By Alison McGowan
March 29, 2011

What an amazing place and what a fabulous treat the Fazenda Baia Grande is: a working ranch with 1800 hectares of land, the same number of cattle and the most incredible variety of birds and animals all around you.

This is not luxury in the normal sense of the word; the five suites are comfortable and clean with good mattresses and air conditioning/fans but basic in every other sense. The luxury here is in the beauty of the surroundings, the gentle hospitality of owner Alexandre, the wonderful home cooked food, the amazing trips and the extraordinary wildlife.

Although we could only stay for 2 days it was obvious that the Fazenda Baia Grande was a place where the guests really come first; where culinary preferences and activity interests are always taken into account and staff trained to look out for any unusual or spectacular wildlife which travellers may want to see. On just one day whilst we were here we saw over 200 varieties of bird with the high spot the unplanned extra early morning walk to photograph the elusive arara azul or hyacinth macaw. Extraordinary.

The first thing to say about the Pantanal is that it is huge – 250,000 square kilometres in total: an area where you could fit the 3 countries of France, Switzerland and Ireland and still have room to spare. The other thing to note is that if you are a bird or animal lover you will see much more here than in most parts of the better known Amazon region of Brazil. Just the variety of birds and flora and fauna is extraordinary: 100 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, 177 reptiles and 250 different fish.

One of the largest wetlands on earth the Pantanal covers a large part of 2 Brazilian states, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul and in the rainy season between December and April, the waters of the alluvial plain rise up to 3 metres, making large expanses of the region impassable except by plane or specially equipped 4×4 vehicles.

The city of Campo Grande is the major gateway to the South Pantanal- and the only large centre of population in Mato Grosso do Sul. From there it is a 3 hour bus ride to Miranda and then an easy 50 minute taxi ride to the Fazenda Baia Grande. You can easily combine your stay here with a side trip to Bonito but forget any idea of fazenda or pousada surfing north south across the Pantanal. There are no roads, and to do that you’ll have to go all the way back into Campo Grande and out again!.

Not To Be Missed
– Bush trails out to bird watch and animal watch capybaras, cayman, anteaters
– Nocturnal jeep trips round the fazenda
– Two hour photo safari
– Boat trips with piranha fishing
– Side trip to Bonito

Starpoints
* Location close to Miranda, in the heart of the South Pantanal
* Hospitality of Alexandre and his team
* Integration of ranch with nature and the local community
* Relaxed easy going atmosphere with maximum 15 guests
* Great home cooked food

Try a different place if…
… you need reliable Internet and local shops and amenities, or if you don’t like nature

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Palafitas Lodge, Rondonia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d’Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airão, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

March 29, 2011

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Hi, I have been to Brazil a few times. I am finishing a Masters Degree in Music Education and already have a TESOL certificate. I was contemplating coming to São Paulo to teach English. And then possibly, when finished with my Masters, apply for work at the International School. I know this is a hard question to answer but how is safety now in São Paulo. Last winter I spent 2 months in Salvador, and while it was wonderful, I never really felt safe. Is crime getting better or worse. Sorry to be such a “gringo.”

— Gary

Hello, Gary,

Don’t be sorry for being a gringo, it’s ok to ask. São Paulo is not exactly the city of wonders, crime is a constant issue and as a gringo you may be robbed, especially if you’re very blonde or your watch has too much gold. Well, now that I’ve told you, you might be thinking about not coming anymore. Don’t. Come. São Paulo is one of the most entertaining cities in the world, if you like to dance, eat, love, pray… if you’re gay, straight, if you cannot say. São Paulo is a city for all.

As for crime rates, the city made strides in gun control, and the local police raised the homicide solving rate from 8 to 70 percent from the 1990s to 2008. I couldn’t find anything from now, but remember better isn’t Heaven. Where’s there’s poverty, there tends to be crime. You will find pickpockets, muggings, depending where you go. The center is less safe compared to Jardins, where probably nothing will ever happen to you. It never happened to me at least. Also at Avenida Paulista I feel OK during the day. At night, if you don’t see people around, take a cab… or walk with a friend… not in the center, OK. Actually, don’t go to the center at night. Right? Actually, don’t lose any event at Sala São Paulo, or Municipal, but again, get in cab, that’s all.

