further inland Brazil. Huge finds of gold in the mines of Minas Gerais led to soaring tax incomes and the town quickly expanded with the new wealth. It was during this period that most of the houses you can see today were built. Paraty (which means “river of fish” in the Tupi language) became an important gold port and was the end of the infamous “Gold Trail”.
Walking those streets is like entering a time capsule. Cars are not allowed in the historic city center. Horse and carts stand around like it is the eighteen hundreds.
The huge cobblestones were from the ships coming to load up gold. Slaves pounded them into place, at least the ones who were not mining. Portuguese engineers deliberately constructed Paraty so that the high tide could enter the streets at full moon, flooding the streets and taking the garbage out to sea.
Never wear heels. The cobblestones are uneven and difficult to walk on even if you have lived there all your life. It is even harder when they are wet.
With mines running dry of gold in the late 18th century the importance of Paraty diminished. A lucrative slave trade continued, labour was needed for the ever-growing coffee plantations. When that ended so did Paraty´s importance. Production of cachaça, the Brazilian sugarcane grew considerably. and the name Paraty became synonymous with the liquor. At one point there were over 150 distilleries in the area.
There are three colonial era churches, each with their own splendor and history. One for slaves, one for free mulattoes and one for the élite.
The town stayed pretty quiet after that until 1973 with the opening of the highway BR-101 which started a tourist cycle that continues today. ( We ran into a Portuguese- African holiday celebration- tourists and locals)
The historic town center is about thirty blocks filled with stores, restaurants, galleries and history.
The buildings are painted white with the doors and window frames painted a particular bright color.
Mail can still be delivered based on writing down the color of the doors.
Doors always invite you to imagine who lives behind them and who enters through them. Rules about remodeling these Unesco houses are strict. Doors can be windows. Windows can not be doors.
The first International Literary Festival of Paraty in 2003 put Brazil, and Paraty, on the map of international literary festivals. I stayed at Posada Literatura which has a book store attached, a reading room and books in your room.
We had dinner and a cooking class and the home of Richard and Yara Roberts. Richard began with a caipirinha lesson followed by Yara’s delicious food from Bahia.
Their knowledge of Brazilian cuisine and history made the evening both delicious and fascinating.
“The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams – each according to his or her own talent.” Paul Coelho
The name Brazil comes from the brazilwood tree (which I’m sure I took pictures of but have so many tree photos in the Amazon). In Portuguese it is called pau brazil. The tree produces a deep red dye, highly valued in the European clothing industry and was the first commercially exploited product in Brazil.
The Brazil nut tree is a different tree only found in the Amazon. (Belem)
Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese and the largest Portuguese speaking country. It is very hard to understand Portuguese but easy to read if you speak Spanish. The pronunciation is very different from the spelling that we are used to. Very few people speak Spanish which is interesting considering all their neighboring countries do. They teach English in the schools instead. (Paraty, pronounced para-chee. We have cold beer and cake?)
Brazil does not like conflict or war. They don’t even like to say the word war. When a civil war breaks out they call it a revolution.
Brazil sent three thousand soldiers to World War II reluctantly on the side of Italy and Germany but quickly changed sides when the opportunity presented itself to do so.
There are more species of monkeys in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. This is a very hungry marmoset. I was being nice and offered to share my banana because I was hungry also. He came very close to me and started screaming and showing his teeth for the rest of it. They may look cute but they are predators. Everyone else got the good pictures. I was dealing with the banana. Guess who won? (Rio pronounced Rio)
Brazilian food is super good. (Belem street food -Tacaca with shrimp and jambu)
Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. it is made with cachaca. (pronounced ca-chasa) (Paraty)
Brazil’s homicide rate is 25 per 100,000 people. This is the closest photo I had. I was getting a tour of the opera house in Belem when I turned my head and saw a cop with a gun in someone’s back. If it was the US, they probably would have shot him.
The longest traffic jam in the world took place in Brazil.
There are at least 15 girls in every favela more beautiful than Beyoncé.
Street art is all over Brazil ,from professional or crude to tagging. (São Paulo – Cobra)
54% of the population has European ancestry.
The Acai berry is grown in Brazil, which is believed to prevent cancer, help with weight loss, detoxification and general health issues. There is a lot of acai in the Amazon. It is not a superfood – it is just food usually eaten with dried cassava balls on top or as a juice served in a plastic bag. (Marajo)
Almost everything from the Amazon can be like Viagra. ( Marajo, turu – grey tree worms -there are many in that tree. usually eaten raw – luckily they ran out of clean water and wanted to wash mine in the river, I declined)
The highest point in Brazil is Pico da Neblina, which is 2,994 m high.
