- Taschenbuch: 320 Seiten
- Verlag: National Geographic (18. Februar 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1426211643
- ISBN-13: 978-1426211645
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,4 x 1,8 x 21,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.431.752 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
National Geographic Traveler: Brazil (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 18. Februar 2014
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
BILL HINCHBERGER lived in Brazil for more than two decades. He worked as a correspondent forFinancial Times, Business Week, ARTnews, Advertising Age, Variety, and other publications, and served four years as president of the São Paulo Foreign Press Club. His work has also appeared in numerous publications, and he has contributed to several books. MICHAEL SOMMERS has lived and worked in Brazil as a journalist for nearly 15 years, in the country's original capital of Salvador, Bahia. As a writer and photographer, he has contributed travel articles to the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and theInternational Herald Tribune. He is the author of the guidebooks Moon Brazil and Moon Rio.
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The Discover series from Lonely Planet is my gold standard for such research, and I have previously been disappointed by NatGeo's travel books. As a result, I went in with lowered expectations.
Unfortunately, while this book is very well written and has the trademark stunning photographs, I was less than impressed.
This series in general uses a font that is very hard on my eyes which is a problem when it comes to extended reading. In addition, the maps are very frustrating as it is often very hard to locate an area being discussed in the text on the accompanying map. In addition, the "insider tips" were mostly uninteresting; and the suggested itineraries were greatly lacking.
That said, I did enjoy the read, and in particular found the treatment of Bonita (ecotourism) and Manaus (gateway to the Amazon) done very well.
I also liked NatGeo's approach of placing hotel/restaurant information at the end of the book - these get out-of-date very quickly, and I usually rely on review web sites for that information anyway. Keeping these lists at the end makes it easier to get at key travel information without having to wade through this in the middle of the book.
In comparison, I found Fodor's Brazil 2014 to be a much better alternative as a pure travel planning guide. Unfortunately, Fodor's guide is written in an efficient, dispassionate and clinical manner - it simply does not capture the magic of travel to a country with such spectacular natural bounty and biodiversity. Even its photographs are prosaic and functional.
A better option might be to use this book to get excited about your travel, and then use the Fodor's guide to actually plan your visit.
(1) History and culture (yellow)
(2) Rio de Janeiro (brick red)
(3) South-Central (blue)
(4) South (orange)
(5) Central and Pantanal (green)
(6) Northeast (red)
(7) Amazon (purple)
PHOTOGRAPHS. The photos include the following:
* Ladies at Carnival dressed in feather gowns (2-page photo) (pages 2-3).
* Copacabana beach with Sugarloaf Mountain near the horizon (page 4).
* Hikers on a trail in PARQUE NACIONAL DE SERRA DA BOCAINAK. The trail looks like any one of dozens of trails on Oahu) (page 11).
* Interior of IGREJA DO MOSTEIRO DE SAO BENTO (page 12).
* Close-up of two soccer players in motion (page 16).
* CAPOEIRA performers (page 20). A half-page account tells us that Capoeira is a martial art performance done to music, and taught at various schools. The book discloses one of these schools.
* Close-up photo of ACAREJE BEAN-FLOUR PATTIES cooking in oil, and being tended by ladies wearing what appears to be West African garb, e.g., huge knotted head-scarves. We read that the West African food influence in Brazil includes fish, shrimp, onions, hot peppers, cilantro, coconut milk, vatapa paste smeared on bean fritters that are filled with shrimp (food descriptions are on pages 22-25).
* IGUACU FALLS (page 30). This is an excellent photo, and it is up to the high standards that National Geographic has set for the past 50 years or so. The photo was by Matt Naylor (credits on page 318). Other photos of IGUACU FALLS appear on pages 134 and 143.
* Painting showing Pedro Cabral discovering Brazil (page 32).
* Baroque church in MINAS GERAIS (page 34). The church looks like an ornate cuckoo clock, bracketed by two cylindrical bell towers. Baroque churches is a recurring theme in this guidebook.
* Pele holding up a trophy (page 40). We read that Pele became famous in 1958. The photo was taken in 2012.
* Another baroque church in Minas Gerais, looking like a cuckoo clock bracketed by square cross-section bell towers (page 45).
* Costumed marchers (boys) at BUMBA-MEU-BOI FESTIVAL (page 53).
* Aerial cable car with Sugarloaf Mountain in the background (page 55).
* Multi-color map of Rio de Janeiro (pages 56-57). The colors are yellow, green, blue, black, brown, and orange. The text tells us that the airport in Rio was named after composer Antionio Carlos Jobim. The text tells us that “favela” means shanty-town, and that LEBLON is a glitzy area in Rio. The following concerns the FODOR’S Brazil guidebook. The FODOR’S book has many maps, but these are only black and white maps. On the other hand, the FODOR’S book does a much, much better job at identifying the locations of restaurants than the book under review.
