Brazil and Peru
Saturday, October 24, 1959.
At 8:30 in the morning I took a cab from my apartment to Midway Airport. The driver
went down the Outer Drive to 55th Street and then west, a considerable longer though less
congested and swifter route than customary. I reached the airport at 9:00, in plenty of time for
the 10:20 plane to Miami (Northwest #702) especially since it did not leave until about noon
because of "local weather conditions" (rain) and some mechanical difficulty. Also they had sold a
few more seats than they had.
We reached Miami at 3:50 P.M. and I dashed to the REAL ticket counter to take my place
on the 4:00 flight (#801) to South America. I had enough time there, too, as it was not ready for
boarding until 4:30 due to more local weather conditions (more rain).
There were a few thunderstorms as we left Miami and the plane circled several times
before screwing up its courage to tackle them. A little bumpy riding in places but otherwise no
discomfort. The sunset was lovely, reflecting yellows and oranges from the distant thunderheads
with bright blue in between.
We arrived in Caracas, Venezuela a couple of hours after dark. Everyone was required to
leave the airplane and enter a pleasant modern airport terminal. A young woman with an official
appearance said something with the word "transito" in it, and a line formed in front of her, which I
joined. She was handing out small cards identifying those who were not going to stay in Caracas.
I took one, saying "transito" whereupon she asked in perfect English, "Are you in transit?"
We transitos were then sent in some sort of a line to another part of the terminal where the
line suddenly fell asunder. My part of the line stopped at the foot of a flight of stairs over which
the sign "Bar and Restaurant" appeared. A man who was on his way back to Paraguay after
visiting his family in Manitoba and I decided that this was meant for us. We got a bottle of quite
good beer apiece at a total cost of one dollar. The bar had tables on a balcony that looked out
over the airfield and we could see two or three small guards walking around with rifles.
Apparently they'd had some difficulty in Venezuela recently, and considered armed guards
After about three quarters of an hour (11:00 P.M.) we took off for Manaus. The flight
was uneventful and I got some sleep. We arrived in Manaus, Brazil, about 4:00 A.M. Only my
baggage didn't; or if it did, it went on to Rio de Janeiro with the airplane. The young woman who
was in charge of watching out for helpless, non-Portuguese-speaking American tourists was most
apologetic and said she'd call both Rio and Miami and would call me at the hotel if they could get
my suitcase flown back from Rio Sunday night. Fortunately I had my toilet kit, camera, travelers'
checks, raincoat and dark glasses in a flight bag I'd carried with me.
The taxi ride to the Hotel Amazonas took about fifteen minutes, just as the sky began to
grow light. There were many small wooden huts with thatched roofs along the way; also people
who seemed to feel it necessary to be awake at such an hour.
The hotel was good. I was assigned a room on the fourth floor and the bellboy who had
to carry no luggage was most helpful in showing me the bed and turning on the air conditioning. I
gave him 20 cruzeiros, about 13 cents computed at the 150/dollar rate I got at the airport. The
taxi ride cost 150 cruzeiros, which was what the people at the airport said it was worth.
Sunday, October 25.
I slept in the lower part of my underwear, with no sheet, with the air conditioning unit
going and was really quite comfortable. On arising about 10:15 AM I dressed and looked out the
window. This entailed sliding back part of a glass partition that formed the south wall of the
room. The view was wonderful: a hundred yards of tile roofs over plaster buildings between me
and the Amazon River. The geography books are right -- it is a big river. Manaus is
about 1000 miles from the mouth and I'd guess it's at least a mile and a half across. From the
balcony on the other side of the glass partition I could see a steamer of ocean-going size at a pier
about 100 yards to the west of the hotel. One rather jarring feature was a large number of small
vultures circling outside. Others were perched on the roof of a building at the river's edge.
Alone and with only the clothes on my back in the midst of the jungle, many days journey
up the Amazon, I sallied forth to see what adventure awaited me. A walk of about a mile showed
many cobblestone streets, a couple of market places, closed because it was Sunday, more small
vultures, an old man sitting under a large straw hat in front of a heap of pineapples, miscellaneous
dogs and children, most of the latter being fairly well dressed, and many carefully trimmed trees
bordering the streets. They looked like eucalyptus trees, but aren't as the leaves are different and
don't smell. I saw and heard a fair sized building with music for dancing. This was around 1:00
PM, and I wondered if I should go in. On the second floor it was mostly open and I could see a
few tables and chairs. Also a couple of young women leaning against the wrought iron railings
that kept people from falling out. I decided not to go in, and continued the walk back to the hotel
where I had lunch on the balcony of what I would call its second floor but the floor above it was
given the number 1 by the management.
I ordered a beer and got a bottle that seemed about twice the size I was used to. I suppose
it was half a liter. The beer was quite good, named Cervejas Estrella Antarctica, and had a picture
of a penguin on the label. The beer I had in Caracas had the word "Polar" in its name and bore
the picture of a polar bear. Caracas is barely in the northern hemisphere and Manaus barely is in
the southern. The hotel room was quite pleasant, even disregarding the view. Painted walls with
modern prints on them, modern furniture including an airfoam mattress on the bed, and one of the
most beautiful parquet floors I've seen. The design was not intricate, being a succession of
squares of three rectangular boards each; the wood was dark, highly polished and very beautiful --
mahogany, I supposed. The bathroom was large and the plumbing worked well. They had a
feature I'd not seen before: the hot water faucet had no words on it but had a red button on top.
The cold water faucet had a blue button. Very handy for those who don't read Portuguese
readily. Considering the temperature of the water from each faucet, however, perhaps both
buttons should have been purple.
