Street Art Around The World

Street Art Around The World

“I laugh at the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism. Thoughtful street art is like good fiction – it speaks out on behalf of everyone, for us all to see.” Carla Krueger

Since cave painting, human beings cannot resist the urge to draw and write on walls. It is my favorite art. I am drawn to the bright colors, the fact that it is available to everyone and especially, the mystery. Who did this? Why? What does it mean? Sometimes I see the same artist in different countries. Here are some favorites from around the world. 

Lisbon, Portugal

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Capetown. South Africa

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Tel Aviv, Israel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bogota,Colombia

Los Angeles, USA

Melbourne, Australia

Rio, Brazil

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Things I Learn From People Watching

Things I Learn From People Watching

“I like to prowl ordinary places and taste the people from a distance.” Charles Bukowski

People watching involves observing people to get a feel for the beauty and rhythm of the community around us. It’s about creativity and using the moments of watching to try to guess at another person’s story just from observation. People watching is a thing now. “Lets have a coffee and people watch’. It’s an activity like golf.

Observational learning occurs as a result of witnessing another person, but is performed later and cannot be explained as having been taught in any other way. People watching is very insightful and informative. It allows us to see humanity in all its diversity and similarity. Watching  other cultures interact in an airport teaches you very quickly that we are more the same than different.

Some places are better for people watching than others. New York, Paris, Tokyo, Miami, Rio de Janeiro and London present ideal venues for people watching because people know they’re on display, and being seen. Any city where people dress up to show the world their fashion flair or sense of style is likely to be an ideal people watching place.

The first thing I notice about people is clothes. What is the identity they want to portray to the world on this day? Are they wearing designer logos, team clothing or travel souvenirs? Are they being vintage or homeless? Sometimes that is hard for me to decipher. People who are too perfect looking fascinate me  – every hair in place perfectly made up and manicured. I wonder how much time they spent on that.

Tattoos are very interesting to me. What is so important that they want to see  everyday in the shower? If they are covered in tattoos (which I find beautiful), I wonder what it is they are hiding.

People are art – the way they sit , fold their hands, walk, run, laugh, frown, chew, admonish their kids, fight with their boyfriends or adjust their clothes. I love observing how people form groups and how their body language reveals what they think or feel.  It’s like deciphering a code. The way people carry themselves communicate their self-esteem and their emotional state.

The newest people watching activity is from homeland security. If you see something, say something. I’m not going into this because I do not know if I have any paranoid ignorant readers or not.

The most important thing is not to get caught. You don’t want to come across as a voyeur or psycho. Be conscious of other people’s need for privacy, space and respect people. Realize that you too are likely the subject of observation now and then, perhaps even as you’re people watching today.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned In Rio, Brazil

Things I Have Learned In Rio, Brazil

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer” Unknown

Rio is named for a river that doesn’t exist. According to tradition, it was first visited in January 1502 by Portuguese explorers, who believed the bay they encountered (now called Guanabara Bay) was the mouth of a river. They named the area Rio de Janeiro, “River of January.”

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Rio was capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960, when that role was transferred to Brasilia.

Rio’s locals are called carioca (a name also sometimes applied as an adjective to the city itself). It may have come from kari ola, or “white man’s house” in the indigenous Tupi language.

The food scene in Rio is laid-back. ( feijoada)

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You can happily grab some fried bar snacks and a caipirinha to enjoy on the beach, or head straight from the beach to a rodizio (all-you-can-eat). The tropical influence is also evident in the many choices of fruit juice stands (on every corner in Rio), and the abundance of açaí.

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Cariocas  have a habit of putting mustard and ketchup on their pizza. There are also amazing five-star and cool trendy restaurants with delicious food.

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In Brazil, there’s soccer (or futebol) and then everything else. Brazilians are obsessive, diehard fans and just about everyone plays, especially at the beach. Even for the Americans who now grow up playing soccer, your skills are no match for the footwork and volleying on display at the beach in Rio. Even the younger groups of kids are able to pass the airborne ball back and forth, using every part of their bodies from their heads to their shoulders to their knees, like its nothing.

