Monday, February 28, 2022

[PARAMARIBO] Budget and Itinerary


SUNDAY: 27 February 2022
Gol (Belem - Paramaribo) - 3,459.18
Taxi (Airport - Paramaribo) - 820.78
Holland Lodge (3 Nights) - 4,181.87
KFC (2 pcs. Chicken w/ Fries & Coke + Mashed Potato) - 140.00
Tangelo (Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri + Mineral Water x2) - 136.50
SRD8,738.33

Sunday, February 27, 2022

[PARAMARIBO] How Do You Like Your Guyana? British, French or Dutch?


As Alfred would like to say, don’t arrive late at the party if you want more of that alcohol. Since the Brits, the French, and the Dutch arrived at the South America party a bit later, they found out that the Spaniards and the Portuguese already divided the tequila pie between the two of them. All that was left was a small coastal chunk north of Brazeeew and east of what Filipinos love calling Valenzuela at Miss Universe. And so begins the story of the three Guianas and how they ended up speaking three different European languages.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

[PARÁ] Budget and Itinerary


FRIDAY: 25 February 2022
Latam (Fortaleza - Belem) - 324.46
Uber (Airport - Val de Cans) - 7.73
Pizza Hut (Large Pepperoni + Coke) - 88.00
IBIS (2 Nights) - 345.77
BRL765.96

Friday, February 25, 2022

[BELÉM] Where the River Meets the Sea


I could have easily flown out of either Galeão or Guarulhos back to the US (‘MERICA!) but where’s the fun in that? Since I had a few days to spare anyway, I thought hey, why not transit in a northern Brazilian state? And then Suriname suddenly opened up post-Omicron surge, and then there are several direct flights linking Paramaribo and Belém twice or thrice a week. It was settled then. And that’s how I ended up in Belém on my way out. My only reason for being here was to get a negative Antigen result. But I got guilty, okay? So, I spent an hour or two walking around the historic city center. Not bad, I’d say.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

[CEARÁ] Budget and Itinerary


TUESDAY: 22 February 2022
Gol (São Paulo - Fortaleza) - 455.67
Uber (Airport - Iracema) - 38.93
IBIS (3 Nights) - 456.98
Uber Eats (Spoleto) - 43.58
Uber Corner Shop (Groceries) - 71.52
BRL1,066.68

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

[FORTALEZA] Iracema's Stomping Grounds


Ceará was more of a filler for me. After São Paulo, I had, like, two or three days in between destinations. Finding a cheaper ticket from SP to Fortaleza and from Fortaleza to Belém, I thought hey one more beach won’t hurt. Besides, I needed the downtime as well. R&R pitstop, no pressures with regards to sightseeing obligations. And so, I booked an IBIS room and flew. It’s a good thing the hotel was just a few blocks away from the beaches. At least, I didn’t have to spend anything on Uber rides anymore.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Madres paralelas

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Freelance photographer Janis Martínez Moreno (Penélope Cruz) mixes business with pleasure and gets knocked up after an intimate night with her client Arturo (Israel Elejalde), a forensic archaeologist who promises to oversee the excavation of her great grandfather’s mass grave who was killed in the civil war. Nine months later, she is ready to give birth and shares a hospital room with Ana Manso Ferreras (Milena Smit), a teenage mother who is a victim of rape. The two unexpected moms to be give birth at the same time: one with great anticipation; the other with trepidation. As they hold their respective daughters in their arms, feelings begin to change. Trouble ensues when Arturo sees the child for the first time and insinuates that she does not appear to be his. Out of curiosity, Janis conducts a maternity test and gets the shock of her life when the results come back negative.

