----- Forwarded Message ----
From: inna bakker <innabakker@gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2007 1:19:15 PM
Subject: : # 2 To Antarctica, Brazil---Sao Paolo

My dear family and friends,

I am at the huge and beautiful ship Rotterdam of Holland America Cruise Line and we are sailing around South America and Antarctica. We started in Rio de Janeiro, next port of call ---Sao Paolo- the biggest city in Brazil has more helipads than New York for helicopters to land inside the city.

I took a shore excursion of the city, it was pouring rain the whole day, we went from port Santos through local jungles to Sao Paolo by bus, traffic was probably worse than in NY and LA together .

 I learned a lot from a very good tour guide and ship lectures about Brazil. We saw downtown , very nice residential area Higienopolis with old beautiful houses of coffee barons, opera inspired by Paris opera, stock market, a lot of outdoor arts.

very interesting facts:
best soccer players came from Brazil
Sao Paolo is the capital of contrasts;
the biggest Japanese community outside Japan—100 years of emigration, we saw a sculpture of 4 rings, done by Japanese artist represent 4 generations of emigrants,
the biggest Lebanese and Syrian Christian and Catholics community,
the biggest Jewish community in Brazil ---150 000, 3 times more than in Rio, 13 synagogues, many schools and Jewish University, but they all live and work together and peacefully.
cultural, financial ,shopping and gastronomical capital of Latin America every bank has a huge cultural center and is a sponsor of many, many events,
land is beautiful, fertile, no earthquakes, no natural disasters--- only man made,
most slaves from Africa came not to North America, but to Brazil and Caribean Islands for sugar cane industry, population here is very mixed.

Now economy is booming here, 3rd biggest growing economy in the world, 8 % per year, got oil but as locals said ---still very corruptive politics.

we enjoyed for lunch a lot of different meats.

Back to our ship, next port of call---Buenos Aires

love to all, Inna

#1  with Brazilian friends

#2Museum in Rio

#3 my ship

#4 safety drill

#5 Dutch hats for Dutch  dinner on the ship
 here is link to my website http://www.innabakker.com created by my son Ilya,   please write comments to him