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Dreaming of Brazil, reflecting on Hawai`i…

October 31, 2009

sao paulo

Brazil has long inhabited its own corner, specially reserved in my imagination, right between powdery, pristine beaches and the perfect 4 am party.  The country’s relaxed sensuality and sophistication has always seemed so mystically familiar, though it’s a place that I’ve never managed to get to… despite years of listening to bossa nova and Brazilian electronica, downing caipirinhas on two continents, and simple daydreaming.

My web wanderings this week led me to Brazil twice. The first time was through one of those great “36 Hours In…” articles from the New York Times, circa 2007. The story was all about São Paulo. Two stunning photos (seen above) caught me by surprise. The first is on top of a totally groovy Paulista hotel, photographed against the city skyline; the other is simply the Brazilian manifestation of my dream coffee house.

The second web adventure, thanks to Made in Brazil blog, led us to photographer’s new book from Taschen, MaRIO DE JANEIRO Testino. Unhibited and sensual. While I don’t share the photographer’s penchant for youth, some of those capture the Carioca vibe. The book is available directly from Taschen ($39.95), and you can (web)browse the book before. (Akahele… FYI, this one is not for the kids, but of course, not all artistic things should be G-Rated.)

Of course, it may seem odd to some to be dreaming of Brazil while living in Hawai’i. But personally speaking, there seems to be a sense of freedom, liberation, and sensuality in Brazil that has been all too often stifled on our own shores, whether it be aesthetically, morally,  or socially. And let me add, I know my ancestors centuries ago were not ashamed of the beauty of the human body and the joy of human relationships… prior to the arrival of a certain group of puritans in the 19th century. After all, sometimes, you need to travel elsewhere—even just mentally, just through a few photos–to see what you are missing or have forgotten to embrace at home. So dreaming of Brazil has reminded me to go outside and enjoy the sun and the Moaʻe, the gracious tradewinds that have returned after a steamy week of vog, and shed some of those stuffy inhibitions that periodically manage to close in and block out the light.

mario de janeiro

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