Archive for April, 2009

May 2009 desktop calendar

May 2009 desktop calendar

The Brazil Travel Blog brings you every month a calendar for you to use on your computer desktop.

On May 2009 we are visiting São Paulo’s Botanic Gardens.

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April 30, 2009 | By More
Swine flu / A (H1N1) in Brazil

Swine flu / A (H1N1) in Brazil

updates:

  • from 1 January 2010 till 3 April 2010, 50 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 29 Oct 2009, 1368 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 23 Sep 2009, 1047 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 16 Sep 2009, 899 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 10 Sep 2009, 731 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 02 Sep 2009, 657 deaths resulting from the disease. Continues discrepancies between the death toll figures issued by the governments of the different Brazilian states and the Ministry of Health means I will no longer update the tally for individual states. A very clear picture has emerged where the southern states are, by far, the most affected by the flu epidemic.
  • 31 Aug 2009, 575 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 27 Aug 2009, according to official figures, the number of new cases of swine flu is decreasing throughout the country. The 1st week of August registered 1,578 serious cases, the 2nd week the number went down to 826 and on the 3rd week there were 273 new cases.
  • 26 Aug 2009, 557 deaths resulting from the disease. Most deaths have occurred in the southeastern and southern states of the country: São Paulo (223 deaths), Paraná (151), Rio Grande do Sul (98) and Rio de Janeiro (55) lead the toll. The number of cases on the north and northeast regions is very small.
  • 21 Aug 2009, 488 deaths resulting from the disease. Florianópolis and 19 other cities from the state of Santa Catarina declare emergency status due to the advance of swine flue.
  • 20 Aug 2009, 404 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 18 Aug 2009, media reports fall in the number of influenza A cases attended at São Paulo hospitals.
  • 18 Aug 2009, 379 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 14 Aug 2009, 339 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 12 Aug 2009, 274 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 10 Aug 2009, 191 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 07 Aug 2009, 167 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 04 Aug 2009, 129 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 03 Aug 2009, 92 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 01 Aug 2009, 76 deaths resulting from the disease.
  • 31 Jul 2009, 68 deaths resulting from the disease. To control the spread of the virus, classes will resume two weeks later than usual in several states, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
  • 28 Jul 2009, 55 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 27 Jul 2009, 45 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 26 Jul 2009, 39 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 24 Jul 2009, 1566 cases of swine fever confirmed and 33 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 22 Jul 2009, 29 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 21 Jul 2009, 20 deaths resulting from the disease
  • 16 Jul 2009, 1175 cases of swine fever confirmed and eleven deaths resulting from the disease
  • 09 Jul 2009, 1027 cases of swine fever confirmed and two deaths resulting from the disease
  • 08 Jul 2009, 977 cases of swine fever confirmed and one death resulting from the disease
  • 06 Jul 2009, 905 cases of swine fever confirmed and one death resulting from the disease
  • 04 Jul 2009, 885 cases of swine fever confirmed and one death resulting from the disease
  • 29 Jun 2009, 627 cases of swine fever confirmed and one death resulting from the disease
  • 22 May 2009, nine cases of swine fever confirmed
  • 09 May 2009, eight cases of swine fever confirmed
  • 07 May 2009, first four cases of swine fever confirmed
  • 05 May 2009, no confirmations or dismissals of suspect cases yet
  • 04 May 2009, no confirmations or dismissals of suspect cases yet
  • 03 May 2009, in spite of repeated claims by the government that the country is prepared to face the flu, not a single suspect case has been confirmed or disregarded yet. We don’t know whether this is due to technical incompetence or deliberate concealment of information

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Up until today, there are no travel restrictions whatsoever imposed on travellers arriving from other countries.

Up-to-date information on ANVISA‘s website, the Brazilian’s government body responsible for disease control. It has a version in English but no up-do-date information can be found on that section.

I’m also adding a link to the US’s CDC website with up-to-date information on the topic:

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RELATED POSTS:
10 facts about dengue fever in Brazil
10 facts about yellow fever in Brazil

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April 28, 2009 | By More
São Paulo’s top ten

São Paulo’s top ten

Admittedly, São Paulo is not the easiest of places for the occasional tourist. Gigantic in size, chaotic in nature. However, the city gets a totally undeserved bad rap. To me São Paulo is – more than any other place in the country – the perfect encapsulation of some key Brazilian themes (both positive and negative).

