This entry was originally published on funkypeopleonline.com on June 7, 2007. It has been re-edited to fit this format.

Home sweet home…..

…and on the grind once again – well maybe not for at least a few more days. It’s hard to believe our annual Memorial Day Weekend trip (May 2007) is over – we’d been promoting our trip for so long, our time away seemed to flash by us in an instant. There is so much to talk about and show you, that we’re dropping this special newsletter devoted to the thoughts, feelings and photos of our memorable Brazil trip.

Now to summarize things, let me start by giving a big round of thanks to Gerard “Gerry” Pitchford of Trendsetters Travel & Tours, who was instrumental in organizing this fantastic trip package for us. Whenever you move a group of travelers into a foreign country, the task is an aggressive undertaking and takes months of planning, but Gerry’s years of experience certainly showed as things ran very smoothly for our group from start to finish. The hotel accommodations, the flights on TAM airlines and tour activities we’re all great as you can see from the incredible photos on our site. Muito Obrigado, Gerry!

We also want to send “hellos” to our colleagues and friends who joined us in Brazil from New Jersey, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. We knew others would be joining us, but what are the chances of seeing folks you know from home, in an entirely different continent over 9 hours away? This certainly made the already festive Brazilian atmosphere, even more exciting. We also made plenty of new friends from Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South America. Brazil is truly an international destination for many families, couples and singles. Funky People are indeed everywhere……

So after eight days, what can I say about Brazil? {Stop right there! Lean closer to the computer and hear me clearly} Despite what you may have heard before today, Brazil is a “must-go-to-destination” for ALL people of color and African descent, next to Africa! You’re probably sitting there now wondering why I said with all that you’ve heard about Brazil, right?

Let me clear up some thoughts in the last paragraph and get the big questions out of the way on everyone’s mind. YES, “Brazilieros” (Brazilians) have a style of their own. Despite living in a extremely economically depressed country, Brazilians are people of European & African descent that are hardworking, very outgoing, and passionate about their culture. This accounts for their festive mindset, appealing, friendly demeanor, and attractive looking figures. Mix in a great love of music, dance, food, scenic landscapes, warm, sunny temps, those sneaky Caparihna drinks, and let’s just say Brazil can be a very, very “romantic” place for couples and singles alike! Tourism is an integral of the economy in some areas and they love to see Americans in their country. In some instances our travel group was almost admired in a way because seeing Black Americans visit Brazil seemed to signify a successful achievement over the challenges of America’s social history. Many locals told us that traveling even to another part of Brazil is very, very challenging for most, let alone the thought of freely visiting another continent like North America. New York City was a place many had only read or heard about. This fact is quite humbling while moving amongst the Brazilian people and you cannot help but to feel a deep spiritual connection and sense of home while you are there. Words cannot even accurately explain the feelings, but these are powerful reasons why we highly recommend Brazil as a first time or repeat travel destination.

As for my own opinion of how the Brazilian women look? Ok, ok, I’ll answer the question for you inquiring minds out there and I’ll keep it simple, lol. I can best describe them as “beautiful women of color”. Now for you ladies out there, I can’t go into detail about the looks of the Brazilian men, but you shouldn’t expect to be dissapointed. The culture of the Brazilian people (women and men, young and old) is to look attractive and stay in good health. Which means, there aren’t too many unattractive people in Brazil – whether it be by staying fit, being pleasantly upbeat and social, or dressing with a certain flair. Such an attitude and love of life by the local people is both intoxicating and intimidating at the same time. It can be quite surreal, but for me it was a truly beautiful thing to experience. Well enough about that, let’s move on …

The Funky People Brazil Tour 2007 could have been a “typical party in Brazil trip”, but those of you who have come to know me, my staff, and our progressive mindset, our trip was designed to show our travelers a much larger picture of this incredible country. To that matter, here’s twelve (12) things you probably did not know about Brazil;

(1) The country of Brazil was named after the wood, “Brazil wood”, that was found in abundance in the Bahian region of the country in the 16th century. Brazil wood and sugar were the basis of the country’s founding economy.

(2) The “Christ the Redeemer” statue, erected in 1918, is considered one of the world’s Modern Wonders.

(3) The full city and state name of Rio is: San Sebastian de Rio de Janiero, Rio de Janiero

(4) The 3rd oldest cable car system in the world is located at Sugar Loaf mountain, Rio de Janiero – 1912

(5) The world’s largest beach party concert was held on Copacabana Beach – Rolling Stones, Feb 2006 – 1.5 million people. The largest concert ever was also held in Rio – Rod Stewart, 1994 – 3.5 million people. Does Rio do it big or what?

(6) Salvador was the first capitol of Brazil in 1859.

(7) Brazil has the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.

(8) Brazil has the largest Latin American population in the world – 189 million.

(9) Portuguese is the fastest growing language used on the internet over the past 7 years – more Brazilians are getting connected.

(10) Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery in 1888.

(11) African culture survived in Brazil more so than in the US, because Portuguese law in the 1500s prohibited the separation of slave families. (hence the term “Afro-Brazilian”)

(12) The biggest population of African descendants and people outside of the continent of Africa resides in Brazil! The USA has second largest total.

Looking back, it’s difficult to say which part of the trip was the best. Rio de Janiero could be described as Las Vegas and Miami-like without the gambling but plenty of social energy, where as Salvador da Bahia is slightly more laid-back with a historic, scenic and cultural feel similar to a New Orleans-like southern city. Some of the few hundred photos we took will show highlights of the local bars & clubs, daytime activities at Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beaches in Rio, shopping for local goods and art crafts at the Hippie Fair, a nighttime concert by famed Brazilian artist, Evette Sangalo, witnessed by 500,000 people on Copacabana Beach, cocktails at the exclusive Copacabana Hotel Pool Bar, day trip visits to the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue on Corcovado Mountain, and cable car views atop Sugar Loaf mountain. Also included are shots of the historic landmarks, buildings, and beaches of Salvador, the cultural center of town, Pelourinho, with it’s distinct African architecture, shops and restaurants, the town square party with an impromptu street parade procession by local drum band “Olodum”, a traditional Bahian African culture dance show at the Solar do Unhao restaurant, market shopping for crafts and food in the lower city and mixing with the local Bahianos around town. Wow, and believe it or not we still had time to sleep – Enjoy !

As a final note, feel free to pass this blog on your friends to show everyone a really different look of Brazil. If you’ve ever considered a trip to Brazil, we’re planning a return group trip in the future and would love to have you along!! However, the next Funky People international trip to for May 2008 is already in the works….

Remember, being Funky is mindset. What’s yours? Inform or encourage others to get connected to our activities, newsletters and promotions, by joining the FP Facebook Group and e-mail list. We appreciate your positive encouragement, feedback and support of our online community, as we continue to keep you connected to Information, Business and Artform. Until the next adventure….

There are lots of great photos from this trip. Click Here and browse down to the three Brazil Vacation Tour 2007 albums to view.

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