We're back from Brazil and I thought that I would use the momentum of having literally hundreds of photos from the trip to start posting here again. I'll start at the beginning of the trip since those are the pictures I've got ready to post...
So the original reason we planned this trip to Brazil is because J was presenting at a conference there. I talked to a few people at my grad institution who sent out a couple emails on my behalf, and soon enough I was invited to give a couple talks myself. So first we went to the town of Santos, Brazil for J's conference, and then we went to São Paulo for my talks. The first pictures I have are from this first half of the trip, and there aren't many of them because we were both busy most of the time.
Also, I had read a lot about crime in Brazil and I was pretty much terrified of bringing my camera out in public. I read a lot of reports of people getting mugged at knifepoint for their cameras or wallets, and even though the likelihood is that they would just take our stuff and leave us alone, I still wasn't thrilled at the prospect of handing over my baby (my camera). So the pictures below were taken from the plane and then from the bus we took from São Paulo to Santos. (I broke out my camera later, as you will see.)
So first, here is the view from the airplane as we neared São Paulo. I know aerial views from the plane are cliche, but it was so beautiful I couldn't help it. (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)
And here is a picture of an empty billboard, which I know, by itself is pretty boring. But if you didn't know, São Paulo banned billboard advertising last year. I took this photo from the bus we took from the São Paulo airport to the town of Santos, about an hour south. (Or well, it's about 65 miles south of São Paulo. But the bus trip took three hours because São Paulo has no beltway so we spent a lot of time sitting in traffic, and it made a stop at the domestic airport before finally leaving the city.)
Although I was excited to see Brazil after a very long overnight flight (and a several hour layover in NYC before we even left the country), I just couldn't stay awake on the bus to Santos. But every now and then as we passed by a particularly pretty area of forest, or a view of the valleys that fell away immediately at the edge of the road that our bus was speeding on, J would squeeze my leg to wake me up. I'd groggily appreciate the view, take a couple pictures, and then fall back asleep. I can only assume he woke me up to see these shanty houses because I really don't remember where along the trip they were. He tells me they were as we approached Santos.
And finally, I have very little of Santos to show, which is a shame because they do have a very pretty beach. But I didn't take my camera when we went out to see it, so instead I have to show you this photo I took from our hotel window. On the rooftop of a building adjoining the hotel, we heard some squawking and soon discovered a rooster, two geese, and three white rabbits. They just hung out together on the roof all day and night, and in the morning, of course, the rooster crowed and crowed and woke us up.
I don't have that much more to say about Santos, except that it's kind of a dirty city and there wasn't all that much to see. We actually didn't even go to the historic center, though J's boss went and he seemed to think we hadn't missed much. There were two highlights of our stay there. One was the hotel, with its lovely rooftop pool (though I didn't go in because it's winter in Brazil right now and it wasn't very warm). And the other was J's conference dinner party, which was held in an old (no longer functional) casino at the top of a hill overlooking the city. They had live Brazilian music, which I feared would be annoyingly touristy, but actually, it was the Brazilians who loved it. They hardly sat the whole time - they were dancing and singing the entire night, while it was the Americans who were upstairs on the roof just sitting and talking with their beers and caipirinhas.
The only other thing I have to say about Santos is that this is where I discovered and fell in love with sucos. This is "just" fruit juice, but wow, it is amazing. Basically they take fresh fruit and throw it in a juicer with some water (or ice) and you get the freshest juice ever. Every place we went had at least ten different juices to choose from, such as orange, pineapple, mango, strawberry, lemon, lime, passionfruit, watermelon, other kinds of melow, cashew (seriously), etc.