Life in Brazil
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Life in Brazil
Life in Brazil, through the eyes of an expat living in Brazil since 2007
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Sipping Agua de Coco and kicking cobblestones in Paraty, Brazil | Adrian Seah

Sipping Agua de Coco and kicking cobblestones in Paraty, Brazil | Adrian Seah | Life in Brazil | Scoop.it


A hop, skip and jump (ok, 4 hour bus ride) from the world famous Rio de Janeiro along the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil lies the little UNESCO heritage town of Paraty, sometimes spelt Parati, but always pronounced Para-Chee. A little piece of Portugal in tropical Brazil, Paraty was a blast from the past, chock full of old colonial architecture, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages and old men peddling sweets in carts. A port town, Paraty is decidedly working class, and the simple, almost rough hewn architecture reflects that fact. In the 1800s when gold was still flowing from the mines up in Minas Gerais, Paraty was the port the Portuguese used to ferry the loot out of the country and to imperial coffers in Lisbon. When that gold dried up, Paraty fell in importance and faded into the annals of history, a mass exodus left the town almost empty, but it also meant that the buildings remained preserved in time without too much degradation all these years.


A relatively small town, Paraty can be covered by foot, and we spent few days there wandering about the cobbled lanes an amidst the beautiful buildings with their trademark windows. Late afternoons were spent sipping Agua de Coco on the beach, with Samba blaring from tinny speakers hung up in the trees on the sand. After our crazy time in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it seemed a rather stark contrast that nobody seemed to be in any kind of hurry in Paraty.

And it suited us just fine.

 


Via Thomas Menk
expatbrazil.co.uk's insight:

Its like stepping back in time to simpler days, beautiful,

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A week in Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro | Adrian Seah

A week in Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro | Adrian Seah | Life in Brazil | Scoop.it

Home to the largest carnival in the world, the fabled Carnaval and set enviably amongst the stunning natural surrounds of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in South America. The stomping ground of the rich and famous as well as the more budget constrained traveller, Rio was the next stop for us after São Paulo along the well worn tourist trail..

We prepared for our arrival in Rio by watching José Padilha’s Tropa de Elite (gang violence in Rio and the elite police squad tasked to combat them), City of God (gang violence in the Cicade de Deus suburb of Rio) and Rio, the animated feature. Not sure to expect drug lords with AK-47s ruling the streets and street kids toting handguns or colourful macaws singing and dancing along to a Samba beat when we arrived, we got off the bus with expectations for pretty much both ends of the spectrum.

I have to report that fortunately (unfortunately?) we saw neither, the few macaws that we saw at Jardim Botanico were gorged full on bananas and lazily preening themselves, they could hardly be bothered to fly, let alone sing and dance, and the kids we saw on the beach were more interested in selling us Caipirinhas than crack coccaine. We hear that things have been cleaned up significantly in recents times, ostensibly for the upcoming World Cup and Olympics and that favelas, traditionally the hotbed of crime, had mostly been ‘pacified’.

Caipirinhas for 5 reals on the beach anyone?


Via Thomas Menk
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Thomas Menk's curator insight, December 17, 2012 11:41 PM
Adrian left his job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with his wife, documenting these beautiful places with the Fuji X-Pro1.
expatbrazil.co.uk's comment, March 17, 2013 7:08 PM
It is amazing that the perception of Rio can be so far away from the reality that I personally experience. I live about an hour away in Saquarema and its so laid-back its almost horizontal. Of course there are social problems and crime in Rio and all Brazil but which country hasn't these problems? Personally my family and I have not once felt threatened in anyway since living in Brazil. When in Rio I am very aware I am in a big city and try not to do anything stupid, as I would in any big city in any country. I stay in populated areas, don't wear a lot of bling, use taxis etc. I have had nothing but kindness shown to me by the vast majority of Brazilians I have met, I have made many friends. Please don't let Hollywood put you off Brazil, as Bob Dylan sang, "the times they are a changing" and Brazil is on the up. Come visit and decide for yourself it will change you forever, if you let it.