Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Samantha Brown's Passport to Latin America

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The Travel Channel's travel maven Samantha Brown got to go all over Latin America while researching her new series, which debuts tonight at 7 p.m. CST. She shared a few of her favorite moments with us...

Brazil:
Samantha said it was fascinating to take a tour of the favelas, or shanty towns, in Rio de Janeiro. "They're full of people who work very hard for what they have," she said. At night, she could hear machine gun fire coming from these makeshift cities.
A more pleasant memory came from stolling the streets of Rio -- something she was repeatedly warned not to do alone -- and stumbling on a cafe where patrons were singing Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes.

Nicaragua:
Samantha still isn't entirely sure what's in a "naca tamale," but she is sure it's one of the best things she ate in Latin America. "They're only made in the homes of women on Sundays. I took a taxi to someone's house. You step over the dog and walk past the man in the chair watching TV and go in the back to the kitchen, where you get this massive amoutn of food for $1."

Panama:
She fell in love with the Coca-Cola Cafe in Panama City. The 1940's style cafe had prices to match. She saw old women sitting around with curlers in their hair, chatting away. The cafe has no ties to the beverage giant, but Coca-Cola allows them to keep the name. "They know it's the Real Thing," she said.

Peru:
Bad weather meant good luck for Samantha when she was visiting the famed Machu Picchu. She was staying at the lodge near the archeological wonder when there was a huge rainstorm and mud slide. The weather prevented other tourists from being able to get to the site, so she and a few others basically had it to themselves for several hours. "To be at Machu Picchu alone is unbelievably powerful," she said.
Another one of her favorite Peruvian moments came when she was taking a walk in the charming town of Cuzco and an older man joined her. "He wanted to practice his English and I wanted to practice my Spanish," she said. When he asked her what her name was, she said Samantha. He immediately wiggled his nose -- a reference to the defunct TV show "Bewitched." "It's been years since anyone's done that when they hear my name," she said.

You can check out more details of Samantha's adventures at travelchannel.com.

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6 Comments

Having been to MOST of the destinations you visit on Passport to Europe and Passport to Latin America, I believe you have beautifully presented the cultural highlights, food, tourist attractions, and local activities which make the world such an interesting place to explore. I encourage you to take your Passport series to Asia, Australia, and Africa, enlightening us on what the rest of the world has to offer. Thanks for the world through your eyes!

hello,I:M THINKING OF MOVING TO BRAZIL FOR 6 MONTHS A YEAR,IM A BABY BOOMER READY TO RETIRE,EVERYTHING ISAW ON INTERNER,AND TV LOOKS GOOD,YOU HAVE BEEN THERE/WHAT DO YOU THINK DEEP DOWN.OR IFHAD A CHOICE ,WHERE GO,THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME,AL

Lori responds: I've been to many countries in South America, but unfortunately Brazil is not one of them. I'd be curious to know what readers who have been to Brazil think of your idea.

I'm sure you've heard about Brazil's well publicized issues with crime, which wouldn't deter me from visiting but would certainly be something to keep in mind.

Personally, I'm a big fan of Argentina and Chile, and Argentina is an absolute bargain these days.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

Dear Samantha, I was so happy to see you that traveled to my motherland, Nicaragua, and visited the Colonial city of Granada, Las Isletas. The best; you visited where the real people live, and interacted and ate with them. Your genuine "carisma" is a big plus. If you ever visit Nicaragua again, please go to San Juan Del Sur, and Las Salinas, in Rivas. Again, thank you.

Sincerely,

Roberto Nelson Alvarez, from Blommfield, NJ.

Love Passport to Latin America---Who does the theme song? Love that also.

Fantastic Samantha Brown delightfully fun to watch! Another part of the world......for her and she is doing a fabulous job. (as she thought you went up to Manchu Picchu from Cozco).

I loved watching your series Passport to Latin America. Think you'll do Cuba and Puerto Rico anytime soon? I'm Belizean, sorry you had that experience there.

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on June 6, 2007 5:02 AM.

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