Archive for March 12th, 2018

March 12, 2018

The big beautiful and samba country, Brazil!

Well ,it’s about time I recap my previous trip to this huge beautiful country. Of course ,a few post won’t do justice to everything in it, but I will try . I have been coming here since 1994-5 , first from the USA and then continue from France until just last year. Of course, I am talking about Brazil.

Well , do not know where to start, just to tell you that in addition to regular visits for several years from a week to three weeks for which I learned the language-Portuguese, I did eventually went there for a job of 3 months with an apart hotel valet parking and all expenses paid! So always living is different than visiting, you learned more and get more from the experience. Nice memories and nicer friendships that endure even over 30 years!

A bit on the history I like:

Brasil /Brazil/ Brésil is officially the Federal Republic of Brazil, the biggest country in the Latin America covering almost half the surface of South America. It shares borders with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana (also France), and Surinam; only Chile and Ecuador do not have borders. The country is ,also, the 5th biggest in the World and the only heritage of Portugal in the Americas. It is, also, the second Christian country in the world and the first Catholic (per population).

The Brazilian flag has a yellow triangle as a background in green meaning the imperial union upon the birth of Brazilian Royal house . The green represent the Royal house of Braganza  of which belonged the first emperor of Brazil , Pedro I .  The yellow represent the Austrian Royal house of Habsbourg  because Maria-Leopoldine of Austria, was the wife of Pedro I and was an Austrian princess. As far as language ,the Portuguese is the official language but also has Indian heritage in languages such as the tupi-guarani, macro-jê  ,and Arawak (the same later went to the Caribbean islands).The main tribes are the  Tupiniquims,  Guaranís, and  Tupinambas. The tribe of Tupis was the first one to be in contact with the arriving Portuguese, therefore the cultural attachment is more important today.

In 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered the Brazilian coasts coming from Portugal and declare the new lands as part of Portugal. Brazil is the country that have received the largest number of black African slaves, mostly from West Africa in the 16C to the 1850’s. By 1807, to avoid the attack of emperor Napoléon to Portugal, the Royal family of king John VI escapes to Brazil. In 1815, Portugal raise Brazil as a Vice kingdom and the Capital of its empire. Brazil becomes the Vice-monarchy of Brazil and the Algarves. In 1821, king John VI returns to Portugal but Dom Pedro became the regent prince of Brazil and starts the war of independence facing the Portuguese army against the colonial army . By 1822, Pedro takes side with the locals and declare the independence finishing in 1824 with the victory of the Brazilian troops and the signing of the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro of 1825. The first constitution was done in March 1824. Pedro II continues and make the most prosperous period of the history of Brazil.

During early in the 1860’s Brazil face two critical periods.  A war beginning with a civil war in Uruguay (at the time a province of Brazil) and the Army is sent to put down the rebellion  with final victory in 1865. The, real danger comes when the Paraguayan army taking advantage of the situation in Uruguay invade the Brazilian province of Mato Grosso, and four months later invades the Argentina as well.  This campaign was also pacified in favor of Brazil. By 1889, the emperor is dethroned and a Republic is proclaimed but not a democracy but led by an oligarchy of rich landowners, local electors, and Coronels until the crises of the 1930’s. By 1930, on a coup d’Etat the country goes into dictatorships. Brazil entered WWII in 1942 on the side of the Allies and by 1945 the dictator Vargas leave. From 1964 there were many military juntas and stays for over 20 years. Democracy comes in an economic and financial difficult time and a new constitution is erected in 1988.  All difficult moments afterward , due to corruption in democratic elected government to our days still in critical cycle.

The Brazil has known three Capitals, which are Salvador from 1549-1763, Rio de Janeiro from 1763-1960, and Brasilia, since 1960 and current Capital. The country is divided into States and they are in no particular order Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina , Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambouro, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte ,Sergipe, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás ,Brasilia,Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima ,and Tocantins.

It is a vast country so transport is best by air as much as possible. this is the way I have done it. Took a bus once in Curitiba, rode the Serra Verde Express train to Paranagua, which I would highly recommend, the site in Portuguese is here:

And drove myself a car in the Paranà State area around Curitiba. The rest was done by airplane.  For brief information: Cities with metro/Subway/tube that I have tried are Belo Horizonte ,Fortaleza ,Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and  São Paulo. The tramway is ok in Rio de Janeiro. The airports were the  São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport. Belo Horizonte is the main international airport outside Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Natal, and  Fortaleza has accepted international flights. Some city buses can get extremely crowded during rush hours (7h – 10h and  17h – 20h, You should also refrain from riding buses after dark.

The bus network are (only rode in Curitiba)

Sao Paulo:

Rio de Janeiro:

Belo Horizonte:

Curitiba :

Bus terminal Curitiba:

The main city metro sites which not taken any are:

Sao Paulo:

Rio de Janeiro:

Belo Horizonte:

And the airports of my trips are here:

Airport Curitiba

Sao Paulo

Rio de Janeiro

Porto Alegre




Belo Horizonte

And I leave for last some of the things to see in Brazil , of course I have a few good ones in my blog posts above, these are the ones everyone has on their agenda when they think of Brazil.

Pao do açuçar, Christ the Redeemer statue, Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls,  Copacabana beach, Amazon Rain Forests ,  Salvador’s Pelourinho ,Ouro Preto MG, Pernambuco Beaches ; Belo Horizonte; Art Museums of Sao Paulo;  Ipanema Beach; Maracanã stadium, Villa Morretes; in  Petrópolis  the  Cervejaria Bohemia;  Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago of 21 islands that sit 330 miles off the northeast coast. Some of the beaches here are considered to be among the very best in the world, like Baia do Sancho.

Brazil has many choices for all, and they are all wonderful experiences. Hope it helps plan your trip to the country of carnival,samba, and Churrascarias!!  Have a great week everybody. Cheers!

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