A Travellerspoint blog

Brasil, english and spanish versions

Brasil, mixed race does not mean mixed culture. It is a richer culture. Brasil, raza mixta no significa cultura mixta. Se trata de una cultura más rica.

sunny 30 °C

ENGLISH VERSION:

After our blast time in both sides to see Iguazu Falls, we headed up north towards a wonderful place called Ilha do Mel, an island close by the city of Curitiba where relaxing is a must.
It was low season so the island was practically empty, except for a few locals and some Brazilian visitors. The island is car-free and all the beaches are absolutely paradisiacal…white sand, clear water and no bars or houses that could spoilt the beachfront!
Henrik wanted to try surfing: waves were huge and all surfers were professionals, which scared Henrik a little bit. The first time
he tried was really hard for him, currents were really strong so it was difficult to get out. Also, he did not rent a wet suit and he got really scratched on the stomach and had to put on a t-shirt to try a second time. This time was better, he was less afraid and more confident to jump on the board. I managed to snap a photo:
Henrik, after a day of surfing

Henrik, after a day of surfing


Henrik made it!!!!

Henrik made it!!!!


We spend three days in the island, walking, swimming and eating…it felt really nice to be apart from normal civilization for a bit.
Beach in Ilha do Mel

Beach in Ilha do Mel


Pretty landscape, Ilha do Mel

Pretty landscape, Ilha do Mel


Sunset from our hostel in Ilha do Mel

Sunset from our hostel in Ilha do Mel

On the way back to Curitiba, there’s a nice train ride that starts in Morretes which used to be, back on the times, the only way to transport merchandise from inland to the coast. The ride is amazing; old steel bridges connecting the hills and, all the suddenly, an odd factory chimney sticking out from an artificial lake.
Absolutly crazy view of a chimney from an old factory sticking up from an artificial lake

Absolutly crazy view of a chimney from an old factory sticking up from an artificial lake


Train ride back from Ihla Do Mel

Train ride back from Ihla Do Mel


This railroad took 10 years to build 150 years ago or so and had something like 20 tunnels and 10 bridges

This railroad took 10 years to build 150 years ago or so and had something like 20 tunnels and 10 bridges


Stopover in a small town close to Paranagua

Stopover in a small town close to Paranagua


We were also quite lucky as although we paid for economy class (basically a shitty wagon with plastic made sits) we ended up in the tourist wagon, with comfy seats and even a guide who would tell us some history about the place. Apparently, the guy who checked the tickets when we got on, made a mistake and put us in the wrong place, wicked!

Our next destination was Paraty. Described as an architectonical gem of Brasil, the whole town was cobbled stone and the buildings were gorgeous and very well maintained. We were also very lucky as the International Photo Festival was held the very same weekend we were there and the town was very lively and busy.
We met a Brazilian guy, a photographer, who came mainly for the festival (and basically for the party). He was our roommate in the hostel and gave us some tips for our stay in Brasil. We sat and talk for a while.
The next day we decided to take a boat to the islands…we weren’t expecting so much from the boat trip but it ended up being a really nice day: the boat had live music, an excellent roof top area and fruit and coffee for free! Surprisingly, we run into Bruno, the Brazilian guy, in the boat and met other few people …it was a fantastic day! Swimming, diving and hoping and on and off the several islands. On the way back we said to all meet for drinks…That night, Henrik found another double of Sean Penn and they posed in a picture… Who looks more alike?
Where is Sean Penn?

Where is Sean Penn?


Night out in Paraty

Night out in Paraty


Bruno in the background taught us how to do cool portrait photos...check it out now

Bruno in the background taught us how to do cool portrait photos...check it out now


