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Where to Shop in St. Paul, Minnesota

Baskets of honeycrisp apples for sale at the St. Paul Farmers Market.
Honeycrisps for sale at the St. Paul Farmers Market. Photo © urbanfoodie33, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Travel map of St. Paul Minnesota, West of Downtown
St. Paul West of Downtown
Grand Avenue is the city’s most interesting shopping district. Most of the action is at the intersection of Grand and Victoria, but put on your walking shoes, because you’ve got two or three good miles of shopping to do. Although the occasional chain pops up (J. Crew has been here for years), mostly you’ll find well-established, creative local shops, like the delicious Cooks of Crocus Hill (877 Grand Ave., 651/228-1333, 10am-9pm Mon.- Fri., 10am-7pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), a must for home cooks.

Vintage buffs will find some quality antiques shops downtown along West 7th Street.

The covered open-air St. Paul Farmers’ Market (290 5th St. E., 651/227-8101, 6am-1pm Sat., 8am-1pm Sun. Apr.-Nov., plus some winter Sats.) in Lowertown has been operating since 1853. Most days there is live music 9am-noon.

Minnesota’s own hometown storyteller, Garrison Keillor, owns Common Good Books (8 Snelling Ave. S., 651/225-8989, 9am-9 pm. Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.).

The Red Balloon Bookshop (891 Grand Ave., 651/224-8320, 10am-8pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) is a wonderful children’s shop.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Minnesota.

In Conversation with Nicholas Mennuti and Alan Glynn

Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti and David GuggenheimThe wide-ranging conversation below between Nicholas Mennuti, one of the authors of Weaponized, and Alan Glynn, whose novel The Dark Fields was adapted for the film Limitless, covers such topics as globalization, espionage fiction, Cambodia, literary influences, and film influences—a veritable “arterial spray” of allusions (their words, not ours!). You’ll definitely want to make time to dive into this fascinating exchange.

Alan Glynn: Nick, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Weaponized and was struck by several things in it. One is the fact that it is packed—action-packed and packed with ideas, which is pretty unusual, I think, and unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory. The highest compliment I can pay it is to say that the book feels like North by Northwest meets Apocalypse Now. Anyone who reads the book will know immediately what I mean: the Cambodian setting, the existential end-of-American-empire angst, the assuming and trading of identities, the espionage, the cat-and-mousing around, the playfulness, the darkness, the betrayals, the reversals, the fun and the horror (x2). Perhaps those movie references betray my age, because the thing is Weaponized is also bang up-to-date in its concerns. In a way, it’s like a primer on globalization. You leave nothing out: resource wars, pipelines, corporations, big data-driven surveillance, private security firms, the outsourcing land grab, the Chinese, the Russians, and you also debate, or pose questions about, the individual’s place and responsibility in all of this. But despite packing these themes into the novel, you don’t ram them down the reader’s throat—it’s not a didactic or polemical book. Instead, you deflect and entertain with car chases and explosions, with tense checkpoint confrontations and with the occasional spurting artery. I suppose my first question is, how important was this balance for you, and how conscious were you during the writing process of trying to strike it?

Nicholas Mennuti: First off, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book. Means a ton coming from you. I’ve been “borrowing/inspired” by you for a while. That’s one of those jokes-not jokes.

Your question is kind of a bouillabaisse of interesting things to talk about, so if I get a bit circular I hope that’s okay.

I’m kind of an espionage thriller binger and had come to the conclusion that the model hadn’t really changed in years. You either had the sort of fussy-frilly Le Carré model (that of course started with Greene and Buchan) that Olen Steinhauer, Jeremy Duns, David Ignatius, and Charles Cumming have dragged into the 21st century. Or you get the military-jingoistic version of it with Brad Thor, Andy McNab, Lee Child. And I just felt neither of these styles felt like the right way to deal with the chaos of the 21st century.

The world had changed, but espionage fiction still felt very 1989. All of those authors (many of whom I do like) still seemed locked into talking about a world that has kind of ceased to exist. A unipolar world that one man can save from destruction. So I really wanted to talk about topics/places that I felt were being underserved/underutilized by contemporary espionage fiction. Which of course leads you into privatized spying and the third-world. Now, that’s all analytical, and I probably became more aware of that as I went through writing/editing the book. But this desire to break the paradigm was there all along.