Monday, February 21, 2022

[SÃO PAULO] Budget and Itinerary (2)


FRIDAY: 18 February 2022
Latam (Recife - São Paulo) - 537.05
Uber (Guarulhos - Sé) - 64.95
Airbnb (4 Nights/Sé) - 489.06
Metro Line 1 (Sé - Vergueiro) - 4.40
Gendai (Tonkatsu w/ Rice & Coke) - 41.00
Cinemark (Uncharted) - 41.00
Spoleto (Carbonara x2 & Bolognese x2) - 93.60
Varanda (Groceries) - 95.96
Uber (Bela Vista - Sé) - 14.07
BRL1,381.09

Sunday, February 20, 2022

[SÃO PAULO] But What If You Actually Lived Here?


And that’s the bad side. The itinerary for the day was originally meant for the Museu de Lingua Portuguesa which is also at the Luz railway station but since entrance is free on Saturdays, the line was just too long. And so, I decided to just ditch that plan and head to the huge park across the street for a stroll. The park is called Parque Jardim da Luz and is a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of SP’s urban chaos. The park has a small pond with koi and some big fish swimming in green, moldy, shallow waters.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

[SÃO PAULO] Hobo Central at Praça da Sé


São Paulo, oh, São Paulo. How do I describe thee? I guess it is one of those times in your life when you got excited about something or somewhere, got there, and had some sort of “Wait, that’s it?” epiphany. To be totally clear, though, this is coming from a totally touristic perspective. I bet I would be singing a different tune had I moved here for temporary relocation or for good, then I will be telling you a different story. But I came here as a tourist, and this is my verdict. Go to Rio de Janeiro instead.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Uncharted

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) loses his brother at a young age after a series of misadventures as juvenile delinquents. A decade and a half later, he is working as bartender in New York, but still pretty much sharp as far as his petty theft abilities are concerned. When Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) challenges his larceny skills and claims to be his brother’s former partner in crime, Nathan finds himself yearning not just for the sibling he lost, but also the life of treasure hunting they dreamed about as kids. The proposition is straightforward: steal 1/2 of a jewel entrusted golden crucifix that serves as the key to the ransacked gold of Ferdinand Magellan and his men. But first, they must figure out the treasure's location as well as avoid Santiago (Antonio Banderas), the heir to the Moncada family empire laying claim to the explorer's loot.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

[PERNAMBUCO] Budget and Itinerary


TUESDAY: 15 February 2022
Viação Progresso (João Pessoa - Recife) - 50.00
Uber (Várzea - Ia Leite) - 21.11
AirBNB (3 Nights) - 435.51
Uber Corner Shop (Groceries) - 66.46
BRL573.08

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

[OLINDA] Something Colonial in Recife's Urban Sprawl


In line with my MO when arriving in a big city: select a nice Airbnb in a central area; work in peace; rest, visit a nearby tourist attraction. And then we’re done. That’s why Rio Grande do Norte for me featured more Genipabu than Natal and now Pernambuco has been all about Olinda instead of Recife. I guess the only exceptions were Salvador in Bahía and João Pessoa's Tambaú  in Paraíba. In any case, I decided not to explore Recife anymore. Being based here for a few days and being comfortable is all that matters. I ended up at I(lh)a Leite, an island in the middle of the city where all the hospitals are. Weird, I know. But central, nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

[PARAÍBA] Budget and Itinerary


SATURDAY: 12 February 2022
Viação Progresso (Natal - João Pessoa) - 42.00
Uber (Rodoviária - Bessa) - 37.92
AirBNB (3 Nights) - 438.66
Uber Eats (Spoleto) - 80.67
BRL599.25

Monday, February 14, 2022

[JOÃO PESSOA] Like Rio's But Not on Steroids


Wait, steroids? What steroids? Nope, we’re not going to talk about doping at the Olympics. I’m talking about Rio’s beaches, which felt like urban beaches on steroids to me. Weird comparison. In any case, all I’m trying to say is that João Pessoa’s Tambaú and Cabo Branco tandem is just as alluring as Copacabana and Ipanema, but with less people, whiter sand, more shades of blue, and an environment that is far more chill. At least, that is what I observed after visiting both pairs of beaches on a Sunday afternoon. At different times, of course.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Marry Me

