By design, the Bossa Travelers decided to finish the world tour in Brasil, where we would visit my family. The interesting part is that for the kids the trip really finished in London. They both mentioned that Brasil is like our second home, so they wouldn’t count as part of the world trip. Regardless of the emotional tie with the country, it was a really nice visit, filled with wonderful food and quality time with family and friends.
We were fortunate to have good weather in June (winter) and there were some awesome beach days in Rio. It has been 3 years since our last visit, way too long. Everyone was craving some rice and beans. Chris and I also went to our favorite meat restaurant in Rio – Plataforma – which never fails to impress us. We visited my best friend Karina, who lives in Petropolis, and spent a very nice weekend with her family, enjoying the mountains and playing volleyball.
Karina, Filipa, Leti & Louisa
Our Welcome to Brasil feast!
Chris and I had a side trip thanks to my parents. It was our first time to Iguaçu Falls, boarding Argentina. We stayed at the fantastic Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, located right inside the National Park. Wow, it was so special, we felt we were in our honeymoon. Incredible nature surrounding us, these massive falls in the middle of a jungle! It certainly made me realize how big Brasil is with so much beauty from North to South. The National Park is very well conserved and clean. We went on early morning hikes, where we were face-to-face with the falls, just the 2 of us and pure nature. We also did 2 recommended activities: the Macuco Safari, which is a boat tour that goes under the falls, and the helicopter tour, taking it all in a 360º view of the park and falls (Brasil and Argentina sides). Iguaçu Falls was certainly one of the highlights of our world tour and we are very glad we got to visit this special place.
We also had Christmas in June as my parents showered us with bags of gifts from Christmas and a number of birthdays – yes, all together. We caught up with several friends that we have not seen for many years. Rio is always special to visit, despite a chaotic traffic, it continues to be the Cidade Maravilhosa for us!
Next stop – back home to Florida
Cousins in Rio
You are what you experience. Those experiences shape the way you think about everything from food and places to people and culture. It also creates bias, which I am when discussing Brazil and India, two beautiful countries with beautiful people.
My first visit to Brazil (1996 – wow, 19 years ago) left an indelible mark on my life. I had a productive professional time meeting with various companies and an even better time as a tourist of Rio de Janeiro and the Carioca culture. I have always joked that the one deal I did close was meeting my wife, Leticia! Ever since, I’ve loved getting to know more of the people, the music, food, and culture. We’ve traveled far and wide in Brazil and I’ve had a long-standing desire to live there someday for full immersion. Yes, the country has its problems with crime, drugs, and corruption but the beauty of Brazil is that the people are truly happy.
I then had the opportunity to travel to India (2000 – 15 years ago) on business. It was a short 2-week jaunt to a developing city, Ahmedbad (now major industrial city) between Mumbai and Delhi. I had a wonderful time working with a group of enthusiastic and positive Indians that are friends to this day. I remember flying home thinking how similar the Indians were to my Brazilian friends in terms of culture and demeanor. Ever since I have preached the commonality of these two cultures and here’s why:
- Population: India #2 (1.3 billion) + Brazil #5 (200 million)
- Size: Brazil #5 (8.5 million km2) + India #7 (3.3 million km2)
- Traffic + city crowds – controlled chaos!
- Wildlife: Amazon jungle and tiger reserve parks
- Long coastlines – Brazil’s beaches get the crowds while India’s don’t; one has tiny bikinis and the other has full pants!
- Largest Hindu + Catholic countries in the world. India is also the largest country for Sikh, Jains, Bahai, #3 for Muslims, and top 10 for Buddhists!
- Weddings: Big, colorful, and expensive events!
- Carnival in Brazil and Holi festival in India
- Super friendly and live life in the present.
- Social butterflies: Watch the social interaction of each and hands wave, arms move, bodies gyrate to complement the words spoken.
- Cool cats: The men act cool everywhere!
- Spontaneous and loud: Don’t be surprised to see kids jump into a museum fountain or ladies screaming to be heard.
- Gorgeous self-confident women! My personal bias speaketh.
- Indian slums + Brazilian favelas: Slumdog Millionaire / City of God
Two of the Top 5 @ Miss World
- Colonial to independence.
- Portuguese – Brazil + Goa/Kerala states in India.
- Government democratic chaos known for corruption.
- Both have had female leaders. Go Girls!!
- BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
- The great divide: Billionaires along side masses of poverty.
- Agriculture: #1+#2 in world sugar production – sweet!
- Both countries are always on the cusp of breaking through but…
- Wonders of the World: Taj Mahal & Corcovado.
- In the arts, both are growing at a fast pace to world acclaim.
- Brazil has its bossa nova music and India has Bollywood.
- Cricket is to India as futebol (soccer) is to Brazil.
This certainly does not do justice and you simply have to open your eyes to see the amazing people of both cultures. Once you do, you will find that we are all quite similar despite our different backgrounds and that it is better to compare positively to the masses than react negatively on the actions of a few. Thank you to all my Brazilian and Indian friends and family!
Namaste & Beijos