Why would you travel to Brazil? You have never heard of it, your friends have been to Botswana and Thailand and have of course seen all of Italy and spoken to the Pope, but nobody's ever spoken to you about it, so why then should you go to Brazil? Let me try to explain:
Because we will fascinate you! Well, most of us do not speak your language, but we'll communicate with you. We love to have a good conversation and tell a good story. As an example, see how Brazil became independent:
When Napoleon invaded Portugal, the Portuguese king fled to Brazil, the richest Portuguese colony. After the English finally threw the French out of Portugal, the King wanted to go back, while his son, with the typical precociousness of any teenager, refused to follow Daddy's order and stayed. As anyone can imagine, tensions arose between the two, and the youngster quickly declared Brazil independent and himself Emperor. Well, THAT was not very Brazilian - we usually like it more modest - but the fact that the end was peaceful, without war, is VERY Brazilian!
Halfheartedly, Daddy mobilized the few friends he had left in Brazil, but even those were soon convinced to lay down their weapons and head for the beach.
We love to talk. We despise violence. When the military took over the business of running our country, we took to the beach - it was a sunny Sunday after all, what would you expect? It didn't matter who ran the country, you can always talk to them, we thought, but those military guys where tough, hooh, it took us 20 years to talk them into elections. We love to talk.
Our President too, he loves to talk, he has no rhetoric, he lisps, but then again, he has talked and worked himself up the ladder all his life. Comes from the poorest part of Brazil, a real peasant, became a shoe-shine boy in São Paulo, assembled cars at VW and became the head of the worker's party and then President. When he tells the story of the shoe-shine boy becoming president, then he does not talk actually, he cries! But still we love to listen to him when he talks. We call him Lula. Most of us don't even know what his real name is.
Be careful, our love of life is infectious! Brazil is a contagious virus. Once you have a taste of our spirit, you can't live without us! One study shows that:
Brazil is the country that 85 % of visitors want to visit a second time. Brazil tops the list. In second place is France with a distant 55%. 94 % of visitors to Brazil would recommend a trip to see Brazil to their friends.
Well that could make you curious. So let me tell you what else we have besides the Brazilian people:
Imagine a mountain range covered with a green layer of rain forest, sprinkled with the occasional Ipê tree blossoming blue or red, tumbling down 5000 feet into the blue ocean. Don't like the Rain forest? We'll take you to the desert and show you indigenous wall paintings in the caves of Brazil's North East.
You want to see birds and other creatures, like anteaters or the Earth's biggest (and cutest) rodents, the capivaras? We'll take you to the Pantanal to show you this open savanna-like plain that gets flooded once a year to cover an area the size of Texas with water. Cool water actually. During that season you see thousands of caimans laying on the little islands basking in the sun to suck as much heat as possible into their cold-blooded bodies. It looks as if they want to get a tan on teeth and tongue as they are trying to absorb the heat with their open mouths turned into the sunlight. They are so busy, you can get as close as two feet to them. You are being ignored - humans have way too many bones.
We Brazilians detest violence - even our animals prefer to talk! Take the birds this time, for a nice atmosphere on the porch of your lodge: Trees full of little birds talking at sunset. The monkeys - well, some talk too much. We call them howler monkeys, 'cause at night you can hear them 3 miles away...that's too much even for us!
I didn't mention the Amazon Rain Forest. Well our guests know more about it than we know. The state of Amazonas has 2 million inhabitants and 1.9 million live in it's capital Manaus. It's a quarter the size of Brazil, and Brazil is slightly bigger then the US without Alaska. So not many of us live there. But they have nice non-stop flights from the US: 4 and a half hours Miami to Manaus, same time zone, no jet lag and excellent lodges for you to explore the forest.
I haven't mentioned our beaches. Well, you don't mention what you take for granted, we have 5000 miles of them and we use them year round even so that the temperature drops to 75 F in winter. But that's good. That's the time when the rich of us can finally wear their fur-coats. As a matter of fact,we don't know how to deal with the cold. The latest hit in the pet shops are winter shoes for our dogs. Oh sorry, I am talking about us again, while I wanted to tell you what else we should show you.
Some cities: Salvador da Bahia, first capital and our black soul. The most African city of Brazil. The many baroque churches in it's UNESCO heritage declared historic center are trying to hide how difficult it was for the Catholic church to deal with the Africans.
The church finally gave in and declared that some African gods and goddesses are also Saints, or was it the other way round? Anyway, take, for example, Yemanjá, an African goddess of the Seas and the most revered while the Africans were forced into little boats to cross the Atlantic to serve as slaves at the Portuguese plantations. She simply was declared a version of Our Lady. And the Africans continued with their cults. Salvador until today is a mirror of Africa, a baroque gem and an eternal fountain for our culture.
Then, go over São Paulo:
25 Mio inhabitants (remember what I said about Amazonas) the cultural heart of South America. The economic powerhouse of Brazil. For example the German industry there. They employ more workers there then in any other city of the world. The subway of São Paulo carries more people per hour per line then any Tokyo line. A dozen car manufacturers from all over the world have set up shop there. Every night another cultural highlight to see on stage. Daylight visits to Museums. The new pinacothek grabbed a lot of awards. Adventure yourself into Brazilian art there. Most of the authors you have never heard of and soon you'll wonder why.
Your final goal is Rio de Janeiro.
We simply call it "maravilhosa" or the marvelous city. A respected British publication, the South American Handbook warns:
Do not start your trip to South America in Rio, you might never want to leave it, and miss seeing anything else. The Brazil virus is at its most contagious here.
I can't tell you much more, you have to feel it and find out for yourself. It is not just the Carnival or the biggest New Year's party in the world here on Copacabana beach. Take those two events out and the attraction of the city remains. It is the other way round: Only this city, only this atmosphere was able to create something like that. Our festivities are the result of what we are. The happiest people on Earth, peaceful, warm, embracing, welcoming and always ready for a little dance, occasionally exuberant. Be it a romantic Bossa Nova or a good Samba. The city has almost as many live music events as Rio has street corners.
Have we made you curious? Below we have added a typical itinerary, that shows the diversity of Brazil including the Iguassu Waterfalls, the Atlantic Rain forest mountains, São Paulo and Rio. As added spice and contrast, it starts in straight-laced Buenos Aires, Argentina and ends in Rio. Extensions to all parts of Brazil and South America are easily added before or after:
Tango, Samba, Waterfalls is seen at http://www.SouthAmerica.travel/Brazil-Tours/TSW .
For all of Brazil please go to http://www.SouthAmerica.travel/Brazil-Tours
We would love to take you by the hand and show you our country and hope to see you soon!