If you go to Augusta, to dance, or have a drink, you will see you can walk there, it’s OK, even at night. Of course do not carry all the money with you, bring one of those money belts, especially if taking the Metro, buses etc. And that’s it, Gary. Don’t worry. I think you will find it much safer than Salvador… you’ll see.

Hope you feel good here.

Vanessa

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Nails and Spanish
Ask a Brazilian: Tipping
Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

By Michael Macdonald and Alistair Crawford
March 29, 2011

What better way to honour the patron Saint of Ireland, St Patrick, than to hold a sporting event in his name. As is tradition in Ireland on the 17th of March, sporting events are held to commemorate this day including the annual All Ireland club football and hurling finals and in many rugby clubs across the country Inter-club games and family 7’s tournaments.

Thus in 2010, it was that the São Paulo Barbarians (BaaBaas), a rugby team made up of gringos and local Brazilians held their first ever St Patricks day cup. The event on the 17th of March 2010, was held as an inter-club friendly game. Personal rivalries were settled and in the end the São Paulo Gaels, captained by Irishman Alistair, won the day in the final minutes of a closely fought game. The ill-fated losing team had their faces painted green prior to one of the most memorable nights in BaaBaas history at the Lone Star Caf in Jardins. With 30 grown men and wives / girlfriends in tow the caf was filled with the songs and music of Ireland and of course traditional rugby songs from England, Scotland, France, USA and Ireland. According to legend the bar ran out of all beer by 10:30 pm but alas no one was found for comment.

This year, 2011, the second annual holding of the ST PATRICKS CUP, was held on the 19th of March in São Paulo with the SP BARBARIANS hosting RIO RUGBY F.C. with perfect weather conditions and the ideal venue of Brazil’s oldest Rugby club, SPAC in Santo Amaro the event was not going to be disappointing.

The team from RIO RUGBY F.C. travelled from RIO on the morning of the match at the invitation of the BaaBaas. This was to be a re-match of a game that was held in November in Rio de Janeiro, which in the dying minutes had been won by RIO RUGBY. So with our Silver Chalice / ST PATRICKs CUP to be played for this time sparks were certainly to fly.

Against all expectations, the team from RIO got the better of the opening exchanges. A very gutsy effort from the Baabaas was never going to be good enough to take down the classy boys from RIO, who, this year are competing in the Carioca A league and the Taa Brasil (Brasilian cup). The game was as good as lost in the first 30mins but nevertheless a great spectacle. The score: unknown?

In the spirit of our club ethos of equality, brotherhood and fun the teams were mixed up for a final 30 minute game which was as closely fought as the actual game itself. This time the BaaBaas getting the better of RIO.

Afterwards a traditional rugby “terceiro tempo” was held at SPAC with a presentation of prizes, most importantly the ST PATRICKS CUP to RIO (who promise they will look after it?) and of course a sing song led by our five Irish players from both sides.

Before the mud had settled celebrations of the day were taken on to the London Pub on Brigadeiro Luis Antonio where the owners Bill and Bob generously organized a boat race (drinking competition) with two Rio teams taking on a Baabaas team and a crew from Bahia!? Rio dominated once again with both teams making it to the finals, earning them a bottle of cachaa. A great night of entertainment and fun had by all and plans for taking the beloved cup home to São Paulo are already being hatched.

Awards:
Player of the day (bottle of whisky): The kiwi number 7 from Rio (Tom ???) who scored two tries on the day.
Dick of the day (toilet seat): Baabaas back line numbers 9-15 shared the illustrious honour of wearing a toilet seat around their neck for the remainder of the evening.
Monkey award (banana): Z, RIO RUGBY’s prop forward for having a shirt to small for himself and not letting his protruding belly get in the way of playing.
Senior Citizen moment of the game (adult diaper/nappy): The Baabaas Argentine player for trying to get the team to wear green face paint prior to the game.

