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Archive for February, 2008

Eating like kings at a churrascaria

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Brazilians love their buffets. Tonight for dinner we went to a churrascaria, a traditional Brazilian eatery, where we ate like kings (and paid royally too). Think of a churrascaria like a buffet where the food comes to you. Finely dressed servers walk around with spits of equally fine cuts of meat. Have your full in today’s photo gallery.

Beach time in Salvador

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

With a day like this, it was easy to decide what we were going to do: head to the beach. And being just a mere walk away from our $30 a night apartment in Salvador (we know, you hate us), it was an easy jaunt for us. Hit the beach in today’s photo gallery.

Settling in Salvador

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

After taking a late night, two-hour flight (instead of a 25 hour bus ride) from Rio, we arrived in Brazil’s colonial capital city, Salvador da Bahia – which everyone truncates to Salvador. At the mouth of a massive bay, Salvador was a natural choice by the Portuguese who trekked across the Atlantic. Relics of its Portuguese roots still stand today, like Fort Santa Maria in the background. Porto da Barra beach’s clear waters abutting the fort are popular with both locals and travelers looking to cool off. Jump into Salvador by taking a look at today’s photo gallery.

Last day in Rio

Monday, February 25th, 2008

We spent most of our last day in Rio trying to get out of Rio, and buy tickets to our next destination, Salvador in the northeast. The ensuing fiasco left us just enough time to catch the sunset at Ipanema beach. See the photos in today’s photo gallery.

Crowning a futebol champion in Rio de Janeiro

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

While in Rio, we managed to get tickets to one of the year’s biggest soccer matches here in Brazil, the Taça Guanabara. Two neighboring bitter rivals, Flamengo and Botafogo, played for the title of city champion. The crowd was rowdy, the soccer was great, and the excitement was through the roof. Head to the Maracanã Stadium for today’s photos.

MV Bill: A messenger of truth in City of God

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

On Saturday afternoon we visited Brazilian hip-hop artist, filmmaker and author MV Bill in the neighborhood where he was raised and still lives today, Cidade de Deus (City of God). To read more about our visit and see what this activist is about, click on today’s photo gallery.

Old school samba: Velha Guarda da Mangueira

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

On Friday afternoon we visited the Velha Guarda da Mangueira at Mangueira headquarters in Zona Norte (North Zone) of Rio.  The Velha Guarda da Mangueira is a musical outfit comprised of the Mangueira samba school’s 10 most senior, well-respected members.  The group is legendary, and has performed throughout Brazil and Europe, for decades.  Join the in the musical revelries in today’s photo gallery.

Taking it to the street: samba with the Velha Guarda da Mangueira

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

It’s a sunny Friday afternoon in Zona Norte (North Zone), Rio de Janeiro. Thushan, Brian and I have just had the fortune of meeting the Velha Guarda da Mangueira, a samba outfit comprised of 10 of the most senior members of Rio’s Mangueira samba school.

I first saw the Velha Guarda perform in 2003 at a free show in Salvador, Brazil and the magical memories of that night – without question the best concert I’ve ever witnessed – have remained vivid in my mind.

This time around, however, our more personal visit to the Velha Guarda has turned out to be less than magical. Perhaps it was the lack of a typical audience participation that made the group appear flat during our brief private set. Or maybe old age has finally taken its toll on this group of master musicians.

Content to have met the group and visit them in their home rehearsal space we begin thanking the musicians and start preparing for our departure.

Then the question comes: “You wanna have a beer down on the corner?” asks Josimar. Not particularly in the mood to drink and anxious to get in some much needed beach time before the sun goes down I debate how I can respectfully decline his offer.

“Come on! Let’s go have one. Just one. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.” Josimar assures us.

“OK, but do you think we’ll make it back in time to catch the sunset on Ipanema?” I ask.

“Sure,” Josimar replies, “The sooner we drink this beer, the sooner you’ll make it to the beach.”

I give in and we head over to a tiny bar on the street. I assume that our party will consist of just Thushan, Brian, Josimar and I, but the bar owner quickly starts lining up plastic tables one after another, setting out chairs for a group of 15. (more…)

The Marvelous City

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Rio de Janeiro’s skyline is dominated, not with buildings, but with impressive – no – stunning, mountains mingling between the neighborhoods and shoreline. Unabashedly called the “A Cidade Maravilhosa” (The Marvelous City), from atop Pão de Açúcar, via ride up on a cable car, Rio doesn’t just earn it’s name, it sets the bar. Catch the marvelous view from atop Pão de Açúcar in today’s photo gallery.

Samba Soul and stories from a Brazilian legend: a visit with Hyldon

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I am standing on a street corner in Recreio, Zona Oeste, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Its just past three in the afternoon, and the streets, except for a light sea breeze, are devoid of life. It feels like a Florida retirement community—quiet, hot, stagnant. Mike rings the doorbell. We wait. Mike rings the doorbell again.

Finally, the crackle of a voice from the speaker phone, a pleasant female voice, but not the voice we came here to meet. Mike introduces himself, and moments later, out steps a very average-looking Brazilian man. Average height, average weight, mid-fifties, wearing shorts, a Brazilian national team soccer jersey, and Havaianas, a Brazilian brand of flip-flop that is the preferred footwear of the entire nation. He isn’t the archetypal heartthrob, but then again, he never was, it was his nice-guy persona, his every-man way of being, that made him so popular.

  • Hear two exclusive tracks from Hyldon’s upcoming album Soul Brasileiro, heard for the first time, here on LongJaunt: Rapaz de São Paulo” featuring a special guest appearance on electric guitar by Roberto Frejat of the Brazilian rock band Barão Vermelho and “Brazilian Samba Soul.”


About LongJaunt Equal parts lighthearted jaunt and in-depth journey, this intimately documented trip around the world has one goal: to bring you along for the ride.

Thushan Amarasiriwardena

, former Senior Multimedia Producer at The Boston Globe, has always loved telling a great story. Combining his eye for visual story telling and his technical background in computer science at North Carolina State University, Thushan has reported on business, sports and travel for The Globe. You can find his site here.

Michael Kurtz

, graduated with a degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His thesis research focused on the intersection of race and music in Northeastern Brazil. He worked previously as A&R and Production Coordinator for Putumayo World Music, an international music record label based in New York City. You can find his site here.

Brian Rogers

graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and has traveled extensively in Latin America.

Alicia Conway

is LongJaunt's home base chief and a Technical Producer for The Boston Globe. She joined and contributed with the team out in England, Kenya, Tanzania, The Netherlands and Thailand.