The annual flower and strawberry festival in Atibaia will take place this year from Sept. 5 – 21. The festival, which has been taking place for the past 23 years, is held to celebrate the end of the strawberry season and has a strong Japanese and Brazilian influence. As well as flower, ornamental plants, strawberry and other fruit displays, the festival includes live performances and shows representing different cultures and nationalities including Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Bolivian etc. Atibaia, located about one hour from São Paulo, is one of Brazil’s main strawberry and flower exporters.

When traveling to a foreign country you should always check with your doctor or with the Center for Disease Control ( to know exactly what precautions you should be taking. For those already living in Brazil some of this information might be superfluous, but it is important to remember that the recommended vaccination schedules change depending where you go in Brazil. While São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro might be safe against yellow fever, malaria and others, the Amazon, Pantanal and even Brasilia might not.
In general, when traveling anywhere in the country, you should check your vaccination checklist and get booster shots for tetanus and polio as well as start a yellow fever immunization process – yellow fever is most prominent in the Amazon and the Pantanal, but also occurs in Brasilia and even Minas Gerais. If you’re headed to São Paulo, those are basically the only precautions needed. Same goes for Rio except that in the summer, risks of Dengue outbreaks (a mosquito-transmitted viral infection) are high even with continuous efforts by the government. There is no vaccine against Dengue, precaution against mosquitoes is your best bet.
When traveling to the Amazon or the Pantanal, being wary of mosquitoes is highly recommended (even that is an understatement) since they transmit several diseases, including filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in addition to the above stated yellow fever and dengue. The best protections are long-sleeved shirts and pants, mosquito repellent with DEET, bed nets with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin and it is advised to take extra precautious during dusk and dawn, the mosquitoes preferred feeding time. Other considerations include taking malaria prophylaxis pills, keeping your feet clean and dry and not walking barefoot to prevent fungal and parasitic infections, drinking only bottled water and eating only thoroughly cooked food and fruit and vegetables you have peeled yourself.
It is interesting to note, for those already living here, that the Ministerio de Saude (Department of Health) is considering adding four new vaccines to the official vaccination schedule. While two of those are already part of the routine vaccination for adults in the US and Europe, varicela and pneumococo, the other two are not: those for rotavirus and meningococo. The only reason that they are considering not implementing these vaccines is the cost and the psychological impact of four more injections on people who are already unsure if they want to make the commitment in the first place. If you don’t mind the extra costs, ask your doctor about these options.

While Brazil is renowned for its exotic and diverse wildlife (it has the world’s largest rainforest for Pete’s sake!), the industrial hub of São Paulo probably has less wildlife per square km than many desserts. Yet there’s still hope if you want to experience some of the country’s fauna and your not planning a trip to the Amazon or (better still) the Pantanal. It comes in the form of the Zoologico de São Paulo and the Zoo Safari.
While the Jardim Zoologico is probably not on par with world-class zoos like that of San Diego or St Louis, it is still very impressive with 3,200 animals of the most varied species. The main attractions are the falconries and the penguin and sea-lion habitats, along with all the traditional sights, including lions, zebras, camels, snakes and frogs. The Zoologico has begun a new nighttime visiting program which has to be reserved in advance. There are more than 20 species of animals that hunt and forage only at night and skunks and bats are allowed to roam freely. It consists of an exciting experience that daytime visitors miss out on and costs R$50 per person.
Now, for a truly unique trip, the Zoo Safari is a wildlife park unlike any other in Latin America where the animals roam freely and you’re the one in the cage. The cage” is in fact your car, safeguarded with additional metal bars, or a park van which follows a preordained track through various different animal sections, allowing you time to even feed some of the animals, like monkeys and giraffes. Some of the more ferocious species like lions and bears are held at bay at 2 meters with a metal net. The open-air zoo with 350 animals is perfect for kids but adults won’t be bored either.

