Rio+20: Indigenous Brazilians come to town.

You know how it is – you’re waiting on the platform for your morning train, when half a dozen indigenous people in full tribal dress wander past. I am talking about brightly coloured feather headdresses, body paint, spears, bows and arrows.

Índios, checking out the jewellery shop in the station.


As the train pulled in, it looked like around 30% of the passengers were indigenous, mostly dressed up and looking pretty amazing. I should point out that this is not the normal way of things – indigenous people (AKA Índios) make up just 0.4% of the Brazilian population. Clearly something was going on.


Read more

Stripes in the sky

When I first came to Brazil it was by crossing over the border with Colombia in the Northwest (deep in the Amazon). A friend and I spent a few days exploring the river and the jungle – of course, in such a short time we could only scratch the surface, but nevertheless we saw all kinds of amazing sights.

The Amazon.


We spent one memorable day with a guide in a small canoe, paddling upstream and then stopping off to trek through the forest, seeing some very cool animals and meeting some indigenous people who lived along the river.

Read more

Eat the Amazon

A little while back someone contacted me through my blog and asked if I’d be interested in doing a little writing work. “What kind of writing work?” I asked suspiciously. Oh, it would involve you having to recommend and review restaurants around Rio, they replied. “Hmmm” I said (in my best suspicious voice), “I’ll think about it…”.

Anyone who knows me will know that I love food. I love eating it, I love cooking it, I love discovering new ingredients, new dishes and new styles of cooking. So the thought of getting to pretend that I’m a food critic, swanning around Rio and (hopefully) getting special treatment from deferential waiters and managers was way too tempting!

Now, several months later, my first ‘proper’ writing assignment has been released! May I present: Flavors of the Amazon

Hmmm, there seems to be a typo there – surely that should be FlavoUrs of the Amazon? Ho ho, just my little (British) joke.


Read more

A handful of magic beans

Ah! We had gorgeous weather today – finally some weekend sunshine. I got up early and decided today I would do things. A half-built trellis has been taunting me for weeks and so today I thought I would finally put it in its place (up on a wall). I set to work and everything was going fine until I realised that I needed a thicker drill bit. This trellis has been an ongoing saga for so long now that it seemed only natural that there would be another hurdle. I wandered off into Catete (an nearby neighbourhood) on a long-shot mission to find a shop selling drill bits open on a Sunday.

I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear that after an hour and a half of wandering I found my drill bit in one of those shops that sells a bit of everything. I was delighted and probably overreacted a little – no one should be that excited about finding an 8mm masonry drill bit…

On my triumphant way home I stopped in on the Glória street market and picked up a few things. One item I really didn’t need but couldn’t resist was this:


Cacau – where chocolate comes from.

Read more

Anaesthetic Soup – Tacacá

As part of a project to review the best restaurants in Rio, I have been eating a lot of food from the North of Brazil recently (when I say ‘the North’, I am essentially referring to the states of Amazonas and Pará).  

Amazonas and Pará are the two largest states in Brazil, covering 2.8 million square kilometres (if this area was a country it would be the 8th largest in the world).


Although these states comprise 32% of Brazil’s total area, they contain just 5.6% of the population, being largely covered by the Amazon rainforest. By virtue of it’s size and inaccessibility, this huge tract of rainforest still holds an air of mystery – it is home to 67 uncontacted tribes, as well as countless animal and plant species that have not yet been discovered/described by science.

Read more