The Top Ten I’m publishing today is a list originally made for our blog de São Paulo (the Spanish-language blog where we make an effort to unravel the city). I’ve made a few adaptations to the list. As this is a list of recommendations for the foreign visitor, I had three basic considerations when I drew up the ranking:

  • easy of access using the public transportation system
  • relevance in the context of what São Paulo is and represents
  • affordable cost

SÃO PAULO’s TOP 10

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1. VISIT THE LIBERDADE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Liberdade, São Paulo
Why? The Japanese/Chinese/Korean quarter of São Paulo is a place like no other that will challenge your preconceived ideas about what is “typically Brazilian”.
How do I get there? There is a subway station (line 3, blue) right in the middle of the Liberdade.
How much? No entrance fees.
How long do I need? Spend a morning or an afternoon.
Other tips Have lunch at a tradicional Japanese restaurant. There are dozens and dozens of them. Among our favourites, Gombe , Isao or Yamaga.

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2. GET TO THE TOP OF THE TORRE DO BANESPA BUILDING
Sao Paulo
Why? Because from the top of the skyscrapper you have a unique and mesmerizing 360-degree view of São Paulo – you’ll begin to understand the true meaning of megalopolis.
How do I get there? Take the subway (line 3, blue) to the São Bento station. It’s a five-minute walk from there.
How much? Access to the top of the tower is free. Bring ID with you.
How long do I need? One hour. The time you are allowed to stay at the top of the building has been drastically reduced in recent months.
Other tips The tower only opens from Monday to Friday – if it’s raining access to the top will be closed.

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3. VISIT THE MERCADO MUNICIPAL (CENTRAL MARKET)
Mercado Municipal, São Paulo
Why? Because the market offers a unique and fascinating feast of colours and flavours. Wander around the stalls and marvel at the exotic fruits on display. And don’t forget to visit the bars for some classic São Paulo appetizers.
How do I get there? Take the subway (line 1, blue) to the São Bento station. It’s a ten-minute walk from there.
How much? Entrance is free. You will pay whatever you eat at the bars.
How long do I need? A couple of hours.
Other tips You can combine the visit to the market with the visit to the Torre do Banespa (number 2 on your list).

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4. WALK ALONG THE AVENIDA PAULISTA
avenida Paulista
Why? Because along its 3 km you will get a taste of São Paulo’s melting pot.
How do I get there? Take the subway (line 2, green) to either the Brigadeiro station or the Consolação station (eastern and western ends of the avenue respectively).
How much? Free.
How long do I need? A couple of hours. Longer if you plan on visiting museums or shops.
Other tips At lunch time and at the end of the day (at around 6 pm) is when the avenue teems with people.

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5. HAVE FUN AT THE MUSEU DO FUTEBOL (SOCCER MUSEUM)

Why? If football (soccer) doesn’t immediately conjure up the idea “Brazil” no other words will do. The soccer museum it’s a state-of-the art interactive museum where terrific fun is guaranteed (even for those not that keen on football).
How do I get there? Take the subway (line 2, green) to Clínicas station and then walk 15 minutes to the museum.
How much? Adults pay R$6.
How long do I need? Between two and four hours.
Tips You can make the visit to the museum an extension of your walk along Avenida Paulista (number 4 on the list). Have a look at this blog’s entry Museu do Futebol (football/soccer museum).

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6. HAVE BREAKFAST IN SYTLE AT AT BAKERY
panadería / bakery
Why? Do you want to feel like a true paulista (São Paulo native)? Then have a mammoth buffet breakfast at a bakery.
How do I get there? They are all over town. Ask where your are staying if there is a bakery serving buffet breakfast nearby. Chances are there will be one. If not, take a taxi and head of to a popular bakery like the 24/7 “Casa dos Pães”.
How much? Between R$15 and R$30 for the breakfast buffet. It usually includes an inimaginable amount of food, both savoury and sweet, as well as juices and coffee.
How long do I need? You can have breakfast in one hour or make it last for much longer.
Tips People on a diet, abstain.

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7. PIZZA FOR DINNER
pizzería Bendita Hora
Why? Because the pizza is the most traditional of all São Paulo servings. Paulistas simply love pizzas.
How do I get there? There are excellent pizzerias just everywhere.
How much? From R$20 to R$50 a large pizza for two.
How long do I need? A couple of hours at the end of the day (most pizzerias only open for dinner).
Tips You can order different ingredients for each half of the pizza. Try the pizza with sundried tomatoes and rocket salad. Finger-licking good!

