Brazil Kicks Off the World Cup: As Seen Through the Eyes of a Gringo in São Paulo

Brazil commands the world’s attention now that the FIFA World Cup is finally underway, an event that is one of the most watched sporting events in the world.  ESPN had record ratings during the inaugural game yesterday evening between Brazil and Croatia, which was held at Corinthians Stadium here in São Paulo.  Brazil defeated Croatia, 3 to 1. As is obvious through the news stories … Continue reading Brazil Kicks Off the World Cup: As Seen Through the Eyes of a Gringo in São Paulo

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

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

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

Bangkok: My First Stop on the Banana Pancake Trail

If you’ve never been to Bangkok before, you probably come with lots of preconceived ideas like I did, both positive and negative, about what Bangkok is like: golden temples, raucous nightlife, drunk Aussie backpackers sporting cheap Chang beer t-shirts that they bought on Khaosan Road, shady tuk tuk drivers who try to take you to get fitted for an overpriced tailored suit that will fall … Continue reading Bangkok: My First Stop on the Banana Pancake Trail

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

Napier, New Zealand: Adventures in Art Deco

Napier is a charming city situated on the shores of Hawkes Bay, located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.  The main attraction in Napier is its impressive collection of Art Deco architecture. On February 3, 1931, a 7.9 on the Richter scale earthquake destroyed the town, killing hundreds. The residents decided to rebuild and did so predominantly in the Art Deco style, … Continue reading Napier, New Zealand: Adventures in Art Deco