Archive for September 13th, 2018

September 13, 2018

An encounter with Brazil!

So here I am to talk to you about South America and especifically Brazil. There is a story behind my continuing writing on this country. I have written several blog posts on Brazil and you can do search to find a plethora of information on the country in my blog.

I will just give you one post for reference as I believe is the oldest: Wonderful memories of Brazil

Many years ago, in my working life in another country, my boss ask me to do some business traveling. The year was around 1999 or so, do not recall exactly and did not dated my photos. My boss a CFO was a very busy men and we have even become friends over the years and still in touch. He was doing all the traveling and I stayed behind handling the battleship (office) of a multi billion dollars corp traded in the NYSE.

Finally, one day he sat with me and told me I need to travel. I try to evade it claiming have small children and do not wanted to be away so much from home. However, he insisted and touch a nerve on me when he told me that he trusted my decisions and was sure I would do a good job doing these travels. That was it, confidence and self acknowledgement are men’s best friend , could not refuse anymore.

The trip that I needed to do for two weeks! included Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Now to most this would be like a dream trip, but at that time I was sad to go leaving my little boys( ages 7 and 5 ,5) behind for the longest period as of that time in 1999. The rest is history, memories, souvenirs , the best experience of my life up to that point, the trip went beyond my expectations ,the job was done well but what I saw and the friends I met have stayed with me even today. Yes, today, still have friends from that trip from Brazil in touch with me in social media!!!

Previously to this trip i had played football/soccer with the Portuguese community clubs and was aware of the language to a basic level. This trip push me to learned the language which now I do fluently and improved each time with subsequent trips. A Vida É Bela!!!  What can I say more than to tell you again a bit more on these 3 cities and get some old photos from my vault.

Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, located between the Rio Guaíba and its many islands. The city is decorated with parks (nine large urban parks) and tree-lined streets, especially in the ancient districts of the Cidade Baixa (lower town). In addition, the municipality has a biological reserve, around the beach of the district of Latif, on the river, which it is known to have one of the largest urban concentrations of birds of the country. The city has many hills, the Morros, which can reach up to 311 meters in altitude.

Many memories here of a family who would read this having white wine in her restaurant that kept her cellars loaded with wine bottles!! right in old city center. Always nice memories, thank you!

Porto Alegre

The port of Porto Alegre is the southernmost of Brazil. A river system that unites the regional producer center on streams that flow into the Lagoa dos Patos with the largest seaport of Mercosul, the port of Rio Grande, 300 km south, on the South Atlantic Ocean. Its old entrance portico was built in an iron structure decorated with stained glass, commissioned in Paris in 1919. The latter is a tourist attraction point of the city, from where the cruises on the Rio Guaíba leave.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Porto Alegre

Tourist office of State of Rio Grande do Sul

São Paulo is a town in southeastern Brazil. It is the largest city in Brazil and South America. On the plateau of Piratininga at 760 meters above sea level, the city is crossed by two rivers, the Rio Tietê and the Rio Pinheiros which confluent before crossing the whole State of São Paulo and to throw themselves in the Rio Paraná. Founded in 1554 by Portuguese Jesuits, the city developed thanks to the gold of the surrounding mines until the end of the 18C, and then became prosperous thanks to the cultivation of coffee and sugar. In the last century, it has gradually become the economic heart of Brazil, with its business district around Avenue Paulista (I stayed next to it), hosting the São Paulo Stock Exchange and seats of large Brazilian and international companies. The city is known for its unpredictable climate, its architecture-and in particular its skyscrapers-, its gastronomy, its gigantic traffic jams and the number of helicopters flying over the city (biggest in Latin America).

And again many memories of good cheers and still good friends, who would read this page. Thank you!

Sao Paulo

Many things to see here, my favorites are:

The city has many monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Ibirapuera Park (big park and many business conventions attended there) and its flag monument, the Municipal Theater b. 1911; The Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP); The Cathedral of the Sé, the Botanical Garden ; the Trianon park, the Zoological Park , Rua 25 de Março ,the largest outdoors market place of Latin America, with over three thousand stores, the wonderful Sao Bento monastery , the Benedictines arrived in São Paulo in 1598, but only in 1634 was created the Abbey and the Chapel was dedicated to St. Benedict. The site, which hosted Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil, home to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and the monastery. Avenida Paulista; the most popular avenue of the city  (yes) concentrates all that is best in São Paulo. It is possible to visit museums and cultural centers, find a park amid great skyscrapers, check book launchings, enjoy the happy hour in one of its many bars, enjoy the evening at nightclubs, watch theatrical performances and movie sessions of the most diverse productions, and go shopping: all in one place!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Sao Paulo on tourism

Tourist office of Sao Paulo

Rio de Janeiro, located in the southeast of the country, is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro.Originally designated the Bay of Guanabara, discovered on 1 January 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil. On March 1, 1565, marks the foundation of the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (“St. Sebastian of the River of January”) in honor of King Sebastian I of Portugal and the celebrated Saint on the day of his birth. San Sebastian who remains the patron of the city is celebrated every year. The capital of the Portuguese kingdom was thus transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, which became the only European capital located outside the European continent. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

The Bay of Guanabara is 30 km into the landside. Its entrance is guarded by two forts of the 17C and 19C. It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói (great gliding here see photo below) or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it. The most interesting stage is the island of Paquetá, one of the 84 islands of the bay, where the landscape has not changed since the 19C. In this island, cars are not allowed. The largest of the islands is the island of the governor (Ilha do Governador), where is located the international Airport Antônio Carlos Jobim.

