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Brazil / Islands / → All Tags
From previous posts, readers may have figured out that we heart Boipeba.
But where, you may wonder, is Boipeba exactly? It's one of three islands between Brazil's northeastern coastal cities of Salvador and Ilhéus. The other two islands in the archipelago are Tinharé and Cairu. The former boasts the town of Morro de São Paolo, a one-time sleepy village turned tourist center of sorts; the latter is the local administrative hub.
These islands cluster very closely together, so that travel between Tinharé and Boipeba at the narrowest point between the two islands (across the fabulously named Rio do Inferno) is a three-minute swim in low-tide.
Boipeba's charms are many. Its small restaurants serve delicious food. (Bahian and Italian are the most common cuisines.) The tangle of alleys in its main town is picturesque and its coconut tree-ringed beaches are hugely appealing. On the eastern side of the island, these beaches stretch for miles and miles, and it's fairly run-of-the-mill to spend a half hour walking them before encountering another human being.
The island even has a small rainforest, though you could be forgiven for spending all your time on the beaches drinking coconut juice as, ahem, we did.
Design / Brazil / → All Tags
One of the most striking things about the local retail scene in Rio is how often one chances upon shops exclusively selling Brazilian design.
We were extremely taken by Daqui, a small boutique on Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva in the lush neighborhood of Leblon. Not only does Daqui sell ice cream in addition to various moderately priced and gorgeously designed objects (incidentally, we think that all design boutiques worldwide should follow Daqui's lead and be compelled by law to sell ice cream) but it's in a completely inviting narrow little space on a leafy yet busy street.
We were also blown away by Novo Desenho, a shop located in the enormous complex also housing Rio's Museum of Modern Art. Novo Desenho organizes its extensive wares (from jewelry to furniture to kitchenware to backpacks) extremely well. Primary staff all know a lot about Brazilian design and speak English as well.
In another shop, Carlos Eduardo Afonso Penna Boutique Design in the Rio Design Center in Leblon, we saw a brilliant collection of modern design objects. One lamp, by a designer named Marco 500, caught our eye. Unfortunately, we can't find any information about Marco 500 online. Can anyone help us?
Guia Quatro Rodas publishes Brazil's iconic domestic guidebook, in addition to a number of other titles focusing on both Brazilian and international destinations.
Guia Quatro Rodas's Brasil 2006 is an amazingly user-friendly guide, with sections devoted to Brazil's top attractions, capsule overviews of 966 Brazilian cities, and hotel and restaurant listings.
But the highlight of the Guia Quatro Rodas Brasil 2006 guidebook for travel obsessives is its detailed descriptions of 40 travel itineraries throughout Brazil.
Most itineraries set aside a manageable chunk of Brazil for a weeklong road trip. The southern Minas Gerais itinerary, to give one example, settles on six sights, all fairly close to one another. The Pantanal and Rio Araguaia & Jalapão itineraries (among very few others) could conceivably require a longer time commitment to check out.
The value of organizing Brazil's enormous mass into 40 manageable chunks is high; in the fifth-largest country in the world, this kind of organization makes the prospect of exhaustively seeing the country actually seem possible.
[Image via paraguayo/Flickr]
Brazil / Pensions / → All Tags
The June issue of Próxima Viagem, Brazil's high-end travel magazine, lists 110 "mountain" pousadas in Brazil's southeastern states of São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.
Pousadas, for those unfamiliar with tourism in the Lusophone world, are guesthouses. Most tourists in Brazil associate pousadas with beaches and cities, not mountainous rural areas.
Próxima Viagem's pousadas are a varied bunch, including kitsch "romantic" hotels and that odd South American hotel subgenre of the Germanic lodge.
Our favorites among the 110 tend toward those in the "great views" category. Among the best are Quinta Dos Pinhais in Santo Antônio do Pinhal (São Paolo state), Champagny, also in Santo Antônio do Pinhal, Hotel Vista Linda in Itatiaia (in Rio de Janeiro state), and Passaredo, Arte E Repouso in Araras (in Rio de Janeiro state).
Also noteworthy are Estalagem La Hacienda, a farmland retreat in Gramado (in Rio Grande do Sul state) that looks as if it was plucked out of Alpine Europe and eco-retreat Refúgio Ecológico Pedra Afiada, in Praia Grande (in Santa Catarina state.)
