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Facts about Brazil
Stuff to See and Do
What to Eat
A Swiss couple we met told us they hadn't tried (and didn't want to try) acai because they thought it was chocolate. It's not chocolate! It's like a sorbet (cold and soft) made from an Amazonian fruit that is called acai. You can order it plain or with granola and bananas. It makes for a light, healthy breakfast and/or snack. When you get to Brazil, just know that every day that you don't have acai is a day that you could have had acai. Just saying.
Where to Shop
Arts & Handicrafts
We only heard of these products because we happened to be traveling on the same route as a Brazilian graduate student, who was in Tutoia interviewing handcrafters for a thesis. Buriti products make really nice gifts and are locally produced. The linen or silk made from the natural fibers of the buriti palm tree, abundant in Northern and Central Brazil, are used by artisans to produce handbags, accessories, and other products. The communities producing these products are located mainly in Santa Maria, Sao Luis, Barreirinhas, and Tutoia. Products with the Fair Trade Label ensure that artisans receive a fair income.
Clothing & Accessories
Ladies, when we are traveling the world it is always annoying when you don't have the shoes for going out, particularly in places where you need pretty shoes to get entry in clubs or bars. One solution I have found is to get a ribbon in a dark colour, wrap it decoratively around your flip flops a few times, buy a little flower hair clip from a bargain shop and attach it to the toes and voila... entrance granted! This has worked in Buenos Aires, Moscow, and Croatia; sure it will in a lot of other fun places with dress codes!
1 To 2 Weeks
Brazil is an exotic place to visit and itís so big and diverse that you probably wonít have time to visit all of it in only one visit. If you donít have time to see everything, here are some tips to decide what places you want to visit. If you like nature, the best places to visit are the beaches on the Northeast side with white sand dunes (Natal, Recife, Fortaleza, and Maceio), Iguassu Falls, the Amazon Forest or Pantanal. If you like big cities and culture, you canít miss Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited place and has a mix of big city and beaches. You can search your flights and hotels on sites like Expedia to get good deals online. With all these options, Iím sure you will have a great time in Brazil.
What To Bring
1) Water purifier
2) Money Belt (the thinner the better for passport, money and credit card)
3) Spanish and Portugese Phrasebooks (noone wants to look like an ignorant traveller)
4) A backpack with inside pockets and compartments (a Brazilian friend warned us that sometimes theives may use knifes to cut open the bottom of backpacks so everything falls out, which can be avoided with inside compartments)
5) Local friends (always good to converse with knowledgeable, helpful locals)
6) A bar of soap & hand sanitizer
7) Some sort of head covering article e.g. head scarf or hat if you are obviously a foreigner
8) A journal
9) Your own padlock!!
10) Copies of documents
11) A decoy purse or wallet