After a lunch of omelet and boiled fish with onions, tomatoes and a substance that looked
like oatmeal and tasted like rice and tapioca, I took another walk, a long one. First I walked
north to the most impressive looking building in sight. It was large with painted plaster sides and
a many-colored dome. It proved to be an opera house, and next to it was a church, smaller and
less conspicuous, but quire attractive from the outside. More walking and taking pictures until I
ran out of film. I had only 10 exposures on the roll when I got to Manaus. Then I returned to the
hotel for another roll. One of the people who take care of the rooms showed me the Presidential
Suite, which was a penthouse with living room, bath, kitchen, two bedrooms and a huge
bathroom with two toilets. I'd heard that presidents didn't get much privacy, but never realized it
was that bad. The view was lovely in all directions.
I resumed the walk, mostly west along the waterfront. Manaus seemed to be a point of
trans-shipment -- I saw several delicate, graceful canoes full of produce come in, and saw some
ocean-going craft tied up.
Many people were walking around on the main pier; most apparently just going down to
see what was there, as I did. The residents of Manaus appeared mostly Indian with varying traces
of white blood. Also a few people with no visible evidence of Indian ancestry. The Indians
generally in this part of the country were nice looking -- slight, high cheekbones, wide-apart eyes
and pleasant smiles.
On the way back to the hotel I stopped by the municipal aviary. I didn't see any birds
there, but there was a pond in which a few large fish were eating something like alfalfa on top of
the water and a small alligator with only his eyes, nose and a little back showing, looked on
I reached the hotel as the sun was setting and watched it from my balcony. Quite peaceful
and beautiful with the bright clouds reflected in the Amazon and the lights on the ships and the
pier taking on importance as the sky grew darker. There was little automobile traffic in the street
but several people were walking gaily homeward from somewhere nearby, and U.S. dance music
was being played from a phonograph tuned loud.
The walk was hot, and I noticed during the middle part of the day that few of the people
who lived in Manaus were outside. I didn't even see any mad dogs or Englishmen.
Supper was all right, though I've cooked better. Omelet, sardines with onions, cucumber
and tomato (the tomatoes were sliced but raw and unpeeled so I didn't eat them), fried Tucunaro,
a good local game fish, with rice and peas which were perfectly awful. Asparagus vinaigrette was
too tough to eat any part but the tips, but otherwise OK. They used unsalted butter, but
shouldn't. A Brazilian Liebfraumilch was better than no wine at all.
After supper I got a call from the desk clerk advising me that he had heard from REAL
about my luggage. They had radioed Miami and Miami would radio back in the morning.
Apparently this was just to see if my suitcase ever left Miami.
It turned out that the dance music was coming from the hotel. On the same floor as the
restaurant there was a dance floor and, as I left supper I watched about 20 couples dancing.
There were nearly as many women sitting at nearby tables looking as though they would like to be
danced with, but not knowing anything about local customs, or the language, and having been
wearing the same clothing for longer than might be pleasant to a dance partner, and being too
tired besides, I left the women to get along as best they could without me and went up to my
room, to bed at 9:45.
Monday, October 26.
I arose shortly after 8:00 and had breakfast on the restaurant balcony. Someone at the
next table was having what looked like papaya and when the waiter brought sliced pineapple,
which I'd had the preceding noon, I said I would rather have papaya. He did not understand; the
people at the next table spoke neither English nor French, and it looked as if I would have
pineapple anyway until a woman at another table, an American who knew a little more than I
about the subject, said something to the waiter who then disappeared and returned with the food
that looked like papaya. The woman explained that it was maumau (or something close to that)
and just looked and tasted like papaya. It was good anyway.
Following breakfast I went out in search of clothes. After cashing $20 into cruzeiros at
170/dollar I discovered a dry goods store. The only English they knew was "Yes." I learned a
little Portuguese and bought two sport shirts, a pair of pants, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of
socks, three handkerchiefs, one pair of pajamas and a large canvas overnight bag for Cr. 4,411, or
at the exchange rate I got at the bank, a little over twenty dollars. Also I got a crocodile belt and
billfold, each about 500 cruzeiros. The purchase took some time as there was considerable
gesturing and writing of figures. When it came time to judge the size of the socks it appeared that
sizes there were not the same as in the U.S., so I finally had to sit down and take off one sock to
measure it against one of theirs. One male clerk, two or three female clerks, the cashier and the
manager all got into the act, and all seemed to enjoy the game immensely.
Lunch was good -- tongue with relishes and olive oil and tucunare fried a different way
from the previous supper. They used the same menu day after day at that hotel. After lunch I
went shopping, first to the native market where I could have bought all I wanted of corn, rice,
coffee or a number of other commodities, mostly unrecognized. I did buy two bowls that
appeared to have been made from one half of a coconut shell each for 15 cruzeiros apiece. Then
into the more swish section of town where I saw nothing more captivating than Pyrex dishes with
flowers painted on them. Back at a stand in the hotel I got an imitation orchid for 150 cruzeiros
and a horse carved or otherwise fabricated from the fruit of a rubber tree for 500 cr. After a beer
in the saloon attached to the hotel, "Mandy's Bar," I went up to my room and prepared to leave.
I reached the airport in plenty of time for the 7:30 flight to Belem, but found that because
I'd failed to reconfirm when I reached Manaus I was not on the passenger list. An obliging young
man at the ticket desk advised me that the plane was full, but that he'd do what he could. He did
something and I was put aboard -- not, I hoped, at the cost of reducing the amount of gasoline
the plane was required to carry.
Supper was served aloft -- fruit juice, soup, chicken with rice, potatoes and peas, bread,
butter, salad, an apple and a delicious banana, a cake-like dessert and coffee. As at the Amazonas
Hotel and elsewhere in Brazil, coffee is darker and much stronger than in the U.S. and
is drunk with much sugar, making it resemble a liqueur, and a good one, too, despite the lack of
We arrived in Belem about midnight. The man who helped get squared away at the
Manaus airport was at the Belem airport and helped me there, too. The help consisted mainly in
speaking English and listening sympathetically to the tale of my lost luggage and getting my new
baggage from the people who brought it in from the airplane. He also talked me out of my
intention to spend the time until the 6:00 AM flight to Brasilia in the airport; so I took a car with
three other men into the city. The car was one of the most thoroughly used 1954 or 1955
American models I've ever seen. The trunk had to be tied shut and on one occasion, after a bang
and a sliding sound from behind I looked back to see a suitcase lying in the road where it had not
been as we approached that place. I told the driver to stop and pointed back. The suitcase
proved to belong to one of the other passengers; he took the accident well.