Brazil is presently one of the fastest growing economies, with an annual GDP growth rate of 5%.
The Brazilian bikini wax was invented in New York in 1987 by 7 Brazilian born sisters .
Brazil produces the most oranges in the world.
The world’s widest road is the Monumental Axis in Brazil. Here, 160 cars can drive side by side!
Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times (more than any other country!) They feel shame from the last World Cup and don’t really want to talk about it.
Every city in Brazil has at least one soccer stadium. In 1967, a 48-hour ceasefire was declared in Nigeria so that Federal and Rebel troops could watch the Brazilian soccer legend Pele play on a visit to the war-torn nation. (Soare, indoor soccer)
Coca-Cola in Brazil sponsors a Pele museum on wheels that travels across the country.
Brazil has never lost a game when Pele and Garrincha played together. Kaka paid for his brother’s education at the best college in São Paulo before Rodrigo himself became a football player.
Kaka was twice voted as Brazil’s sexiest footballer. In 2005, a Nike ad starring Ronaldinho was the first video on YouTube to break 1 million views.
Brazil has the largest stadium in the continent – the Maracana Stadium.
It is another one of those countries that knows how to blow dry curly hair straight very well. (Sao Paulo)
It has the second highest number of airports in the world.
Brazil has a drink named after Jesus.
In Brazil there is a new futbol beach volleyball where they don’t use their hands. (players in Rio at Copacabana Beach posing)
It is one of the world’s leading producers of hydroelectric power.
Brazil has the fifth highest number of visits from the pope in the world.
Brazilian women attained the right to vote in 1931.
Brazil is the 5th country to make seat belts compulsory.
Brazil literacy rate is 86.4%- the lowest in the continent.
Brazil shares a border with every country in the continent except Chile and Ecuador.
The motto of Brazil is “Order and Progress”.
Brazil has the longest beach at 7500km.( Marajo – not the longest but long and beautiful)
Brazil has the most number of species on the continent. (Marajo – vulture flying over not the longest beach)
Brazil has the highest number of AIDS victims in the world.
Brazil has the ninth highest number of billionaires in the world.
A Brazilian model is considered one of the most gorgeous women in the world.
There is no official religion any more in Brazil. There are a lot of these statues around Rio.
The Portuguese were very different colonizers than the Spanish. They immediately intermarried with the Indians and the first Brazilians are born. Brazil really is a melting pot of races, foods, religions and cultures.
The currency of Brazil has both horizontal and vertical pictures.
Brazil is the longest country in the world, spanning about 2,800 miles from north to south via land.
I loved Brazil and I’m already planning to go back next year. I can say good morning, good evening, thank you, you’re welcome, goodbye and soy milk in Portuguese so I think I’m good. (Paraty)
“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.” Paulo Coelho (yes he is Brazilian)
1. The beach – there are over 1500 beaches and five hundred islands.
2. Amazon Rainforest and Eco Tourism – It is important to support and help preserve our environment in a responsible way.
3. Sao Paulo Street Art – It’s my thing.
4. It is the home of the acai berry. If you live anywhere that is health trendy like LA, acai is the food of the moment. It comes in a bowl or in a drink as far as I can tell. No one really knows why it is healthy – kind of like the chia seed. You order it at a trendy expensive juice bar in a voice that sounds like you just know. I’m shallow like that. I’m going to learn the Brazilian way to pronounce it as well so I can correct all the wannabe healthy people.
5. Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro. It’s one of those iconic Brazilian symbols that I always see in photos and movies and wonder if I will ever be there.
6. It’s another one of the best coffee in the world countries. Those are my favorite.
7. I can practice my Spanish. I mean because I will have the time. They speak Portuguese in Brazil. The languages sound similar to us because they are romance languages and not English. I am hopeful that as in any country but America people speak more than one language and Spanish will be one of them. Otherwise I will rely on my third language of hand motions and charades.
8. I’m not a big drinker but I do love Caipirinhas which happens to be the national beverage of Brazil. It is made with cachaca a sweet Brazilian rum made from sugar cane, lime juice and more sugar. I feel as with all cheap liquor now, the market is changing and when I get to Brazil there will be many premium cachacas to try.
9. Capoira combines dance, martial arts, music and acrobatics. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. It was started as a fighting technique between African slaves who were forced to fight each other. They found a way to make dance like fighting.
10. The yellow soccer jersey. My first live professional soccer game was in Buenos Aires and I have been hooked ever since. Though they lost the World Cup on their home turf and were humiliated by Germany, they have still won more World Cups then any other country. It is the “o pais do futebol.” – the country of futbol.
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