Photos and video of the game, as well as more information on the baabaas team, can be found at www.riorugby.com.br

By Steve Nelson
March 25, 2011

Visitors to Brazil are often scared of the reputation that the country has in terms of personal safety and security. Much of this reputation has been earned of course, but in the days of 24 hour rolling news channels and worldwide internet coverage, there is also a tendency to dramatise dangers, and Brazil is no different to anywhere else in this respect.

Some people arrive in Brazil expecting civil war in the streets, and to not be able to leave their hotels at night for fear of violence, but then arrive to find people strolling in the streets, eating dinner outside and laughing and joking as if the civil war never existed. Which it didn’t. Even the recent trouble around Penha in the Zona Norte of Rio de Janeiro, with tanks and armoured cars travelling up the streets and drug-traffickers escaping Vila Cruzeiro for the Complexo do Alemão, even this didn’t affect most of the rest of the city too much, never mind the rest of Brazil. Life continued as normal for most people, and tourists in the city didn’t seem to notice the supposed civil war as they went to watch Bossa Nova bands on the Saturday night.

This is not to say that Brazil is a trouble-free country of course, and it never will be while such a huge gap between rich and poor continues to exist. Visiting foreigners will always be seen as rich by most Brazilians, and even the most hard-up, spent-up backpacker will still be comparatively wealthy by local standards, and may be a target for those locals who need some quick money and are prepared to use violence or the threat of it.

The best advice to give somebody visiting Brazil is to avoid making themselves a target as much as possible, to first minimize the chances of being robbed.

The first step then is to leave valuables behind as much as possible, don’t wander the city streets wearing expensive watches and jewellery, as the small amount of clothes you are likely to wear in Brazil will leave them permanently on show. Leave them in the hotel safe or in your hosts’ residence. Better still, leave the real valuables at home.

Technology-wise, Brazil still trails a little behind most of Europe, North America and Far-East Asia. State-of-the-art cell-phones, cameras and laptops are more expensive to buy in Brazil so they will always be very valuable commodities here. Keep them hidden away in zipped bags when not in use, and certainly don’t ever walk around city streets with cameras hanging around your neck, or iPhones in hand checking online maps. A few sensible precautions, such as always being aware where you are using such equipment, and you lessen the risks greatly. Laptop bags are obvious to most people, so perhaps even covering them with a canga (beach sarong) might fool people into thinking you have nothing but a beach bag on your shoulder. If carrying laptops, then taxis are the best idea to safeguard your equipment.

This advice applies to all of the large Brazilian cities, the state capitals usually, not just Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Equally though, there are many places just a few hours’ drive or less from metropolitan areas that are completely at odds with Brazil’s rough reputation. Within an hour or three of these cities, you may find places so relaxed that the only shooting that concerns you is for shooting photographs, and you may find yourself wandering around with your camera around your neck without a care in the world. The basic rule is if you see holidaying Brazilians walking with cameras around their necks, then you will likely be ok.

Contrary to popular belief, many such places still exist in Brazil, and you can be carefree in Praia do Forte or Morro do São Paulo two hours after leaving Salvador, or in Porto de Galinhas from Recife. Even the two World Cities of Brazil, Rio and São Paulo, have tranquil escapes close by in Buzios, the mountains around Itatiaia and along the entire Costa Verde – the scenic route between the two metropolis which includes Maresias, Ilha Bela, Ubatuba, Paraty, Trindade; Angra dos Reis and many others. You will find it difficult to believe that 30 million people live within a few hours’ drive of these places, especially so on Ilha Grande.

While the solitude of jungle trails and empty paradise beaches is highly recommended here, solitude in the city is not generally recommended. Avoid walking down quiet streets and empty parts of the city beaches, especially at night. Taxis are cheap enough and found easily enough to make this unnecessary.