Jack Nicholson in The PassengerBut where Weaponized really started was with my enduring obsession with Antonioni’s The Passenger. Do you know that one? It’s with Jack Nicholson. It’s all about identity switching and existential ennui in the guise of a thriller. Only problem is that it’s Antonioni—who had no interest in making a thriller. So I started thinking: what if you made an actual thriller out of this art-movie?

North by Northwest and Apocalypse Now have been obsessions of mine since I was a teenager, so they’re just part of my creative DNA at this point. I’m sure they’re going to be present in whatever I write. If I were writing a romantic comedy, I’m sure there’d be at least one spy and one third-world setting.

Apocalypse Now in particular fascinated me. It reminded me of Graham Greene’s fiction in that the topography of the novel seemed like the perfect literal manifestation of the lead character’s interior. With Apocalypse, I’ve never been sure whether Vietnam looked that crazy, or if it just looked that crazy to Martin Sheen. And that subjectivity runs through Weaponized. I wanted people to feel Cambodia through Kyle. Just like how you feel Vietnam through Willard. That’s also something you got a lot of mileage out of in Dark Fields (Limitless). Just how subjective/expressionistic can I get with this narrator without pulling this out of genre territory. Would you agree?

And what both North by Northwest and Apocalypse Now have in common is that they’re genre movies of the highest order that managed to pack a ton of subtext into the genre without weighing it down.

I mean I could write a page just on how fascinating it is in North by Northwest that Cary Grant’s middle initial “O” literally stands for NOTHING. It’s zero as a place-holder. Is that why he could be mistaken for Kaplan on a metaphysical level in the first place—there’s no one there to start with. It’s no mistake I think that Hitchcock had him working in advertising.

In terms of what I’ll refer to “ideas balanced with mayhem,” I was definitely conscious of it. I wasn’t interested in writing a deconstructivist thriller, where I hollow out all the genre gambits, and turn it into a formal-polemicist kind of thing. The Europeans do that really well, but I don’t.

I set a rule for myself early on that any ideas, either political or philosophical, have to come out of a character, or be on the action line. For example, if I want to talk about French colonialism, it’s going to be during a chase scene at Robinson’s hotel. Or if I want to talk about Russian oligarchy, it’s going to be in a scene where Kyle’s got to pick up a gun.

I have a lot of love for the genre, particularly when it’s really working, so I wanted (and David Guggenheim was so crucial in helping me getting a frame for it) to make sure the book worked as a thriller first, and then go about layering this other stuff in. That said, even before we had the story I knew I wanted Weaponized to feel like the 21st century: fractured, neon, lonely, and set in a series of geographical non-places. I wanted to write a thriller that didn’t feel embalmed. Continue reading “In Conversation with Nicholas Mennuti and Alan Glynn”

Now On Sale: Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti with David Guggenheim

Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti with David GuggenheimThe white-hot suspense novel of the summer is now available on bookshelves around the country: Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti with David Guggenheim. We’ve shared with you the book’s raves from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, but as readers finally pick up their copies of the book, the response is no less effusive. A few of our favorites from Goodreads:

And we have a special treat for those readers who are quickest to pick up and read Weaponized: author Nicholas Mennuti is answering all questions and comments about the book on Goodreads until August 6th. Come join us in this digital book club! We’ll keep an eye out for you.

Sacramento’s People Power: A Day in California’s State Capital

Roses bloom in the foreground as the domed center of the capitol building rises up in the distance.
California State Capitol Building. Photo © John Painting/123rf.

As California’s capital, Sacramento is where the buck stops. Politicians representing 37 million people meet inside the city’s sparkling State Capitol building, where they haggle and twist arms over everything from taxes to high-speed railway projects. Just like any state capital, Sacramento has plenty of intrigue and drama. California’s politics can be dysfunctional and are hardly ever boring. The city has a long and colorful history of characters who ruled the statehouse throughout the decades, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, and the man they used to call “Moonbeam”—current governor Jerry Brown.

The best part about Sacramento’s political scene is that visitors can watch the legislative fireworks unfold. Unlike stuffy Washington DC, where lawmakers seem more distant and removed, politicos in Sactown often venture outside for a bite or a drink in one of the city’s many downtown bistros. During the week, you can even see lawmakers wandering about the Capitol’s halls of power on their way to committee hearings or important votes.


