By Ann Aubrey Hanson
July 30, 2013

I realize how important it is to have Brazilian friends while living here in Brazil. American friends, or at least English-speaking friends, are vital, of course, but Brazilian friends provide a crucial perspective.

I find that I talk to myself a great deal during the day, mostly interior monologues (though sometimes I do speak to my non-verbally responsive office mates). I see the world around me and try to understand it: the interactions with men and women, the invisibility of the poor, a culture where trash on the ground is acceptable, homes with barbed-wire-topped walls are the norm, and a populace that lives with blatant inequalities and still keeps its sense of hospitality and humor.

Still, those are my own thoughts, and I need the perspective of native Brazilians against which to test my own impressions.

When my monologues become dialogues, reality expands. New perspectives opens and comprehension shifts. The journey, taken with friends, then shapes my thinking and style.

My Portuguese teacher, Ana Lucia, is a tremendous touchstone for me. Ana Lucia explaining the foreign fruits to me (see header photo). Here, a cashew fruit. (We eat the nuts on top, and they make a juice out of the fruit.)

During our hour-long dialogues, I learn my language by talking about diverse subjects, whether some book I’m currently editing or observations I’ve made about Brazil. She’s marvelous about listening to what I have to say (and helping me to say it correctly in Portuguese), and then sharing her point of view (always in Portuguese, as well). Sometimes she agrees, and other times she suggests a lack of dimension in my conclusions.

Most of my errors are a result of my not understanding the Brazilian culture, the Brazilian mindset. Ana Lucia opens doors in my mind, allowing new input and comprehension. Sometimes, it’s a matter of understanding the European heritage combined with a third-world mentality, or an acceptance of corruption and getting around the rules. Other times, it’s understanding that the cities have exploded in population and the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace. Change takes time, and beneficial change takes longer.

Other Brazilian friends whom I’ve met through the International Newcomers Club also provide much-needed perspective, and share their feedback on a rapidly transforming city and metropolitan lifestyle. The city has been in upheaval in the last ten years, and even they don’t always understand what’s going on with their culture. But they love their city and share their hopes.

Together, we try to make sense of this kaleidoscopic city of São Paulo.

By Alison McGowan
July 30, 2013

Ponta da Piteira wasn’t on my visiting list because I didn’t know it existed before my trip, but what a treat! A real hidden pousada with only 3 enormous chalet-type suites, all with spectacular views over the lagoons of Ibiraquera and the beach beyond.

This is a boutique pousada hotel par excellence. All the suites are beautifully designed using reclaimed wood and bricks allegedly crafted by slaves in the 19th century. They are also incredibly comfortable offering super king-sized beds with beautiful bed linen, minibar, jacuzzi, SKY TV, and a whole range of DVDs if you don’t want to go out.

In the shared areas of the pousada there are 2 pools, one for swimming laps, the other heated when necessary just for lounging; inside a gourmet restaurant with open kitchen and a small seating area where breakfast is served.

This is a perfect place for couples- as personal and at the same time as private as you could want. Just don’t think of sitting in owner Henri’s chair, which is even labelled with his name. Some things are sacred!

Pousada Starpoints
* Location and views
* Exclusivity and romanticism
* Gourmet food in the pousada
* Personal attention from owners Henri & Karen

Try a different place if…
… you are travelling solo or you need nightlife nearby.

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 – Vila do Patacho, Praia do Patacho, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Praiagogi Boutique Pousada, Maragogi, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Calypso, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Maris, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Cool Beans, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chez les Rois, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Bahia’s Eco-paradises
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Tanara, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, São Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, 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

By Alison McGowan
July 8, 2013

What an extraodinary treat it was to find the Pousada Caminho do Rei at the end of the dirt track which runs along the ridge of hills above Praia do Rosa. I had looked it up on Google so imagined there might be views but could not have imagined the 180 degree vision of mountains, village hills and beach I would get from my suite.

And what a suite – an individual wood/brick chalet with king size bed, superior bedlinen and bathrobes, shower room built around a huge rock, jacuzzi, individual deck and best of all for me a really well positioned table where I could sit and write in comfort looking out over the never ending sea.

Caminho do Rei is one of the most traditional of Praia do Rosa pousadas, dating back to 1984 when owners Paulo and Monica fell in love with the location with its spectacular views surrounded by nature on all sides. The 8 beach facing chalets were all meticulously planned to blend in and around that nature and not to spoil the view of any of the others. An infinity pool followed built into the hillside and then a restaurant and poolside bar which open in high season.

