Tropical Ecstasy

A Nostalgia Trip to Brazil

Non-Fiction - Travel
282 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2020
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Author Biography

Norman Weeks and Brazil
During the 1960s, many in Washington feared a spread of Castro Communism throughout Latin America. The Northeast of Brazil was identified as one of the most vulnerable regions. USAID and the Peace Corps directed development efforts there in an attempt to forestall Castro-fomented insurgency.

Meanwhile, Norman Weeks, just graduated from the university, was looking for foreign adventures of his own. He signed up for the Peace Corps, was sent to the state of Alagoas in the Northeast of Brazil, and proceeded to wage the peace.

When Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia, however, Castro expansionism lost its generalissimo. Determining that the Alagoas locals were not receptive to revolution, anyway, Norman Weeks settled in and succumbed to tropical ecstasy.

Alagoas, Brazil, may be described as a hardship post. When Norman Weeks reported there for duty, there were nearly forty Peace Corps volunteers in Alagoas; a year-and-a-half later, he was alone. Norman Weeks was the last Peace Corps volunteer to serve in Alagoas.

Through subsequent years of wide-ranging travel, he kept contact with Brazil and Brazilians. He participated in training programs for Rotary exchange groups between Brazil and the United States, taught Brazilian Portuguese for Berlitz, and has written feature articles for brazzil magazine.

Like all ex-Peace Corps volunteers, Norman Weeks knows the territory, the language, the culture, and the people. Even so, a return trip to Brazil after twenty-five years of absence would test his hardiness and adaptability once again.

Tropical Ecstasy, 5 stars from Readers' Favorite!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Tropical Ecstasy: A Nostalgia Trip to Brazil by Norman Weeks is a non-fiction travel book that details the return of the author after an absence of twenty-five years to his old haunts in Brazil. An ex-Peace Corps volunteer from the US, Norman Weeks retraces his unforgettable journey to this huge South American country to take a second look at a place he has known quite well. As such, this is not a tourist's view but that of someone who has already been immersed in its culture, known its people, and spoken its language. The result is a second impression, laced with previous knowledge and peppered with fond and not so fond memories. From a cruise to the famed Amazon, hikes in its jungle, a stop in Manaus, Pernambuco, and Olinda, and finally, to the little-known town of Penedo where he used to live before, Tropical Ecstasy entertains and informs.

Norman Weeks's Tropical Ecstasy: A Nostalgia Trip to Brazil is actually a month-long sentimental journey of a self-proclaimed vagabond. The story's charm lies in the fact that the author is no stranger to the place so his impression is from a unique perspective and his creative writing style is compelling, bordering on the humorous and the nostalgic. Describing the Amazon forest in vivid details, readers might as well be taking the trip themselves accompanied by a guide that sees its beauty and grandeur through local eyes. Upon disengagement from his nostalgic trip and return to Chicago, the author is in a state of culture shock, and so are we. That's how it feels after a trip to beautiful and mesmerizing Brazil!