Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Curitiba's trademark and the favourite attraction of many visitors, the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden), is a huge green area of about 250,000 square meters. It was created in 1991 in the style of French gardens.

Flowers line the pathways to the Botanical Garden as visitors enter the gates toward the greenhouse. Each hedge is constructed carefully, and successfully channels the gardens of Versailles’s backyard. The greenhouse itself is the highlight of the gardens, set gracefully against the backdrop of Curitiba’s skyline.

The greenhouse is not impressive in size. It is only a hair over 450 square meters. However, its design is so arresting it steals the eye of any visitor who explores the garden.

An art nouveau construction, it employs metal and glass to sculpt its three peaks into a solitary monument dedicated to the beauty of nature. White metal wraps around the entire structure, carving out an intricate design across the greenhouse and truly setting the building apart from the rest of the similarly striking gardens.

The two-storey greenhouse resembles a castle and was inspired by the 19th century crystal palace in London. Inside is a collection of tropical flora and a water fountain. Most of these botanic species can be found in nature excursions around the state parks of Parana, but the building is the most important thing here. Outside are fountains and flower gardens and even a cafe. 

The forest is filled with paths for jogging and walking and there is also a lake. Worth visiting is the Museu Botanico with its remarkable collection of rare Brazilian plants, a library and a space for exhibitions. Gardens are open daily 6am-8pm and the museum Mon-Fri 8am-5pm.

Also, it houses a very interesting exhibit space named Espaco Cultural Frans Krajcberg. Inaugurated in October 2003, it is named after the Polish plastic artist. The space holds 114 large-scale sculptures and three carvings in relief made out of trunks of trees, donated by the artist to the city. Krajcberg, one of the artists most engaged in the environmental preservation issue, chose Curitiba for its ecological consciousness. Beside the artistic exposition, Krajcberg Space is a place of meeting, reflection and free exchange of ideas. The works are the starting point for reflection about man's relation to nature, about art and environment.

Works are divided in groups and classified by the artist by material characteristics of palms, upward trees, lianas, mangroves, burns, sticks and barks. Krajcberg extracts the material for his creations from nature. Calcined trunks of wood, extracted directly from places of depredation, are the ones which most identify his work, although the concern with the environment has always been part of his artistic accomplishments.

Among the works in the collection are sculptures, photographs, videos, texts and publications which are the base for educational actions. The program, in charge of Curitiba Cultural Foundation, involves besides the permanent exposition of Krajcberg's works, a video festival, debates, seminars and other actions that aim at environmental education and discussion about visual arts.

It is open Tue-Sun 9am-12am and 1pm-6pm.

SOURCE: Atlas Obscura

Thursday, December 5, 2013


High season in Brazil lasts from the week before Christmas until Carnaval (which falls sometime in Feb or early Mar, depending on the year). Flights and accommodations are more expensive and more likely to be full during this period. Book well ahead of time for accommodations during New Year's and Carnaval. This is the most fun time to travel -- towns and resorts are bustling as many Brazilians take their summer vacations, the weather's warm, and New Year's and Carnaval are fabulously entertaining. If you want to spend New Year's in Brazil, it's best to arrive after Christmas. The 25th is really a family affair, and most restaurants and shops will be closed.

As Brazil lies in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are the exact opposite of what Northern Hemisphere residents are used to: summer is December through March and winter June through September. Within the country the climate varies considerably from region to region. In most of Brazil the summers are very hot. Temperatures can rise to 43°C (110°F) with high humidity. 
The Northeast (from Salvador north) is warm year-round, often with a pleasant breeze coming off the ocean. Temperatures hover between the upper 20s to mid-30s Celsius (low 80s and mid-90s Fahrenheit). 
As befits a rainforest, the Amazon is also hot and humid year-round, with temperatures hovering around the mid- to high 30s Celsius (mid-90s to low 100s Fahrenheit). The dry season lasts from June to December and is often called "summer" by the locals as it is hot and sunny. As the rivers recede, beaches and islands reappear. The wet season typically runs from December to May and is referred to as "winter." The humidity is higher in the rainy season, building up over the course of the day to produce a heavy downfall almost every afternoon. Even then, however, mornings and early afternoons can be clear and sunny.
The Pantanal is very hot in the rainy season, with temperatures climbing over the low 40s Celsius mark (100°F). Most of the rain falls December through March. The driest time of the year is May through October. In these winter months things cool down considerably, though nighttime temperatures will seldom drop below 20°C (68°F).
 Rio has very hot and humid summers -- 38°C (100°F) and 98% humidity are not uncommon. 
São Paulo has a similar climate to Rio's, hot in the summer.  
Brazil's biggest holidays are New Year's (JAN. 1) and Carnaval (March 1-5 / 2014).

