Global Studies Program
Brazil 2001

Landing in Sao Paulo region (11/26-27)--After traveling since the previous afternoon, our arrival at 7:40am in Guarulhos, a bedroom community on the east side of Sao Paulo, left us exhausted and a little grumpy. We spent the first half of the day catching sleep at the Hotel Best Western Panamby just 2 miles from the airport.  Later in the afternoon, we made a pilgrimage to the "International Shopping Center" just down the road from our hotel, to take in urban cultural traditions, get used to hearing Portuguese spoken all around us, and taste the fine cuisine of the mall's food court--great food, including sushi (eh, Jennifer?)!

Tiradentes: Cerrado [Dry Savanna] (11/28-12/2)--A full-day of almost non-stop driving northward and northeastward left us feeling pretty exhausted, but the trip over the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range and down onto the low plateau in southern Minas Gerais was a beautiful and interesting trip nonetheless. We spent several days doing hikes in the region surrounding the pretty colonial town of Tiradentes, at the southern end of the extensive Cerrado of southeast-central Brazil. Not at all what you'd imagine in "tropical" Brazil but floristically remarkable regardless. In the evenings we relaxed at the Candonga da Serra Ecolodge. Here in Tiradentes area, we encountered tame forest monkeys [at breakfast!], gringo dogs, "natural mineral pools", and our first freshwater algae. Jeremy began his pursuit of the perfect pepper sauce.
Student Reflections: Sara Mason and Cary Miller

Penedo: Montane Araucaria Forest (12/3-6)--Lodging in the crazy "Christmas Village" of Penedo by night, we made daily trips into the western end of the Parque Nacional da Itatiaia, a huge expanse of rich low- to mid-elevation montane forest. Here we saw our first violets (herbaceous Viola subdimidiata and shrubby liana Anchietea parvifolia), and witnessed extraordinary epiphytic and liana growths so characteristic of Neotropical wet forests. Our "short" trek to a waterfall, according to an inaccurate map, took us on a spectacular backcountry trail through pristine montane forest, ending up at a waterfall sheltering the rare violet Viola tenuis in its rock crevices. Back at the Hotel Penedo, we luxuriated in the beautiful garden with numerous tropical plants--and, periodically, the pool. Christmas Village was the tackiest, and supper at the Swiss Chalet with Italian and Japanese food and heavy metal background music was the strangest. Were adopted by gringo dog #2.
Student Reflections: Courtney Grimm

Maringa: Montane Araucaria Forest (12/7-11)--We made this cool little hippie village our hangout for several days, wandering throughout the forested mountain region prowling for algae-laden streams (lots of them) and violets (Viola subdimidiata was a dirt weed, even growing in our hotel driveway). Ate crepes and sipped capuccino, reveled in vegetarian meals, and (at least the adventurous students) took a horseback trip on our day off. Morgan sampled a number of streams for Batrachospermum and relatives in the area. We learned quickly why urban Brazilians come to Maringa area for weekends--lots of streams and waterfalls ("cachoeiras"), lots of forests, lots to see and do. A troop of gringo dogs followed us, and we were attacked by a giant rhinoceros beetle. Our relentless search for tree sloths, spearheaded by Courtney, continued unabated.
Student Reflections: Jennifer DeMuria

Parati: Coastal Lowland Rainforest [Atlantic Whitecedar Rainforest] (12/12-17)--Another long, 7-hour drive ended with a gradual descent (and a thousand stomach-wrenching switchbacks) down to the incredible Parati coastline, dotted with a multitude of islands and backed by scenic mountain vistas. Our momentum was only temporarily halted with a screwed up hotel reservation; we made adjustments, finding good lodgings at Pousada Pardeiro with a lush and maze-like courtyard garden, gigantic snails oozing about and tame monkeys visiting us during breakfast. Last stop for a few days at Pousada Porto Paraty, where constant construction hindered Morgan's sleep, and a heavy rain left Courtney and Sara's roof on the floor. We were joined by red algae specialist Orlando Necchi, Morgan's colleague, who took us to some fabulous areas throughout the region, including the site of a tree sloth crossing [he'd seen it the previous day], and a historical reserve protecting one of the early roads for the Gold Trail. Souvenir shopping and ice cream in the evenings! Jeremy relinquished his pepper sauce vendetta--too many varieties to try. Jennifer and Harvey achieved nirvana at the gelato place down the street from Pousada Porto Paraty. Most of us spent our last day on a boat trip to some of the islands; swimming and snorkeling was enjoyed by all.
Student Reflections: Marcus Nagle

Return to Columbus (12/18-19)--We drove the four hours to Sao Paulo area and the airport, dropped off the car, and took our overnight flight back to Columbus, and chilly winter weather (ugh!).

Group picture--top row (left to right): Jennifer DeMuria, Cary Miller, Sara Mason, Marcus Nagle, Courtney Grimm, Jeremy McKinney, Dr. Orlando Necchi (Universidade de Estadual Paulista Reitoria, Sao Jose do Rio Preto); bottom row: Dr. Morgan Vis, Dr. Harvey Ballard

[ Global Studies | Field Course | Env. & Plant Biology ]