Invading Rio’s Rocinha

This week, everybody in Brazil – and especially in Rio de Janeiro – was talking about the “peaceful” police invasion of Rocinha, the largest – and most (in)famous – favela in the Americas.

View down into Guanabara Bay with the round peak of Sugarloaf Mountain rising from the peninsula.

Flying Down to Rio with the Obamas

Shortly after Obama was sworn in as president, polls showed that Brazilians’ “good opinion” of the U.S. had shot up to 73 percent. Brazilians – an estimated 45 percent of whom can claim some African descent – celebrated the victory of the “black candidate” as if Carnaval had suddenly been proclaimed in November.

Transpantaneira dirt road and sign

Eyes Peeled on the Transpantaneira

In 1972, the Brazilian military government began concretizing its ambitious if foolhardy idea of building a highway that would cut right through the Brazilian Pantanal. The highway known as the Transpantaneira never got very far, but what it lacks in terms of people, it more than makes up for in terms of wildlife.

Fancy, luxury hotel with pool

The Lap of Luxury in Brazil

What constitutes the “concept” of luxury these days – in general, and in Brazil? A question Michael asked himself when he landed what many people (including me) would consider to be a dream gig – reviewing luxury hotels in Brazil.

Photo © Michael Sommers.

Favela Rising in Brazil

For now, at least, favelas are an integral part of urban Brazilian life. Whether or not you decide to “tour” one is a personal decision, but you’ll inevitably come into contact with them – even if you’re only driving by.

Man stands in front of movie poster

Brazilians Shun Film in Favor of the Real Lula

On paper, Lula’s life story has all the elements of a great, inspiring epic film not to mention a thoroughly engrossing melodrama and director Fábio Barreto milks the hagiographic and tear-jerking elements for all they’re worth.