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Pop power couple Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) have capitalized so much on their joint fame and social media clout that even their very wedding is incorporated as the finale of the final show of her concert. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until a viral video of him hooking up with her personal assistant makes the rounds on the internet minutes before they sing their marriage vows. In a snap decision meant as a publicity stunt for damage control, she does the unthinkable. In the audience is Math teacher and reluctant single dad Charlie (Owen Wilson) playing chaperone to his daughter while inadvertently holding up a Marry Me placard, which happens to be Kat and Bastian’s theme song. She says why not, and the two get married on the spot, much to the bewilderment of her fans blowing up the internet with speculations and harsh judgments. Can love blossom between two people from so different worlds?

Saturday, February 12, 2022

[RIO GRANDE DO NORTE] Budget and Itinerary


WEDNESDAY: 9 February 2022
Gol (Salvador - Natal) - 406.72
Uber (Airport - Lagoa Nova) - 39.97
IBIS (3 Nights) - 574.35
BRL1,021.04

Friday, February 11, 2022

[EXTREMOZ] Beaches and Hills of Sand


Sometimes life just happens. Work gets really busy. I guess I am starting to discover the perfect formula for this mobile work from home thing. Two days in a city is too hectic. Three days seem just fine, as has been the norm for me for a few weeks now. This way, I get to delegate one day of sightseeing and still have enough time to work and recover in between. After all, you don’t have to visit all the tourist attractions, right? In the case of Natal, I skipped the city center and just went to Extremoz.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Death on the Nile

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

When socialite heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) meets the fiancé of her friend Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) in a speakeasy in London, she immediately falls in love. Six weeks later, Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) ditches his fiancée and marries the filthy rich best friend instead. They spend their honeymoon in a tour of Egypt on board the S.S. Karnak, a luxury ship ferrying them through the Nile. Blissful as it all might sound, the bride makes her worries about her security known to Belgian detective extraordinaire Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), who suggests that the newlyweds just go home if she feels unsafe on the boat. When she winds up with a bullet to the temple the next morning, a complicated game of whodunnit ensues to determine who the murderer is. Is it her communist godmother Marie Van Schuyler (Jennifer Saunders) who detests her wealth? Her lady maid Louise Bourget (Rose Leslie) whose engagement she had a hand in breaking off? Her ex-fiancé doctor Linus Windlesham (Russell Brand)? As the body count begins to increase, the detective must work overtime to prevent another death on the Nile.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Belgian detective extraordinaire Hecule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is invited by his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) to ride with him on the Orient Express, the luxury train he is managing on behalf of his uncle. Indulging, he meets a train full of people, but one expresses a certain interest in him. John Cassetti (Johnny Depp) is a self-made man being part of the mafia. Lately, he has been receiving death threats and asks Poirot for help but is declined. The next day, they find him dead in his cabin with multiple stab wounds of varying depths. Suddenly, everybody becomes a suspect. Is it his secretary Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad) who has been secretly stealing from him? Princess Natalia Dragomiroff (Judi Dench), a dear friend of a woman whose child he murdered? The oft drugged couple count Rudolph (Sergei Polunin) and countess Helena Andrenyi (Lucy Boynton) who have exhibited violence prior to boarding? Delayed by an avalanche derailing the train, Poirot strives to resolve the murder case before they reach their destination.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

[BAHÍA] Budget and Itinerary


SUNDAY: 6 February 2022
Azul (Belo Horizonte - Salvador) - 437.41
Uber (Airport - Nazaré) - 40.99
Airbnb (3 Nights/Salvador) - 400.43
McDonalds (Quarter Pounder Meal) - 29.30
Shopping Lapa (Groceries) - 80.06
BRL987.89

