Aldeia Maracanã

As part of our two-week cultural program with Edimilson, we visited Aldeia Maracana, an Indian community just down the road from the university.

The property, once belonging to a Brazilian military head and proponent of the Indian cause, was abandoned shortly after his death around the turn of the 20th century. Roughly a hundred years later the mansion is in ruins, and the property has been occupied by indians from all over Brazil since 2006. The building itself has been fashioned into an ad-hoc, alternative museu: its dilapidated walls are covered in paintings and stories told by different tribes from all over Brazil.

It is a remarkable, unique space that has been home to many indians over the past few years, though Brazilian government doesn’t quite see it that way. The Aldeia Maracana has the unlucky fortune to be located at the foot of the biggest soccer stadium in Brazil, which is currently being renovated for the World Cup.

On the day of our visit, the decision fell from the city government to expel the current residents of the property to make way for a parking lot for the stadium next door. The property was eerily empty while residents and supporters were at city hall to receive the news and protest. Two schools nestled on the other side of the Stadium had suffered the same fate just a few months earlier.

Floresta de Tijuca

The Tijuca Forest is a beautiful national park — which happens to be in the middle of Rio’s endless urban expanse. After the land was used during the coffee boom, the whole forest/jungle was replanted around 1930, now it’s a wild park and a great place to cool off on the weekend and go for a hike.

We did a hike with the Facebook group Rio Walkers and were surprised at the pristine condition of the park and excellent signage.

Feira Nordestina


Feira Nordestina is a fair showcasing Northeastern Brazilian culture, its music, and its cuisine.

The place was a hoot… the “fairgrounds” are in the middle of a ovular wall structure, sort of like a stadium with no roof. We grabbed a bite to eat and a beer (for which the first version of the bill seemed to be a tidy scam attempt) and poked around a bit. The most interesting part was the introduction to Brazilian forró music, traditionally consisting of a trio with accordian, rhythm section with triangle, and vocals.

Hello from Rio de Janeiro!

Hello dear friends and families, we are alive and well and hot in Rio de Janeiro!

We arrived in Rio very early Friday morning (22 Feb 2013) and took a taxi straight to our home for the month, in the barrio of Catete. We are living in a house in the center of Rio about a 5 minute walk to Flamengo Beach. Patrick, an expat Artist from France who has been living in Brazil for almost 25 years, has two extra bedrooms that he rents out. The house is small but has two floors with an open courtyard in the middle and the top floor is just our room and a rooftop terrace. Its furnished sparsely and has just the rustic charm that Nick and I were looking for :)

The first couple of days here were pretty overwhelming! The city is huge and bustling and gives off so many impressions all at once. Even the beaches have a rather hectic feel and get quite crowded! But slowly, the ways of the city are working their charms and we are feeling more and more comfortable here. Now we have been to three beaches: Flamengo, Copacabana, and Ipanema. Each one different from the other and each very telling of the spirit of Rio. Flamengo hosts sun-tanners slurping beer and coconut peddlers, yet barely anyone swims here due to the dirty bay water. Copacabana feels a little bit like Ipanema’s dirty cousin: it’s a little more commercial, less clean, but it’s also where you’ll get the cheaper drinks and eats (as well as real estate). Ipanema’s water is that translucent blue-green you’re dreaming of, it seems to be consistently less trash-filled than Copacabana’s waters, too. Sitting here gazing onto the islands in the distance while sipping a Caiprinha has a very distinct feeling of beach vacation!