Watch Democracy Happen

The jewel of Sacramento’s political culture is the California State Capitol (10th and L Streets, 916/324-0333, 8am–5pm Mon.–Fri., 9am–5pm Sat.–Sun., free). The gleaming white dome was modeled after the US Capitol in Washington DC. If the 80 assembly members or the 40 state senators are in session, head inside and take the beautifully ornate elevators upstairs to either the Assembly or Senate galleries to watch them feverishly debate policy. Just make sure to keep a lid on it: there’s no talking or yelling while lawmakers have the floor!


Go Back in Time

After watching the legislature debate, head downstairs to the State Capitol Museum (Room B-27, first floor of the State Capitol, 8am–5pm Mon.–Fri., 9am–5pm Sat.–Sun., free). The museum is the curator of the domed building’s history. Exhibits include portraits depicting past governors and 12 jaw-dropping murals that once graced the Capitol Rotunda. Visitors can also check out several historic rooms from the building’s past that are no longer used by state officials, and have been restored to their turn-of-the-century glory. Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, you can take a guided tour from the museum office to really explore the Capitol’s historic treasures.


Walk the Halls of Power

Got a bone to pick with your state representative? Head to the east side of the Capitol building, rubbing elbows with lobbyists and legislative aides as you stroll past hushed committee rooms, and look up a member of the legislature. Take the elevators outside the governor’s office to reach their offices. Granted, your representative is probably pretty busy (so don’t make a scene), but he or she just might be around the office. Legislative sessions usually take a break sometime in the middle of the day, and that’s your best bet to catch lawmakers.


Starving for Justice

Democracy makes people hungry. The State Capitol is frequently a hot destination for political rallies on either the north or west steps of the building, and all those protestors have to eat sometime. Luckily, downtown Sacramento has plenty of foodie options. Keep your eyes peeled for food trucks—the wicked ‘wich serves sandwiches like the Broderick BLT, made with locally baked bread and ingredients like braised applewood bacon, fried pickled green tomatoes, and spicy blue cheese aioli. Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen is another famous Sactown food truck, serving mouthwatering grub like the Mustang sandwich (Korean braised beef, house-made kimchi, Havarti, shredded daikon, and wasabi) or hot dogs wrapped in bacon.


Get Inspired

Stroll over to the California Museum (1020 O Street, 916/653-7524, 10am–5pm Tues.–Sat., 12pm–5pm Sun., adults $8.50, students and seniors $7, youths $6, children free) and check out the six-story Constitution Wall. Words and phrases from the California Constitution have been carved into the wall, chosen to inspire visitors to consider the freedoms declared by the document. The multi-colored wall is embedded with metal oxides that change color over time.


Park Your Protest

Retrace the steps of California’s most well-known civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez, at Southside Park (2115 6th St., 916/264-7090). Chavez led a famous 260-mile march in 1966 through California’s Central Valley to Sacramento to demand labor rights for migrant workers. Take a moment and check out the park amphitheater’s beautiful mural painted by local Chicano artists in honor of the march.


Maps - Northern California 7e - Downtown Sacramento
Downtown Sacramento

Driving in Brazil: Pros and Cons

Cars wait in bumper to bumper traffic on a city street.
Traffic in São Paulo. Photo © Kate Webster, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Driving in Brazil is not for the faint of heart. Brazilians have a love affair with speeding and are hardly sticklers for following the rules of the road. As the economy has improved in recent years, more and more people have purchased cars, which means traffic in major cities is increasingly congested, and not just in Rio and São Paulo, whose traffic jams are nightmarish. In the Northeast and the North in particular, the state of the roads can be dismal once you get out of the major cities, although main coastal highways are kept in good shape. Until recently, drunk driving was a major problem. However, in July 2008, Brazil’s lamentable record for having one of the highest vehicle accident death tolls caused the government to enact the law of Zero Tolerance. This has resulted in police-organized blitzes around the country. Drivers are stopped arbitrarily and must take a Breathalyzer test. If even the slightest amount of alcohol is detected, you’re looking at a R$955 fine and a suspension from driving for one year. In reality, however, these “blitzes” are only a partial deterrent; it’s best to be on your guard when driving back from a long day at the beach (where it’s a Brazilian tradition to knock back more than a few).

