The Mystery of Bonfim

March 19, 2012 by rskbrazil

Published in Américas , February 2012

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Brazil: Body and Soul

December 23, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in Américas , April 2010
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Brazil’s Little Switzerland

December 22, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in Américas, October 2009
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The Old South Lives on in Brazil

December 21, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in, August 2008

“There was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called the Old South”- from the opening of the film “Gone with the Wind (1939)

Surprisingly, at a cemetery in Brazil, in the interior of Sao Paulo state, the pre-Civil War American south is kept alive in songs, music, food and dance. Women in hoop skirts, and men in confederate uniforms eat the foods, dance the dances and listen to the music of the Old South. They come to this cemetery to keep alive the traditions of their ancestors, to recreate some of the traditions of the Old South, and to remember their heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

An Amazon Tale

December 20, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in,  October 2007 

“Rubber dazzled them, as gold and diamonds have dazzled other men…”-Theodore Roosevelt

Manaus, capitol of the state of Amazonas in Brazil, deep in the Amazon forest was once the Paris of South America. The rubber barons brought their wives, sweltering in their fur coats, to the fabulous new opera house with its Baroque style interior. In their huge and sumptuously decorated houses off Praça São Sebastião (San Sebastion Square) they talked about Manaus soon supplanting Rio de Janeiro as Brazil’s new capital. They liked to show off by lighting their cigars with bills of large denomination and sending their laundry to Paris. Manaus was one of the main sources of rubber in the world and the rubber boom that hit Manaus at the end of the 19th century brought in so much money that one diamond merchant estimated that more diamonds were sold in Manaus than anywhere else in the world. The governor of Amazonas state, Eduardo Gonçalves Ribeiro, boasted “I found a village-I made of it a modern city”. It was no idle boast. The inhabitants enjoyed some of the first electric street lights in the world and the first electrically operated trolley system in Latin America. There was piped gas and water. A glorious modern city had arisen in the middle of the Amazon forest, and even steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, supposedly said with sadness, “I ought to have chosen rubber”. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning English In Brazil – The Michigan School

December 19, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in Escape Artist, May 2005

Everybody knows Susi. And they all want to study with her at Michigan School. Some have already studied with her. Here in the small town of Capivari, also known as “Land of Poets”, everybody wants to learn English. Senhor Cabral, whose wife owns the gift shop, Loja da Leninha on the corner, two blocks off the square, says he was in Susi’s first adult class. Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil: An Encounter In The Amazon

December 18, 2010 by rskbrazil

Published in, August 2004

I was surrounded by a sea of yellow t-shirts all saying “English School”. They were worn by teenage girls with friendly faces and sweet smiles who were laughing and joking. The music and dancing were almost about to begin, so I didn’t have too much time to spend talking to Gláucia and her friends. It was a rainy, humid April night in the Amazon town of Parintins, and I was one of several tourists for whom the local people were putting on a small sample of their famous folklore festival (Festival Folclórico de Parintins) with takes place in June. This was the “Boi Bumbá” Festival of which we had heard so much, a festival in the middle of the Amazon that is now almost a rival in popularity to Rio’s carnival in Brazil. I had arrived that morning, aboard the cruise ship Caronia. We had been on the ship for almost 2 weeks and this was the highlight of the cruise, sailing on the mighty and legendary Amazon river. The cruise would wind up in Manaus, a city known as the Paris of South America in the 19th century because of the elegant houses of the wealthy rubber barons and the stunning opera house they had built in this city located in the heart of the Amazon forest. Read the rest of this entry »