Monday, January 11, 2010

Brazil

For the Christmas and new year vacations of 2009-10 I went to Brazil. Looking back it looks like one of the best trips ever. I would be writing detailed post about every city but this one is a summary.

If the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Brazil is beautiful girls in Bikini on the beach on Rio you are not very different from most who have mostly got that image from TV. But once you visit Brazil you will realize its much more than that. Its a country I fell in love with much before I reached Rio's beaches.

Whats so special about Brazil ? Well to start with the people are amazing, hospitality and friendlyness is in the viens. Second Brazilian undoubtedly are the most party people I have ever seen. Its not unusual for a Brazilian party to start at 7-8 PM and go-on till 5-6 AM. Which implies the point that Brazilians love food and beer (and very rarely other drinks but definitely Caiparina) besides music and dancing. Overall the most merry ppl you will ever find IMO.

Now on to non-people things the country itself is beautiful with large landscapes filled with greenery, mountains, water bodies and beaches. On this regard its very similar to my other favourite place Kerala (in India). Brazilians definitely love greenery and water as you can see by either natural or man made lakes.

Another interesting thing about the country is that its amoung one of the fasted growing developing countries and if you see the new cities like Brasilia clearly give the feel of a developed country with all those good roads and buildings.

The country does has some problems of its own. Brazil's big cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are infamous for their crimes rates which clearly emerge because of a big social divide between the Rich and poor. The cost of living in Brazil is pretty high and increasing and the poor have increasing difficult time coping up.
A different language from most countries in the region and very limited English friendly environments can make the travel for a person not knowing portuguese quite hard. If you know at least some Spanish you are in much better spot but only English is not gonna be very helpful.
I am pretty sure these two issues does cost Brazil at least some Tourist loss.








Would like to mention this book which came pretty handy to start planning the trip. I have now used LP for Europe and Brazil and would probably buy it for any place I am spending quite some time at (thanks to my friend Thomas for suggesting the travel book idea based on his experience of exploring India.)

I visited 4 cities of Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Paraty which were all amazing and came to realize that I want to see much more, I already have some place in mind for my next trip: Ilha Grande, Foz de Iguazu, Florianpolis, Salvador and Amazonia.


Now some details many people ask about (and even I search for on net):
Approximate Costs: (find
My flight ticket (return) 1189 USD (+65 USD for travel insurance) from Orbitz via Aero Mexico (a post on why not to choose it follows)was
Plane ticket from Rio to Brasilia ~ 200 Reals (from Oceanair.com).
Bus ticket from Brasilia to Sao Paulo ~ 163 Reals (from util.com.br)
Hostel (dorm) costs typical 30-50 Reals
Food: 10-20 Reals for normal. 30-50 for fancy.
Overall cost about: 2100 USD (but be aware that I was hosted by friends for at least 8 out of 15 days).

Vegetarian Food:
- Not too many choices but you won't die.
- Ask them for custom sandwiches if you don't like any in menu, most shops can make Cheese sandwich for you
- Juices are amazing and very reasonable in price. Fruits are abundant too.
- Try going to Self-Service Per-Kilo restaurants to get a chance to pick food selectively.
- Italian food is you friend, Pasta places make them to your order, Pizza places always have cheese only pizza.

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