[pullquote align=”right”]If you want to visit natural attractions around big cities, a car gives you much more freedom to hit off-the-beaten-track destinations where buses don’t go (if they do, it’s likely they’ll make 200 local stops or the one daily departure is at 5am).[/pullquote]There are instances when a car is a definite plus in Brazil. If you want to visit natural attractions around big cities, a car gives you much more freedom to hit off-the-beaten-track destinations where buses don’t go (if they do, it’s likely they’ll make 200 local stops or the one daily departure is at 5am). Also, for beach or waterfall hopping, cars can come in very handy since you can hit secluded coves and cascades not accessible by bus. Avoid traveling on big holiday weekends when traffic is guaranteed to be atrocious. Also avoid driving at night. Outside of major cities, roads are poorly lit and speed bumps and potholes are common. Another problem is the number of cargo trucks on highways, especially unpaved and two-lane routes. It’s not uncommon for drivers on long hauls to be sleep deprived or amped up on amphetamines. In more isolated regions, there is also the risk of highway robbery.

If you have kids, a car is close to essential for reasons ranging from comfort and practicality to safety, not to mention the ease with which you can go on family outings and holidays. With or without children, cars also come in handy at night when public transportation options dwindle and security is more of an issue. That said, even night driving in major cities has its risks. It’s best to stick to main streets and be careful of veering off into unknown neighborhoods. Also be careful when stopping at traffic lights to keep windows rolled up. Some cities, such as São Paulo, have even passed legislation for drivers to merely slow down at red lights, but they are not obliged to stop—on account of the risk of holdups and carjackings.

Coupled with the challenges of driving are the challenges of parking. Aside from shopping centers and other main commercial and recreational venues, parking lots are rare in Brazilian cities. The upshot is driving around and looking for a spot in the street. Whether or not you need help finding a space (and navigating your car into it), you’ll usually have the assistance of an informal parking attendant known as a flanelinha. Aside from helping you back in and out, he’ll promise to watch over your car as well. Regardless of whether he does or not, it’s customary to “tip” him a couple of reais (this could be more depending on the city or neighborhood) since he makes his living this way. Many flanelinhas aggressively make you feel payment is obligatory and will demand a certain price; if very high or if you’re only stopping for a short time, feel free to point this out. However, know that if you don’t give something (upon your return; don’t pay up front), you risk finding a scratch, or worse, on your car. Despite the fact that attendants also claim they’ll “watch over” your car to prevent theft, never leave any valuables in your vehicle, even in the trunk.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Brazil.

Important Housing Considerations in Brazil

Clouds scatter across the sky above Sao Paulo's clustered cityscape.
São Paulo cityscape © Veebruar, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Regardless of whether you plan to rent or buy a home, the issue of housing is a complex one for those planning a move to Brazil. This is because many factors that wouldn’t necessarily come into play in North America, or would be minor considerations, are major issues in Brazil.

[pullquote align=”right”]On a more macro scale, when choosing a potential neighborhood to live in, you’ll need to do some research into possible dangers and safety issues.[/pullquote]Security, for instance, is a massive issue. For this reason, some expats—like many middle- to upper-class Brazilians—opt to live in closed condominium complexes, not just in urban and suburban centers, but even in smaller towns and coastal areas. Electric fences, 24-hour guards, security cameras, alarm systems, and indoor garages, not to mention windows with bars (grades) so that thieves can’t scale walls and break into houses or apartments, are all amenities that Brazilians consider when renting or buying a home. Unfortunately, you’ll need to consider some or all of them as well.

On a more macro scale, when choosing a potential neighborhood to live in, you’ll need to do some research into possible dangers and safety issues. Even the most upscale urban neighborhoods fall prey to crime; after all, thieves know very well that that’s where all the spoils are located. Without becoming paranoid, it’s important to be aware of vulnerable areas. In many cases, safety issues will narrow down your choice of housing options considerably.

