Brazilian “Bleak House”: São Paulo Mansion Will Receive Colorful Makeover

Avenida Paulista is an energetic, commercial center of São Paulo, where a lot of the high-powered business in Brazil takes place. Office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings and museums, some with innovative architecture, line the busy, wide avenue. Most of the buildings are modern, but walking down São Paulo’s busy Avenida Paulista one day, I noticed a somewhat weathered, old mansion standing near a copse … Continue reading Brazilian “Bleak House”: São Paulo Mansion Will Receive Colorful Makeover

Ten Things I Enjoyed in Porto Alegre

Capital of the southern Brazil state of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre is a sophisticated, prosperous city of approximately 1.5 million inhabitants.  Waves of immigration from Italy and Germany as well as the region’s gaúcho culture give this city a distinctive feel.  While it is more a business destination than a tourist destination, it makes for good place to spend a couple of days … Continue reading Ten Things I Enjoyed in Porto Alegre

Why I Decided to Spend Six Months in Brazil

One of the frequently asked questions I receive from people I meet here in Brazil is why I decided to come to Brazil and spend six months. The answer to this question is somewhat complicated and not something I can express in 140 characters with a couple of hashtags, so I am devoting this post to answering this question, a question I am not sure … Continue reading Why I Decided to Spend Six Months in Brazil

São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park: Leisure and Culture in One of the World’s Finest Urban Parks

Ibirapuera Park should be the top of most must-see lists for visitors to São Paulo.  Ibirapuera actually means “rotten tree” in the indigenous Tupi language, but, in spite of this unfortunate name, the park teems with arboreal life.  At times, especially on Sunday afternoons, people actually outnumber the trees in this urban park.  As evidence of this, Ibirapuera Park was found to be one of … Continue reading São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park: Leisure and Culture in One of the World’s Finest Urban Parks

Gramado: A Stop Along Rio Grande Do Sul’s Romantic Road

Gramado is located in the verdant, mountainous Serra Gaúcha region of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s most southern state, an area settled predominantly by German and Italian immigrants in the nineteenth century.  Gramado was actually founded by Portuguese immigrants in 1875, but later received German and Italian residents, from the nearby city of Caxias do Sul.  By the 1920s, it became a summer holiday resort … Continue reading Gramado: A Stop Along Rio Grande Do Sul’s Romantic Road

Admiring the São Paulo Skyline: Edifício Itália

São Paulo is a forest of skyscrapers and if you are new to the city, it is really easy to get lost as there aren’t many buildings that stand out from each other.  One building that does stand out a bit is the Edifício Itália, located at the corner of Avenida Ipiranga and Avenida São Luis near the bustling Praça da República. The idea for … Continue reading Admiring the São Paulo Skyline: Edifício Itália

Morretes and Paranaguá: Day Tripping into Paraná’s Past

One Saturday while I staying in Curitiba, a couple friends and I decided to take a day trip out to the coastal region of Paraná to explore some of the colonial towns there.  We first took a bus ride to Morretes, which is about 68 kilometers from Curitiba.  The highway passes through a verdant mountain range near the coast including a high waterfall.  You can … Continue reading Morretes and Paranaguá: Day Tripping into Paraná’s Past

Itaipu Dam: Getting Beyond the Official Story

On my third day in Foz de Iguaçu, I took a short trip to the Itaipu Dam, a massive hydroelectric power plant situated on the Paraná River, which forms the border of Brazil and Paraguay. Opened in 1984, the dam was a binational project between Brazil and Paraguay to supply renewable energy to both countries.  Currently, the dam generates 14,000 megawatts of energy annually, making … Continue reading Itaipu Dam: Getting Beyond the Official Story

Both Sides Now: Iguaçu Falls Encounter

From Curitiba, I took a few days to visit one of Brazil’s (and Argentina’s) most popular tourist attractions: Iguazu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu if you’re speaking Portuguese or Cataratas del Iguazú if you’re speaking Spanish).  Iguazu Falls is situated on the Rio Iguaçu, along the border of Brazil and Argentina, a river which has its source in the mountains of Paraná and Santa Catarina.  The … Continue reading Both Sides Now: Iguaçu Falls Encounter

Curitiba: One of Brazil’s Most Impressive Cities

After spending a week in Florianópolis, I boarded a Caterinense bus and headed north through the verdant, mountainous landscapes and Germanic towns of Santa Catarina and into the state of Parana.  My destination: the city of Curitiba. Most gringoes have probably never heard of Curitiba, a major city in southern Brazil, the capital city of the state of Paraná and home to nearly 1.8 million … Continue reading Curitiba: One of Brazil’s Most Impressive Cities