Henrik swiming to one of the island we stopped at

Henrik swiming to one of the island we stopped at


View of Parati from the boat

View of Parati from the boat


On the way back to Parati

On the way back to Parati


Some cute boat and a cute girl

Some cute boat and a cute girl


Cool 3D art/photo installation, part of the photo festival

Cool 3D art/photo installation, part of the photo festival


Laura in the chillout area on our luxury boat

Laura in the chillout area on our luxury boat


They had these cool statue things in the loads of windows

They had these cool statue things in the loads of windows


The church build by and for the freed slaves

The church build by and for the freed slaves


Pittoresque cobblestone street in Parati

Pittoresque cobblestone street in Parati


Colorful boats in Parati

Colorful boats in Parati

After Paraty we headed north towards Rio, via Sao Paulo. We decided to spend a week in Rio. However, it is worth it to spend longer time. The city is so varied that we would have needed another week to discover many other treasures…
Rio means nice beaches, splendid markets, good food and nice people.
We went surfing to one of the beaches. The waves were the most powerful we have ever experienced. We spent the day there and had one of the cheapest meals in Rio in a hole on the wall close by the surfing shop.
We also went to a Favela funky party with some people from the hostel. The best and most sensual moves could be seen in that discotheque. Brazilians have the rhythm inside their bodies and as soon as the music starts they become movement machines, shaking their bodies in the most amazing way I have ever seen in my life.
Also, since we were quite against of all the tours to the favelas, (offered to the “gringos”) we said we would try to find an alternative way to get to see the favelas. We thought that the fact of touring up everything that had to do with the favelas it created a strongest division between the rich and the less privileged. In our opinion, there had to be some other way to visit them, understand their reality without having the feeling that we were visiting a “zoo”.
We spoke to an Australian woman who worked in the hostel and told us that at the moment the majority of favelas in the city, except Rocinha (the biggest one) and Tavares Bastos (guarded by BOPE – police squad-), were police controlled and that going there should not be any problems.
We went to Tavares Bastos Favela, where part of the film of Hulk was shoot. It seemed the easier to access. We had to take mototaxis, scary drive, and got a bit lost (wrong hill) so we had to pay a bit extra to get dropped in the right place. We entered the favela and at the very first few seconds it felt weird, but soon we realized that it was completely safe.
Really narrow alleys, and tiny little shops along the way…
We had read about a place called The Maze in the book Viva South America. “The Maze” was a hostel owned by an Englishman, Bob, an ex BBC correspondent, who had opened it a few years ago. After his divorce, some time on the seventies, he decided to travel to Ecuador. Luckily, as he said, the plane had some technical problems and they were forced to land in Rio. That was the first contact with the city and he felt in love. He came back several times while he was working for BBC and he finally decided to settle in one of the favelas to open a hostel. He re-married twice during this period. At the same time, he got involved in all the issues concerning the safety in the favelas. The biggest achievement came when he challenged Anthony Garotinho, the governor at the time, to station a police squad in an old warehouse placed just behind his house. By the end of the year, the police had pushed the drug-runners out, and made the favela one of the safest districts in the city.
We met Bob in the guesthouse. It was really nice talking to him, he was so full of experiences and interesting stories, and all of them very well narrated in that inerasable cockney English accent. It was a pleasure being in his house. The roof top is outstanding, a piece of art: asymmetric and multicolored broken tiles arranged on the floor and the walls forming eccentric shapes; probably the most impressive one is the shape of a giant face … the more you look at it, the more you would start thinking about the artwork made in Parck Guell by Antoni Gaudi…
This might sound like a strong statement, since I do respect Gaudi’s masterpiece and find it incomparable so I shall rephrase and say: Bob’s art piece has been able to capture a few strokes of the brush of Gaudi’s art.
Our experience in Brazil has been unforgettable. Undoubtedly, a place to return. Enjoy the photos!

Rio, the coast

Rio, the coast


Modern Rio

Modern Rio


Difficult to believe but that happened some time....Brasil vs. Sweden

Difficult to believe but that happened some time....Brasil vs. Sweden


We made friends with some brasilian kids

We made friends with some brasilian kids


Waiting for the sunset

Waiting for the sunset


Ok this was sort of part of the Botanic garden, but it just looked so cool, like the jungle book or something

Ok this was sort of part of the Botanic garden, but it just looked so cool, like the jungle book or something


Christ and Laura

Christ and Laura


Just after climbing the hill for two hours the clouds came in, here Henrik and the shadow of the Christ

Just after climbing the hill for two hours the clouds came in, here Henrik and the shadow of the Christ


View from top of the hill where Christ is...just before the clouds came in

View from top of the hill where Christ is...just before the clouds came in


Laura giving some cookies to one of the brave monkeys that got close

Laura giving some cookies to one of the brave monkeys that got close


These cheeky little monkeys followed us for food at the start of the hike up to Christ

These cheeky little monkeys followed us for food at the start of the hike up to Christ


Roof top of the hostel

Roof top of the hostel


At Bob's guesthouse, The Maze

At Bob's guesthouse, The Maze


Alleys of the favela

Alleys of the favela


Football pitch at Tavares Bastos

Football pitch at Tavares Bastos


Street near Tavares Bastos favela

Street near Tavares Bastos favela


Best background!