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8. A STROLL AT THE PARQUE DO IBIRAPUERA
Auditorio do Ibirapuera, São Paulo
Why? When in Rome… when a paulista needs some fresh air, they take a stroll at the Park, right in the middle of the city.
How do I get there? Take a taxi or walk down from the avenida Paulista (1/2 hour).
How much? Entrance is free.
How long do I need? Half a day.
Tips The park is quiet during the week, crowded during the weekends. There is a restaurant in the park where you can have lunch.

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9. GO SHOPPING – AT POPULAR PRICES!
ladeira do Porto Geral, São Paulo
Why? See with your very own eyes the 25 de Março street or the Bom Retiro quarter, the mecca for shoppers from all over Brazil.
How do I get there? For the 25 de Março, take the subway (line 1, blue) to the São Bento station. It’s two minutes from there. For the Bom Retiro quarter, take the same subway line but leave at the Luz station. It’s 5 minutes from there.
How much? Whatever you want to spend.
How long do I need? Difficult to stand longer than half a day.
Tips Saturday is the busiest day. Avoid it if you are intent on doing some serious shopping. Go on a Saturday if the anthropological experience is what you are after. Pay extraordinary attention to your personal belongings when walking around the center of town. If you are carrying a rucksack or bag, do as the locals, hold it in front of you with your arms around it.

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10. GO WINDOW-SHOPPING – AT OUTRAGEOUS PRICES!
shopping Cidade Jardim
Why? You will understand better basic Brazilian concepts like unequal income distribution and filthy rich. If you can’t visit a favela, you can do the opposite, do your own ‘the rich and the powerful’ tour.
How do I get there? You can walk to the Oscar Freire street from the avenida Paulista. To go to the Shopping Cidade Jardim, take a taxi.
How much? Window-shopping is free.
How long do I need? A couple of hours of ostentatius display of wealth is just about enough.
Tips Saturday is the best day if you want to see the rich driving around and showing off their imported cars.
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You can find the location of all the places mentioned on the list at the following Google Maps mash-up:


See São Paulo’s top ten on a full page

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RELATED POSTS:
five reasons to love São Paulo
five reasons to hate São Paulo
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Museu do Futebol (football/soccer museum)
Morumbi stadium (São Paulo FC)
Octavio Café, São Paulo
terminal Tietê bus station in São Paulo
the São Paulo subway system
Tanabata Matsuri 2008 in São Paulo
Praça Benedito Calixto, São Paulo
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São Paulo traffic images live on the Internet

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April 27, 2009 | By More
ultra high-resolution satellite photos of Brazil

ultra high-resolution satellite photos of Brazil

The latest update to the satellite images used by Google in Google Earth and Google Maps brought maximum resolution to existing coverage for at least three important tourist destinations in Brazil: Florianópolis, Salvador and São Paulo. As well as the cities of Brasilia and Goiania.

These ultra high-resolution images show an spectacular level of detail.

1. Florianópolis

The area with maximum resolution is quite smallish and basically encompasses the urban centre of the island. The Mercado Público and the Puente Hercílio Luz are two structures than can be seen in detail.


Ampliar el mapa

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2. Salvador

All the tourist sights of Salvador are in maximum resolution, a guarantee of endless hours of fun.

The Forte de São Marcelo

Expand the map

The Farol da Barra

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The façade of the Convento de São Francisco in the Pelourinho

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The orixás at the Dique do Tororó

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The igreja do Bonfim

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3. São Paulo

Only part of the city has been upgraded, but most tourist sights are within the area of the upgrade.

The MASP

Expand the map

The Catedral da Sé

Expand the map

The Copan building

Ampliar el mapa

Because the Christmas Tree at the Parque do Ibirapuera can be spotted we estimate the images are quite recent.


Expand the map

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RELATED POSTS:
GoogleMaps on the Brazil Travel Blog
searching Brazilian addresses with GoogleMaps
new transit layer on Google Maps

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April 23, 2009 | By More
the Brazilian Trip Advisor is here

the Brazilian Trip Advisor is here

Trip Advisor, the accommodation reviews site, has just launched its Brazilian domain, with information in Brazilian Portuguese and access to the information published in other languages too. The only section missing from the Brazilian version of the site are the forums, but we imagine we should be seeing them soon. The more info we have from other fellow travelers, the better. As it is the case with other important travel forums, Trip Advisor is having difficulties filtering the noise introduced in its forums by parties with an interest in the tourism industry. The better they succeed in cleaning out the bad weeds, the more credibility genuine travelers will lend to their advice.

At Accommodation in Brazil, our site with full accommodation listings for a number of very popular Brazilian tourist destinations, we have added links to Trip Advisor reviews whenever possible.

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April 21, 2009 | By More