Another major consideration is the elements. While a bonus of living in tropical Brazil is the abundance of natural light that ensures you’ll never suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), you have to keep in mind that the closer you are to the Equator, the more brutal the effects of the sun’s rays. Lots of direct sun exposure can wreak havoc on objects and furniture, bleaching colors, fading photos and book jackets, and weakening fabrics. Depending on what time of day the sun hits, it can also turn your home into a miniature furnace. For this reason, many apartments, particularly in the Northeast, advertise themselves as nascente (rising) and poente (setting); these terms refer to the periods when the sun will cast its light and heat within your space. In general nascente apartments are cooler (since the rising sun is weaker), but if your bedroom is nascente, you’ll need to invest in serious black-out curtains. Poente means you may be treated to a magnificent sunset (if the horizon is unobstructed), but in the hours leading up to this spectacle, rooms facing the sun will heat up like ovens.

On the other hand, some direct sunlight is useful to combat humidity and moisture and to ensure freshly washed clothes get dry (driers are rare in Brazil). In tropical regions of Brazil, particularly along the coastline, it can get very humid, especially during the rainy season. As a result, you’ll find yourself battling enemies such as mold, mildew, and rust, which will attack everything from clothes and shoes to your favorite photographs. Living near the ocean complicates things even further because you’ll be subject to maresia. A common term in coastal areas, maresia refers to the oxidization caused by sea (mar) water that leads to gradual corrosion of all metallic objects. Over time, it can wreak havoc on computers, sound systems, and other types of electrical equipment and appliances.


Renting vs. Buying

Only a few years ago, back when the exchange rate was very favorable for North Americans and Europeans and before Brazil’s economic boom kicked in, buying real estate in Brazil was an amazingly good deal and buying land was incredibly cheap. Those days, however, are gone.

In 2011, the Brazilian real was considered the most overvalued currency on the planet (it has since fallen somewhat; from R$1.6:US$1 in 2011 to R$2:US$1 in early 2013). However, a combination of political and economic stability, rising incomes and purchasing power, an emerging middle class eager to buy, and the unprecedented availability of credit have all resulted in a booming construction segment and skyrocketing real estate markets throughout Brazil. Between February 2011 and 2012, the average asking price for apartments in Brazil increased by 24.8 percent according to the FIP ZAP Index of dwelling price offers. During the same time period rents in São Paulo and Rio rose by 12.6 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively.

The upshot is that both purchasing prices and rents for new and used apartments are both much more expensive than they were five years ago. That said, buying prices have actually soared higher than rents; between 2008 and 2012, average real estate prices in Brazil jumped by 129.5 percent while average rents only rose by 68.4 percent. Although, in 2012, Brazil’s economic slow down has seen prices soften a little, experts feel that values will not only continue to rise but to overheat. Some even predict the creation of a housing bubble that, at some point in the future, could burst. As such, these days most specialists concur that it makes more economic sense to rent than to buy.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Brazil.

Brazilian Portuguese

A glowing sign with the Metro logo and station stops shines white on black.
Sign in Rio’s Metro. Photo © Rodrigo Galindez licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Those who come to Brazil with a knowledge of Portuguese from Portugal will have a much easier time in terms of communication but will also run into trouble. The differences between Portuguese from Brazil vs. Portuguese from Portugal are perhaps more acute than those between American and British English, particularly when it comes to the spoken version. Vowel and consonant sounds in Portuguese from Portugal are often distorted beyond easy recognition (even many Brazilians have difficulty understanding the Portuguese spoken by their linguistic forefathers). [pullquote align=”right”]During its five centuries in the New World, Brazilian Portuguese has incorporated hundreds of words from other idioms.[/pullquote]In contrast, Brazilian Portuguese is pretty much pronounced as it is written (a blessing for those trying to master it as a second language). Portuguese grammar and most of the spelling is the same in both nations, but usage and expressions can vary (for instance, in Brazil a train is a trem while in Portugal it’s a comboio).

During its five centuries in the New World, Brazilian Portuguese has incorporated hundreds of words from other idioms. In the first century of Brazil’s colonial history, many newcomers adopted expressions and even spoke indigenous languages quite fluently. To this day, many place names (Ipanema, Paraíba) and names of animals (tucano [toucan]), plants (mandioca [manioc]), and fruits (abacaxi [pineapple]) are of Tupi-Guarani origin. With the proliferation of sugar cane plantations followed by the gold and diamond rushes of the 18th century, millions of Africans were brought to Brazil as slaves. They too left an important linguistic legacy. Many expressions related to specific Brazilian foods (moqueca, quindim), music (samba, maxixe), and religion (macumba, orixá)—many of Yoruba or Ewe origin—have entered the vernacular as have terms such as cafuné (caress) and moleque (brat).