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Rio explodes with energy and color during the five days before Ash Wednesday, when millions take to the streets for the world’s biggest Carnaval. The party starts on the Friday, when the mayor hands over the keys to the city to a man crowned as King Momo, a mythical jester who acts as the head of the festivities. Rio’s Carnival features hundreds of booze-soaked bandas (riotous street parties, often with specific themes) and elaborate balls. The party reaches its height at the Sambódromo, when the best samba schools in the country compete for top prize. On Ash Wednesday Carnival is officially over, and King Momo goes home.Carnaval has been called one of the seven wonders of the world.

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In 2014, Rio de Janeiro legalized street art on many types of city property, turning the already colorful city into an outdoor art gallery. Street artists are allowed to decorate columns, walls and construction siding so long as they’re not historically designated. The city has even created a quasi-government agency, Eixo Rio to regulate the city’s urban artists, and celebrates an official Graffiti Day on March 27—the date Brazilian graffiti pioneer Vallauri Alex died in 1987.

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Carmen Miranda conquered the silver screen as a singer, dancer and actress in both Brazil and America in the mid-20th century. The Carmen Miranda museum  is filled with memorabilia including her trademark platform heels and towering turbans of plastic or sequined fruit.

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Rio de Janeiro became a World Heritage Site in 2012.

Rio is where you will find two of the world’s most famous beaches – Copacabana and Ipanema. Ipanema isn’t as hectic and the waters are cleaner.  When you’re in Ipanema make sure to stop into Garota de Ipanema as it is where the famous song The Girl from Ipanema was written.

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The Art Deco Copacabana Palace built in 1923 faces the beach. It has hosted the rich and famous for ninety years. You definitely feel old Rio when you are there even though it has been completely redone.

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.There are two great places to get away from the craziness in Rio de Janeiro.The Botanic Gardens covering over 130 hectares is extremely peaceful and home to over 6,000 types of plants and trees. The Tijuca forest is the largest urban rainforest in the world. Here you can go on hiking trails, admire waterfalls and much more. (Tijuca forest)

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Museu de Arte de Rio (MAR) is Rio’s newest art museum. It is part new modern building linked with a traditional building  by a canopy supported by pillars. The views of Guanabara Bay and the massive Rio-Niterói Bridge from the top floor are amazing. There is classic and contemporary art as well as an interesting exhibit on the history of Rio.

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The Museu del Arte Moderna is another incredible building designed by architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy.

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It houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Brazilian art in existence and interesting temporary exhibitions as well.

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The Biblioteca Nacional is the largest library in Latin America, In addition to the books, visitors can also delight in the library’s stunning neo-classical architecture and intricate Corinthian columns.

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Brazil’s most famous dance – samba – has its origins from the African slaves that worked in the plantations in the State of Rio de Janeiro There are more than 200 samba schools in Rio.

Lapa is known as the best place in Rio to experience nightlife.  This fun and unique neighbourhood comes alive at night, when Samba music can be heard pouring out of nearly every doorway and locals can be seen swinging their hips away while sipping on tasty cocktails. It is filled with row after row of live music venues, tapas bars, and thumping clubs.

I have to thank my guide Gabriel Morand who went above and beyond to make sure I had an amazing time in Rio. I saw everything I wanted to see, ate well and bought everything I needed to buy. I loved Brazil and can’t wait to return.

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Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

Travel Things That You Will Probably Do Only Once In Your Lifetime

Travel Things that You Will Probably Do Only Do Once In A Lifetime.

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

There are many things I would like to do again in my lifetime, go back to Croatia and Turkey, spend more time in the Amazon, eat street food in Thailand and sushi at Tsukiji etc. Then there are things that I know I will only do once. (Croatia)

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Climb to the top of the Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument , etc. Any monument that you climb is a “one and done” for me. (Washington)

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Shop at Harrods in London or Ginza Mitsukoshi in Tokyo. The largest department store in the world is a one time visit – especially for the food areas. i can’t focus enough to buy anything. There are better places to be in these cities. (Tokyo)

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Climb to the top of some big mountain like Kilamanjaro, Everest or the Matterhorn. If you are capable of doing this, it is great for your quadriceps but words like summit and base camp are frightening to me. (Kilamanjaro)

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Visit the coffee shops in Amsterdam. If that is where you are spending all your time in Amsterdam, you have a problem.

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See the Aurora Borealis.

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Walk the Camino de Santiago.