Saturday, November 30, 2013


The postcardlike view is one of the attractions of the hostel run by Bruno and Fernanda on top of the Vidigal favela, south zone of Rio. Whoever stays here is begotten the Brazilian way. Perhaps that is why the hostel, which is less than a year old,  has always been fully booked.
Obviously the daily low fare is much of an attraction, but who climbs the hill is in search for something extra -wandering over alleys and lanes, greeting neighbors and feeling as a favela resident.
"An invisile wall is said to be felt though, but it is gradually coming down - fear eventually subsides into friendship after 24 hours. That's the difference.", says Cristiane de Oliveira, owner of the  hostel at Chapeu Mangueira Hill, in Leme.
An Austrian guitarist felt fearful at first when he came to the slum. "I saw no keys to the doors here, and was afraid people might barge in, but I never had any problem, and that is really cool," he said.
A survey led by the Ministry of Tourism reveals that 95.7% of foreigners who come to Brazil are willing to return. "There is a considerable number of those who have come, stayed and are now residents and no longer want to go away," according to Cristiane.
Such is the case of Mexican brothers Santiago and Oscar. They planned to spend a month at the Vidigal hostel. Four months have passed by and they already feel like Cariocas. "We feel like family here in Rio," they say.


LINKS: FAVELA DO CANTAGALO                         Ever growing tourism (in Portuguese)
              FAVELA DO VIDIGAL

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Balloons equipped with radio transceivers could soon be bringing the internet to remote parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil

The airborne devices are said to provide the same connection speed as the 3G network from almost 800ft in the air.

The balloons, which aim to connect regions cut off by traditional technology, have been developed by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research as part of the government’s National Broadband Plan.

Government ministers have also reportedly been in discussions with Google, which is also piloting its internet-powered balloon initiative, called “Loon”, in New Zealand.

Paulo Bernardo, Brazil’s communications minister, said: “It will be critical to isolated towns in the Amazon region , which are not yet served by operators.”

Around 250,000 homes – some 950,000 people - are connected to the internet in Amazonas, a state that is home to 3.5 million people, according to the 2010 census.

Earlier this month, the communications ministry, along with the ministry for science, technology and innovation, launched a test balloon in Cachoeira Paulista in São Paulo.

Once in the air, attached to a vehicle, it connected via radio to a fixed point in the city and allowed two video conferences across Skype to take place.

The balloon can carry a connection for a distance of up to 30 miles (50km).

Marco Antonio Raupp, science, technology and innovation minister, added: “I hope the project continues advancing so that the most remote regions, such as the Amazon, have an effective internet signal.”

The project is similar to Google’s pilot initiative, which began in June. In the trial, 30 balloons were launched in New Zealand where 50 residents were responsible for them as “balloon pilots”, offering connections with 3G speed.

The Project Loon balloons are 50ft (15m) by 40ft (12m) and are designed to travel 12 miles (20km) above the Earth’s stratosphere, moving with the wind to provide internet coverage.

“It sounds a bit like science fiction, but we are sure the project will become a reality,” Sameera Ponda, Google engineer, said.

“Bringing internet to all with balloons is easier and cheaper than doing it through satellites.”

Representatives from the web giant met with Brazilian officials to discuss a partnership last month, according to Folha de São Paulo.

“This project would certainly contribute in a significant way to increasing internet access in an area that is difficult to reach with traditional technology,” Mr Bernardo said.

SOURCES: The Telegraph

Monday, November 18, 2013


The State of Sergipe is the smallest state of the Brazilian Federation, located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of the country. It holds a precious gem 213km inland from its capital Aracaju - the Xingo Canyon. 

The Xingo Canyon - one of the largest and most beautiful in the world - is a deep valley 65 km long by 170m deep and its width ranges from 50 to 300 meters. 

The 60-million-year rocky cliffs  spring from the crystal emerald waters of the lake formed by the construction of the Xingo dam in the  Sao Francisco river.

Local attractions include rides by boats, catamaran or schooner into the canyon, the lookout at Piranhas town, a visit to the Xingo museum and to the hydroelectric power plant. Also, climbing, rappeling, cable crossing and trekking are available.


