Video Of The Day: Finding Fortaleza

Rio de Janeiro-based production company MOOV maintains Fortaleza is “one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil,” and in the video above we get to see it through their eyes – or, rather, their camera lenses. Located in Northeastern Brazil, Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, a city where nearly 2.3 million people reside. On the tourism front, the city is a major destination for Brazilians (and, increasingly, international travelers), who flock to the city’s urban beaches. But as you’ll see in the video above, Fortaleza is much more than just fun in the sun.

Trekking Couple Circles Planet Three Times In 424 Days

trekking

They started trekking the planet more than a year ago, promising to travel the globe bringing children in classrooms from around the world with them, virtually, as they visited scores of countries and continents. Now their journey is complete and Darren and Sandy Van Soye are back to tell about it.

The story begins in February 2012, when the couple from Southern California started on a global adventure to raise awareness about world geography and make the subject more accessible to children. Hoping to visit 50 countries on six continents in 424 days, they planned to share the journey with more than 700 classrooms representing 50,000 students.

“Our dream is to educate children about geography and world cultures so we’ve planned the ultimate trek around the world to do just that,” Sandy Van Soye told Gadling when they began. In January of this year after passing the 50,000 mile mark, they had stopped in 40 countries with another dozen or so to go before returning to the United Sates. At the time, they had already beaten their own projections with 850 classrooms in 20 countries following their journey online.

Now with their world trek complete, the Van Soyes have traveled a total of 77,000 miles or the equivalent of three times around the earth at its equator. Their trek is an impressive amount of travel in such a short period of time for sure. But how they went about it is even more interesting.Starting on January 28, 2012, the journey began aboard a cruise ship, Princess CruisesPacific Princess, a small ship, which proved to be an efficient mode of transportation.

“We used cruise ships to get us between continents so that we could see more of the world,” said Sandy Van Soye. Spending 97 days of the nearly 500-day trek at sea the couple racked up 35 ports in 18 countries. An impressive number but travel via cruise ship is not the fastest way to be sure. From San Diego, it took 29 days to reach Sydney Australia, normally a 16- or 17-hour flight. But along the way, they visited Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.

trekkingAfter a seven-day trek in Tasmania, the team boarded another cruise ship, Ocean Princess to travel near Australia’s eastern coast, along the way visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Darwin, Bali, Indonesia, and Ko Samui, Thailand, before arriving in Singapore. At each stop, they selected travel plans that would show students following along the natural beauty and unique people they encountered.

On land for the next eight months via a series of multiple day hikes, they visited 27 more countries in Asia, Europe and Africa before boarding the Pacific Princess in Rome. That Mediterranean sailing crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailing up the Amazon River all the way to Manaus, Brazil.

Two months on land took them through 4,600 miles of South America before the final leg of their trek a voyage on Star Princess in Valparaíso, Chile, for their fifth and final cruise home.

trekkingOf all the places they went, which was their favorite? Kenya because of its rich culture and natural beauty

“It is a place that kids (have) heard of, so it was a pleasure to go there and talk more about it,” said Sandy of their visit to three Kenyan schools, one in the Maasai Mara and two in the Samburu region.

The biggest surprise along the way? Riga, Latvia

“There was just so much to see and do here and, though it is a capital city, it was relatively inexpensive,” said Sandy.

In addition to a lifetime of memories, the Van Soye’s trek produced a library of 60 four-page education modules for teachers available as supplements to existing classroom materials.
Also, their Trekking the Planet website contains free articles, quizzes, more than 70 documentary videos and a summary infographic: “Trekking The Planet: By The Numbers.

So is that the end of the road for this couple? Hardly.

Driven by the fact that nearly a third of U.S. young adults cannot locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, Trekking the Planet hopes to help educators change these statistics with future geography-oriented projects.


[Photo credit – TrekkingThePlanet]

Spiders Blanket The Sky In Brazil (VIDEO)


As many of us in the northeast scramble because of heavy snow and delayed flights, at least we can rest assured knowing we don’t have it as bad as these people in Brazil. The terrifying video above shows a strange phenomenon: thousands of spiders dangling in the sky. According to Gawker, the footage comes from the southern Brazilian town of Santo Antônio da Platina, and was posted online earlier this week by 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis as he was leaving a friend’s engagement party. A bad omen, perhaps?

Brazilian news outlet G1 spoke with a local biologist who says the spider activity is actually quite normal. He identified the species as Anelosimus eximius, a “social spider” known for its massive colonies that create blankets of webs. The behavior might also seem familiar to people in Chicago, where each year the city experiences an influx of “flying spiders” – so many that earlier this year the Hilton’s Magnificent Miles Suites hotel formally requested guests keep their windows shut to avoid the annual migration. This species, known as Larinioides sclopetarius, spin their silk into balloon-like formations and ride lakefront air currents to crevices in high rises downtown.

Would sky spiders (or spiders that blanket the ground) ruin your vacation, or would you brave the invasion?

South America Captured Beautifully In Video

Watching this journey through South America will fill you with wanderlust unparalleled. The composition of this video is amazing. It captures the beauty of the region, from the people to the cities to the landscapes, and the score is subtle and moving. Cheers to Vimeo user Vincent Urban for a job well done. We’re amazingly jealous.

Brazil Opens First ‘Love Hotel’ For Pets

puppies Did you know Brazil is home to 31 million dogs, making it the country with the second largest canine population after the United States? It’s no wonder then, that you’ll soon be able to find a hotel dedicated to the more hardcore puppy love in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Created by Fabiano Lourdes and his sister Daniela, “Animalle Mundo Pet” is set to open this week in Belo Horizonte. The eight-story building will have an entire floor for dogs to get it on, with dim lighting, red floor cushions and a heart-shaped mirror on the ceiling to set the mood. Not only that, the hotel will also feature a gym and venue for dog birthdays.

And unlike most love motels where you pay by the hour for a love-making space, dog owners can rent their pets a room for $50 per day.

“For many people, the dog is a child who must be well treated,” 26-year-old Fabiano Lourdes explained to the Telegraph. “Our market studies showed that people work all day long and they do not know where to drop their pets for mating.”

One million dollars was invested into the hotel, which has 60 employees, including veterinarians and biologists. Dog owners can also invest in luxury items like $1,000 Swarovski crystal dog collars.

Would you bring your dog to a love hotel?

[Image via wsilver]