We reached the Grande Hotel in Belem about 1:15 and I rather surprised the desk clerk by
asking to be called at 5:00.
a sign in the bathroom of my room said that drinking the tap water was not recommended, but
mentioned a carafe of cold drinking water, which proved very good. The shower would have
been all right except that before entering it I flushed the toilet, so there was almost no cold water
and an excess of hot.
Tuesday, October 27.
Five o'clock came exceedingly early and after dressing speedily I check out and took a cab
to the airport. The hotel room cost 966 cr. and the cab another 350 so the sleep came to about
376 cr. or around $2.20 per hour.
Rosy-fingered dawn found me jouncing in a cab out to the Belem Airport where I arrived
at 5:40 to learn that the 6:00 plane to Brasilia would not reach Belem until 7:00.
The airport terminal, like that in Manaus was quite modern and spacious. Someone said
that the runways at the Manaus airport were lighted by kerosene lanterns, but they looked more
like Coleman lamps to me. Same with Belem.
The plane did reach Belem at 7:30 but for some reason we passengers were not told to
board. Around 9:30 I asked when the plane would leave and was told 11:00. At 11:00 they
announced that the flight was delayed a day and to be at the airport at 6:00 the next morning.
Back I went to the Grande Hotel where I had lunch. Then I went out for a walk, first to
the bank where I got 175 cr./dollar, then to the Museo Emilio Goeldio (sp?), a total of three or
four miles by the time I got back to the hotel. The museum is in a botanical and
zoological garden, and I spent all the time until closing looking at the various birds, fish, reptiles
and mammals. One Brazilian, a man about 40, amused himself and a few others by sticking his
finger into the jaguar's cage and touching the animal on the nose or the paw. The jaguar seemed
to go along with the game as if he felt it was his job and displayed some exceedingly fast mouth
and paw work. Not fast enough, though. Jaguars come very near the top of the list of animals I
hope I don't have to fight barehanded.
The architecture of the houses along the way was interesting. The new ones were
modern, mostly painted stucco but a few of ceramic tile. The colors were gay and bold and the
designs were all different and unique. A skyscraper apartment building was white with occasional
brightly colored panels among the windows with balconies going all around and was more
attractive than many in Chicago.
After a good supper in the hotel dining room I went to bed early. This dining room was
air conditioned with a vengeance. Also it contained a tank with tropical fish set in one wall and an
open circular aquarium or terrarium with a small live crocodile. Two or three Brazilians kept
pulling the creature out from under a rock by the tail.
The Brazilian red wine served with the meal was nice. It bore a trade name that looked
like the Portuguese version of "Bourbon."
Wednesday, October 28.
This time a car owned by REAL was coming to get me at 4:30 AM, so I set my alarm and
got up at 3:45. The car was not very late and on the way it picked up a tall, slender, gray-haired
Englishman whom I'd encountered the previous day on the way back from the airport. We
chatted amiably and he became of considerable help to me because he could talk with the
Brazilians. I asked how he learned Portuguese and he said he hadn't; he had just picked up a few
necessary words and then filled in with Spanish spoken in a Portuguese accent.
As might be expected, the plane did not leave promptly at 6:00, but it did get off the
ground about a quarter to seven. The craft was a Curtis, very much like a DC-3. The flight was
uneventful except that there were four screws holding some part of the engine cowling on, and
three of them were loose and jounced around while we were aloft. Also, I finished reading
Prescott's The Conquest of Peru. I'd left off on reaching Belem just at the point where
Francisco Pizzaro was about to be assassinated, and thought I would always associate Belem with
Lunch was served in boxes and consisted of three sandwiches, an apple, custard, a banana
and a small cupcake. It occurred to me after I's finished eating a strongly flavored meat sandwich
that the boxes had probably been put aboard at least a day before the plane took off.
After a stop at Carolinas we reached Brasilia in the early afternoon. There was a bus
labeled Brasilia Palace Hotel, but it was full when I found it, so I shared a cab with three others,
including the Englishman. All the others were going to different hotels and when I got very near
the other hotels I discovered that they were some ten miles from the Brasilia Palace and it would
cost an extra 500 cr. to take the cab back to where I wanted to go. There was a public bus, so I
took that. There were several settlements of workers helping to construct the City, and all the
other hotels yet open, banks and so forth were in one of these temporary settlements, far enough
away from the new city so that they were not occupying land to be used by the city. The bus ride
was through several of these temporary settlements, none of which looked very lush, and some of
which looked quite squalid. Most of the other people on the bus looked like construction
workers or the wives or children thereof, except for one young woman who sat across the aisle
from me. she was wearing black moccasin loafers, short socks, blue jeans and a yellow cotton
blouse. On one occasion she took out a pack of American cigarettes, smoked one and threw the
butt out the window. I decided she must be an American tourist, so asked her if she spoke
English. She didn't understand the question at first, then when I repeated it, she seemed to
recognize the word "English" and shook her head muttering "No."
At some length the bus reached the Brasilia Palace Hotel, having gone far and slowly
because of a winding course and unpaved streets. I got off and walked three quarters of the way
around the hotel before finding the entrance. The building was most attractive and very nearly
complete; modern with lots of glass.
By the time I reached my room I wanted only to rest, so, about 3:30 lay down and took a
nap. After this I did not want to get dressed to have dinner, so asked to have an omelette and a
bottle of beer brought to the room.
