Discount Hotels in Brazil : Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Parati, Angra dos Reis, Recife, Pernambuco, Bahia, Fortaleza, Brasilia, Manaus, Natal, Goiania, Other Northern cities, Other Southern cities, Foz Do Iguazu, Florianopolis, Joinville
Here is a big country that is big on football, big on Carnival, and big on freedom of expression. Some may find it surprising that 170 million people, most of whom inhabit the south eastern coastal regions, form a very broad spectrum of racial and ethnic backgrounds blended over the years into a harmonious and cohesive society. In Brazil, modern technology and ancient tribal traditions co-exist. Religious and social tolerance has always been the driving force behind the unification Brazilians. This is a land that spans the centuries and will take every opportunity to proudly show its colours. The sheer passion for life, love and liberty, and the expression thereof, is unrivalled. Brazil has welcomed a multitude of nationalities over the years, many who have never left.
Though Brazil counts for almost half of the South American continent, it is surprising that despite this massive area contained within her borders (8,547,404 sq km or 3,300,170.9 sq miles), 60% of which is a plateau, the highlands at no point exceed 3,000m (10,000ft). The Equator passes through the north of the country near MacapA~?; the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the south near SA~?o Paulo. Brazil's greatest width, 2,684 miles (4,319.4 km), is almost the same as its greatest distance from north to south, 2,731 miles (4,394.7 km). The Atlantic Ocean extends along the entire eastern side of the country, giving it a coastline of 4,578 miles (7,367 km). The Amazon River, the world's largest river in volume of water and second longest after the Nile, is 4,087 miles (6,577 km) long, of which 2,246 miles (3,615 km) are in Brazilian territory. The river is navigable by ocean steamers as far as 2,414 miles (3,885 km) upstream, reaching Iquitos in Peru.
Carnival's roots go back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who celebrated the rites of spring. In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church tried to suppress all pagan ideas, it failed when it came to this celebration. The Church incorporated the rite into its own calendar as a period of thanksgiving. The nations of Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal, gave thanks by throwing parties, wearing masks, and dancing in the streets. All three colonizing powers carried the tradition with them to the New World, but in Brazil it landed with a difference. The Portuguese had a taste for abandoned merriment; they brought the entrudo, a prank where merry-makers throw water, flour, face powder, and many other things at each other's faces. Prior to 1840, the streets of Brazilian towns ran riot during the three-day period leading up to Ash Wednesday with people in masks hurling stink bombs and squirting each other with flour and strong-smelling liquids; even arson was a form of entertainment.
Carnaval na Bahia!
In 1840, the Italian wife of a Rio de Janeiro hotel owner changed the carnival celebration forever by sending out invitations, hiring musicians, importing streamers and confetti, and giving a lavish masked ball. In a few years the masked ball became the fashion and the wild pranks played on the streets disappeared. Today of course, Carnival in Rio is an event of global significance; everyone has seen the flamboyant parades plastered on their television screens and every now and then, someone will boast of having been there during the festivities. In every town and village in Brazil, Carnaval is a time to celebrate and the visitor will see processions and blocos in every region during Carnaval time. Carnaval lasts for four days in the South and up to two weeks in northern cities such as Salvador and Recife. Brazilians themselves remark that the Recife and Olinda celebrations are the most distinctive but it is cities like Rio or Salvador that receive the most foreign visitors.
Brazil is the perfect place to sample the samba, bossa nova or lambada and the major cities, particularly Rio de Janeiro, are full of cafes with live music and dancing. Gefieiras are samba parlours where visitors can either watch or join in. In Rio, many gefieiras are located on the south side. The Copacabana beach, where parties are staged nearly 24 hours a day, is also a good location for sampling some Latin American entertainment.
The best entertainment, in terms of shows, occurs in Rio de Janeiro and SA~?o Paulo. In Rio, the major clubs do not present their main acts until after midnight. Alternatively, small clubs (boites) provide nightly entertainment throughout the city. SA~?o Paulo nightlife is more sophisticated, with greater choice; the shows tend to start earlier.
The best shopping is found in Rio and SA~?o Paulo, where major shops and markets stay open quite late in the evening. Rio and Bahia specialise in antiques and jewellery. Special purchases include gems (particularly emeralds), jewellery (particularly silver), souvenirs and permissible antiques, leather or snakeskin goods. Fashions and antiques, crystal and pottery are a speciality of SA~?o Paulo. BelA~(c)m, the city of the Amazon valley, specialises in jungle items, but be careful that you are not purchasing objects that have been plundered from the jungle, contributing to the general destruction. Check for restrictions on import to your home country of goods made from skins of protected species.
When it comes to food and drink, Brazil's cuisine is the product of tradition and happenstance. The cuisine from Bahia dates back to the time of slavery when the masters saved scraps from the table or leftovers from the previous day's meal to give to the slaves. Some slaves were allowed to fish and look for shrimp and clams. Remembering their cooking-pot training from Africa, the women would put bits of ingredients together and add the milk of coconuts or the oil from the dendA~^(a) palm. Over the years these concoctions were worked out in recipes and were given names. Today it is called Bahian food. Some of its delicacies are:
VatapA~?: Shrimp are cut up or ground together with pieces of fish, then cooked with dendA~^(a) palm oil, coconut milk and pieces or bread. The dish is served over white rice.Sarapatel: The liver and heart of either a pig or a sheep are mixed with fresh blood of either animal; tomatoes, peppers, and onions are added and everything is cooked together.CarurA~^(o): SautA~(c)ed shrimp are combined with a very sharp sauce made of red peppers and tiny okra.
In the Amazon region a favourite dish is pato no tucupi which is pieces of duck in a rich sauce that is loaded with a wild green herb that tingles the stomach for hours after eating. Another typical dish is tacacA~?, a thick yellow soup that is laced with dried shrimp and garlic. In Rio Grande do Sul churrasco is the big dish. It is pieces of beefs skewered onto a metal sword, and roasted outdoors over hot coals. There is a tomato and onion sauce to go over it. The gaA~^(o)chos of the interior barbecue an entire steer this way. If there is one dish that typifies Brazilian cooking it is feijoada. In Rio de Janeiro, where it is especially popular, feijoada is a complicated bean dish prepared with air-dried beef, smoked sausage, tongue, pig's ears and tails, garlic, and chili peppers. It is customary to fill a soup plate with white rice and spoon feijoada on top. Over this is added pulverized manioc flour (farofa), a starch that thickens the sauce. The whole dish is garnished with collard greens and slices of oranges.
Many international travellers think Brazilian beer is one of the best in the entire western hemisphere. For generations there have been expert German and Dutch brewers overseeing the manufacturing and processing of all major companies. Brazil produces strong, clear, raw rum (cachaA~?a) made from fermented sugar cane alcohol. CachaA~?a when combined with crushed lime, sugar, and ice becomes a very popular drink called caipirinha. GuaranA~?, a delicious soft drink unique to Brazil, is made out of a fruit from the Amazon.
No matter your destination in this vast country, your senses will come alive with all there is to sample and explore. From outdoor activities and water sports to late night shows and fabulous shopping, Brazil has it all and more.