Lost Sambista

A Brazil never seen.

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

The beauty of the carioca women


Brazilian women. What to say? Nothing. Just admire.

We all know that Rio is well-known for its beauty. Nature, lifestyle and, surely, beautiful, gorgeous women.

And, for our pleasure, the website “Askmen” ( http://www.askmen.com/ ) have just confirmed this fact.

They made a research to find out the cities with the most beautiful women in the world. And, finally, they have now a Top 10. And, can you guess which city got the first place?

R I O !

TOP 10:

1.Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)                                                                                                             2.Milan (Italy)                                                                                                             …

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and we danced samba till the sunrise

cool article about samba and Rio


The taxi weaves through the crowds spilling out of the cafes and bars and onto the street, we take a right turn onto a cobbled street that slopes steeply upwards. As we slowly rattle our way up the buildings become more and more Portuguese and from the corner of my eye I can spot the colorful explosion that is the street art covered streets of Santa Teresa. On every wall a beautiful piece to be found, I can hardly take it in. I start to relax back into my seat, I smile and breathe out, my heart lifts, I am home. Not just at my hostel, but truly, truly home.

Nearly 3 weeks have passed here in Rio and in those 3 weeks I have well and truly fallen in love with this city. Perhaps strange given that the 3 weeks have been spent in 16 hour work days with…

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Trancoso Church

Trancoso Church

If Brazil had a center to its soul perhaps this place would be it.

Trancoso is not very far from where the first Portuguese officially stepped on Brazilian soil and if one believes in destiny, this was for a reason…

The region remained remote until the late nineteen seventies and in the meanwhile the church above was built as a mission to convert the natives of the Region, the Pataxos (pronounced Patashohs). Usually churches were built over sacred sites to, in a way, respect the old rituals while telling the natives that the universal white European God was stronger, more widespread and better than theirs.

The church “closes” a square of houses around a huge green that used to constitute the village. The people who live there call it the “rectangle” and behind it lay the tropical forest, the almost extinct Mata Atlantica. The view from behind it is fantastic, one sees the entire coast of the Porto Seguro area from the top of a cliff .

There is no doubt that the Pataxos celebrated their beautiful world at this very spot in their festivals long before the arrival of the white people.

I had the privilege to discover Trancoso when it was just a fishing village with no electricity, populated by locals and by hippies some 25 years ago. Now it has become an international attraction and is visited by tourists from all around the world.

It still preserves its magic though.

Lost Samba, the book, will give you a better description of how it was back in the day, the link to is just besides the article.

Brazil photos

nice pics of Brazilian capitals


Breathtaking photos from Brazil cities, nature, people…


Photo: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Photo: Pipa Beach, Brazil

Pipa Beach, Rio Grande do Norte

Photo: Man walking along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro

A popular seller at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Photo: Man lassoing a cow in Brazil

Amateur rodeo in Urubici, Santa Catarina

Photo: View of Salvador, Brazil

Pelourinho, Salvador, Bahia

Photo: Iguazu Falls in Brazil

Iguazu Falls, Paraná

Photo: Kids playing soccer

Maceió, Alagoas

Photo: Black Gold City, Brazil

Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

Photo: Child plays with a soccer ball

Santa Teresa “favela”, Rio de Janeiro

Photo: Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Maranhão

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Botanic Garden, Curitiba, Paraná

Paraty, Rio de Janeiro

Farol da Barra, Salvador, Bahia

Fortaleza, Ceará

Guarapari, Espírito Santo

Photo: Members of a native tribe in the forest

Suruí Indigens, Rondônia

Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro

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Canela, Rio Grande do Sul

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Manaus Theatre, Manaus, Amazonas

Brazilian native indigens protesting in Brasília

Photo: Afro-Brazilian woman leaves offerings

Macumba Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Some photos were extracted from:http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/brazil-guide/

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Vista Chinesa


The picture above looks unreal, almost like a Chinese painting with Rio de Janeiro in the background.

It is the Vista Chinesa one of the most surreal and beautiful places in Rio. The view from there is fantastic, one sees the entire coast of the South Zone, where Ipanema. Copacana, Botafogo etc… stay, the Guanabara Bay and after that Niteroi and all the beaches and mountains that follow it:


One would imagine that a pagoda in the Tijuca Forest is a random construction but it isn’t. The story is quite interesting: when the Portuguese Royal family took refuge from Napoleon in Brazil, they came up with the idea of producing tea in the new colony. It made sense, the climate was similar, tea had been successfully exported and grown in India, there was a lot of money to be made so why not plant it a half an hour from Brazil’s main port?

Together with the seeding they brought Chinese workers from the Portuguese colony Macau who else could do it better? Although they resided and worked in the Tijuca Forest, little is known of what became of them as they left no, or very few descendants.

The pagoda above is an homage to them built in 1903 by Rio’s city council.


Cristo Redentor

Havaiananniversary – 50th Birthday of Havaianas

Cool article about the Havainas 50th birthday


How many of us when packing for our holidays, do the whole check list of, suncream, check, swim shorts, check, havaianas OK, I’ve got one but where’s the other one ?

In 1962, while the rest of the world was busy with more ‘serious’ matters, the shoe which has become synonymous with holidaying was born in Brazil: Havaianas, the original, 100% rubber flip-flop. Modelled on the Japanese Zori slipper, Havaianas insoles still have a textured rice pattern to this day and was named Havaianas in honour of the Hawaiian pleasure-centred approach to life.

