22 October 2008

Pre-Trip: The Plan

After considerable research and reflection, I have arrived at a tentative itinerary. The first few weeks focus on the southeast.

The middle portion will be spent in the indigenous Amazon region of the northwest.

The final month will take place in the Afro-Brasilian region of the northeast.
26 December 2008 – 13 January 2009
Campinas Orientation

13 January – 18 January
Transport: bus to Sao Paulo; bus to Curitiba 6 hours
Lodging: San Juan Charm at Rua Barao do Rio Branco 354
Phone 3219 9900 or http://www.sanjuanhoteis.com.br/

18 January – 25 January
Paranagua and environs (18 – 21 January in Paranagua)
Transport: trem (regular) train to Paranagua, departs 8:15am, only runs on Sundays; sit on left side
Lodging: Paranagua – Hotel Ponderosa at Rua Prescilinio Correa 68
Phone: 3423 2464 get room with view

21 January – 23 January
Ilha Do Mel (island) Nova Brasilia (village)
Transport: ferry 2 hours
Lodging: Enseada das Conchas
Phone: 3426 8040 or http://www.pousadaenseada.com.br/

23 January – 25 January
Parque Nacional Do Superagui
Transport: ferry, call Dalton (41) 8406 0579 at Pousada Superagui to arrange
Lodging: Pousada Superagui
Phone: 3482 7149 or http://www.pousadasuperagui.com.br/

25 January – 26 January
Transport: ferry with Dalton to Paranagua (60 minutes); trem to Curitiba
Lodging: San Juan Charm at Rua Barao do Rio Branco 354
Phone 3219 9900 or http://www.sanjuanhoteis.com.br/

26 January – 29 January
Foz do Iquacu
Transport: fly (40 minutes)
Lodging: Pousada El Shaddai
Phone: 3025 4493 or http://www.pousadaelshaddai.com.br/

29 January – 2 February
Sao Paulo
Transport: fly from Foz do Iguacu (1 hour)
Lodging: Pousada Dona Zilah at Alameda Franca 1621 (Jardins district)
Phone: 3062 1444 or http://www.zilah.com/

2 February
Bus to Campinas; drop off Hope

3 February – 5 February
Transport: bus to Sao Paulo; fly to Manaus
Lodging: Hotel Tropical at Av Coronel Teixeira 1320
Phone: 658 5000 or http://www.tropicalhotel.com.br/

5 February – 9 February
Jungle Tour
Transport: Amazonas Indian Turismo
Phone: 3633 5578

9 February – 11 February
Lodging: Hotel Tropical at Av Coronel Teixeira 1320
Phone: 658 5000 or http://www.tropicalhotel.com.br/

11 February – 14 February
River Trip to (Santarem)
Transport: River boat with Agencia Rio Amazonas
Phone: 3621 4319

14 February – 17 February
Alter do Chao
Transport: bus stop at Av Rui Barbosa or Av Barao do Rio Branco (45 minutes)
Lodging: Albergue Pousada da Floresta; get a cabin only
Phone: 9651 7193 or http://www.alberguedafloresta.com.br/

17 February
Bus to Santarem; fly to Sao Paulo (by way of Manuaus); bus to Campinas

17 February – 1 March

1 March – 5 March
Transport: bus to Sao Paulo; fly to Belem
Lodging: Machado’s Plaza Hotel at Rua Henrique Gurjao 200
Phone: 4008 9800 or http://www.machadosplazahotel.com.br/

6 March – 10 March
Sao Luis
Transport: bus 12 hours; 3249 2488; Av dos Franceses, Santo Antonio
Lodging: Pousada Colonial at Rua Afonso Pena 112; ask for view room
Phone: 3232 2834 or http://www.clickcolonial.com.br/

10 March – 15 March
Transport: fly from Sao Luis
Lodging: Hotel La Maison at Av Desembargador Moreira 201
Phone: 3242 6836 or http://www.hotellamaison.com.br/