The windows opened by sliding one in front of the other along a rollered track; they had
no screens, and flies and mosquitos were plentiful. Around 8:00 a young man turned up with a
hand sprayer and sprayed the room liberally with Flit. The room, about medium size, held two
beds with pink sheets, and plenty of closet space; the outside was all glass. I could see the
President's Palace, about half a mile away, quite well. The bathroom was not so modern as I'd
expected; to flush the toilet one had to push a button in the wall above it.
As I did not feel very well, I decided to take my temperature. However my clinical
thermometer had broken since last I'd used it, and when I took it from its case I had the unusual
sensation of feeling a drop of quicksilver fall onto my chest and roll down and across my belly.
Because there was no pitcher of drinking water in my room and I didn't know about the tap water,
I used beer brushing my teeth.
Thursday, October 29.
I arose fairly late and, after breakfast, checked at the hotel desk to see if there was a
guided tour available. The only thing suggested was a taxi which would cost 3,000 cr. I decided
to use the public bus, the maximum fare on which was 20 cr. and to get off whenever things
looked interesting. I caught the bus at the Presidents' Palace after being advised by the guard that
I could not enter the palace except with permission. My first stop was at a group of buildings
which included the Supremo Tribuno building, the buildings for the Congress and those for
several ministries. The first was nearly finished enough to walk around inside a little, but not so
nearly finished that there was anyone there to prevent me from doing so. The other buildings
were in various stages of completion and looked as though they would be very attractive when
done. The Supreme Court building looked beautiful and appropriate.
I noticed signs indicating that many buildings, including the Supreme Court, had Otis
Next I went on another bus to some of the new residential establishments -- several large,
modern apartment buildings and some small row house apartments. Also a lovely little chapel or
sanctuary of which I could not take a picture because I'd used up the roll of film in my
By then it was lunch time and I returned to the hotel and ate. Because of the morning's
exercise, a good deal of sun, the altitude (3 or 4 thousand feet) a touch of dysentery and the drug
I'd been taking to combat it, I was not terribly energetic that afternoon, and stayed in my room
most of the time, emerging about five to take a few pictures of the hotel and to find that in the
morning I could get permission to see the President's Palace.
Supper about eight o'clock and then to bed.
Friday, October 30.
I got up about 8:00 and had breakfast in the dining room. According to Brazilian usage, I
had cafe-au-lait, soggy toast, unsalted, almost fresh butter and strawberry preserves. Then I went
to the hotel desk and got the necessary permission to visit the President's Palace -- two pieces of
paper with something in Portuguese written on each in longhand and initialed by someone whose
initials were C.A. I presented these to the guard, a pleasant young man in an army uniform with a
submachine gun held under his right arm. He indicated that he was to keep the papers and I was
able to pass into the palace grounds. Seeing no one around to ask questions of, I walked in the
front door of the palace and started to admire the large reception hall. A small man then appeared
and asked if I had permission to enter the palace. I said I'd left my permission with the guard and
he asked if I had one piece of paper or two. I said two, and he said he would show me the palace.
The reception hall is large and extends across the building in the middle. On the right is a
gold wall -- more likely just covered with gold, I guess, not solid, with an inscription bearing
President Kubitschef's words dedicating the new capital (Novocap). This wall extends about 2/3
of the way from the front to the back of the building, which is in the form of a rectangle. Beyond
the wall and to the right is a music room with a black grand piano and beyond that, extending
across the entire end of the building (the right hand end as you face the front from outside) is the
dining room. All outside walls are of glass from floor to ceiling. The furnishings throughout are
modern and of elegant simplicity. Paintings on the walls are modern, some abstract, some not.
To the left of the front door are the various rooms necessary to official business, including
a room for the Cabinet which, like the dining room at the other end of the building, extends all the
way across, from front to back. Upstairs is a balcony and living room which overhang part of the
reception hall. Above that are the living quarters -- three or four guest rooms with large
bathrooms having sunken tubs and shower stalls, in addition to the other usual equipment. The
president's bathroom also has a barber chair.
The guest rooms are on the right side of the building and those of the president and family
are on the left. A balcony extends across part of the back of the buildings and can be reached
from one of the guest rooms and from the president's daughter's room. To the left of the
president's daughter's room is his wife's bathroom, the dressing room, then the bed room. In the
left rear corner is the president's bedroom, to the front his dressing room and to the right his
bathroom with the barber chair.
Under the palace is a private movie theater with a large screen and easy chairs and sofas
for 32 people. To the front and left of that is a garage and an underground passage to a very
attractive little chapel with pews for four or six people and an altar of mahogany with a small
simple crucifix behind it.
In the basement of the chapel was a small sailboat under construction for the president's
daughter to sail on the lake which will be formed in back of the palace.
Directly in back of the palace is a large swimming pool with a small island in it. Beyond
that, a piece of modern abstract sculpture by the wife of a former Brazilian ambassador to the
U.S. Between the pool and the palace are a couple of small evergreens, one planted by the
princess of Holland and the other by U.S. Ambassador Cabot. The former was doing well, but
the latter has turned brown. Nothing symbolic, I hope.
I returned to the hotel, packed and checked out, arriving at the airport about 11:30 for a
12:00 plane to Rio de Janeiro via REAL.
As might be expected, when I reached the airport I was advised that the 12:00 plane
would not leave until 1:00. At 12:30 the plane arrived from wherever it had been carrying a load
of passengers. Surprisingly enough, however, the plane did leave, with me aboard, at 1:00.
My impressions of Brasilia generally were most favorable. The hundreds of acres of
squalid wooden huts along mud roads reminded me too much of descriptions of Chicago before
the fire and, although I saw no cows, there were goats which could, if required by destiny, kick
over a lantern. However, the project itself was magnificent, extending mile after mile and the
attitude of the people there seemed to be of excitement and pride. The terrain is rather like that
around Genesee Depot, Wisconsin, without the sharp moraine formations, except that the soil is
red and all the trees are scrub. The altitude is 3,000 or 4,000 feet, so the climate is pleasant, or at
least it was while I was there.