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Take a gondola ride in Venice. I had every intention of doing this but after getting woken up every morning to gondoliers singing Volare, I felt like i had done it and took a boat instead.

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Visit the Grand Canyon – still have not done this

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Walk the Great Wall of China.

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Visit the Acropolis, Stonehenge, the Colosseum, Ephesus, Delphi, the Moabs or other famous ruins. They stay the same just a bit older.

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Go to Oktoberfest in Munich, Carnaval In Rio, Running With the Bulls In Pamplona, La Tomatina in Spain, Kumbh Mela in India ,Burning Man in Nevada, Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, Chinese New Year in China and the International Balloon Festival in New Mexico.

I still have a lot to do.

Fly Safe,
JAZ

Cities Without Hunger, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Cities Without Hunger, São Paulo, Brazil

“To create a garden is to search for a better world.  Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.”  Marina Schinz

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Nothing says hipster in a trendy city neighborhood more than an urban garden plot. Twenty to forty somethings who work in technology, startups or hedge funds are out there on the weekends digging in the dirt.

But urban organic gardens are showing up in some surprisingly unhip neighborhoods in countries around the world. People who don’t have access to a nearby Whole Foods and weekend farmer’s markets are growing food for themselves and their communities. It is changing their lives and the lives of the people around them.

The favelas (slums) of Brazil started after the ‘Guerra de Canudos’ (Canudos War) in Bahia (1895-1896). Government soldiers, who had lived among the favela trees, marched to Rio de Janeiro to await their payment. They settled on what is one of Rio’s hills and renamed the hill ‘Morro da Favela’ after the shrubby tree that thrived at the location of their victory. The government never paid and the soldiers never left and so the first favela came to be. The freed slaves in the late nineteenth century had nowhere to go so they built shacks and were squatters on public and private land. Urbanization in the 1950’s brought mass migration from the countryside for opportunities and employment. The favelas became settlements for the urban poor in the hills of the cities.(Rio)

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The poor people began to erect hundreds of shantytowns without sanitation, police or electricity. The shacks were made with what they could find, wood, corrugated aluminum and if they were lucky bricks and concrete blocks. Problems of drug trafficking, gangs, crime, disease, government and police corruption, malnutrition, overcrowding, housing and land safety were rampant. Favelas in Rio are easy to spot. It is a word you will hear during the Olympic coverage because they are very present in the city.

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In São Paulo they are on the outskirts of the city. Eventually the Brazilian government stepped in and though the land that most of the favelas are on are considered illegal and unsafe for housing, the city put in electricity and sanitation. They are trying to clean them up and build better housing and public programs but with so many people living below the poverty line it is an ongoing process.

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How does change happen in communities like these? It happens by creating programs that teach problem solving, teamwork. financial responsibility and job training. Programs need to be focused on physical health and well-being. You have to involve the local community. The people who live in the favelas have a build your own mentality and a do it yourself community spirit so the right kind of help can make a difference, .

Cities Without Hunger is building community organic gardens in the favelas in the East Zone of São Paulo. They developed community gardens, school gardens and greenhouses on public and private unused land. The gardeners are selling their fresh vegetables to the residents in the favelas at a fair price. Some restaurants have bought as well but the community comes first. I was lucky to be given a tour of a few of the gardens by Hans DieterTemp, Jonas Steinfeld and the people in the favelas who proudly and successfully run their gardens and produce business. Jonas Steinfeld came as a volunteer from Germany and has stayed on as an employee. We were glad to have him translating.

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We saw three gardens The first was Horta Sao Mateus. Four families take care of it. It is run by Genival de Farias who spent a long time explaining how the garden worked.

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Senhor Genival was talking about the fact that no one wants to use the land under the power lines so that is where they put their garden.

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They grow mostly leafy green vegetables which I was told grow fast which makes them a good thing to plant. They also have a variety of medicinal herbs and organic bananas.

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The second garden  was Horta Fazendinha Imperador.

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This one was run by Jose Vieira Aparecida and his family. (Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love that pot).

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It was his mother who started to plant herbs on this abandoned area and Cities With Hunger helped them turn it into an urban farm. (happy customers)

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They plant lettuce which they say sells best in the neighborhood. Señhor Jose told me that he used to be very fat and unhealthy until he started working in the garden.

