I’m back… In Brazil!!!

Hi Everyone!!

I’m back! It has been two months since my last post and this time I’m back for good. What have I been doing? Well…my trip last fall was to primarily focus on developing a narrative style, figuring out the balance of travelling and blogging while travelling and finding my path and niche in what would be entertaining, fulfilling and successful. In the past two months I have done boundless amounts of research into blogging, the business of blogging and strategy. Surprise! It’s a full time job to do so successfully and strategy and knowledge play a huge part in order to make a living and stand out above the rest.

For those who know me I don’t half-ass anything and I wouldn’t do this if it didn’t make an impact and if it didn’t make money. So, with that said, I now know what it takes, the commitment, the passion, the knowledge and strategy in order to live my best life. Corny, I know, but true.

Now, narrative writing is fun and I enjoy it so it will always be a part of what I do, however, what makes the most money is travel knowledge, both in destinations, flights, accommodations and also in travel tools and tips.

My new website is almost ready, I am dealing with some coding issues from South America which adds to my pain but it will soon come. In the meanwhile I will be focusing on content both narrative, photos, top ten lists and travel tips/tools etc..If there is something you’d like me to write about, please let me know.

With that said…here we go. Post #1 from BRAZIL!!!!

When you think of Brazil what do you think of? Victoria Secret supermodels and the world’s best soccer players? Samba music and the vibrant colours and costumes of Carnival? Copacabana and Impanema Beach and the impressive Christ the Redeemer statue?

But what about adventure and nature in the world’s largest ecosystem – The Amazon Rainforest or even that of the rainforest on Brazil’s southern coast? There is fantastic scuba diving in Fernando de Noronha and relaxed, pristine beaches in Florianopolis, Trindade, Ilha Bela and Ilha Grande. Paraty is a charming colonial city and native Brazilians say that Carnival in Salvador is really the place to go. Finally, don’t forget the majestic Igazu Falls, which are four times the width of Niagara Falls and is shared by both Brazil and Argentina.

There is so much to see and do in Brazil and it is a great well-rounded destination for the traveller looking for relaxation, culture, nightlife and adventure.

After being considered a 3rd world country for most of its existence it seems to me that Brazil, for the most part is now a “2nd world country” and it has been working hard to be so, perhaps since being awarded the World Cup (soccer) in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. It was explained to me that it is only recently that violent crime was common and the economy was struggling but now Brazil seems to be well on its way. Tourists seem to be safer and feel so, favelas (slums) are now welcoming touring visitors and are becoming works of art, http://www.favelapainting.com/ (an incredible project, you have to check it out!). More and more Brazilians are learning English but still they retain and hold onto what makes them unique. If you haven’t yet booked your tickets get on it! This is a fantastic destination for individuals with amazing, top quality, well located hostels that plan BBQs, parties and nights out for their residents as well as romance and adventure for couples and tons of impressive locations and activities for families of all ages.

My first stop last Thursday was Belo Horizonte (pronounced Belo Horizonche by the locals). It is almost never the first stop on people’s minds when coming to Brazil but it was the perfect place for me to begin. My friend George from Toronto moved here a few years ago after falling in love with a Brazilian woman who was living in Toronto.

Belo is located in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, approximately five hours by car from Rio de Janeiro. This region is very representative of the average middle class Brazilian. In fact, the President of Brazil is from Belo and the famous soccer player, Pele, hails from this region as well. The world famous architect (of German origin), Oscar Niemeyer settled in Belo and was responsible for designing many of the beautiful government and parliamentary buildings in the capital of Brasilia, a city built specifically for the country’s government. The lush topography of the area is beautiful with rolling hills and small mountains, and it is known for its milk production, producing the majority of the country’s consumption.

Belo is a relaxed city and a nice option to live in, however, like many Brazilian cities it is a concrete jungle and is beautiful from far but looks like an anthill up close. One thing I do like about it is the mix of restaurants and cafes interspersed with residential neighbourhoods. Cafes spilling out onto the sidewalks and a very laissez-faire attitude. There is a definite charm to them, until you’re trying to sleep with the window open and then the close proximity isn’t so fun.

My brief stay in Belo was enjoyable. I got to see where my friend lives and meet some of his friends.

We saw the spectacular view of Belo from high in its hills, moseyed around the huge Mercado Central (Central Market) where one can find everything from all fresh foods to Brazilian Havaiana flip flops, fresh tobacco, pots and pans, flowers, and yes, even cow heads for your living room mantlepiece.

We went to a chopp café where they drink chopp, a very refreshing beer, light in calories and served very, very cold. Food is served tapas style and I was introduced for the first time to the national drink, the caipirinha, which is much like a mojito without the mint. I am quite enjoying the food, perhaps too much as I am a massive carnivore and so are Brazilians and I enjoy their style of eating in which platters of food are shared at the table. Brazilians love their beer, perhaps because it is so hot here and maybe because it’s about $2/beer. After a week here now I am definitely going to have to take it easy on the food/beer consumption otherwise I’ll be rolling myself home just in time for warmer temperatures and less clothing. In fact, I have just come back from the supermarket where I bought all the fresh veggies and protein I eat at home. This afternoon it was all about a protein bar, yum!

My next post introduces Rio de Janeiro. I chuckle to myself as my friend George tries to mentally prepare himself for Carnival, he’s scared of what is to come, stating that Brazilians of all ages can, and do party all day and night and he’s unsure if he can keep up with them. I think he’ll do just fine, although in this heat of 38C we may all struggle.

Looking forward to seeing what Carnival is all about. We’ve got our masks, others their costumes for the parade and off we go!

Note: This post was written last week and revised this evening. In fact, Carnival ended yesterday and most importantly I am going hang-gliding tomorrow over Rio, I am terrified of heights and I cannot wait! I will do my best to catch up in post writing with myself and my activities – Carnival set me back!

Xoxo. JEM

One Response to I’m back… In Brazil!!!

  1. Sounds like a cool trip…keep posting

    Mark February 24, 2012 at 3:17 PM Reply

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