Brazil

Legendary Iguazu Falls

Jim’s Perspectives: 

Tropical Brazil is the largest country in South America. After nearly three centuries of Portuguese rule, Brazil gained independence in 1822. Because of this Portuguese is the most widely spoken language of Brazil and is the country’s official language. There are roughly 210 million Brazilians in a country slightly smaller than the U.S. The capital of Brazil is Brasilia and the majority of the population practices Roman Catholicism as well as Protestantism.

Here there are three time zones. In the West the time is the same as EST, in the north west the time is one hour ahead, to the East it is two hours ahead and the south it is three hours ahead of EST.

Travelers must visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue situated atop a mountain in Rio de Janeiro. I chose to (stupidly) free climb the back of Sugarloaf.  Why was this stupid?  Because we had no ropes, wore running shoes which were too slick for climbing, had zero food or water, and my guide was inexperienced.  Treacherous!  Not recommended!

Top thing to do in Rio is to see the city on a bicycle tour!  This was a blast!

Other must-sees include Iguazu Falls (which are spectacular) and the Amazon, the world’s second longest river. Brazil is also known for Rio de Janeiro Carnival, a world famous festival held before the Lent season celebrated with parades, masquerade, music and dancing.

Bike tour of Rio and the surrounding area, 2014
Free climbing the back of Sugarloaf in Brazil
Yikes … this is steep!
Made it … quite the view from up there!

Benin

Note the yellow shirt ... this is what the motorcycle taxi drivers wear here Country Background: The capital of Benin is Porto Novo. There are approximately 11 million people living in this beautiful coastal country. The official language of Benin is French, but Fon...

Bahrain

Jim's Perspectives: Bahrain has both oil and gas, and knowing that it does not have unlimited supplies of both, is re-inventing itself into a financial capital. The “real” story of Bahrain is … although it is a Muslim country … anything goes here. My driver told me...

Myanmar

Woman from the Kayan tribe wearing rings on her neck to resemble a dragon Jim's Perspectives: Myanmar has only, realistically, been actively promoting tourism since 2010, so now is the time to go before throngs of Europeans discover this jewel of a country. Arrived in...