Public transport in Brazil again is nothing to particularly fear, and people seated on suburban buses usually ask to hold the bags of those standing in the aisles. Most passengers are ordinary working people with no interest in stealing from your bag, and if stealing was common on local buses, nobody would hand their bags to strangers but everybody does. Some areas of the cities are best avoided completely of course, so be aware of where you will alight from bus or train. Ask for local advice before travelling to districts that you don’t know personally, there may well be a safer route avoiding a particular quiet metro station on a Sunday for example. Some downtown areas of the big cities are certainly best avoided outside of working hours. The streets are too quiet to be safe for walking. Plan your journeys and you can avoid this. Local advice is always worth seeking when visiting Brazil, and Brazilians are hospitable people so never be afraid to ask advice. You may be surprised at what you hear, as places that attract wealthy tourists, such as Copacabana Beach, may well be less safe at times than visiting the poor communities of the favela with a local for guidance.

Long distance inter-state buses and Amazon boats give more time and opportunity for would-be thieves, so always keep your valuables hidden on your person at all times during long journeys, and don’t leave bags unattended during food stops.

With regards to money, the best tip is to only take out the amount of local currency that you might need for the day or for the evening. Avoid carrying large amounts around with you. With travellers cheques becoming obsolete, and carrying large amounts of cash not recommended, the best method to manage your money in Brazil is probably to use the ATMs at banks. Please check our Money & Banks blog for further information on using them, but with regards to your safety, please remember that banks in Brazil only allow small withdrawals between 10pm and 6am for safety reasons. Try to use them for withdrawing money during working hours when security is present. Always put the cash into your wallet, purse or bag immediately and leave the building. Do not stand at the machine counting money and waving notes in the air for everybody to see.

Another tip with regards to digital cameras is to remove the memory card when travelling and not using your camera. This way, if anything does happen to it, then at least you don’t lose the photos. Similarly, a full back-up of your laptop and all its files before travelling is wise.

Of course, the very best advice that we can give for anybody travelling to Brazil is to make sure that you buy travel insurance before you leave home. This way if anything bad does happen, you may be far less inclined to resist a robbery of goods that can be easily replaced on your return home. If anybody wants to steal from you, it is definitely wise to hand over what they seem to want immediately rather than risk a confrontation on the streets of Brazil.

There are many little ways to improve your personal safety and security while travelling in Brazil, and thus giving yourself the best chance of returning home safe and sound. Most people return home with nothing but wonderful memories of a wonderful country, and perhaps the worst thing that you can do is to arrive with so much fear that it stops you enjoying all the incredible experiences that Brazil has to offer.

You can visit Steve’s blog at Around Brazil: Praia do Pontal, Macumba, Prainha & Grumari (Rio de Janeiro)
Around Brazil: Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro

0 Comments/by

March 25, 2011

Meet Andrew Draffen who has had a significant involvement with Brazil for almost 30 years. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I’m a 52 year young male from Melbourne, Australia. From 1990 until 2004 I co-authored 5 editions of Lonely Planet’s Brazil guide and wrote the first 3 editions of their Rio de Janeiro city guide. Since then I’ve been leading tours around Brazil from Rio de Janeiro. Feel free to check out my site at Meredith Noll – USA
Mike Smith – UK
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Don Fenstermaker – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

Our next São Paulo www.gringoes.com meet up will return on Wednesday, April 6 from 8pm at the very cool and trendy bar/restaurant called Squat in the conveniently located Jardins neighborhood. The event is being organized by Tania Magalnic, a well-traveled Brazilian currently living in São Paulo and married to a Dutch citizen. The meet up will be a very informal/casual event, free of charge (except for what you consume), with the objective of getting to know and socialize with other like-minded individuals. Please let us know if you plan on attending, including a short introduction of yourself and guests (age, nationality, profession etc.) so we can get idea of numbers and profile to expect. We also welcome suggestions for future meet ups/events.

Where: Squat
Al. Itu 1548 – Jardins
www.gringoes.com a few days before the event for any changes to date or venue.

Futebol Society is a night football tournament taking place in São Paulo, from 22h to 05:30h on April 30th. There will be 32 teams of 7 players competing all night. There is more information on the tournament here: 0 Comments/by

March 8, 2011

Meet Meredith Noll who has spent over a year in Brazil. Read the following interview in which she tells us about some of her most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I am a project manager and a DJ from New York City. Currently, I live in São Paulo. I contribute to a blog call Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jeff Eddington – USA
Rod Saunders – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

By Mark Hillary
March 8, 2011

I just moved from London to Brazil at the end of last year. I’ve managed to negotiate my way through the various cartorios to the point where I now have my permanent residency stamp, my CPF card, and my first bank account. Not bad going for the first few weeks of the year. But one thing eludes me, my right to vote back in the UK.

