May 30, 2010

Pantanal, a world for animal lovers

by Antonella Kann

Are you filled with patience and a good zoom? Because these are the only things humans are supposed to bring to the Pantanal, the land of the blue araras, the crocodiles, many species of monkeys, and birds with strange names, like tuiuiús.

These wild animals belong to one of the most protected environment in Brazil but you can easily spot them at certain moments of sunset and dawn… and even sometimes out of the blue moon.

The Pantanal region offers a unique opportunity for animal lovers. Although there´s a range of places to choose from, one of the easiest to reach is the Transpantaneira, located very close to Cuiabá´s airport, in the State of Mato Grosso.

Actually, the Transpantaneira (below) is a straight ( yes, no curves!) 196 kilometers dirt road, which begins in Poconé and finishes in Porto Jofre.

On the way, there are a few pousadas, but the best is Pousada Araras Eco Lodge, at km 28,5.

The pousada belongs to a close friend of mine, Hungarian André Von Thuronyi, and his charming wife, Akhila, who comes from Slovenia. They are an adorable couple who will make your stay a memorable one. And I am not saying this for a personal reason, but because their hospitality reflects the dedication they have to nature since they have settled there more than 20 years ago.

The first thing that you learn is that in the Pantanal there´s only one rule, the animal´s. That´s why you´ll end up getting used to wake up at 5 in the morning, because no wildlife sleeps after sunrise.

So if you want to enjoy everything the Pantanal has, you can ride, walk, bike and even sleep in a hammock, the pantaneiro way. But this is something you´ll have to settle with André, because it´s a special experience reserved to special visitors.

 you can ride in the bush for hours

May 18, 2010

Acclaimed directors Fernando Meirelles and José Padilha behind upcoming "Rio, I Love You" film

French producer Emmanuel Benhiby created a series of films that are veritable love letters to the cities where they're set. After ‘Paris, Je t’aime’ (starring Juliette Binoche and Natalie Portman, among others) and New York, I Love You, the next in the series will be Shanghai, I love You, and Rio, eu te Amo (Rio, I love You), set to be released next year.

Rio, eu te Amo will be directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) and José Padilha (Bus 174, Tropa de Elite). The film is far from ready bu already has a very cool website featuring declarations of love to the city by citizens from all walks of life, check it out by clicking on this link.

According to the film's Facebook page, the scenes will be shot mainly in ten spots around the city. It will be a collective work by three Brazilian directors (Meirelles, Padilha and a third), three Americans and another four directors from other countries.

The cast will also be international.

May 15, 2010

Wallpaper launches Brazil edition with big party in New York

Wallpaper* decided to do a whole edition on Brazil. June's Born in Brazil issue with a
big party in New York at Tribeca's Espasso, a design furniture store owned by Brazilian Carlos Junqueira (the event was co-hosted by Shopping Iguatemi's CEO, Carlos Jereissati).

Here are a couple of photos of the party, courtesy of  Scott MitchemWallpaper's man for all things Rio, showing cover girl Ana Beatriz (right) and pal Alessandra "VS Angel" Ambrósio.

And more Brazilian models.... courtesy of Nadine Johnson, the queen of P.R. in NY:

And the models posing with Carlos Junqueira, owner of Espasso where the party took place:

Queen bee Nadine Johnson with Brazilian trendsetter Cacá de Souza,
Valentino's longtime right-hand man

The mag printed three different covers. One features top model Ana Beatriz Barros standing on the helipad of São Paulo's Emiliano hotel (pictured above).
A second cover shows a beefcake standing in the ubiqutous Fasano Rio rooftop pool, which has the advantage of offering the best possible view of Rio's famous "Dois Irmãos" mountains.

There's also a third, limited-editioncover edited by celeb-artist Vik Muniz:

The Born in Brazil issue covers a range of topics, including:
- The discovery of massive offshore
oil reserves
-  2014 World Cup
- 2016 Olympic games
,–  Profiles and portraits of architect Paulo Mendes da
Rocha, the Campana brothers, beachwear queen
Lenny Niemeyer, Ana Beatriz Barros, super chef Alex
Atala, musician and actor Seu Jorge and artist Cildo Meireles
–  Brazil’s richest man Eike Batista talks about earning $2.2m per hour 
–  Renowned Brazilian designers Sergio Rodrigues, Carlos Motta
and Hugo França choose the design stars of tomorrow
–  Shopping Iguatemi opens shop in Brasilia
–  Why Pepsi and Coke are betting big on coconut
- Brazilian regional cuisine
There's also a feature on a stunning Rio apartment:

And, of course, some nice Brazilian ass:

Tony Chambers, the editor-in-chief, says “Brazil is the most exciting country on earth and Wallpaper*
was there, en masse, to capture this exceptional country at an extraordinary moment of transition’”.

