“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

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Graffiti street art in Curitiba, Brazil

Although for kicks I entered it into google translate which turned it into “all work and no play makes Jack a goofball”.

Which frankly, has less of the dramatic effect I think Kubrick was aiming for.

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Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

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Bigger rock stars than found at Glastonbury…

Stonehenge, usually closed off throughout the year, during solstice celebrations allows anyone to flock together among the ancient stones to witness the sunset and the sunrise. Joining in has always been on my bucket list, and although we didn’t stay for the sunrise (if you ever want to do that make sure you prepare well, it gets cold!), we witnessed all the drumming, chanting, and selfie taking as the sun went down.

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There were plenty of worshippers of paganism to be found among the families, those who wanted an “out of this world” experience, and those who were there for the festival atmosphere. One pagan started a group chanting, and then proposed.

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After it became dark and my camera was running low on battery, I still haven’t figured out all the functions but created some ghostly/Doctor Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S effect somehow…

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Even though I turned up with both my dslr and my polaroid cameras, I have to say the experience may have been better if cameras were not allowed on site. I, like most people of this day and age, enjoy a few selfies and social media posting, but it seemed that was what most people only cared for. In one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, during an event that people expect to be brought together in, everyone was pushing and jostling with their selfie sticks and phones. When people started chanting “We are one”, the irony was strong. It reminded me of why I bought a polaroid camera 2 years ago: to capture things in the moment, and to not constantly be looking through a lens, but to also put it away and enjoy myself.

Still, all that being said, the sky was clear enough to see stars and the countryside air was great for my city dweller lungs. And I got to walk around ancient, incredible history.

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The Kettle, Curitiba: Getting my tea ‘fix’ in Brazil

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When thinking about Brazil, it is usually associated with images of sandy beaches, football glory, and coffee. Much of Brazil’s economy was generated from the vast quantity of coffee plantations, and it is the world’s largest producer of coffee (a third of all coffee comes from Brazil!)

As a quintessentially British lass, however, I am not a huge fan of coffee. Although I love the smell of coffee, and coffee flavored things (such as coffee cake), the beverage itself is usually too strong for my liking. Tea is my addiction, but in the land of coffee it is not the easiest addiction to indulge in. (Did I pack a box of Yorkshire Tea into my suitcase for my month visit to Curitiba? Yes, yes I did…). Luckily meu namorado understands all too well my addiction, and so when he spotted a little place called The Kettle – Chá Com Simpatia (tea with friendliness), he knew to take me there.

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Inside it was surprisingly spacious, to say Brazilian’s aren’t a huge fan of tea. We were the first of a few customers to arrive whilst we were there, and so that combined with the gentle music playing in the background and comfy seating allowed us to instantly unwind. The interior decor was perfect for a tea place: pretty and cosy enough to “ahh” over, but not so twee I felt like I was in a grandparents’ living room. Also check out the ‘chandelier’…

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Best of all was the vast amount of tea’s to choose from. They also have other hot beverages to choose from, but the extensive list of teas meant I was spoiled for choice. Whilst they offered British classics like English Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, and Earl Grey; they also have plenty of other black teas, green teas, rooibos, fruit teas and even blended mixtures. I went for one of their ‘special’ teas: the ‘Ayurveda Kapha’ which contained ginger, cinnamon and chilli. Not for everyone’s taste, but I certainly liked it.

Now, I had travelled for around 30 hours to the land of coffee and was visiting a place for tea, so there was no harm in going that extra British mile, and ordering homemade scones from the menu.

THEY HAD SCONES. Amazing. 10/10. Their ‘homemade’ jam looked a little…non homemade, and the scones aren’t quite what we expect in Britian, but I didn’t care. I was in tatsebud heaven.

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The namorado also ordered a delicious chocolatey German cake.

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In terms of expense, The Kettle definitely falls into the ‘once in a blue moon’ treat, especially when comparing to other places in Curitiba for hot drinks and snacks. The tea felt very pricey for what you got, but the food seemed to be of better value for money. There’s lots of tea and tea-related gifts to buy, but that’s where it becomes really expensive.

However for a relaxed afternoon tea, and for the fact that there are many more amazing sounding teas to try, you are likely to find me there again. Especially if I need a scone fix.

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The Beauty of Genesis (and why Sebastião Salgado is now one of my fave photographers)

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Olá! I am currently writing this post from Brazil after submitting my final assignments of my degree. If the giant, eye-like tower in the photo above is unfamiliar to you- it is a famous landmark of Curitiba that belongs to MON (Museu Oscar Niemeyer). Niemeyer was a famous Brazilian architect who is said to have designed Brazil itself (one key example is Brasilia, purpose built to serve as the capital, and was designed predominantly by Niemeyer), and this giant eye is also an example of his work. If you ever will visit/have visited Brazil, although it is a huge country, I am sure no matter where you end up you will come across some of his designs.

When I went inside the MON recently (entry price is R$6, R$3 for students which translates into being very, very cheap), there was an exhibition of a photographer called Sebastião Salgado. The exhibition is named Genesis, and his stunning black and white photographs document the natural world that still exists next to our metropolitan world. The purpose of Salgado’s work is to show the unique beauty of the natural world that is under threat as our world continues to dominate and expand. We were allowed to take photos of the displays, but as it turns out it is very hard to photograph very glossy, black and white photographs so more often than not I would end up taking a selfie. Which could be viewed as an artistic representation of how our 21st century, technological lives are an ominous threat to the natural world, one could argue…

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And here are some of my favourites:

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Also just because the resemblance is uncanny:

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The human in the photo is involved in a blog called ‘Ambassadors of the Queen‘ for Brazilian students interested in studying abroad in the UK. NB: all is written in Portuguese (unsurprisingly). 

A few days later I was scrolling through twitter and coincidentally The Impossible Project tweeted a link to Salgado giving a TED Talk on his work Genesis. It turns out that Salgado takes these stunning images on analogue film, and his own personal story of how he became passionate to protect the natural world is something worth hearing.

Also see here