I downloaded the forms I need from the Electoral Commission website. That’s all easy enough. But I need a witness to watch over me as I sign the documents and that person has to be a British passport holder. Suddenly I realised that I don’t know a single British person in São Paulo.

Initially I thought that this is not a big deal. I’ll meet some Brits soon, as I get more integrated into life here, and there is no big election coming up – the general election was only last year.

Then I remembered that the biggest referendum since the 1975 public vote on whether to stay in the EEC is about to take place. On May the fifth, British voters are going to vote yes or no to a proposal introduced by the Liberal Democrat tranche of the coalition government to introduce an www.itdecs.com). Mark has been based in São Paulo since December 2010. 0 Comments/by

By Regina Scharf
March 8, 2011

1. If you decide to watch the Carnival parade in Rio and rent a box (that may be covered or not and fits between four and 24 people), you will pay something between R$18,500 (11,100 US dollars) and R$83,000 (50,000 US dollars), according to Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba do Rio (Liesa).

2. Last year, 600 thousand condoms were distributed by the government to the crowd who was celebrating Carnival in Olinda, state of Pernambuco. The city, that has around 380 thousand inhabitants, received 1.5 million visitors who left behind them 266 tons of trash in the historic quarters.

3. There are several versions for the origin of the word Carnival. Some authors say that, in Ancient Rome, during the festivities in honor of god Saturn, cars that looked like ships (carrum navalis”) would cross the streets transporting naked men and women. Other sources believe that it comes from carne (flesh or meat) – it would refer to the period of the year when Catholics don’t eat meat.

4. The Church, despite an initial opposition to Carnival, decided in the year 590 to give the festivities its blessings, under one condition – the day after, Ash Wednesday, should be dedicated to repent and sin expiation. Today, it is mainly dedicated to hangover.

5. Carnival is not celebrated every year on the same day because it depends on the Easter calendar (which follows the lunar calendar). Ash Wednesday happens exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday.

6. Brazilian Carnival descends from Portuguese entrudo, a street festival where people fight with buckets full of water. It used to happen in Rio, where the Portuguese court was established in the early 19th century. Later, entrudos became more aggressive and participants would throw dirty water, flour, limes and oranges on whoever happened to be on the streets. In 1854 the police of Rio obliged entrudo participants to abolish the use of liquids, so as not to destroy expensive clothes. Then it evolved to the present version of Carnival.

7. The first Brazilian Carnival parade happened in 1855, when Rio was the capital. A group of intellectuals went to the imperial palace to invite the royal family to watch their parade. Emperor Dom Pedro II accepted.

8. All around Brazil, social and sports clubs promote early balls, generally in the beginning of February, that receive the name of Grito de Carnival (Shouting for Carnival might be a decent translation).

9. Beija-Flor de Nilópolis and Imperatriz Leopoldinense are the most successful escolas de samba to participate in Rio’s Carnival competition since 1985.

10. Last year, Beija-Flor invested 8 million Reais (4.8 million US dollars) in their presentation, paying homage to Braslia, the country’s capital.

11. In the 30s, the so-called ala das baianas – the section of each escola de samba, during Rio’s Carnival parade, composed of elder ladies in big, round skirts – was formed only by man, all of them carrying a shaving blade attached to their legs, used to protect the other dancers in case of fights.

12. The costume worn by the porta-bandeira – the lady that dances carrying a flag, during Rio’s parade – can, believe it or not, weigh over 40 kilos (88 pounds).

13. To follow Camaleão, one of the most popular blocos – over 200 groups that play music during street Carnival in Salvador – you will pay 840 Reais or 506 US dollars per day.

Republished with kind permission from Brazil: 7 Things You Should Know Before Cruising a Brazilian City
Brazilian Baroque
10 Unforgettable Brazilian Dishes You’ve Never Heard Of
How to Talk to a Brazilian