Opinion – Zeca Camargo: Guide for clueless presidents


Do you recommend any new restaurants in Paris? Where can I buy different wines in Lisbon? What is the best acarajé in Salvador? And a good department store in Bangkok?

Answering questions like this is part of my traveler routine, or, to use a more contemporary expression, “traveler influencer”. In tourism, the tutorial is still highly respected and word-of-mouth is worth more than a color advertisement.

I’m often asked about tips like the ones I’ve listed above, and even more unexpected things. Best vegetarian food in Buenos Aires, for example? I love being helpful like this!

I often give advice without even being asked. The other day, I heard someone at a dinner point out Punta del Este to a young South African traveler with an appetite for Latin America.

I immediately joined in the conversation and said that the Uruguayan beach, in fact stupendous, doesn’t reach the foot of the Atacama Desert in Chile, especially for a young adventurer in his mid-twenties.

My hunch, albeit a bit nosy, was welcome, and perhaps it inspired me to write this column for today, dedicated to giving tips to presidents who want to impress with photos on trips abroad.

The following advice is not intended to influence our current ruler, whose recent appointments have brought nothing but embarrassment, but with a little luck, who knows, maybe future clueless leaders aren’t taking note?

To inspire hope in our civilization, few places are as strong (and photogenic) as the Place des Rights des Men, in Trocadero, Paris. And, as a bonus, there is the view of the Eiffel Tower.

Not far from there, a photo on the Human Rights Walk in Nuremberg, Germany, beautiful and solemn, also looks great. And, in the same country, the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin disorients and absorbs us with its ability to make us think about the stupidity of a war, especially when it is driven by religious persecution.

In India, a quick pass through the Raj Ghat is recommended. Far from being a Taj Mahal, the simple marble on which an eternal flame rests holds the ashes of a certain Mahatma Gandhi. But the atmosphere that embraces the modest monument is one of respect and devotion.

There is, “over there” in Dhaka, Blangadesh, a curious landmark, the Shaheed Minar, which honors students killed in a protest for the right to speak their native language, Bengali. And, in Hiroshima, Japan, a photo in front of Domo Gembaku reminds us, with dignity and shame, of the horrors of the atomic bomb.

It would also be interesting to record a visit to the Apartheid Museum, in Johannesburg, South Africa, preferably in front of the doors that announce who can enter through them: white or non-white.

Ah! And a selfie in front of the panel with the victims of the Chilean dictatorship at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, in Santiago, would close this collection of souvenirs well.

But it occurs to me now that not all leaders, especially the most hollow and disconnected from their responsibility to a people, are worthy to visit these places. If you belong to this group, please disregard my recommendations.

In this case, I can suggest perhaps a fantastic sunset in Jericoacara, in our beautiful Ceará, in an attempt to reconnect with nature. If even that doesn’t work, however, go your ignorant way.

Here, we follow a learning path. Because travel is good for that too: to remember our mistakes and transform ourselves into better human beings.


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