The plane first stopped at Belo Horizonte. On this leg of the journey I met a young
Brazilian architect named Walfredo who had spent several weeks in the U.S. showing to the
officials of the Baptist Church the plans for a new church and appurtenant buildings to be build at
Brasilia. They apparently approved the plans, and so he'd taken them to Oscar Neimeyer in
Brasilia, who was in charge of designing all the buildings there, and Neimeyer, too, liked them.
On the plane ride Walfredo showed the plans to me, and got my approval as well.
Walfredo got off at Belo Horizonte as he was unable to get passage on that plane all the
way to Rio. So the rest of the journey I sat next to a cute little Brazilian girl with curly
reddish-yellow hair. Eventually she said something to me in Portuguese but I did not understand
Whenever I would wink at her, though, she would smile in return. Eventually I got the idea that
maybe she was cold, so I put my coat over her. Thereupon she put her thumb in her mouth and
went to sleep.
Circling once before landing at Rio de Janeiro we could see the lovely harbor surrounded
by mountains and beaches and occasional strips of flat land on which the city is built. On one of
the mountains overlooking the airport is the famous statue of Christ with his arms extended to
form a cross.
We landed about 4:00 and I spent 10 minutes getting my baggage and another 10
reconfirming my reservation to Sao Paulo and then I went to the REAL counter to see if my lost
suitcase had been found. After 20 minutes I was advised that it had been found and was at that
airport in custody of another air line which had flown it in . They would get it for me. Then a
small young man motioned me to come with him and I followed down a flight of stairs and along
an alley that extended under the terminal building to a room full of boxes and three other
Brazilians. There was considerable conversation which I did not understand, but the head man in
the room full of boxes pointed at his watch (which showed twenty minutes to six) and shook his
head. The small young man from REAL tried to tell me something, but I didn't know what so he
motioned me to follow him back to the REAL counter where someone spoke English. As we
were proceeding back along the alley a tall dark young man in work clothes tugged at the sleeve
of my guide and said something that pleased the guide and to which he assented. Thereupon I
was returned to the REAL counter and told to wait another twenty minutes. Half an hour later
the tall, dark young man turned up with my suitcase. I took it immediately and gave the man 60
cruzeiros and made for the cabstand.
A line of 100 or 150 had made to the cabstand first, and I was going to the rear of the line
when from the middle of it Walfredo the architect called me over and suggested that we share a
cab. I agreed and stood in line with him for 10 or 20 minutes. It turned out however, that he and
I were going to different parts of the city, so when it came Walfredo's turn for a cab he put me in
it, told the driver where to take me, and waited for the next cab himself.
By now it was rush hour and the traffic was much like that along the Outer Drive in
Chicago at rush hour. The city was lovely, most of the drive being along the ocean front with
I reached the Copacabana Palace Hotel and found they did have a reservation for me even
though they had not answered my letter requesting the same before I left Chicago.
Supper in the hotel restaurant was good and after it I went to bed.
Saturday, October 31.
I arose about 7:30, had breakfast in the hotel dining room and went for a walk along the
beautiful beach just across the street. After a few minutes it began to rain, and it did not stop
raining all day.
Returning to the hotel I wrote a few letters and then decided, about 11:00, to do some
shopping. I took a cab down to the shopping district and found that all the stores either were
closed for the entire day (it being All Souls Day, a holiday in Brazil) or were close after 11:00
A.M. on all Saturdays including this one.
To verify this I wandered around to various establishments in the rain, asking wherever I
found an open door if anyone there spoke English. Finally a most courteous young man at the
Braniff office said he did, and advised me that all the downtown stores were closed but that I
might do well by going to some of the shops in my hotel or the one next door, the Excelsior.
I got back to the hotel after learning that it is no easier in Rio de Janeiro to get a taxi in
the rain than it is anywhere else. I asked someone at the porter's desk about shopping and he
immediately produced a card of an establishment named Michael's at Rua Siguera Campos, 43, on
the tenth floor of a building at that address. Michael's advertizing bears the legend "(Formerly
Mike's)." Michael himself was a rather forceful salesman of jewelry of various sorts, and seemed,
from the looks of things, to be doing well. When he learned that I was from Chicago he
mentioned that Marshall Field, James Kemper, John S. Knight and General Wood had bought
jewelry from him. Mike's last name was Krymchantowsky, according to his stationery, and he
said he was in a concentration camp for two years by the time he was 21; then he got to England
and joined the R.A.F. and became one of their most decorated heroes. I asked if he knew Stanley
Krapciewicz, who had a similar history, but Mike said he knew so many people then he couldn't
remember them and changed the subject. I indicated that I might buy a little something for my
sister and Mike obviously had trained himself not to show any incredulity when a gentleman made
such a comment. I bought a couple of baubles and Mike asked if I wanted the receipt to show the
full price -- he was accustomed to some Americans who asked for receipts showing lower prices
for goods than they actually paid in order to avoid or minimize the import duty. As what I bought
from Mike plus all I had bought plus all the money I had left would not equal the $500 which was
then the value of merchandise a tourist could bring home duty free, I told Mike with some show
that this practice was not honest and I would not indulge in it.
Mike also said that the man at the hotel who had sent me to him was a vague sort of
relative, and, in keeping with the custom around Rio would expect a 25% commission on
whatever I bought. Also, if Mike didn't pay it, the man would send customers to other
establishments, like Maximo's, which charges much much more for the same merchandise. So,
said Mike, would I mind telling the man at the hotel that I'd bought only a fractional part of the
value of what small purchase I did make so Mike would not have to pay the hotel man such a
great commission. I told Mike that I didn't care to lie to the hotel man, but if he asked about any
purchase I would tell him that I'd bought one trinket and tell him the correct price without
mentioning a couple of others.