15 March – 18 March
Transport: bus 12 hours from Fortaleza
Lodging: Pousada Casuarinas at Rua Antonio Pedro Figueiredo 151
Phone: 3325 4708 or http://www.pousadacasuarinas.com.br/

18 March – 21 March
Transport: taxi or bus from Recife
Lodging: Pousada do Amparo at Rua do Amparo 199
Phone: 3439 1749 or http://www.pousadadoamparo.com.br/

21 March – 1 April
Transport: fly from Recife to Sao Paulo; bus from Sao Paulo to Campinas

18 October 2008

Pre-Trip: Home Base

The home base for our trip will be in a city outside Sao Paulo called Campinas. It's in Campinas that David's older brother Richard lives with his family.

Richard's move to Brasil involved a slow evolution. About 15 years ago he began bringing Brasilian youth to the United States where they would participate in a two year exchange program known as Masters Commission. Gradually Richard also began taking youth from the U.S. down to Brasil to complete an exchange program there. A school was established and a halfway house was opened to assist children attempting to transition out of the favelas (vast slums in many of the large cities). As Richard became more and more involved in the Brasilian end of the exchange program, he realized he needed to move there. And so he did in the fall of 2007, with his wife Jocelyn and four of their six children. The two who remained behind are in colleges in the U.S. At top is a recent photo, from left to right, of Jocelyn, Richard, Chris, Adriana, Sean and Rebecca. The photo below includes Richard and some of the favelados (slum dwellers) enjoying an afternoon game.

Campinas, the city where Richard and Jocelyn live, has a population of about 1,000,000 and is in the western interior of Sao Paulo state. Campinas is not a tourist destination. Although it was founded in the 18th century, it doesn't sport amazing cathedrals or glorious national parks. Rather it is a participant in the financial, industrial and agricultural products processing boom which is fueling the Brasilian economy's emergence on the world scene. According to the Brasilian Tourism Ministry, 9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 17% of the industrial production of São Paulo State are from the Campinas region.
Historically, Campinas rode the wave of Brasilian coffee production in the 19th century, in part because it served as a major transportation hub between rural production areas and coastal shipping ports. Today, Campinas boasts a Coffee Museum which, according to the BTM, "aims to preserve and promote the memory of the coffee production culture in Campinas." I recently picked up a book about the history of coffee, so I will report back on this topic again later once I have finished reading it.

17 October 2008

Pre-Trip: Explaining the Project

Brazil is a nation of superlatives. It represents one of the top five emerging economies of the 21st century. In geographic size, it is the fifth largest country on earth, only eclipsed in size by Russia, Canada, the United States (including Alaska) and China. It contains the largest population of people of Japanese ancestry outside of Japan, and the largest population of people of African ancestry outside of Africa. Brazil was also the recipient of the largest number of African slaves to the Americas during the European slave trade, and by 1830 Brazil had the largest slave economy in the world.

Lest one think that Brazilian history only reflects the worst of humanity, it's also important to recognize that many creative art forms have emerged from the confluence of the indigenous, African and European people who call Brazil their home. This is, after all, the birthplace of samba, capoeira, Carnival, and cinema novo.

Therefore David (my husband), Hope (my daughter, age 6) and I will be taking a trip to this nation of superlatives. After arriving by air in Sao Paulo, we will tour from the Europeanesque beach resorts of the southeast to the indigenous Amazon rainforests of the northwest. With distinct hopefulness that we not slip into the waters and be eaten by a ferocious Amazonian pirahna fish, we will then travel on to the Afro-Brazilian northeastern region before heading back to California.

Thus it is with honor and gratitude that I acknowledge the role that Cosumnes River College's Professional Standards committee, President Francisco Rodriguez and the Los Rios Community College District have played in partnering with me on this project.

In the course of our journey, we will interact with poets and pastors, mothers and musicians, slum dwellers and slave descendents. In all, this trip will consist of 95 days, span four time zones, and cover 10,000 kilometers. That's about 6,200 miles in pursuit of an understanding of the indigenous, African and European influences on contemporary Brazilian society.

We are all in this together. I hope you enjoy the ride.