In more recent times, words from other European languages entered the vernacular, specifically French and English. Terms such as metrô (subway), abajur (lamp), chique (chic) all hail from French. Meanwhile, the global influence of English in spheres such as business (commodities, layout, marketing, freelance) and technology (app, Internet, email, modem), not to mention pop culture (skinhead, junkie, vibe), has seen a growing number of English expressions infiltrate contemporary Brazilian Portuguese. The tricky thing is recognizing these homegrown idioms in their Brazilian guises: When pronounced by Brazilians, terms such as “nerd”—pronounced “nairdjee”—will often leave you scratching your head and scouring through your Portuguese dictionary in vain.

Considering the size of the country, Brazilian Portuguese is surprisingly uniform. It helps that no matter where you are, the dominant media (initially radio and today television) beamed across the land features standardized accents and vocabulary of the Southeast. Nevertheless, regionalisms abound in terms of idiomatic expressions, slang, and accents. Some of the most pronounced (and colorful) regional “dialects” are Carioca (from the city of Rio de Janeiro), Baiano (Bahia), Mineiro (central and northern Minas Gerais), Gaúcho (Rio Grande do Sul), and Caipira (interior of São Paulo, northern Paraná, southern Minas Gerais, Goiás, parts of Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso de Sul). Although initially you might not be attuned to the differences, Brazilians themselves derive great mirth from imitating and gently making fun of each other’s accents and expressions.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Brazil.

The Basics of Work Visas in Brazil

Cityscape of Rio's Centro clustered with skyscrapers.
Rio de Janeiro’s financial district. Photo © Rodrigo Soldon, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

If you’re going to be doing any kind of work at all in Brazil—either paid or volunteer, with or without a contract—or you are participating in any type of training, internship, or residency program, you need to have a work visa.

In order to obtain a work visa, an application has to be sent to the local Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego (Ministry of Labor and Employment) by the Brazilian company—or the foreign company’s affiliate based in Brazil—that wishes to employ you. Different visas are available depending on your situation and the work you plan to do.

Permanent visas (valid five years) are available for company administrators and for those who plan to invest in a Brazilian business as well as scientists, professors, and researchers. Temporary visas are available for skilled workers who can prove that no Brazilian citizen can perform their duties. Valid for two years, they can be renewed for another two years. Such visas are often issued to people hired by Brazil-based affiliates of foreign companies, but they are also available to similarly qualified individuals who want to work as independent contractors on specific projects (usually for Brazilian companies).

To find out about requirements relative to your specific activity, consult the online procedure guide published by the Ministry of Labor.

Once the Ministry of Labor has approved your application—deliberation could take a month, provided you have all your documents in order—it is sent to the Ministry of External Affairs, which will authorize the consulate to begin processing the visa itself. Aside from filling out the online application form, you need proof of residency in the consulate’s jurisdiction for more than one year and a certificate from your city police department showing you have no criminal record.

Applicants who don’t have a work contract or who aren’t employees of a business based in Brazil—for example, those doing volunteer work—need to provide further documentation, including proof of health insurance that is valid in Brazil and a letter of invitation from the Brazilian organization where you’ll be working or volunteering that attests to its legitimacy and outlines your duties.

The bureaucracy involved in obtaining a work visa is notorious. In response to the scarcity of qualified labor in Brazil and the recent flux of foreigners seeking to fill positions, efforts have been made to speed up and streamline the process, but it’s still a fairly long and drawn-out affair. When applying, you basically have to prove why no Brazilian can do the job that you are being hired to do. This is much easier if you’re an engineer, scientist, tech expert, or are angling for a job in the booming oil, mining, or IT industries.

In many cases, the company that is hiring or transferring you will have immigration lawyers or specialists on hand that will deal with the visa process for you as well as for your family. A work visa allows spouses and dependents to legally reside in Brazil, but does not allow them to work. In order for a spouse to work in Brazil, he or she would need to get his or her own work visa or become a permanent resident of Brazil.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Brazil.