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We had lunch at the third garden Horta Da Tia Bela. First we went to their home where they were cooking lunch.

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Dona Florisbela Azevedo Silva  and family cooked a beautiful healthy meal with fruit and vegetables from the garden.

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I loved the green papaya dessert.

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Dona Florisbela and her husband Senhor Valdomiro work in the garden everyday. He is 92 years old.

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They transformed a garbage dump into a working farm complete with chickens. (It’s an egg tree)

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It is said that the one quality necessary for success is persistence, to persevere in the face of all odds. That is what these people and these gardens represented to me. The self-esteem, pride, laughter, friendliness, sense of humor and confidence they have all come from working hard, building something that was not there before and knowing that they are doing a good a job.

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It seems like such a good solution to ease some of the poverty in the favelas. Brazil has a good climate for agriculture. It isn’t as easy in Brazil as it is in the States to set up and get funding for these programs. There is a lot of government red tape and corruption and changes take a long time. It is hard  watching them spend so much money on building for the Olympics when programs like this could really make a difference. The gap between the rich and poor in Latin America has always been a big problem with Brazil leading the pack. This is a great organization to get involved with and if you want to help or have any questions you should definitely  contact them.
The website is Cities without Hunger and twenty-eight dollars will buy seeds for a year. http://cidadessemfome.org/en/

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Thank you to all the people who opened up their gardens and made the delicious lunch. It was my honor to spend some time with you.

Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

 

Street Art In Brazil

Street Art In Brazil

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” Banksy

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You don’t have to look for street art in Brazil because in cities like Rio and Sao Paulo, you will see it  every where. (Sao Paulo)

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It is part of the Brazilian culture now and a big influence on urban art throughout the world. (Sao Paulo)

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Urban Art In Brazil falls into two categories – street art for everyone to see and enjoy and graffiti writing which seems to be for other graffiti writers – with coded tags, style of letter and specific color palettes. Graffiti art has rules, specific use of materials (almost always spray paint), easy recognizable styles and a history. (Sao Paulo)

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Street art uses many different materials (paintbrush, computer generated images and spray paint). (Sao Paulo –  Beco de Batman)

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Street art engages us as we walk or drive by and see something beautiful, sad, funny or painful. (Sap Paulo)

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Graffiti art always seems like personal message that we are seeing.

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Both are subversive art movements where work is displayed in a public setting for a brief period. (Rio)

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It is always the knowing that it wont be there the next time I come that makes it more special to me – that it wasn’t painted to be there forever. (Sao Paulo)

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Tagging is different from graffiti. It is known in Brazil as pichacao. (Rio)

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The tagger wants to see his name on a wall and has no interest in aesthetics. It is all over Brazil as well. (Rio)

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Brazil’s street art is very diverse and always willing to challenge the political, environmental and social climate. (Rio – Lapa)

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Urban art is different in Brazil then in other countries because it is everywhere with an abundance of styles, colors and techniques. (Sao Paulo)

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In March 2009, the Brazilian government passed a law making street art and graffiti legal if done with the consent of building owners. (Sao Paulo-Kobra)

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It is all around from the favelas to the upper class neighborhoods with consent or without. (Rio)

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The walls that exist all over the cities whether urban topography or security provide huge spaces for painting. (Sao Paulo)

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The cities of Brazil are a giant canvas for the self-expression of their artists. (Sao Paulo)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

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JAZ

 

 

Things I Have Learned In Brazil

Things I Have Learned In Brazil

“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)

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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?)

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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)

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Brazilian food is super good. (Belem street food -Tacaca with shrimp and jambu)

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Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. it is made with cachaca. (pronounced ca-chasa) (Paraty)

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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.

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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)

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54% of the population has European ancestry.
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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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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Coca-Cola in Brazil sponsors a Pele museum on wheels that travels across the country.

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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.

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It is another one of those countries that knows how to blow dry curly hair straight very well. (Sao Paulo)

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It has the second highest number of airports in the world.

Brazil has a drink named after Jesus.

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In Brazil there is a new futbol beach volleyball where they don’t use their hands. (players in Rio at Copacabana Beach posing)

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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.

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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)

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Brazil has the most number of species on the continent. (Marajo – vulture flying over not the longest beach)

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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.

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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)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

JAZ