[Image via Dani Lima/Flickr]
Brazil / Airlines / → All Tags
Flying Varig domestically in Brazil just a few days after the airline went on the auction block (and failed to meet the minimum bid by, um, a few hundred million dollars) turned out to be a mistake. A Rio to Salvador flight was delayed five hours, and the meat turnover served in flight was not all that tasty.
Varig simply cancelled all flights on the Salvador-Rio route on our return. To her credit, the overwhelmed agent on duty scampered over to the bright orange desks of Gol to procure tickets. Gol, Brazil's very successful low-cost carrier, runs an efficient ship. The airline blankets Brazil with routes and also flies to Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia, with a Chile route planned and code-share arrangements with Copa Airlines to Panama City as well.
But it was tiny AeroStar, who fly between Salvador and the tiny Morro do São Paolo airstrip on the island of Trinharé, that took the cake. Why? See the (above) holding room's white-on-white interior design. Waiting for your tiny, battered prop plane in an airconditioned space this blandly glamorous made the following thirty minutes of bouncy flight through rainclouds almost feel worth it. Almost.
Your trusty correspondent had the rare opportunity to watch Brazil's first World Cup match on the island of Boipeba. Boipeba, of which you have not heard the last, is clustered (along with the islands of Trinharé and Cairu) just off the coast of Bahia south of Salvador.
11 locals and four tourists sat around a beach restaurant's television at 4pm. First, everyone was giddy, expectant. Bowls of stale popcorn covered with shredded coconut were passed around. Then an amber-hued bottle of moonshine materialized. It, too, made the rounds. Despite a bouquet reminiscent of an accidental whiff of a sharply toxic pen, the local liqueur went down a-ok.
When Brazil's Kaká scored, the explosions were immediate. Pans banged, yells issued forth. This was nothing compared to the noise that accompanied the match's close. Firecrackers set off in Boipeba's village, a good 10 minute walk from the beach, could be heard loud and clear.
That night, the highlight of the news coverage of the day's event was a drawn-out, comical segment about a Croatian surrounded by proper soccer-patriotic Brazilians.
[Image via SimoneCarrocino/Flickr]
World Cup / Sports / Brazil / → All Tags
Rio is soccer-crazed, about this there can be no question. The city is bedecked in Brazilian flags and ribbons and other decorations in one or another color of the Brazilian flag.
Signs on doors of stores catering to tourists explain that said stores will be closed during Brazil's upcoming World Cup matches. Said signs aren't posted on stores catering only to locals; presumably because certain things need not be articulated.
Even the demure employee at the Novo Desenho store adjacent to Rio's Museum of Modern Art made it clear that her store of carefully selected Brazilian design gems would not be open on June 13 after 4pm.
But Rio isn't excited solely by Brazil's upcoming games. Every match appears to be the focal point of mass interest. Televisions are plugged into outside outlets on street corners. Open-air restaurants along the Copacabana (and no doubt throughout Rio) have set up huge televisions to lure customers to their tables. Even the main restaurant at Sofitel is closed for lunch during the duration of the World Cup, as the hotel's bar has a television to accommodate soccer fans.
[Image via interludio/Flickr]
[We have removed the image that was posted here. We sincerely apologize for the mistake.]
Looks like Brazil has its first blogging celebrity, and she's a prostitute. Rachel Pacheco, who went by the name Bruna on a blog documenting her days as a hooker in São Paulo, sold more than 100,000 copies of her autobiographical book after it came out last year. The book has caused a minor to-do in Brazil, but not because of the content of the book, which manages to be both explicit and tame: the author only refers to the first letter of body parts when things get graphic. The translators must have had a fun time with that one.
While we applaud the fact that the woman got a book deal out of being, um, a whore, isn't it odd that in many countries the first blogs to be turned into books are those written by hookers? Belle du Jour, even if she wasn't, you know, actually a hooker, did get a book deal, too. Maybe the Economist can update their Big Mac index to track how long it takes a hooker/blogger to get a book deal in each country to rate the relative levels of prosperity in each. Just a thought.
· She Who Controls Her Body [NY Times]
· Named: the Belle du Jour [Times of London]
· Bruna's Blog