Jardim Zoologico – Tel: 5073.0811 or 5058.0564
Where: Avenida Miguel Stfano, 4241 , gua Funda
When: Tuesday to Sunday – 9:00 to 17:00
Price: R$10 for ages above 12 – R$ 2 for ages between 7 and 12

Zoo Safari – Tel: 6336-2131
Where: Avenida do Cursino, 6338 , Vila Morais
When: Wednesday to Sunday – 9:30 to 16:40
Price: R$ 40 for one car (5 people) or R$ 10 for seat in the van

With spring right around the corner, several of the yearly gardening/flower fairs have sprouted around the state of SP, making for enjoyable trips to less hectic environs as well as great shopping opportunities for pots and flowers (sometimes half of retail price). No matter which of the four festivals/fairs you attend, you’ll be greeted with an explosion of colors and smells thanks to the 500 or so varieties of flowers present, accompanied with music, artisan vendors, food tents and even Japanese drumming depending where you go. The Expo Aflord in Aruja, 30 km from São Paulo, a fair organized by the Association of Floriculturists of the Via Dutra region, has a strong Japanese heritage and provides traditional music and food along with seeds, fertilizer and gardening accessories. The Festa das Flores e Morangos (Festival of Flowers and Strawberries) in Atibaia, a quaint town 70km from São Paulo, will have 60 food carts, games, and a taiko presentation (traditional Japanese drumming) on weekends.
If you equate flowers with Holland and their tulips and wouldn’t want it any other way, the Expoflora in Holambra your answer. Two hours away by car, the Exploflora has a distinct Dutch flavor and specializes in tulips. If flowers don’t warrant hour long trips for you, the Fiaflora (International Landscaping, Gardening and Floriculture Fair) is coming to the Centro de Exposião Imigrantes, providing workshops and expert opinions for non-professionals.

XIII Expo Aflord Aruja
When: Saturdays and Sundays – 8:30 to 18:00 – ends September 7
Price: R$10
Tel: 4655.4227

24 Festa das Flores e Morangos de Atibaia
When: Fridays to Sundays – 9:00 to 18:00 – starts September 3, ends September 19
Price: R$12
Tel: 0800.555979

23 Expoflora – Holambra
When: Thursdays to Sundays – 9:00 to 19:00 – starts August 26, ends September 26
Price: R$16
Tel: (19) 3802.1421

7 Fiaflora – Expo Garden
When: September 5 – 13:00 to 21:00
Price: R$15
Tel: 3845.0828

By Danilo Valliserra Hortenci
Continuing our highlights of hotels in São Paulo, we come to the Ibis Paulista, a member of the Accor Hotels chain found around the country. Built in the middle of the biggest business district in the city, it is a prime location to stay in São Paulo, with easy (relatively speaking) access to nearly every part of the city. The hotel is just 10 yards from the Consolacao subway station and security is excellent with a mobile police unit stationed nearby. If you arrive by car, valet parking is available. The price range is on the less expensive side, with rooms around R$92 during the week and R$79 on the weekends. The rooms have broad band Internet access, as well as standard items like cable TV, a minibar and a safe in the room. The hotel provides a meeting room for 16 people if needed. There is also a fine buffet style restaurant, Boa Mesa”, which also has a kid’s meal, within the hotel, but if you prefer to dine out then the Jardins neighborhood is full of great restaurants and pubs. There are also a number of Cinemas (Belas Artes, Bristol, Unibanco) and Shopping Malls (Frei Caneca, Paulista) close by to complete your entertainment options.

Name: Ibis Paulista
Address: Av Paulista, 2355 – Jardins, São Paulo
Telephone: 55 11 3523.3000

The Den Haag Baroque Orquestra is a Dutch group that specializes in Baroque music and will be playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in C minor, perhaps one of his greatest masterpieces. To provide the equivalent gravitas in the setting, the concert will take place at the São Bento Convent in the Centro. Formed in 1998 in the city of Haia, the ensemble includes 28 players and 8 vocalists from various countries and is conducted by the mineiro” Luis Otavio Santos. Both of their performances on the 25th (Wednesday) and the 26th (Thursday) are for charity – all the profit will go to the Associacao para Criancas e Adolescentes com Tumor Cerebral (Tucca).
If you’d rather not spend the R$70 to R$150 for the concert above, alternatively the violin soloist Viviane Hagner will be performing together with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado on Thursday and Saturday (26 and 28). The German prodigy has, already at the age of 27, performed under such greats as Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Vladimir Ashkenazy. She will be soloing in Kurt Weill’s Concerto for Violins Op. 12 with her Stradivarius from 1717. The orchestra will also perform Macbeth, by Richard Strauss, and Sinfonia N.4 by Villa Lobos. It will cost R$22 to R$70 and will be held at the Sala São Paulo.