Best background!


Rio at night

Rio at night

SPANISH VERSION:

Después de nuestro fantástico tiempo en ambos lados para ver las Cataratas del Iguazú, nos dirigimos hacia el norte y encontramos un lugar maravilloso, Ilha do Mel, una isla cerca de la ciudad de Curitiba, donde el descanso es obligado.
Era temporada baja por lo que la isla estaba prácticamente vacía, a excepción de algunos locales y algunos visitantes brasileños. La isla está libre de coches y todas las playas son absolutamente paradisíacas... arena blanca, aguas claras y el paisaje virgen...

Henrik quería probar hacer surf: las olas eran enormes y todos los surfistas eran profesionales, así que Henrik estaba un poco asustado. Primero intentó y parecía que era muy difícil para él, las corrientes eran muy fuertes por lo que se hacía imposible adentrarse. Además, no alquilar traje de baño, cosa que lamentó más tarde. La cera de la tabla de surf era muy fuerte y le provocó una reacción en el estómago, tuvo que ponerse una camiseta para intentarlo una vez más. Entonces le fue mejor, bueno al menos consiguió subirse a la tabla!

Pasamos tres días en la isla, caminando, nadando y comiendo rico... fue muy agradable estar lejos de la civilización por unos días…

De regreso a Curitiba, hay un viaje en tren agradable que comienza en Morretes; éste solía ser la única forma de transporte de mercancías desde el interior hasta la costa. El paseo es increíble, los puentes de acero de más de 100 años, conectando las colinas y, de repente, la chimenea de una antigua fábrica que sobresale de un lago artificial. Tuvimos suerte ya que pagamos por clase económica (básicamente un carro súper básico con asientos de plástico se encuentra donde uno va sentado en dirección contraria al sentido del tren) pero alguien que trabajaba allí no verificó correctamente el billete y nos puso en la clase turista, donde incluso vino un guía para explicarnos un poco de historia…
Nuestro siguiente destino fue Paraty, descrita como una joya arquitectónica de Brasil. Y así resultó ser, el pueblo entero con el suelo empedrado, los edificios eran magníficos y muy bien mantenidos y, además, tuvimos suerte ya que el Festival Internacional de Fotografía se estaba llevando a cabo el mismo fin de semana que estuvimos allí. Así que la ciudad estaba muy animada y concurrida.

Nos encontramos con un chico brasileño, un fotógrafo, que vino especialmente para el festival (y, básicamente, para la fiesta). Él era nuestro compañero de habitación en el albergue y nos dio algunos consejos para nuestra estancia en Brasil. Al día siguiente decidimos tomar un barco a las islas... la verdad es que no esperábamos demasiado de esa salida, pero terminó siendo un viaje en barco excelente: música en vivo, un piso superior para estirarse en las hamacas y tomar el sol y excelentes frutas y café gratis!
Ahí nos encontramos con Bruno, el chico brasileño, y conocimos otras pocas personas ... fue un día fantástico! Natación, buceo , paradas en las diversas islas vírgenes...
De regreso decidimos quedar para tomar unas copas ... Esa noche, Henrik encontró a otro doble de Sean Penn y posaron en una foto ... ¿A quién se parece más Sean Penn?

Después de Paraty nos dirigimos hacia Rio de Janeiro, pasando por Sao Paulo. Decidimos pasar una semana en Río, pero Rio merece mucho más.
Rio es absolutamente increíble: bonitas playas, mercados espléndidos, buena comida y buena gente. Fuimos una vez a una de las playas para hacer surf. Las olas eran las más poderosas que jamás hayamos experimentado. Pasamos el día allí y tomamos una de las más comidas más baratas en Río de Janeiro en un en un lugar encantadoramente auténtico.
También fuimos a una fiesta llamada Favela funky con algunas personas del albergue. Ahí vi los movimientos más sensuales que jamás he visto en mi vida. Los brasileños tienen el ritmo dentro de sus cuerpos y en cuanto empieza la música se conviertan en máquinas de movimiento, sus cuerpos sacudiendo en la forma más increíble que he visto en mi vida.