Can you believe the evolution of this fun loving footwear came about by accident ?

A whole batch of flip-flops intended to be the brand’s
traditional blue, came out green due to a technical mishap. A
potential disaster ended up launching a new era. The new colour
was such a success that the company began making the…

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New York City Discoteque

The picture above is of what was one of the hottest places to go in Ipanema in the mid to late seventies: the New York City Discoteque.

The name says everything, it was a Disco in Rio de Janeiro trying to mirror what was happening at Studio 66 in New York city. Inside it was always packed, it had two floors, there was a glitzy bar at the mezzanine, the floor was reflective, there were several disco balls hanging from the ceiling, colored spotlights lights, fake smoke and anything else one could imagine to transport the goers to decadent and hedonistic Discoland.

The attire was a la Bee Gees;  no Brazilian rhythms were played on the sound system, neither any Rock and Roll, although some bands and artists like Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones and even Bob Dylan adapted their work to the new wave. What people wanted to dance to were The Tramps, Donna Summer, Abba, Kool and the Gang, KC and The Sunshine Band and so many other names that disappeared as fast as they appeared.

The disco fever lasted for about a year and a half. It was like candy floss; everyone loved it in the beginning but got sick of it fast. The fad was replaced by more politically aware Brazilian music and it is true that the homegrown material was overall better both musically and, when the gigs took off, party-wise. For my generation, who only had access to the matinees on Sunday afternoons, many first kisses happened and fist sexual experiences began on those crowded floors. Guys had to gather courage to invite the overdressed girls for an awkward dance, and when the slower romantic songs came on the floor got empty and slowly the couples would take over dancing cheek to cheek, most boys with “candy bars” in their pants.

Below is a video of the only Brazilian disco band of the time that made it big: As Freneticas composed mainly of waitresses from the iconic Dancing Days discoteque in Gavea.

Queen Elizabeth II in Rio

As I saw her pass in her beautiful boat in the Diamond Jubilee pageant under the London rain I could not help to remember her visit of  to my school, the British School of Rio de Janeiro, in 1968.  The picture above is of her with the head master, I am the third one above his head. Bellow is the description of the day in my book Lost Samba:

There were no classes and excitement filled the air; the school had been covered with Union Jack and Brazilian flags and after they had cleaned up the leaves and rotting fruit the patio looked immaculate. We settled in and waited for the other classes to leave for the assembly hall across the crowded playground. Mrs. Feitosa, our teacher, was a strong blond in her mid forties from Manchester and married to a Brazilian. Her make-up and her fancy dress did not take away her authority as she closed the door and stood in front of the blackboard.

“I want everyone to sit down and listen carefully.”

We stopped whatever we were doing, fell silent, and she continued.

“Good… Can you all hear me? Today everybody must be on their best behavior, was I clear?”

 She gave us “the look” from behind her glasses and twisted her thin lips. As by magic, each one of us thought that she was addressing it to him and we were relieved when someone opened the door to say that it was our turn.

“Now I want all of you to hold hands and come with me.”

 The grown-ups outside were dressed in their best clothes and were proud of us as we passed. They waved and smiled but at the same time they kept turning their heads around to see if the distinguished guest had already arrived.

When we were about to reach the Hall’s entrance, we heard sirens and Mrs Feitosa stopped to look back. We followed her gaze and saw it happen: no one less than Queen Elizabeth the second, her Majesty, head of the British Crown, was entering the British School of Rio de Janeiro accompanied by her entourage.

She was standing in the open Rolls Royce in a white dress, waving and smiling at the crowd under the rows of palm trees that went from the entrance gate to the playground. Her car was escorted by the most impressive motorbikes that any of us had ever seen. They were huge and loud; enormous radio antennae swayed behind their riders in leather jackets and with dark glasses protected by transparent shields with the emblem of the military police.

Mrs. Feitosa took us out of our trance and told us to get into the hall and climb onto the stage before the grown-ups came in. We were lucky to have the best spot in the hall. When the Queen came in silence fell and the place assumed a dimension that we had never realized it could have. Prince Phillip followed right behind and stopped to talk, out of all people to Sarah, my sister, who was standing in the ex-students’ section. She was amazing: confident and polite.

The pupils selected to perform the leading acts were part of the English thoroughbred clique. The main couple was dressed up in traditional costumes. The boy walked up to Her Majesty and threw his cape on the floor in a chivalrous fashion, then bowed down and shouted out something that I didn’t get but that sounded very appropriate. After the royal approval, she turned to us.

Mrs Feitosa lifted her hand and we sang our part; it was well rehearsed and sounded good to every one’s relief. After the applause there were other presentations and speeches and in the end royal tea cups were handed out. The festivities continued long after she had left. If there ever was a golden day for the British community in Rio, that was it.

The pomp and the festivities were a bit out of tone with what was happening in the country. Political unrest was at its peak, violent confrontations between the police and students escalated to a point where the regime resorted to a massive clamp down imprisoning hundreds of opposition people who would be tortured and killed. In a way the dictatorship used the British royalty’s presence to mask the situation internally and to appear credible externally. It may be no coincidence that a few months later a British company was awarded the contract to construct the Rio-Niteroi bridge across the Guanabara Bay

The video bellow shows the varnished and somewhat uncomfortable stay:

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