Monday, May 4, 2009

There's An Awfully Good Book Shop Down in Brazil

Now we all know there's an awful lot of Coffee in Brazil, courtesy of Mr Sinatra, but did you know there's a great bookshop that stocks English language books? Not just English language either; it has new and used books in 15 different languages. I know this because Sarah Rebecca Kersley emailed me from Itacaré, in Bahia state in Northeast Brazil to tell me about her shop that opened in 2007. Sarah discovered the blog after listening online to the book café on Radio Scotland...isn't the web wonderful?

Sarah graduated from Glasgow University and headed south to open the Urso de Óculos bookshop (the name means "The Spectacled Bear"). It is the only bookshop in the town that has a population of 22 000. Since opening in 2007, the space has become increasingly popular as an international meeting point, a local community book exchange and host to regular cultural events. Sarah is a British translator who has lived in Brazil since 2005 and besides the books it also serves espresso coffee (made from the billions of beans down in Brazil no doubt), hot chocolate and Twinings tea (apparently all three are very difficult to find outside big cities in Brazil).

She tells me, "Visitors from Scotland are particularly welcome, with the frequent sound of Eddi Reader playing on the bookshop stereo!"

If you want to know more visit the Urso de Óculos website. If you really want to know more get on a plane, fly south and stand beneath that amber moon. . .

Sadly it’s been years since I've been to Brazil. The first time I went was in 1976 when I flew to Rio de Janeiro from Miami arriving very early on a Sunday morning; I was working in the airline business at the time. I checked-in at the Copacabana Palace, and as I headed for the lift I bumped into a girl who flew for our airline; like me she was on her first trip to Rio. Like her I wanted to see the sights and were not put off by the fact that it was very overcast. An hour or so later we headed out and took the rickety train up to the statue of Cristo Redentor. When we got off the train we were bathed in cloud as we walked the last part up to the viewing platform. Arriving at the top the clouds parted to reveal what is still one of the half dozen best views I've ever seen in my life.

'There's one thing that I'm certain of; return I will to old Brazil.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it´s a pitty the bear rests so far from my place. anyway, i´m planning to visit anytime soon...