Sunday, October 27, 2013


The Municipal Market of Manaus reopened after a 7-year revamp.  The reopening took place along with the birthday of Manaus, which completed 344 years on Wednesday (23).
At first sight one might think of a theater, but the building was born to be a public market. It was built over three decades,since the late nineteenth century and the architecture therefore shows an eclectic mix of various styles.
The central pavilion with columns made in cast iron came from Scotland and the entrance reminds us of Italian buildings. "The facade was inspired by the first shopping center in the world,  the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan," says historian Liciana Gil.
The original blueprints dated as far back as1881 were found two years ago by chance, in a used bookstore in Rio de Janeiro and supplied valuable information to historians. In every market there is much more history than one can think of. The cast iron spiral staircase structures, for instance, are not only beautiful to see - a closer look shows that there are hidden signs, markings of a time.
Moreover, acanthus and oak leaves, lillies are reckoned as European codes which are camouflaged in the semi-circular gate, showing how great the English influence was on the nineteenth-century Manaus; side pavilions for selling meat and fish are embellished with stained glass and iron cast lacelike lattice.
The roof is covered with zinc scale tiles, the same material used on the roof of the newest of the pavilions from 1909, in which turtle meat used to be sold. "Here almost anything was sold: from drugs, to witchcraft stuff, meat, fish, turtle, and tin handcraft" says scholar Alfredo Loureiro, a member of the Center for Mustered Studies.

One hundred and eighty stallholders, some of them working there as long as half a century have started to return after the revamp. Marketer Adelaide Perente sells pink peppercorns, crabwood, all-in-one healing plants.

SOURCE: jornal hoje / globo

Monday, October 14, 2013


According to indian Ronaldo Apolinario, peppers are "anti-Curupira". Curupira is a boy who, as the legend goes, is the protector of the forest and has inverted feet with heels pointing forward. But the added sense of protection comes from the fact that pepper has 20 times more vitamin C than an orange. 
Walking into a clearing in the woods with resident Vera Lucia is like taking a trip back in time. The baniwa people have inhabited the region for at least three thousand years. At least that is what the archaeological records show. Perhaps longer before that. And as pepper is the main ingredient in the indigenous culinary it is likely that since that time they have domesticated various pepper species that can be found in the northern Amazon.
Baniwa mythology accounts for primordial beings in the beginning, who were neither people nor animals nor plants. Then one day a group discovered the source of power over the other species. "Previously there had been a large tree in baniwa  called 'cari catadapa.' And on this tree existed various types of fruit, one being pepper. Among the beings called 'wacawene' in baniwa  there was a primal being called "inhapculiqueu", which is a major conqueror of all baniwa cultural aspects. Pepper has therefore been used as an instrument to protect the body itself and also to cook food.
In the rites of passage to adulthood, young people learn that pepper is bactericidal, helps prevent contamination of food consumed fresh.
Throughout the Amazon over 150 types of pepper have been catalogued and as they are planted together, the crossings have given rise to new varieties. "There are several new species, so to speak, that baniwa can not name because  birds consume much pepper. Then they eat them, dropping the seeds somewhere else thus helping people spread it," says the Indian André Baniwa.
Some villages have even pepper charmers. It's usually an old woman who inherited the secrets of ancestors and who has passed many rituals of  lifelong preparation. 'Abomi', which means "grandmother" in baniwa, sings for the peppers to shine. She bestowed on us a great honor - visiting her private garden. Abomi believes to be 75 or more, diificult to tell by her face. Moreover, she is in excellent health. The explanation she has for this is because she lives next to the garden where she cultivates pepper plus all the meaning that  pepper adds to cooking, health, religion and indigenous spirit. This shows how much pepper is completely blended in the baniwa culture.

The malagueta pepper is one commonly used in Brazil to make different hot sauces and add a kick to any dish. The Scoville scale, which measures the heat of chili peppers, rates the pepper at anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 units. For reference, consider a jalapeño, which sits anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 units.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Brazil is the mecca for neotropical birding, simply an essential pilgrimage for any birders wanting to enjoy the tropical birding trip of a lifetime. Boasting the second richest avifauna in the world, an incredible 1837 bird species and an amazing 230 endemics and rising with new species discovered every year!

Red necktie hummingbird

Ubatuba, on the Paulista coast, is an ideal city for bird watching. It is surrounded by one of the largest areas of intact Atlantic forest, the biome with the second largest variety of birds in Brazil after the Amazon. It lies at the foot of the mountainous descent to the ocean, whose many altitudes are home to several species of birds.