* THEATRO MUNICIPAL (page 58). The theater has two cylindrical towers in front, with blue-colored bullet shaped domes. At the center of the building is a squashed blue-colored dome resembling a collapsed pumpkin. Although I thought that this building resembles one of the mosques in Istanbul, Turkey, the book tells us that it was modeled after OPERA GARNIER in Paris, France.
* Pages 66-67 show wild costumes at Carnival. The text tells us that you can buy tickets for sitting in SAMBODROMO to watch the parades at Carnival.
* MOUNT CORCOVADO with a stature of Jesus of Nazareth is shown in photos onp ages 15, 54, 72, and 76.
* Page 102 shows another amazing old church, with a dome that is mostly like a sphere in back, and two rocketship-shaped domes in front. This is CATEDRAL DA SE located in Sao Paulo.
* ANIMAL PHOTOGRAPHS. Photos of animals include giant anteater in Serra de Canastra National Park (page 130), Galo da Campina (a colorful bird) (page 121), Amazonian milk frog (page 27), toucan (front cover), jaguar (page 168), underwater photo of fish off the coast of BONITO, which has diving posts for tourists (page 184), macaw (page 186), otter (page 195), swimming in PANTANAL, a place for nature-lovers to see jaguars, giant anteaters, and giant otters (chapter on PANTANAL, pages 168-195). More animal photos include a whale (p. 212), HOATZIN (a whimsical-looking bird) (p. 253), a peacock bass being held by a sports fisherman (p. 256).
THE TEXT. The following is a comment on some aspects of the text. The writing is straightforward enough, and there is no attempt at making the writing cute or amusing. The writing in this book is good at telling the reader what to see, but there is not much in the way of telling the reader where to stay at night or where to dine. In contrast, the FODOR’S guidebook on Brazil is better at telling the reader where to stay at night and where to dine. Although the FODOR’S book is very good at telling the reader what to see, this is done mainly with text, because the FODOR’S book has only a tiny handful of photographs. Anyway, the following comments on the text in the National Geographic book:
The city of BELO HORIZONTE located in the state of Minas Gerais is shown in a photo (page 118) to be filled with skyscrapers, with a steep-faced mountain in the background. A colorful map on p. 99 shows that Belo Horizonte is located 100 miles inland from Rio. We read that Belo Horizonte is the capital of Minas Gerais, and that Minas Gerais is the third biggest state in Brazil. The city of OURO PRETO, located halfway between Belo Horizonte and Rio is a great tourist destination, because of its baroque architecture, some of it designed by a man named, “Aleijadinho.” Photos from Ouro Preto appear on pages 122, 125, 126.
Regarding an area north of Rio, page 220 shows a large sculpture of a human head, by Francisco Brennand, at a museum located in the city of VARZEA. A colorful map on page 221 shows that VARZEA is on the coast, and is connected by highways to towns such as Recite, Carpina, Gravata, Bezerros, and Caruaru. The text informs us that this part of Brazil is in the state of PERNAMBUCO. We read that this part of Brazil is the best place to see ceramic sculptures by FRANCISCO BRENNAND, as well as a museum about sugarcane alcohol (Museu da Cachaca), sheep wool rugs, woodcut prints by J.BORGES, miniature clay figures by VITALINO, a museum of clay art (Espaco Cultural Tancredo Neves). Just north of the city of Recife is a colonial era town of OLINDA, which has a museum housing more ceramic sculptures by FRANCISCO BRENNAND (page 223). Page 225 has a photo of animal sculptures in OLINDA. About 1,500 miles north of Recife, in the state of AMAZON, is another place to see ceramics, and this is ILHA DE MARAJO (a group of villages located on a bay called, BAIA DO MARAPATA). Google maps discloses that a dozen rivers leads into this bay, though the bay itself looks like a river, and not like a bay. Page 261 shows a ceramic sculpture from Ilha de Marajo.
AMAZONAS. Regarding the state of Amazonas, we read that, “Most visitors to the rain forest begin their trip in sprawling MINAUS, the largest city in the region.” We read about, “a must-see opera house, TEATRO AMAZONAS. Inaugurated in1896, the belle époque theater features . . . a spectacular tiled dome.” (page on page 246) Tw learn that the state of AMAZONAS is the place to see indigenous art, musical instruments, and weapons, at museums such as CENTRO CULTURAL PVOOS DA AMAZONIA and MUSEU DO INDIO (page 247). There are no photographs of indigenous peoples in this book, unlike the situation for guidebooks on Australia, which disclose places to see the Aborigine people of Australia. Page 247 gives a phone number of the bus for tourists (92/36336708) and the next page gives a phone number for a guided jungle tour (92/36512003).
IGUACU FALLS. Next to the Amazon River, the most famous feature of the natural landscape in Brazil is IGUACU FALLS, which is distinguished as being located partly in Argentina and partly in Brazil. The FODOR’S BRAZIL guidebook does a better job at describing the logistics of traveling back and forth over the Argentina/Brazil border, and does a better job at describing the nearby towns on each side of this border. At any rate, the National Geographic book does have better photographs. If I ever went to Brazil, my only reason would be to see Iguacu Falls, and I would make sure to get detailed information on trails and viewpoints in this area.
