In 1987, a tragic event took place in Goiânia, the capital of Goiás state, in central Brazil. It began when the Prefeitura (city council) abandoned a clinic, leaving medical equipment decaying amongst the ruined buildings. One of the larger pieces of equipment was an old X-Ray machine. Two enterprising scrap metal scavengers broke into the clinic, found the machine and lugged it to a local scrap yard. Back at the yard, they proceeded to dismantle it, revealing a mysterious internal canister. The workers finally forced their way into the canister and were rewarded with an eerie glowing blue powder.

The strange powder was taken home by the worker, and, because of it’s magical appearance, given to his daughter to play with. ...


At the turn of the 20th century, Rio de Janeiro was suffering from outbreaks of plague, yellow fever, tuberculosis and small pox. Both Brazilians and immigrants were dying in their 1000’s and the city had acquired a gruesome reputation as the ‘foreigners graveyard’.

In an attempt to curb the death rate and sanitize the city, the Brazilian government hired famed public health expert, which is still an important part of Brazil’s research capacity). Cruz was also an ex-pupil of Louis Pasteur, who did ground breaking research into vaccines for rabies and anthrax. One of Cruz’s first actions was to build a factory to produce serums. He also initiated a policy of urban sanitation that required garbage to be collected regularly and ...


Feb. 10, 2013

Here is a list of 9 behavioural quirks I´ve noticed Brazilians display over the past year. Most are charming, while others be mildly frustrating. The list is intended to be light-hearted, and of course, my own unique brand of Britishness is stuffed full of quirks and weirdnesses. I really have a fondness for Brazilian culture and Brazil as a country, so don’t misinterpret this list as a personal attack!

  1. Eating ice-creams out of the wrapper. I usually take the wrapper off an ice-cream before devouring it. In the sweltering summer heat of Brazil however, you would have to eat the ice-cream super-humanly fast to reach the bottom half before it melts. The solution? Peel the wrapper of gradually! Who cares if ...


The symbolic revolt of 18 soldiers in 1922 had a lasting impact on Brazilian politics, and contributed to the downfall of the Old Republic in 1930. The incident started when Govenor of Minas, Artur Bernandes, was proposed as a presidential candidate by the São Paulo-Minas League. In order to lessen his favour among the army, fake letters were leaked to a Rio newspaper, causing serious offense amongst military officers. Despite this dirty trick, of which he was eventually absolved, Bernades went on to win the election. The government then tried to use troops for political purposes in Pernambuco, overriding army policy of avoiding partisan conflicts. The effect of these two incidients was to create a high degree of tension between ...


The travessia is a point to point hike through the Serra dos Orgaos national park, about 4 hours from Rio de Janeiro. It is a tough 2 day, or easy 3 day hike, and takes in some spectacular scenery. I have great memories of this hike, and would love to do it again one day.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I finally managed carry out our long-planned hike of the ‘travessia’, a trail in the Serra dos Orgãos national park. The ~35km route runs between the park entrance at Teresópolis and the park entrance at Petrópolis. It usually takes 2-3 days to complete, although legend has it that a band of extreme sports-type dudes completed the trail in 5hrs ...


If you ask a typical Carioca about the best of Niterói, they will answer pithily, “The view of Rio,” while if you ask a resident of Niterói about Rio, they will shudder, check if you really need to go there, and tell you to watch your wallet. Stereotypes aside, as a resident of Rio that commutes to Niterói, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the city a little better over the past few months. Surprisingly, despite my first impressions, the longer I weather the frenetic energy of Rio, the more I welcome the relative tranquility of Niterói.

For the short-haul tourist, Niterói means the Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC), Nieymeyer’s landmark ‘champagne glass’ modern art museum, which ...


Thanks to the constant bombardment of email alerts and error messages that litter my working day, my craving for dopamine squirts has become insatiable. When this mental rewiring was recently combined with some unecessarily macho posturing, I decided that the stunning views on from the top of Costão were not quite stunning enough, and the scramble to the top of the peak was not quite precarious enough. This led me to conclude that the big lump of rock that looms over Costão needed climbing, and that last Sunday was the time to climb it.

Pedra do Elefante is a large granitic intrusion (I was hiking with a geologist) that sits in between the beaches of Itacoatiara and Itaipuacu. The rock ...


Pixinguinha was a famous musician, who developed the choro style of music while alive in early 20th century Rio de Janeiro. The style is melancholic and was aimed at the first Brazilian urban middle class. In typically dramatic style, he died during Carnival.

Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho, better known as Pixinguinha, (April 23, 1897 – February 7, 1973) was a composer, arranger, flutist and saxophonist born in Rio de Janeiro. He is considered one of the masters of choro, which is a style of Brazilian music popular during the middle of the 20th century, and one of the forerunners of the modern urban samba genre. By the time of his death in 1973, Pixinguinha had composed some of the most ...