“To be gay is not strange… Homophobia is strange.”
The New York Times writes about anti-gay violence rocking the LGBT community in Brazil, attributing some of the rising violence and intolerance to a troubled economy as well as increasingly intolerant rhetoric from American-style Pentacostal congregations who use the gay community as a scapegoat for the ills afflicting Brazilian society.
“Nearly 1,600 people have died in hate-motivated attacks in the past four and a half years… a gay or transgender person is killed almost every day in this nation of 200 million.”
It is so sad to think that of all the wonderful things the US can export, it is the Evangelical movement that is taking hold in Brazil. The Brazilian economy will eventually rebound – Brazilians are resourceful and hard working. However the hate that is taught as ‘religion’ by these Evangelicals will sadly remain. You can read the full article in the NYT here.
After returning from our 2+ weeks in Brazil over the holidays I wrote a post Visiting Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the six weeks since that post went live, it has been viewed a couple thousand times, several people have reached out to me inquiring about travel tips to Brazil and more than a few have inquired about hotel options vs. using services like Airbnb so I thought I’d provide another shout out for one of my favorite places to stay when I visit Sao Paulo, Brazil – Renaissance Sao Paulo.
Photo Source: Renaissance Sao Paulo
On our most recent stay Sergio and I were upgraded to a suite on the hotel’s executive level which also gave us 24 hour access to their superb executive lounge which provides guests breakfast in the morning, snacks and cocktails in the afternoon followed by light bites in the evening from a spacious lounge that gives you nice views of the cityscape.
Our suite faced East offering views of the back of many prominent buildings lining Avenida Paulista. We used the sitting area and desk which you cannot see from this angle to host friends and to enjoy our morning coffee and early evening glasses of Champagne courtesy of the Renaissance executive lounge.
Below I’ve included photos of our bedroom and the over sized master suite bathroom. I didn’t bother to snap a photo of the half bath in the hallway leading to the den shown above because it pales in comparison to the master suite.
Aside from the posh digs, I recommend that gay travelers consider staying at the Renaissance Sao Paulo for several reasons. First, there are always several other gay travelers there – most often at the hotel bar near the lobby – so you are more likely to get tips and helpful travel suggestions. Second, it is very centrally located and happens to be just blocks from great shopping and restaurants. Third, the hotel has great amenities including an excellent gym, nice pool and spa (if you feel like a little pampering).
If you are planning a trip to Sao Paulo or Brazil and have any questions, feel free to reach out, and I’ll be happy to provide you with suggestions, hints and tips so you can make your trip as memorable as possible.
The Week Sao Paulo
Earlier this month Sergio and I spent our last few nights in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. This sprawling city is one of the largest in the world. If you don’t know your way around you could easily find yourself lost or worse, leaving without ever getting a chance to see what the city has to offer.
For more than 15 years I’ve been visiting Sao Paulo and I’ve never had a bad stay. That is due in part to having friends in the city and a partner who many years ago briefly lived there. It would be impossible to talk about all that the city offers in a single post so I’ve opted to share a few tips and links to related posts below.
If you visit Sao Paulo, I’d strongly recommend that you stay in the Jardims (Gardens District). Most of the gay population either lives or plays there and there is no shortage of great restaurants and shopping available. I can offer some recommendations and share where Sergio and I like to stay when we visit.
Just a few blocks away from where we usually stay is Bella Paulista (shown above). Bella Paulista is open 24/7 and always seems to be bustling. When we grabbed a late night ice cream we were mildly entertained by two men who couldn’t keep their hands off each other while they waited in line. PDA with gay couples is rare, and I was heartened by the site and the fact that nobody seemed to bat an eye; this wouldn’t be the case in most other neighborhoods.
If you will be traveling to Sao Paulo and have any questions, feel free to give me a shout and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. Here are a few posts I’ve written in recent years about Sao Paulo:
The Week – Sao Paulo: Probably my favorite gay night club in the world.
Hotel Unique and The Sky Bar: My favorite place to grab a pre-dinner cocktail.
Spot: Every gay man at some point will come here for drinks or dinner.
Shopping in Sao Paulo: Go for it – the dollar is ridiculously strong right now.
Thank you to all of you who read my blog, comment and share the posts. This hobby has turned into a bit of an obsession over the past few years and I greatly appreciate the support you provide by leaving comments and sharing my posts via your social media sites.
This photo was taken about 10 years ago in Cabo Frio, Brazil. We will be celebrating the New Year once again with our friend “Junior” shown above with us, but this year we will be celebrating together in São Paulo. I hope you enjoy your New Year’s Eve no matter where you are or how you decide to celebrate.
Feliz Ano Novo
View of Belo Horizonte, Brazil looking Northwest
By the time this post goes live Sergio and I should be settled in São Paulo, Brazil after spending the previous 10 days visiting with Sergio’s family in his hometown of Belo Horizonte. The metro area population of Belo Horizonte is 5M+ making it comparable in population to Dallas but much more densely populated.
I’ve been coming to Belo Horizonte to visit family for years now but the incredible hills and indistinguishable skyline comprised of mid-rises make it impossible for me to get my bearings except for when I can take in vistas like the one shown above from the posh Mangabeiras neighborhood.
Bar Imperial – Savassi Neighborhood
Belo has more than its share of little bars where people congregate to drink and talk outside since the weather is pleasant most of the year. When we go out, we tend to eat and drink in Savassi. Thanks to a very friendly exchange rate, eating and drinking in Brazil right now is very affordable for Americans and Europeans, which also means that we had more than our fair share of Midnight snacks.
Midnight snacks in Belo Horizonte’s trendy Savassi neighborhood
One of my favorite places to meet is Cafe com Letras. The food is surprisingly good and it is a popular destination for gay and lesbians to congregate – located just blocks from other gay friendly destinations like Bar Imperial, 2015 (soon to be changing its name to 2016 in March) and Josephine’s.
St. Francisco de Assis chapel in Pampulha
In addition to a nightlife that lasts until the sunrise, there are plenty of places of interest including Pampulha – a residential neighborhood defined by its man-made lake and the modern architecture designed by Brazil’s most celebrated architect Oscar Niemeyer. For those of you who feel less inspired by architecture there are plenty of other sights to take in as you leisurely stroll along the man- made lake walking / jogging / bike path on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
The Men of Pampulha
Praia Mole – Florianopolis, December 2012
Sergio and I are in Brazil for Christmas this year where the temperatures are warm and the daylight plentiful. The photograph shown above is actually from 2012 when we were visiting Florianopolis “Floripa” in southern Brazil.
Despite the fact that we are nowhere near a beach (we are in Belo Horizonte for the holidays), we are enjoying every minute of Brazil’s summer.
As this post is publishing Sergio and I will be at the airport boarding our flight to Miami where we will then connect to fly to Brazil to spend the Christmas holiday with his family before going on to Sao Paulo where we will spend New Years Eve to ring in 2016. We would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.