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS. Pages 279-3311 disclose hotels and restaurants in Brazil, all in one section at the end of the book. There are no pictures here. We read that IBIS BH LIBERDADE in the city of Belo Horizonte is “a branch of the international budget chain.” The website for this hotel is given. HOTEL DAS CATARATAS located by Iguacu Falls is described as “this is the most upscale option available at Foz. It also offers the only way to see Iguacu Falls in the evening or at dawn, when the park gates are closed.” (page 289). Another failure of the National Geographic books, is that they fail to disclose weather patterns, that is, monsoon season, or times of the year when the temperatures are freezing. During the past several years, I have reviewed about 50 guidebooks on Amazon.com. In general FODOR’S and FROMMER’S are the best. LONELY PLANET is always like an encyclopedia, but most of the LONELY PLANET guidebooks are lacking in glossy color photographs. As far as practical value is concerned, the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC guidebooks provide an initial enticement and inspiration, but are not really practical for logistics.
The photographs, as expected, were top-notch and plentiful. Just flipping through the pages I found several places I wanted to stop and “visit” a while before diving in. With the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games just over the horizon, this is one book a lot of people are going to want to pick up. In this book you can explore São Paulo’s city life or you can dream atop the Dedo de Deus. Brazil is just one of those places where there’s something for everyone.
National Geographic’s approach to travel is more casual and the writing conversational in nature. Come on in, sit down, and I’ll tell you why you might want to head to Brazil was the impression I received from this guide and a couple other National Geographics I own. It seemed like almost every description had an interesting vignette to ponder. Perhaps this is what made the book more into a fun read than a travel guide. The easygoing, conversational approach really make these National Geographic guidebooks well worth taking a look at. These are most certainly perfect for the armchair traveler.
The Brazil Traveler has numerous informative sidebars that add to the experience. You can learn about the origin of the term “forró,” yet another fascinating vignette. There are a lot of “Experience” sidebars that I find quite interesting and very helpful. It’s nice to read tips and pointers before going anywhere, much easier than asking around once you hit your destination. There are a lot of insets that have walking or metro maps, something of high interest to those who like a close up look at a particular area. It wasn’t until I hit the back of the book that I found more guide-like information on shopping, hotels, planning the trip, etc. Nothing says you can purchase more than one guide book and I usually do. This is a nice one for first impressions and narrowing down what you really want to focus one. This is a perfect book to become acquainted with Brazil.
Charting Your Trip
History & Culture
Rio de Janiero
Cental & Pantanal
National Geographic never fails to produce the best, most detailed, history and photo-packed guides. This one for Brazil is one of their best (I've read several of them- you can see my other reviews).
Why is this such a great guide?
1. It's exhaustive, covering every area of Brazil, not just Rio.
2. Written by real experts, not just some freelancer sent out to do a quick book. The two main authors are expats that have lived and worked in Brazil for 20 years and 15 years each. Their research assistant Sao-Paolo born
3. Photographs! And amazing layouts of pages with maps, graphics, and color. This guide is fascinating to read even if you have no intentions of going to Brazil
4. Great insider tips. Examples: The Rio Negro boat tour- seven days in the Amazon. The Jaguar Jungle tour in which you learn to survive in the jungle. They even tell you which sections are the best to sit in for the Carnaval in the Sambodromo!
5. Interesting, detailed history. One of the strongest points of National Geographic travel guides is the section in the front that explains the history of the country and key cities, going back to the 1500s. It gives you an appreciation for the culture, history, and peoples of the place. They even explain details about the national culture and character such as the principle of "saudades" which is a word that doesn't have an english equivalent
6. Minimal space on information that changes quickly. They never waste space writing much about restaurants, bars, or hotels. This is a good thing. Why? Because these things change so rapidly and are easily researched on the internet.
National Geographic travel guides are the best- they maintain their relevance in the age of digital books and the internet.
This Brazil guide is a treasure; the perfect guide for a special country like Brazil.
If your primary purpose in buying this book is to obtain travel info for the three cities where the US soccer team is playing this summer, this book will disappoint you, with only the most perfunctory information about Recife and Natal. Manaus gets a little more love, but if you want to plan a trip, you'll need to look elsewhere.
The positives: lots of pretty pictures, as you would expect from National Geographic. And the first 50 pages, which give you an overview of the country, including politics/history, food, and culture, are worth the half hour required to skim them.
Beyond that, you will get very little sense of the country. The book provides a few tantalizing tidbits, but its frenetic bopping around leaves the reader disoriented. Part of the problem is the detached, dispassionate authorial voice that is almost unfailingly positive (how can you talk about Rio's famous beaches without mentioning the accompanying poverty and relentless begging?) I realize that you can't include everything in a mere 300 pages; all the more reason to take a disciplined approach to the material.
The quick reference guide at the back offers lists of restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls. But if you're looking for a basic English-Portuguese dictionary, you're not going to find it here.
Get it for the background and the pictures, but don't even think about packing it in your suitcase. Too much heft for too little useful info.