The result is one of the most beautiful rustic/chic pousadas I have ever had the pleasure to stay at, one where I couldn’t wait to wake up to sunrise right in front of me. Pure paradise!

Starpoints
* Wonderful pool and fabulous views
* Hospitality of owners Paula and Monica, and manager Vanderleia
* Beautiful rustic/chic decor
* Exclusivity and romanticism

Try a different place if…
…you want nightlife nearby or you want to meet lots of other travellers.

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 – Pousada Sagi Iti, Praia do Sagi, Baia Formosa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarao Alto Mucuge, Arraial d’Ajuda, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Capim Santo, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Guesthouse Bianca, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Aratinga Inn, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Five Exceptional Beach Destinations in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Taruma, Conceicao de Jacarei, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Encanto da Lua, Marau, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Baia Grande, South Pantanal (Miranda), Mato Grosso do Sul
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

By Jack Whibley
July 8, 2013

Charlie Says (or at least on 1980s UK television he should have) always wait for the Green Man to cross the Road. In Brazil, Charlie would be shot for talking nonsense.

Stepping onto a pedestrian crossing in Rio de Janeiro is something of a leap of faith. Bus and car drivers treat a red light as a vague request, rather than an instruction to stop. In fact, after 10pm in Rio, a red light isn’t mandatory at all. Something to do with folk being a little worried about being turfed out of their car by ne’er-do-wells. Sadly, therefore, one of the byproducts of carjacking is more collisions at junctions.

Even in the more salubrious neighbourhoods of Rio, it’s rare for a week to go by without coming across a couple of cars skewed across the kerb, mounting one another. And it’s not just the cars that are at it. The driver of this bus (see header photo) simply couldn’t wait to get his daily Ovalmaltine shake at Bob’s Burger.

Buses are something of a headline-maker in Rio at the moment, and for tragic reasons as the statistics from April alone make out.

April 2: after an argument between the driver and a passenger, a bus careers off a bridge near Galeao airport, killing eight.

April 10: a bus ploughs into a petrol station, leaving three injured and one dead.

Two days later, a bus crashes into a car, injuring 29 people.

Again, it took just two days before, on April 14 a bus crash in Niteroi left 22 injured.

The very next day, our burger-hungry friend parked his No. 435 bus in the front entrance of Bob’s Burgers on Ipanema high street.

And then on April 30, Pedro Nikolay, a 30 year old dentist and triathlete was hit by the No. 433 bus at 5.50am in front of Ipanema beach, while out cycle training. He died 4 hours later. It has been reported that the bus involved in that accident had received 19 tickets in the past two years.

In response, the city has launched a programme of monitoring buses and drivers, while at the same time carrying out spot checks on the road-worthiness of the buses. Already reports show that tens of buses have failed safety tests and buses are repeatedly breaking the traffic laws.

A report in O Globo newspaper claims that data from Rio’s State Department of Transit shows that, in the first three months of 2013 the city’s entire fleet of 33,980 buses received a total of 51,888 fines. This covers everything from speeding, to driving outside bus lanes, to jumping red lights. Sadly, it also includes the numerous fatal accidents that are commonplace.

If you expected contrition from the bus operators, look away now. In a press release published in O Globo, Rio Onibus argued that buses break more traffic laws because they drive more than private cars. They said:

Bus drivers are recruited from the population and have, in general, the same virtues and vices of the whole of our society.” Not only that but, according to Rio Onibus, the accidents must be “contextualized” because others drivers also break traffic laws.

Well there you go.

All of this leads us to the conclusion that, when you’re next in Rio and the man turns green on the pedestrian crossing lights, just have another look around before taking the plunge.

July 8, 2013

Meet Joseph Low who lives in the USA but travels to Brazil often. Read the following interview in which Joseph 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 am originally from Missouri (USA), but now live in Florida (USA). After 20 plus years working for multinational corporations, I am now a management and marketing consultant and travel to Brazil quite frequently for business. In addition to my consulting, my wife (a Brazilian tax attorney) and I have just recently completed an 18 month book project focused on Brazil. The name of the book is João Ferreira – Portugal
Priya Ferreira – UK
Rami Alhames – Syria
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Jennifer Souza – USA
Bill Holloway – USA
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Danielle Carner – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
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