As we parted Mike made me a present of sterling silver (he said) cocktail fork with an
agate wound into the handle.
I have no idea whether the stuff I bought was worth what I paid for it, although Mike
assured me (so often I'm sure he believed it) that one of the better known jewelers in Rio would
sell the same merchandise for two or three times his price, and that still it would be much much
cheaper than in the States, where he said, there was a 350% duty on such things. But whether
what I bought was worth the price or not, I did see an excellent show, put on by a most able
showman, and such an experience is worth something.
I had lunch at the hotel bar and grill, different from the restaurant, about 3:00. As it was
still raining and my dysentery had not entirely disappeared I went back to my room and spent
what was left of the afternoon there. Supper and then early to bed.
Sunday, November 1.
Still raining when I got up at 8:00. After breakfast I decided that rain or no, I would not
spend all of my remaining time in Rio in the hotel, so I took a cab to Praia Vermella where the
cable car starts for the top of Sugar Loaf. There was a covered shelter where I waited, after
buying my ticket, until the car came. Several other people arrived and in about 15 minutes the
cable car arrived and we all got aboard. The car held about a dozen people seated on benches
running along either side, and had windows, as on a bus, that you could open, but not get out of.
As the car got under way it would rock a bit back and forth, but with little or no sideways motion.
This car took us to the top of a high, sheer hill where there was a sizeable refectory and souvenir
store. Another cable car then took us to the top of the sugar loaf -- an interesting ride as we
could not see our destination, about 500 yards away, when we started because of low clouds; and
in the middle of the trip we could see nothing at all except the cables. The top of the Sugar Loaf,
when we got there, was wet and rainy, but otherwise fine and with a magnificent view, what little
of it we could see between passing clouds. Beaches, sea, mountains, houses, tall buildings, all in
close proximity. There was also a refectory and souvenir store at the top, and a railing to keep
you from falling off and down hundreds of feet to the water or rocks beneath. The trip was
interesting, and I'm glad I went, especially considering the moderate fare of 47 cruzeiros, a little
less than thirty cents.
Lunch was at the hotel. My digestive difficulty seemed to have stopped, but I decided to
be more careful what I put into my stomach, and even cut out beer -- quite a sacrifice considering
how good, cheap and plentiful it was.
After lunch I wrote a letter and a few postcards, packed and went to the airport. I was in
plenty of time, arriving at 4:00 for a 6:30 plane; but there was little else to do in the rain and, as
the hotel rules said guests must be out by 2:00 P.M. or be charged for an extra day, I didn't want
to tempt the management to enforce that rule against me.
At the airport I bought a chocolate bar for 40 cruzeiros and a bit of candy in a colorful
wooden box for 300.
This time the plane belonged to Varig, a Convair, and it was ready for boarding at 6:20
and left at 6:30 according to schedule and reached Sao Paulo an hour later.
Hugh and Susie Vos were at the airport to meet me. We went first to their house, an
attractive yellow and brown one with a strong Swiss motif in the architecture. Thence we went to
a good French restaurant in Sao Paulo for supper. Thence back to their house and to bed.
Because of the tragic death of their seven month old son, I was not at all sure they would care to
entertain me just a few weeks after the event. So I had written and advised them that if they did
not feel so inclined I'd understand and, if not met at the airport or furnished with contrary
instructions, I'd go to a hotel and call from there. Their meeting me at the airport thus was most
welcome, not only because I wanted to see them but also because it showed how well they were
taking the blow.
Monday, November 2.
This was a holiday, I presume the celebration of All Saints Day (November 1) which fell
on Sunday. We all got up about 8:00 and, after breakfast, drove to Santos, about an hour away
via a beautiful, wide mountain road. Sao Paulo itself is on a plateau about 3,000 feet above sea
level and Santos, the port, is at sea level. Both are on or very near the Tropic of Capricorn (22
degrees South of the Equator), but because of its height Sao Paulo has a very pleasant climate
which seldom varies much as to temperature.
As we approached Santos we could see the ocean between the mountains and then the
City of Santos lying in a small plain that extended from the base of the mountains to the sea.
Driving through Santos we went to the ferry that took us to the peninsula of Guaruja. The beach
at Santos was lovely though crowded as many people from Sao Paulo took advantage of the
three-day weekend to go there. Many hotels and apartment buildings lined one side of the avenue
that on the other side faces the beach; these buildings were uniformly modern and between 10 and
about 25 stories high.
When we reached the ferry there was a moderate line of cars waiting and as we waited a
number of people selling popcorn or offering, for a price, to watch our car on the ferry (even
though most people stayed in their cars), solicited us. Also a beggar and a handsome middle-aged
Indian woman with a large and beautiful tropical plant for sale. Some graceful man-o'war birds
with their slender, backturned wings and forked tails sailed about in the air, diving occasionally
after a small fish. There were also a few gulls and small vultures.
After crossing to Guaruja we drove along a series of lovely sandy beaches interspersed
with rocky hills covered with dark green foliage coming down to the sea. There were several
houses along the road, some quite modern and one startlingly so, built on a series of concrete
triangular prisms over a swimming pool, the whole house being some ten feet above the level of
the ground and having access by a spiral staircase on the left side.
At length we reached an exceptional stretch of beach where we left the car in a parking
area on the side of the road. An exotic tropical club was at the near end of the beach and upon
inquiry Hugh found that we could use the club's dressing rooms and lunching and drinking
facilities upon paying the necessary price even though none of us was a member.
