alcãntara, maranhão

Alcântara – which Atlas and I toured one day, after a 90 minute catamaran sail from São Luis – is one of the most curious enigmas (of many) in Brazil.  Like the country, it contains both the very old and the very (even overly) new. “Alcântara, built with the sugar […]

the rivers amazon run dry: a book review

The Rivers Amazon by Alex Shoumatoff My rating: 3 of 5 stars I came to the author’s second published work well-disposed. He married a beautiful Brazilian woman, as did I, and I had already read and enjoyed his The Capital of Hope, on the Phoenix-like creation of Brasília in an […]

são luis, maranhão

São Luis, MA (Maranhão), is located on Brazil’s remote northern coast.  The roads are so poor for most of the northern coast that tourists never drive there, only fly. After the slow and rocky ferry crossing, Atlas and I arrived past nine o’clock and still found ourselves eighteen kilometers from […]

afro-brazilian candomblé

Chapter 19 of To Belém & Back describes a fascinating encounter one night in a remote part of the Amazon. While no batuque was currently planned, Dona Fatima implied that it was for lack of “materials,” the righting of which could motivate a gathering that very night. So I immediately […]

marajó island 2

“It was high time to take Atlas on another adventure, something on the order of Bananal Island, and it didn’t take long to settle on just such an opportunity, another isle no less.  Belém sits across from Isla de Marajó, the largest delta island in the world, bigger than Switzerland. […]

disneyland of art, takes 1-2

Inhotim, a major contemporary art complex in the midst of extensive botanic gardens, is less than an hour from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. Here are shots previously unpublished, from 2013-2015 when taking photographs was not yet encouraged in the galleries.  Inhotim is a wonder to behold, alone […]


As I tease the reader at book’s start: “Belém, a decaying colonial city at the mouth of the monstrous Amazon River, the capital of Pará, and one of Brazil’s oldest ports. I like places that time has passed by, for no better reason than I identify with them.” [To Belém […]

how lost can a gringo get? talk in nyc

Over 40 enthusiastic participants attended author Ben Batchelder’s free-wheeling presentation in mid-town Manhattan.  Hosted by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce and Earthdog Press, the registration rate was so strong that no follow-up canvassing occurred, as the event was already reaching capacity. [Photo credits, kindness of Ruthe Phillips] The subject, “How […]

NYC talk on How lost can a gringo get?

  You’re cordially invited to a talk that Brazilianist Ben Batchelder is giving in mid-town Manhattan on Thursday, April 25th, starting at 6pm. It will be a multimedia presentation on how lost a gringo can get in Brazil’s vast and remote interiors. You don’t have to be a confirmed Brazil […]

“To Belém & Back” reading in são paulo

The author’s first book reading in a foreign country was a success in São Paulo, Brazil. The book, To Belém & Back, about a long trip into Brazil’s backlands, was launched in São Paulo in 2015. As a book reading necessitates using much English, the event was generously attended, with […]