Tag Archives: FEATURED

10 (acoustic) guitar heroes from Brazil

Yamandu Costa in photo by André Zsep/ Wikipedia

It is very difficult to list the best acoustic guitar player in a country of major guitar players. But, if you browse the guitar fora that discuss this topic on the web, you will find a few recurrent names:

1 – Raphael Rabello – this guitar demi-god died young, at 33, in 1985, but it is impossible not to include him in this list. Here he plays “Luiza”, by Tom Jobim, the song that inspired my daughter’s name.

Continue reading 10 (acoustic) guitar heroes from Brazil

Brazil essentials: 18 Unesco World Heritage sites you must visit

Ouro Preto by Marcelo Costa/ Flickr
Ouro Preto by Marcelo Costa/ Flickr

You decided to make a list of all the absolutely must-see Brazilian sites – but don’t know how to begin it? Here is a great starting point.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared 18 Brazilian places of outstanding historic or environmental value UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are a precious guide for those who want to discover the country’s riches. I have visited most of them and couldn’t agree more with the selection.

See below the full list and the UNESCO’s justification for its choices:

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia


Continue reading Brazil essentials: 18 Unesco World Heritage sites you must visit

20 best tips if you are visiting or moving to Brazil


Photo by Carol Garcia, Government of Bahia/ Flickr
Photo by Carol Garcia, Government of Bahia/ Flickr

Diving into another culture is an exercise of patience, curiosity and common sense. If you plan to spend some time in another country, there is a certain attitude that will benefit you – and several no-nos that might cause you embarrassment or trouble. Certain rules are, of course, universal and would be wise no matter what country you visit. Others are very specific to the Brazilian reality.

So, these are a few tips that might help you have a smoother stay – be it for one week or the rest of your life:

  1. Forget the cliches – Americans don’t chew gum all the time. French are not smelly. Swiss people are not boring. Of course, sometimes the cliches apply, but fight against the temptation of expecting all Brazilians to be cheerful sexy soccer-lovers. The country’s huge dimensions favor lots of diversity both in landscape/climate/food/music and human types.
  2. “Non falar portugues” – Most Brazilians speak no English, although many will find miraculous ways of communicating with you. In good hotels and restaurants you will probably find people fluent in this and other foreign languages, but you will have trouble in other environments and will certainly miss good opportunities if you don’t prepare yourself. If you are lucky enough to be fluent in any Latin language, especially Spanish, spend a few days with a good phrase book. Don’t be afraid of speaking your meager Portuguese. Brazilians are very forgiving. And I know from personal experience that those who dare speak poorly end up speaking well.
  3. Sign language – A few gestures can go a long way if you cannot speak Portuguese. The basics: To refuse something, wag your index like a puppy tail. To accept, move your chin towards your chest a couple of times. To ask for the check, make eye contact with the waiter and pretend you are writing on the palm of your hand. But, alert: don’t join the tip of your thumb and your index finger as in “OK”. It looks a lot like the gesture for f…you. Learn a few additional gestures with British daily The Guardian.
  4. Don’t be shy – Interact as much as you can. My husband Lenny is a big fan of riding taxis in Brazil, because they give him the opportunity of having one-in-one interaction with drivers, who can be very entertaining. He always comes back to me with new vocabulary. Also, go to padarias and sit by the counter. I always meet friendly people this away. Another big social venue is the seaside. Bikinis and speedos seem to reduce social distance and enhance cheerfulness. Continue reading 20 best tips if you are visiting or moving to Brazil

Being gay in Rio

Jim (right) and Luiz
Jim (right) and Luiz

Boy meets boy in San Francisco. They live happily ever after (11 years and counting) and at some point, two years ago, decide to move to Niterói, next door to Rio de Janeiro.

This is the story of American Jim and Brazilian Luiz, a globetrotter couple that  is particularly well-positioned to evaluate Brazil’s gay friendliness. “We have always been “out” as individuals and as a couple”, says Jim.  “Living in San Francisco afforded us a tremendous amount of personal freedom to be ourselves and to express our affection for each other in the street and other public places. Throughout our travels (Thailand, Greece, Turkey) we have had to adapt our conscious and unconscious habits around each other to fit the local scene/custom.  Although we generally get spotted as a gay couple because we simply do not edit our every gesture – we are often guilty of looking into each others’ eyes for longer than a brief moment at restaurants and we wear matching wedding bands, for example. We have never had a problem and we have never had to defend ourselves – ever”.

In this interview, Jim Shattuck describes the joys and challenges of his gay experience in Brazil.

Deep Brazil – Rio is considered one of the gay-friendlier cities in the country. Right?

Jim Shattuck – We have found Rio and Niterói to be very gay friendly.  Never a problem.  There are gay people everywhere and everyone else seems to be quite at ease with it all.  Although it could be said that as an older couple we do not attract the attention a younger and flashier couple might. Continue reading Being gay in Rio

Art Gallery

A collective exposition of the best of Brazilian art, from baroque sculptures to graffiti, from naïf to Modernist. The images lead to the artist individual expo.

War Anatomy
“War Anatomy”/ Flavio Shiró
"Meteor"/Bruno Giorgi
“Meteor”/Bruno Giorgi
"Bororo Indian"/Hercules Florence
“Bororo Indian”/Hercules Florence
"Inocência"/Eliseu Visconti
“Inocência”/Eliseu Visconti
"Self Portrait"/Tarsila do Amaral
“Self Portrait”/Tarsila do Amaral
"Presentation Mantle"/ Arthur Bispo do Rosário
“Presentation Mantle”/ Arthur Bispo do Rosário
Favela chair"/Campana Brothers
Favela chair”/Campana Brothers
"Red room" / Cildo Meirelles
“Red room” / Cildo Meirelles
“Navio de Emigrantes”/Lasar Segall
Alex Vallauri
“Carpet-style Tilework in Live Flesh”/Adriana Varejão
“Abigail”/ Di Cavalcanti
“O Derrubador Brasileiro”/Almeida Júnior
“Graça”/Victor Brecheret
“Lampião”/Mestre Vitalino