The beach was in the form of two crescents, one about a third the size of the other, and
the mutual point extended out to a hill of rock and shrubbery which was the tip of a tiny peninsula
at low tide and an island when the tide was high. Either end of the beach was marked by more
hills of rocks covered with foliage extending often to the high water mark. The ocean was calm
except for the ground swells which gave a fine surf for playing in although the cross currents
made it hard to ride the surf as far as would otherwise be possible. There were perhaps fifty
people on the beach near the club and possibly twenty more on the rest of the beach which
extended for half a mile. The water was clean and warm and the sun was directly overhead. The
only handicap was an amount of tar in small globules which had been washed ashore, Susie said,
from tankers. A couple of hundred yards off shore was an island which appeared to be about 75
to 100 feet in diameter. To it, I was told, a man went each weekend where he raised
hummingbirds, but his wife didn't care much for the practice. I asked what happened to the
hummingbirds during the middle of the week and Susie said that a caretaker on the island looked
after them. She did not know what the caretaker's wife thought of this.
After walking the length of the beach, and getting our feet full of tar, we went swimming
and then walked back to the club and had drinks and a cold buffet lunch which was quite good.
Several others were also having lunch there and many of them were Americans.
After lunch we tried with mediocre success to remove the tar from our feet and then we
dressed and went back to Sao Paulo through some very slow traffic.
The Vos's maid had started preparing dinner when we arrived a little after five-thirty.
Shortly after seven Jim Galloway, who used to be a lawyer with McDermott, Will and Emery in
Chicago and was now in the U.S. Foreign Service in Sao Paulo, came for dinner with a very
attractive young woman named Marilyn who was a secretary at the consulate and who came from
Dinner consisted of beef stroganov, rice, salad and Brazilian Liebfraumilch with vanilla ice
cream and chocolate sauce for dessert -- all extremely good. About midnight Jim and Marilyn left
and Hugh, Susie and I went to bed.
Tuesday, November 3.
Hugh had left for the office before I got up, about eight o'clock. After breakfast Susie and
I went down town to his office in a jitney (for which there is a Portuguese word I forgot) with
two other people. Two-thirds of the way there the driver ran out of gas, and managed to coast
into a gas station, where he stopped alongside a pump which had no gas. The attendant
eventually got some gas from another pump and put it in the tank and we continued downtown. I
took a few pictures and then we went to Hugh's office where he was an internal auditor for Swift
and Armour, the latter of which had turned over its Brazilian operations to the former
This office, quite an attractive one on the 16th floor, was the Armour office. It had an
excellent view of the downtown part of the city, where there were a great many skyscrapers.
Hugh was about to go over to the Swift office and Susie and I went with him most of the way,
then caught another jitney back to their house. We went to a small store which was located in a
house and sold all sorts of hand-made Brazilian goods at prices that seemed quite reasonable. I
bought a small leather box shaped like a chest and a brass door knocker with the face of a lion.
We took a cab back to the Vos's house where we were so enthusiastically greeted by their
year-old boxer named Katrina that one of Susie's stockings was torn. After a quick lunch Susie
and I took a cab to the airport, which was nearby, in plenty of time for the 1:25 flight to Lima.
The airline people wanted me to be there an hour ahead of time because of the necessity to worry
about passports and such, but they were able to do all the necessary worrying in half an
The flight to Lima was very pleasant and uneventful except for some very attractive
mountain scenery as we neared the Pacific. The plane, a DC-7 of Braniff's usually went over
LaPaz, Bolivia, and Lake Titicaca, but didn't this time because of the weather. Next to me was
seated a minister of the Friends, who was on a tour visiting their various missions. He had just
been in Africa where he had been big game hunting -- a sport I'd have considered unbecoming a
teacher of non-violence, but that was his business, not mine.
When I arrived at Lima the officials wanted to know my address in Lima. I had made no
reservations and didn't know where I'd be staying. Finally someone said something about the
Country Club (which may have been a country club at one time but was now a very grand hotel
on the outskirts of town) and that was filled in the necessary blank. When I got through customs
and immigration I was besieged by a number of hotel representatives asking me didn't I want to
come to their hotel. I located the man representing the Country Club and he secured a taxi for me
and told the driver where to go.
On arrival I had no soles to pay the driver and so the desk clerk gave the man 20 soles
(about 80 cents) which he later collected from me when I got money changed. There was a
fashion show going on at the hotel in the main dining room, the models being amateurs from the
City. I gathered that this was the Lima equivalent to the St. Lukes show in Chicago. After
watching a few minutes I had supper and went to bed.
Wednesday, November 4.
I arose about 5:00 and carried my luggage to the front door by 5:15 or 5:30. No one was
around, not even a night clerk, but finally I aroused someone who got someone else who accepted
payment of my bill and got me a cab to the airport.
The plane, a DC-6 owned by the Faucett airline took off right on schedule and headed
over the mountains just east of Lima toward Cuzco. I'd heard a good deal about this flight, and
was a little disappointed to find the mountains only a few thousand feet tall, range after range,
looking like badly hewn stone knives. Then we flew over some relatively flat country and the
steward showed us how to use the oxygen tubes that were connected to outlets in the side of the
plane next to our seats. The flat country was about the height of the tops of the mountains we'd
been flying over. Then we reached some mountains rising from that. The disappointed feeling
rapidly abated as we kept climbing and breathing oxygen from the tubes and flying over and
among some of the very high peaks of the Andes. One, the Veronica, appeared to be only a few
hundred feet to the left and above our left wing. It is 20,500 feet above sea level.
Cuzco is about 10,500 feet and when I reached the hotel I knew that I'd best follow the
advice people gave me and went to bed until lunch time. By then I was not full of energy, but was
able to eat a small lunch and go on a guided tour of some of the ruins around Cuzco, including a
ceremonial bath, a fort, and many old Inca walls now in use as parts of buildings constructed
recently. Also I saw the large statue of Christ overlooking the town and a number of large
churches, some with very beautiful and ornate wood carvings done by Indians who had been
trained by the Spaniards. In one church the entire altar, a big one, was faced with beautifully
hammered silver. In many places carved wood was covered with gold leaf, sometimes numbers of
whole pillars were so decorated.