Por otro lado, y como estábamos bastante en contra de hacer un tour a las favelas, Henrik y yo dijimos que trataríamos de encontrar una forma alternativa para conocer la vida real en ellas.
En mi opinión, el hecho de hacer un negocio entorno al hecho de visitar un lugar “peligroso” ha creado una fuerte división entre los ricos y los menos privilegiados. Pensé que tenía que haber alguna otra manera de mirar, entender y, si era posible, compartir su realidad sin tener la sensación de que estábamos de visita en un "zoológico".

Hablamos con una mujer australiana que trabajaba en el albergue y nos dijo que por el momento la mayoría de las favelas de la ciudad, a excepción de Rocinha (la más grande) y Tavares Bastos (vigilada por el BOPE – policía armada), estaban ya controladas por policía, y que visitarlas no tenía porque ser un problema.

Guiados por esto, decidimos visitar Tavares Bastos, al parecer la más accesible. Tavares Bastos fue escenario de una de la película de Hulk.

Para llegar al lugar tuvimos que tomar unos mototaxis, que corrían de manera loca, pero llegamos a la colina equivocada así que tuvimos que pagar un poco más para llegar al lugar correcto.
Entrar a una favela fue extraño sólo los primeros dos segundos, antes de darnos cuenta de que era completamente seguro. Callejuelas realmente, pequeñas tiendas a lo largo del camino pero un ambiente embriagador.

Queríamos encontrar "El Laberinto" (The Maze), un albergue que el inglés Bob, un ex corresponsal de la BBC, había abierto hace unos años. Después de su divorcio, en algún momento en los años setenta, decidió viajar a Ecuador. Por suerte, como él mismo dijo, el avión presentó algunos problemas técnicos por lo que tuvo que aterrizar en Río de Janeiro. Ese fue el primer contacto con la ciudad y se enamoró. Volvió varias veces mientras trabajaba para la BBC y finalmente decidió instalarse en una de las favelas para abrir un hostal.
Volvió a casarse dos veces durante este período. Al mismo tiempo, se involucró en varias cuestiones que afectaban a la seguridad de las favelas. Su mayor logro fue retar a Anthony Garotinho, el gobernador en ese tiempo, para utilizar un antiguo almacén situado justo detrás de su casa para instalar una estación de escuadrón de la policía. A finales del año, la policía había llevado sacado a todos los traficantes de droga, e hizo de Tavares Bastos una de las favelas más seguras en los distritos de la ciudad.

Coincidimos con Bob en su hostel. Fue muy agradable hablar con él, un hombre tan lleno de experiencias e historias interesantes, y todas ellas muy bien narradas en ese acento londinense imborrable. Fue un auténtico placer estar en su casa.
Además, el lugar en el que vive es excepcional, una obra de arte: asimétrica s baldosas rotas y multicolores dispuestos en los suelos de las terrazas, cuyos muros forman formas excéntricas, probablemente la más impresionante es la forma de una cara gigante ... Cuanto más tiempo miraba este increíble lugar, más pensaba en la obra de arte hecha en el Parc Güell por Antoni Gaudí ... Creo que esto último ha sido demasiado exagerado, ya que respecto profundamente el legado de Gaudí y siempre lo declaré incomparable. Así que mejor reformulo mi frase para decir: la obra de Bob ha sido capaz de capturar unos pocos trazos del estilo de Gaudí.
Nuestra experiencia en Brasil ha sido inolvidable. Sin lugar a dudas, un lugar al que espero poder regresar. Difrutad las fotos!

Posted by hmontonen 16:41 Archived in Brazil

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

oi! como vai voce! that is some brazilian boss hair if i have ever seen it. looking good henrik. glad to see you guys are doing well and having fun! Come to San Francisco! i may be in BsAs for Xmas and columbia in februray, you guys going to be around?

by Bossman

I think Brasil is one of the most attractive countries in the world. I spend some time there 2 years ago and now i am thinking very seriously to go back again, but not for vacations this time. You know what i mean i guess. i want to stay there to live and to discover. http://www.kaliviani.com

by Giannis D

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login