Monday, February 7, 2022

[SALVADOR] Brazil's Fourth Largest City


I guess there will always be one city bound to be your least favorite, and after almost three weeks and visiting my fourth state here, Salvador took on that honor. I guess this is just another case of ending up in the wrong neighborhood. I decided to book an Airbnb in the neighborhood of Nazaré close to all the action of the main tourist attractions downtown. I guess this is the only time since I arrived in the country in which I was really reluctant to get my phone out of my pocket, in fear of legit getting robbed.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Passing

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

1920s. Seeking refuge from New York’s sweltering summer heat, mother-of-two Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) hails a cab and ends up at a hotel restaurant where she runs into a light-skinned African American woman who claims to be her childhood friend. After a few seconds of reflection, she gets to finally remember her. Clare (Ruth Negga) has been spending the last few years of her life married to racist John Bellew (Alexander Skarsgård), who openly despises negroes, unaware that her wife is actually one. In fact, she has been “passing”, a social phenomenon where light-skinned African Americans pass for white or other ethnicities as a form of escape from the unfavorable socioeconomic consequences of having dark skin in America. As the two childhood friends spend more time together, Clare finds herself enjoying the reconnection to her roots. Irene, on the other hand, somehow feels as if her life was being intruded by someone she has already forgotten long ago.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

[MINAS GERAIS] Budget and Itinerary


THURSDAY: 3 February 2022
Gol (Guarulhos - Belo Horizonte) - 477.48
Uber (Airport - Funcionários) - 64.95
Airbnb (3 Nights/Belo Horizonte) - 811.79
Pizza Pazza (Spaghetti & Coke) - 31.80
Bobs (Milkshake) - 12.90
Cinemark Savassi (Moonfall) - 35.00
Super Zona (Groceries) - 80.82
BRL1,514.74

Friday, February 4, 2022

[OURO PRETO] Sounds Brazilian, Looks European


Realizing that I actually have around three days to spare in Minas Gerais, I decided that a side trip to one of the towns was in order, but I didn’t want it to be too far as to be exhausting. Luckily, long distance bus rides in Brazil are comfortable and very easy to book. And so, I did a little research online and found Pássaro Verde, a bus company which has many departures a day to and from Ouro Preto. I booked a roundtrip bus ticket and chose time slots convenient  to me. Off I go. Ouro Preto is two hours and a half away.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

[BELO HORIZONTE] Chilling in Beh-Agá


Touted as Brazil’s sixth largest city, Belo Horizonte automatically became an R&R pitstop for me. You know what that means. Big city + nice Airbnb studio = I’m not going out, guys. Well, actually I still had to go out to get groceries and buy food but there was a grocery a block away as well as a small but upscale mall called Praça Savassi that was just a ten-minute walk. I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t have to go far. And then I felt guilty. At least feature something for BH, right? And so, I went to Pope’s Plaza for a panoramic view of the city.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Moonfall

♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

2011. NASA astronauts Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) are on a mission to repair a satellite in orbit when a swarm of what appears to be alien technology attacks them, killing their colleague. What follows is a fall of grace for him as the accident is blamed on human error on his part, while she gets a promotion and ends up as NASA’s deputy director a decade later. At present, megastructurist KC Houseman (John Bradley) detects a change in the moon’s orbit, looming closer and closer to Earth in what is theorized to be an imminent impact in a matter of three weeks. Ringing the alarm, he, along with a reluctant Harper and Fowler, must work together to figure out what is causing the apocalyptic disturbance. When the US government abandons all support, the three of them are left without a choice but to wing it in an effort to save mankind from extinction.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

[SÃO PAULO] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 31 January 2022
Viação Util (Paraty - Ubatuba) - 30.42
Uber (Rodoviário - Barra de Lagoa) - 10.93
Airbnb (2 Nights/Ubatuba) - 464.57
Uber (Barra de Lagoa - Centro) - 8.97
Burger King (Bacon Cheeseburger x2 Meal) - 40.86
BRL555.75
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