Mosteiro São Bento

Where: Largo de São Bento, Centro. Tel: 228.3633 – Tickets bought at Tucca, Rua 9 de Julho, 4275, Jardim Europa
When: 25 (Wednesday) and 26 (Thursday) at 8:30 pm
Capacity: 693
Price: R$70 to R$150

Sala São Paulo

Where: Praca Julio Prestes, Luz. Tel: 3337.5414
When: 26 (Thursday) 9:00 pm and 28 (Saturday) 4:30 pm
Capacity: 1,501
Price: R$ 22 to R$70

Charlie Trotter, the chef-owner of the exclusive restaurant that carries his name in Chicago, is coming to town to commandeer a special dinner at the Eau Restaurant, at the Grand Hyatt São Paulo, on August 26th. He will be bringing a team of six professionals, among them the sommelier Jason Smith and the executive Chef Matthias Merges. Son of a Silicon Valley millionaire, Trotter became interested with gastronomy while in college, where he bartended. Now, his restaurant caters only to the finest and richest of Chicago, including Demi Moore and Robbin Williams, and has a 3 month waiting list (6 months to eat in the kitchen). On Wednesdays, he offers lunch to 20 kids from public schools and requires that they do only one thing: ask him two questions. Trotter was the first American chef to abolish the entre, main dish, dessert” progression and instead, offers ten to twelve small dishes with interesting combinations, all based on fresh products. At his restaurant, customers are offered two menu options: one with vegetables of the season and another with seafood, meats and grains (the “Grand” menu). The one-time special dinner at the Eau will consist of 4 canapés, 6 small dishes and 3 desserts along with a wide selection of wines.

When: 26th of August

Where: Eau Restaurant – Grand Hyatt São Paulo – Av das Naes Unidas, 13301

Price: R$ 400 (wines not included)

Reservations: 3664-8813

Capacity: 122 people”

One of the most scenic marathons you’ll find in the world, the International Half-Marathon of Rio starts off in São Conrado and passes the beaches of Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana and Botafogo and provides views of the Pão de Aucar and Corcovado.
The distance totals 21,095 meters, relatively flat terrain except for a hill at the beginning, and will start on September 5th. This is the 8th edition of the Marathon and for the first time, the winner, along with winning R$15,000, will be qualified to compete in the World Half Marathon in India, to be held in October. For the past 8 years, the endurance test has been fought between Brazilians and Kenyans, with Brazil winning twice and Kenya four times in the men’s competition and Brazil winning once and Kenya four times in the women’s. If you’re considering testing your stamina in Rio, register quickly at the official website or call (11) 3801 9540. The price is around R$ 290 for the package while just the inscription is R$35. “

Saturday, August 21, is AmSoc’s Welcome Back Party. Food, drinks, live music and great family games for the kids.
It’s a great opportunity to hang out with your AmSoc friends and have all sorts of games to play.
Sack race, Egg toss, Three-legged race plus the adventurous bungee trampoline, climbing wall, face painting and much more.
Come and enjoy a day with old friends and make some new ones.

When: Sat. Aug 21, from 1pm to 5pm

Where: Chapel School, R. Vigrio João de Pontes, 537 – Chcara Flora

Those in Rio are getting the chance to behold one of the most prized historical documents ever: the Dead Sea Scrolls. Recently open to the public at the Museu Historico Nacional in Rio, the exhibit contains three original scrolls and 7 replicas, along with 80 artifacts and translations to better understand the documents (unless you’re fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew) and for comparisons with biblical texts. A little history lesson: the manuscripts were found throughout eleven caves in the desert of Quaran, preserved due to low humidity and high temperatures since, around, 200 to 70 BC. Historians state its importance is that of a link between Christianity, Judaism and Islamism, mainly since the original owners of the documents were Essenes, a Jewish Sect said to have had Jesus Christ as a member. The Pinacoteca of São Paulo will be receiving the exhibit on the 29th of October.
The Pinacoteca right now is housing various galleries with interesting works in Modernist art and in photography. If you’re looking for an introduction to Modernism, the 75 works from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdan are said to be the most didactic collection in the world because of its breadth of artists (68 artists) and demonstration of different modernist veins. The collection, at the Pinacoteca until October 3rd, has works from Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Jeff Koons and Marlene Dumas, plus it is bolstered by pieces from 20 Brazilian artists including Iber Camargo, Nuno Ramos, Nelson Leirner and Amlcar de Castro. The photographer Gama Junior also has an exhibit, called CaleidosCorpos, which gathers 25 paintings” of bodies and their reflections in the virtual world.

Pinacoteca do Estado: Praa da Luz, 2 – Luz. Fone: (11) 3229-9844
Estaão Pinacoteca: Largo General Osório, 66 – Luz. Fone: (11) 222-8968

When: Tuesday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm

Price: R$4 – Free on Saturday”