Here, the official webpage of Wallpaper's Born in Brazil issue.

May 6, 2010

Fazenda da Lagoa: bewitchingly beautiful haven in the south of Bahia

by Antonella Kann

For my husband´s 57th birthday, I decided to surprise him with a long weekend in a secluded place to celebrate this date discreetly, as he no longer fancies big parties - nor greetings. Whatever destination, wifi in the room was not an option.

That ´s what I had in mind...

...And combined with this also....
The Fazenda da Lagoa ( couldn´t be more appropriate: it´s a bewitchingly beautiful and small pousada located ( or should I say hidden? ) as far as possible from the madding crowd, but conveniently situated only 35 minutes away ( by car) from Ilheus´ airport, in the south of Bahia.

Around the pousada, there´s nothing except lush vegetation and an endless white washed sandy beach, framed by coconut trees and, of course, the sea. You bet, location is…everything. Plus, the flight from Rio would only take around 2 hours with another (swift) 35mns hop from Salvador. Nowadays, the less time you´re predicted to sit on a plane, the best. So the itinerary looked great.

The minute you leave the BR-001 and enter the winding dirt road that literally separates you from the real world, you realize that from now on the word civilization will have other meanings. For instance, a 10 kilometers deserted picture-postcard beach for you to stroll along. By yourself. I mean it: except for a couple of local fishermen, there´s not a soul in sight.

the living room, library and dining room

Why? Because the whole extension of the beach is private, as part of the estate that belongs to the Fazenda – which, by the way, can only be reached by boat ( a short 300meters ride, but still a boat ride). There´s no village, no commerce, no beach vendors, not even someone walking around selling coconut water. Overall, the sand is immaculate, as there´s no litter whatsoever.

To describe the Fazenda just as an off-the-radar gem is an understatement. It´s more than a place where you are pampered and relish in complete privacy in one of the 14 bungalows that are graciously spread apart in an enchanting surrounding of coconut trees. It´s a place where you share nature from morning till night, and get all the simple pleasures of life from it.

every bungalow is apart from the other: complete privacy.

Bare feet in the sand – and everywhere, if that´s your wish! – head for a view of the sunrise by the river and/or the sunset by the sea. In between, indulge in a massage at the spa , otherwise life may become really hard to endure! Or else, well, a little shopping does no harm and even in paradise, there are always little develish temptations - one of them are the most amazing patterns hand painted on table cloth and pillow cases by artist and owner Mucki Skowronski. All for sale in the tiny boutique which is also the reception area.

Mucki´s colorful patterns
Another refreshing option, at anytime ( but preferably during low tide) is a dip in the ocean, or relax by the pool, and don´t ever forget to sip a caipirinha made of fresh fruit only ( think cashew, passion fruit, kiwi and more)! But your life is definitely ruled by nature. Let´s say, by the tantrums of the tides. High and low. So if you are planning a long stroll on the beach, a pleasure in itself, it must happen during low tide. Also, you can bike for hours on the sand which become as hard as a dirt road… at low tide. But watch out, as water rises very quickly and wipes the beach out of your feet.

Indeed, food is also highly ranked here and you´ll have a taste of regional cuisine as well as fusion with Brazilian and international recipes. By the way, on June 3 to 6, there will be a gastronomic event run by famous French chef Claude Troigros. I strongly recommend that those interested must really rush to grab a room.

Again, room is also an understatement, by the way. Your accommodation couldn´t be more spacious, comfy, with an enormous king bed, wide screen TV, DVD, air conditioning ( yes, I know, all of these items are more than civilized, but let´s agree that they really come in handy after you have relaxed all day in the natural environment). Ah! But, remember, I had chosen a haven where there´s no wi fi and probably your cell phone won´t work. Ideal for honeymooners? Positive. But also for old couples like us, who actually enjoy being in a place where coconut leaves sizzle when caressed by the constant breeze.

at high tide, the beach disappears.

But as we are not the somnolent types, we also love to explore. So we head every morning for a swim in the beautiful lagoa in the premises, which actually inspired the owners to name their pousada Fazenda da Lagoa after this charming lake. Its water is always crystal, it doesn´t matter if it rains or shines. And you can spend hours swimming as the temperature is as warm as it gets. After all, you are in Bahia!