Rio de Janeiro

Many memories here, the anecdote is that upon ariving at the airport, my buddy call to verify the hotel reservation, the company had cancelled it because he booked the Palace in Copacabana!!! very expensive place; in the haze to change the reservation the company made a booking at another hotel in Copacabana beach, but booked it for two nights instead of one, so we took advantage lol!! The view from my hotel below !!!

Rio de Janeiro

Many things to see here ,my favorites are

Pao de açucar (Sugar Loaf) is a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters and the so singular form that has always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer , a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. Copacabana beach (my hotel was always here! )and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its six kilometers of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city.  Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. The São Conrado beach is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. There rises the Pedra da Gávea, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, the mountain of Pedra da Gávea overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. You can access it after the Botanical garden . Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and World Flora.

Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro ,white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this Chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles).  National Historical Museum was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes.

Case apart for this beauty and the errors of incapables governments/

National Museum, located in the park of Quinta de Boa Vista, the Sunday promenade of the Cariocas (natives of Rio are call) of the suburbs, this former palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection of zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology in Brazil. Unfortunately for lack of funds and proper fire system ,on September 2, 2018, the museum is ravaged by a fire that has burned hundreds of rooms and destroys all historical archives!! This museum webpage and follow up on the disaster is here: National Museum at Rio

A tourist office webpage on Rio de Janeiro that will be handy for a visit there, a must.

Tourist office of Rio de Janeiro

There you go, a nice 1 2 3 punch to enhance all the beauty of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

September 13, 2018

Quintana Roo ,Bacalar! Mexico!!

So we go on with some exotic parts of Mexico lindo y querido. Not taking you to the popular areas anyone can do that, I like to take you to seldom and little seen Mexico down in a popular State of a well known region but a bit south of it all towards Belize. I will be talking about Bacalar in Quintana Roo, Yucatàn, Mexico.

I will combine here the visits to historical San Felipe fortress/museum, and naturally beautiful Cenote Azul.

I have written before on these, for reference my previous blog post here

A different part of Mexico

Bacalar is a town located on the southeast side of Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo. The city is bordered on the east by the lagoon of Bacalar, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea. All of this part of the Yucatàn peninsula.

The first inhabitants of the place are the Mayas in pre-Columbian times. In 1543, the city was taken and occupied by the Spanish conquistadors. In 1545, it was  established a Spanish town in the same place and baptized it Salamanca de Bacalar.

In 1848, during the Caste war, the rebel Mayans based in Chan Santa Cruz (the current city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto) took the city. The Mexican army reclaims it in 1902.

The Fort of San Felipe was built in 1733 under the order of don Antonio de Figueroa y Silva, field marshal of Yucatan, to protect the Bacalar population from the frequent attacks by pirates from the Caribbean and to defend the region from harassment from the traders of wood in Campeche. In the second half of the 19C, during the so-called War of the Castes, the fortress once again became the scene of skirmishes for the possession of the fortress. It has recently been restored and sits looking over Lake Bacalar in the center of town.

Bacalar

Bacalar

bacalar

The fort is built in the form of a four-pointed star and has a moat 4 meters deep. San Felipe contains a museum of local history and nice recreations. The plaques on the museum are in both English and Spanish and there is free parking nearby.

Bacalar

More on the museum in San Felipe fort in Spanish here: museum in fortress san felipe:  Museum in San Felipe Fort

Bacalar is a very nice Mayan town   the main appeal here other than the fortress is that it sits on the rim of Cenote Azul, a 91 meters deep by 182 meters in diameter cenote that is crystal clear and good for diving when the Caribbean is too rough. Because the water is so clear you can easily see quite deep. Rumor has it that it is the largest and supposedly the deepest Cenote in the Yucatan. Its arguably one of the cleanest. However, get advise from the locals if diving as many spots it is very thick with vegetation and rocks difficult to dive/swim.

Balacar

Bacalar

What is a Cenote? Well, Yucatan is a large riverless peninsula made primarily of limestone. There are thousands of underground caverns, many running with underground rivers. Occasionally these caves will collapse leaving an opening. If the cavern is running with water, it will create a cenote. The Mayans used these for sources of water and would even build cities around them. Cenote Azul is a mature cenote and is documented as the largest in the Yucatan.

Other attraction nearby , maybe 100 meters is the Lake Bacalar with many watersports offers with kayaking across the lake one of the favorites. But you can ,also, do jet ski, waterski, swim, fish and sail.

Balacar

Bacalar

Other webpages that will help you plan your trip here are

Local Bacalar government tourist info webpage

Visit Mexico on Quintana Roo State

There are many other sites to plan your trip here, I only gives official webpages. Enjoy Quintana Roo and especially Bacalar.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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