It's been hot. Really hot. Too hot to be this pregnant, and without central air conditioning. (Remember, the seasons are opposite in South America, so we're in the peak of a Brazilian summer.) The weather here in Brasilia is rather arid, in fact, we crack up because all the natives complain about it being "soooo dry." I'll take the dry heat over swamp humidity any day, but when the air blowing in the windows feels like a brick oven hyperventilating, all I can do is wish for some cool, blue water.

Carnaval, Brasil's much-celebrated version of Mardi Gras, is right around the corner. Thousands of people will flock to the festival's epicenters in Rio and Bahia - the northern coast. I imagine, however, there will also be many who slip away to places far less crowded, that still offer a nice little respite before "real life" begins again after Ash Wednesday.

Places like Fernando de Noronha - an archipelago off the northern coast that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Marine National Park. The number of visitors allowed in the park at any given time is limited to 460, so it's also known as a place where the Who's Who go for peace and privacy. (Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardim vacay'd there to work on their pre-awards season tan)

pousada maravilha

noronha at sunset

*last three images by Alex Robinson

Or heading south, to Florianopolis, a place that promises the allure of an old-world city along with stunning beaches.

downtown florianopolis by meurer

Yes, we have lots of ground to cover yet in this vast Country. Wishing you all a warm weekend!