The manakin is the official bird of Ubatuba, although the seagull might seem a more appropriate choice. After all, the city promotes its beaches, not its birds. So the majority of tourists have no idea that this resort has much more to offer than idyllic conjunctures of sand and water.
Araripe Manakin
SOURCES: Folha de Sao Paulo and Birding Brazil Tours

Monday, September 30, 2013


"Jeitinho brasileiro" is an expression that can be freely translated to "the Brazilian way of doing things". It means that, regardless on the rules or systems in place, where there is a will there has to be a way around it. In Brazil it takes unique proportions: people, institutions, companies, policies and even legislation have been influenced by it. The jeitinho is so ingrained in our daily lives that you can see examples of it everywhere: managing to get a seat when all the places are booked up, traveling with more luggage than it is allowed, driving in road shoulders, parking in spots for disabled people, successfully ordering something that is not on the restaurant menu etc.  

However, "Jeitinho" is not always used to take advantage. There is another very important side, which is the capacity to deal creatively with life’s everyday complications. 

Many foreign businessmen get astonished by the fact that, most of the time, they have to become friends with Brazilian entrepreneurs in order to do business with them. But the fact is that Brazilians cannot separate public and private dimensions, . A businessman is the citizen and the company at the same time and being friends with the company hastes negotiations and increases trust.

When doing business in here, everything flows better if you treat everyone with friendship. Many things in Brazil are done based on the exchange of favors. It is even widely said around here: “for my friends everything, for my enemies the Law”. Think about it. 

MORE AT: Brasil na estrada
                     O lado bom do jeitinho brasileiro
                    The Brazilian Way

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Rural tourism is an ever growing industry in Brazil. This kind of activity has been well known in the USA and Europe since the 1950s. It was only in the 80s, however, that it became a business activity in Brazil.
Rural tourism began when properties in Santa Catarina and in Rio Grande do Sul decided to diversify their activities to combat their financial difficulties by receiving tourists. This segment has since experienced gradual growth in Brazil, encouraged by the cultural regional diversity.

In the state of Amazonas, you can experience rural tourism in the jungle. In the state of Goiás, attractions include the waterfalls, lakes and geysers. In Minas Gerais, the local cheese, cachaça (rum) and friendly chats with locals are the attractions. In Mato Grosso do Sul you can ride a horse over the largest floodable area on the planet, while Espírito Santo is the cradle of agro-tourism. In the south, the tourist can experience the traditions and customs brought by European settlers.

According to a survey conducted by Embratur (Brazilian Tourism Company) in 2007, about 20% of foreigners who visit the country are interested in nature, ecotourism and adventure. Rural tourists will find activities such as fishing, adventure sports, hiking, visiting ranches and cultural houses, and recreational activities in the rural environment.
The Ministry of Tourism is planning to use rural tourism to rescue and promote the cultural and natural heritage of the community. This segment also brings benefits to the local population with the improvement of their lives conditions, new job opportunities, and the reduction of rural-urban migration.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The World Cup is one of the inspirations of the 32nd Expoflora, an exhibition of flowers and ornamental plants which started on Friday (30) in Holambra (SP). The colors green and yellow coat most of the flowers and plants that come to market, namely hotels, businesses, restaurants, homes and even stadiums.

The show,whose calendar was extended from four to five weekends,  is due to receive 300,000 visitors until September 29.
The city founded in 1991 takes its name as the result of the combination of the words Holland, America and Brazil. It is responsible for the growth and sale of 45% of the domestic flowers, yielding a R$ 4.8 billion forecast in 2013, a 12%  increase when compared to last year, according to the Brazilian Institute of Floristry (Ibraflor) and the Veiling Holambra Cooperative.

The exhibition, nested in an area of ​​250 thousand square meters, consumed R$ 3.5 million in investments and created six thousand direct and indirect jobs. During the show, more than a thousand varieties of different species of flowers and potted plants are displayed, as well as 250,000 stems of cut flowers.
The green and yellow families of flowers and plants include the yellow callas and the hibiscus, the Brazilian strain of lilies,  the four-leaf clover and even a green orchid artificially colored.

The orange color of the Dutch team - Holambra, 140 km from São Paulo (SP) houses Dutch immigrants and their descendants - is present in Tarantas, the hibiscus, the callas, in lilies and buttercups.
Other releases of the 32nd edition of the show are the Blueberry Rose, developed in the laboratory after seven years of research in different world regions, in dark lavender and durability ranging up to 14 days, Calla Black or glass of milk, in dark burgundy. Also, the Barleria, a fast growing shrub with pink flowers, the Twisted Celosia, of Dutch origin, distinguished by the strong and vibrant reddish of its flowers, Oncidium orchids  in three varieties: the Flying High (yellow and brown ), the nickname Carl (brindle brown and green) and Pacific Sunrise Hakalao (pink and yellow), plus 22 varieties of hibiscus.

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