EXPERIENCE LATIN AMERICA FROM HOME: BRAZIL

Virtual Travel to Latin America in Times of Coronavirus

 The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected everyone around the world and travel has been put on hold temporarily.
While you cannot visit Latin America personally, we invite you to connect with our favorite destinations virtually.

We asked Polyana, who works for our local Brazilian partner company and lives in Sao Paulo, how she experiences the pandemic. Polyana tells us about her current daily life in Brazil, how you can bring a part of Brazil to your home while you cannot visit her country personally and her personal travel advise for post-corona times. 

How Is the Situation in Your Region?

The city I live in, São Paulo, is on partial lockdown. This means most commerce is closed, events have been cancelled, and our city parks, museums and etc., are closed. But grocery stores are still working with certain adaptations (limiting the number of clients in store, sanitizing carts, social distancing inside), and bakeries and restaurants are open for delivery and take out. 

We’re at the epicenter of the pandemic here in Brazil – being the largest city and overall hub for international and domestic travel, also one of the first places to have had cases in the country. We already worked remotely as a team, so we started the #WFH trend before it was cool! That being said, it has been tough to not be able to meet up with loved ones, visit parks and trails in the city, and go out for dinner! We really don’t take advantage of these little day to day things.

I live with my partner and our small dog Severina, and she’s been enjoying her humans being home 24 hours a day, and extra walks around the neighborhood the most!

As for the government advice here, unfortunately things have been a bit conflicting, where our governors and health minister are at odds with the president on how to handle the pandemic. It’s an even weightier discussion when you’re in a country with such a drastic socio-economic gap and several people in vulnerable living situations as is. In general though, most people I know are following social isolation measures, contributing and donating where they can to causes and those who are most needy at this moment, and hoping to get out of this as soon as possible by helping each other out! Despite the arguments at the top, those of us in the middle and bottom have been championing solidarity in these times, which makes me really proud to be a part of this community of Brazilians who care!

How Can People Bring Brazil to Their Home While They Can't Travel?

We had quite a few clients set to travel in April and May, and most have had to postpone their plans, when Brazil was “this” close to them! So our team has put together some at home entertainment to help our clients get through this and I’d love to share the material here as well! 

  • playlist with our team’s favorite Brazilian songs to listen to while you work or over some wine in the evenings.

  • Zoom (or just desktop) backgrounds of destinations around Brazil for you to pretend you’re here.

  • A list of some of books by Brazilian authors or about Brazil:
    • Short Stories in Brazilian Portuguese for Beginners by Olly Richards
      A wonderful book for people who are learning (Brazilian) Portuguese and would like to extend their vocabulary and improve their Portuguese in a fun way.
    • Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil by Caetano Veloso
      A great book for music lovers. Caetano is one of the most important figures in Brazilian music in the 20th century and this book is about the Tropicalia movement, of which Veloso was a part of and his exile during the dictatorship in Brazil. 
    • Brazilian Soundby Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha
      An encyclopedia of sorts, of Brazilian music which takes you around the country to learn about sounds from different regions of the country.
    • Doctor Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legendby Andrew Downie
      This book in essence, is a memoir of Brazil’s iconic national team captain for the 1982 World Cup, Socrates, who besides this was also a doctor, and fervent activist.
    • Why Soccer Mattersby Pelé (yes, THE Pelé)
      An autobiography which looks into Pelé’s 60 year involvement in the sport.
    • Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic Dream, by Juliana Barbassa
      The book covers the struggles of the city of Rio de Janeiro on the brink of the 2016 Games in the city. It is a beautiful and heart wrenching portrait of the city and its people.
  • You can also find Brazilian movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix, some of out our team’s favorite movies are:
    • A Dog’s Will (Title in Portuguese: O Auto da Compadecida)
      The film follows the adventures of João Grilo and Chicó, two poor guys living in the hinterlands of Brazil’s northeast, who cheat a bunch of people throughout their lives, but when they die, they have to be judged by Christ, the Devil and the Virgin Mary, before they are admitted to paradise.
    • My Mom is a Character Trilogy (Title in Portuguese: Minha Mãe é uma Peça)
      This comedy trilogy written and starred by Paulo Gustavo – one of the most influential comedians in Brazil nowadays – is an adaptation of his popular play of the same name. It is truly a very funny comedy – one of those movies you hear people constantly laughing out loud in the movies.
    • Estômago – A Gastronomic Story (Title in Portuguese: Estômago)
      An amazing and exciting mix of thriller and dark comedy and a great opportunity to discover some Brazilian dishes, like the famous coxinha. Being a Brazilian-Italian co production, you will find strong references to Italian cinema, and feel as if you are watching a Fellini movie, but with Brazilian flavor (pun intended), of course.
    • Nighthawk (Title in Portuguese: Bacurau)
      With the Jury Prize at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Bacurau was probably the most talked about Brazilian movie in 2019. With its mix of gore, thriller, western, sci-fi and socio-political commentary, plus its impeccable cinematography, the film is definitely worth all the hype.
    • Along the Way (Title in Portuguese: À Beira do Caminho)
      A beautiful and moving road movie and a great opportunity to see some beautiful landscapes in Northeastern Brazil, especially the amazing Chapada Diamantina, where the movie was mostly shot.

What Is Your Personal Travel Tip for Post-Corona Times?

Brazil is a continental sized country, and many times our clients want to explore it as they would a country like Italy or France – taking in all the highlights on a 2 week trip. But there is just so much to do and see, and each state is so unique in its own rite that I think post-corona, we should consider hopping on the slow travel bandwagon.   

Instead of hopping from one place to the other, I think taking at least a full week to explore one particular region or state (when visiting a large country like Brazil), or a small country, will bring travelers to truly get to know the destinations and people they are visiting. 

Besides this, it’ll be safe. In a “post-corona” world, we’ll need to consider the health risks involved with flying, visiting several overly populated and overly touristy destinations. If we learn to travel slower, we won’t be hopping on several flights, and will be able to drive or bike, or even trek through a particular region (See the Lençóis Maranhenses treks!). This will also permit us to keep our carbon footprint down, as well as contribute more to the local communities who have lost quite a bit with the pandemic – which in turn will make us all learn to be more responsible travelers.

 

How is the situation in your country? Would you like to tell us your personal “coronavirus story”? Or is there anything else you would like to share with us? Drop us a line, we look forward to hearing from you!

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