With me on this tour was one Alvin Gray, a lawyer of about my own age from
Supper and then to bed.
Thursday, November 5.
I got up early the next morning and had breakfast in plenty of time to take the tour to
Machu Picchu, the old Inca religious city which the Spaniards missed and which was discovered
by the American Hiram Bingham in 1922. An autocar (a sort of nine-seated bus that goes on
railroad tracks, took three late middle aged couples and me about 70 kilometers through the
mountains, descending from the high altitude where there were almost no trees and little anything
else into a valley with lush tropical vegetation including wild orchids and birds-of-paradise
flowers. We stopped at a point on the Oribamba River, which the tracks followed, and took a bus
up a road with an unbelievable number of switchbacks to the top of a mountain where we saw the
remains of an entire city, about 80 acres I'd guess, all built of stone and most of which were still in
place. The thatched roofs were gone, as were the other less durable artifacts, but it was possible
to see where people lived, farmed and worshipped, and even where they imprisoned and tortured
prisoners. Here and all over this part of Peru the elaborate terraces used by the Indians under the
Incas were still visible. In many places these terraces were in use, but there were many many of
these terraced hillsides tilled under the Incas, which were no longer in use even though a great
number of people in the area were desperately poor.
The stonework proved to be as ingenious as the legends reported. Few buildings were
over one story high, but they were built with stones so perfectly hewn and fitted together that in
most instances I could not insert a knife blade between them. Several of the stones at the fort
mentioned previously were over 100 tons. The best stone work was done for the most important
buildings, such as temples. The stones were rectangular in shape, the lower ones being larger than
those above, and they form straight lines, or rather planes, inclined a little toward the center of the
building as they rise. The buildings around Cuzco which the Incas built have withstood
earthquakes much better than the more recent Spanish architecture.
There was a nice little government hotel at Machu Picchu where we had lunch. One
couple stayed at the hotel until the next day and the rest of us plus another autocar full of tourists
took the same route back to Cuzco, reaching that city shortly after dark.
Friday, November 6.
The nine-thirty flight back from Cuzco to Lima was not quite so exciting as the ride up there, but
it was enough so that I looked out of the window all the time, wondering how they could get so
many mountains in the same area.
On arriving in Lima I went to the Hotel Maury in the center of the city near the Plaza de
Armas. Lunch in the hotel dining room was good, and after it I walked the streets for a while,
reconfirming my passage back to the U.S. and exchanging a few leftover cruzeiros for soles.
About 4:00 I took a cab out to a suburb named San Antonio where the Carmelite Monks
have established a parish. Tom O'Keefe's brother Dudley was there, as one of the four priests in
charge, and I had a very pleasant half hour with him. The Catholic Church had recently
established the parish, and they had yet to build a church building and were holding mass in a
building which served as a recreation center. Dudley showed me a model of the new church they
expected to build, and mentioned that they needed it because they had just increased the number
of masses held each Sunday from eight to ten in the old building.
Supper at Chez Victor, on the Plaza San Martin was all right, though the best part was the
pisco sour at the beginning.
Saturday, November 7.
I stayed in bed until after 8:00 and then had breakfast at the hotel and wandered about the
First I went to the cathedral at the Plaza de Armas where the remains of Francisco Pizzaro
were encased in a box with glass sides at eye level or a little above. The body was better
preserved than I'd have expected of one that died over 400 years before, but was no object of
beauty. Otherwise, this was another cathedral.
After that experience I walked down to the Plaza San Martin and then to the University,
which is the oldest in America. En route I looked in at the Pantheon of the Heroes of Peru, and
found large statues of Bolivar and San Martin, but none of Pizzaro.
The University was housed in a two-story building with plaster walls painted blue on the
outside. Several connecting courtyards were inside, and many students, male and female, all
looking happy except a few who looked very serious, and all talking at once except the serious
looking ones who were not listening, either.
From there I walked to the Palace of Justice where I wandered around seeing what was to
be seen. On looking at the bulletin board I noticed a number of lists of cases to be tried or
decided on appeal. A larger percentage of divorce cases than I'd have expected in a Catholic
country. A high proportion of the criminal cases involved an offence called "honor sexual." I
wondered whether that covered sexual dishonor as well.
Across the Plaza de la Republique from the Palace of Justice I visited the Peruvian
Museum of Italian Art. Apparently the museum was given the city by a number of Italians who
lived there, and it had a nice little collection of Italian oils and etchings and bronzes -- none by
anyone I'd heard of, but pleasing nevertheless.
Lunch was at a Chinese restaurant at Plaza de Armas named Kuo Wai. Reading a Chinese
menu in Spanish proved difficult, but with the help of the waiter, who spoke about as much
English as I Spanish, I ordered some kind of chicken, kumquats in syrup and tea; also fried rice.
I redeemed myself somewhat by getting chopsticks and using them effectively if not perfectly. All
the food was quite good, although the chicken dish might have been spiced up a little.
Back at the hotel I packed, then went out and bought a set of silver coffee spoons as a
wedding present for Patty O'Riley. It cost 175 soles (about seven dollars) which seemed quite
I reached the airport in time to check through immigration and spend the last but three of
my soles on a silver spoon, two candy bars, a beer and a couple of postcards. The plane, a Braniff
DC-7, was ready for boarding at nearly the scheduled time and I got on. When the plane took off,
about 8:00, I swallowed a sleeping pill and settled down for a night's rest. Just then the
stewardess brought supper, which I'd forgotten about, so I had to fight a growing drowsiness to
eat it. Then I slept until 1:00 when we landed in Panama City for an hour. I wandered sleepily
around that airport terminal until time to leave, then got back aboard the plane and was wide
awake for most of the rest of the journey to Miami where we arrived about 7:00 A.M. Customs
and immigration were cleared without difficulty and, after a two-hour wait in the terminal, I got
an Eastern Air Lines Constellation to Chicago where I landed without further incident.