The Virgin Islands’ Historical Past: Sunken Ships and Plantations

View of a stone wall left standing free with arched windows.
Arched stone windows on the wall of what was once the cooling room at the Annaberg Sugar Mill. Photo © Roy Montgomery, licensed Creative Commons Attribution

The Virgin Islands’ astounding beauty has long overshadowed their unique history—at least in the eyes of most visitors. But for people interested in learning about the islands’ fascinating past, there is plenty to see and do. St. Croix is the best base for historical and cultural exploration.

St. Thomas

Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a pleasant jumble of historic buildings, cobbled alleyways, and converted sugar warehouses. Explore King’s Quarter: climb 99 Steps to Blackbeard’s Castle. Admire Fort Christian, a red-brick fortress on the St. Thomas waterfront, and visit the St. Thomas Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. Take a kayak tour to Hassel Island to tour old forts and the remains of a fascinating marine railroad.

St. John

Annaberg Plantation, deep within the Virgin Islands National Park, is a quiet reminder of St. John’s plantation past. The petroglyphs in Reef Bay were carved by the hands of prehistoric residents of St. John; learn more about them at the archaeology lab at Cinnamon Bay.

St. Croix

Christiansted is an exquisite Danish colonial harbor town. Tour Fort Christiansvaern, a yellow fortress on the waterfront, and admire the lovely St. Croix Government House. Search for the place where U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was raised, and learn about the pre-Columbian peoples at the St. Croix Archaeology Museum.

See Salt River Bay, where Christopher Columbus landed during his second voyage to the Caribbean, and then take a guided hike to Maroon Ridge, where escaped slaves lived in the remote hills before emancipation.

In the countryside, count the number of windmill ruins you can spot and tour an elegant restored great house at Whim Plantation Museum. Head to the foothills of the rainforest to see a St. Croix–style farmhouse at the Lawaetz Family Museum. Stand beneath a baobab tree, planted by slaves at Estate Butler Bay.

In St. Croix’s second city, Frederiksted, you will find its most picturesque fort, the red-brick Fort Frederik. Fort Frederik Museum recounts the story of St. Croix’s successful slave uprising, which culminated here.

Tortola

In Road Town, three museums tell of the BVI’s history: Old Government House Museum is a monument to its colonial past, while the Virgin Islands Folk Museum and the Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum celebrate the culture and accomplishments of native Virgin Islanders.

On an island tour, drive past the Fahie Hill Mural, which depicts life on the island before widespread development.

Breathe the rum-soaked air at Callwood Rum Distillery, where little has changed in the manufacture of rum in more than 200 years. Take a picnic lunch to Mount Healthy National Park, the site of Tortola’s only remaining windmill ruin.

Virgin Gorda

Drive out to Coppermine Point to see the ruins of a mining operation built by Cornish miners.

Salt Island

Dive the wreck of the RMS Rhone off the coast of Salt Island. Come ashore at Salt Island to see what remains of a traditional island settlement and to visit the windswept burial ground of the Rhone victims.

Anegada

See a collection of coins, tools, crockery, and other remnants of ships wrecked on Anegada’s treacherous reef at Pomato Point Museum.


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Virgin Islands.

Won’t You Like Us?

Facebook LikeFacebook: Mulholland Books is on it. But if you follow us on this site, or even on Twitter or Tumblr, you might ask yourself, “Why should I also like your Facebook page?” Here are three reasons:

1. Often we give away books there.
Probably the #1 reason to like us on Facebook is that we’re frequently hosting sweepstakes to give away our latest titles—sometimes well before they’re available in bookstores. If you’re a mystery fan, and especially if you’re a fan of being ahead of the curve, you’ll want to like our page to receive updates about our new giveaways, many of which are only open to fans of our page.

2. Often we reveal excerpts there.
Our genius IT team has developed a way for us to showcase exclusive excerpts on our Facebook page, available only to our fans. This is a great way for you to sample our books before committing to them, and the excerpts are quite ample—often the first few chapters of a book. Right now we’re showcasing the first nine chapters of Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti and David Guggenheim.

3. Sometimes we reveal covers there.
We’ve all wasted too much time looking at photos on Facebook. However, it’s justified when those photos are the first look at the cover of Charlie Huston’s or Joe Lansdale’s new book. Be sure to like our page to see new covers and leave a comment telling us what you think!

If you’re a fan of Mulholland Books in real life, make it official on the internet: head over our Facebook page, like us, leave us a message, and share us with your friends.

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