Sunday, November 15, 2009

Part(1)ing Thoughts: Brazil

  • I may have mentioned this before, but just to recap: I LOVE LOVE LOVE Brazil!!!
  • I´ll be heading back for Carnaval in February, but I wanted to get down some of my feelings on Brazil thusfar:
  • I think everyone should visit Brazil at least once in their lives.
  • Brazilians are AMAZING. So warm, so friendly, so kind, and happy and FUN!
  • Brazilian Portugeuse is gorgeous. It sounds like singing. The language is literally spoken melodically, which is lovely. But it´s hard to understand, and learn, and read. A "d" is pronounced like a "j"... sometimes. A "t" is pronounced like a "ch"... sometimes. An "r" is pronounced like an "h"... sometimes. Other times it´s rolled, or it can also be pronounced like an English "r"... You get the point.
  • Brazilians love to dance. And BOY, can they dance!!! I have never seen so many men and women with so much rhythm in my life! Samba is huge there, and it´s SO MUCH FUN!!! I picked it up quite easliy, and spent many a night dancing and delighting until the wee hours.
  • Brazil is HUMONGOUS. It takes ages to get around, and there´s so much to see! So much variety, so much beauty, so much nature, so many options!
  • The Amazon is inconceivably massive, and has loads of bugs. I left covered in bites of all sizes, shapes, and varieties. It´s pretty gross. Avoid if squeamish.
  • There are dolphins in the Amazon River and it´s tributaries!!! Grey ones and big pink ones! They´re so cute, and so playful!
  • There´s no such thing as a "Brazilian look". The people here are so mixed, and it´s gorgeous. But I did find that the stereotype of bootyliciousness is warranted, for the most part. And the women here love themselves. It´s such a healthy way to be. No ridiculous eating disorders or crazy gym freaks. Just women comfortabe in their natural shapes. The rest of the world really should learn from them.
  • People sleep in hammocks all the time. They´re really fun to sleep in! The secret is to lie diagonally. Ta da!
  • Traditional Brazilian breakfast (which most of the hostels provide for free) consists of rolls with cheese and ham, fresh fruit, coffee, fruit juice, and cake. Cake for breakfast! How fabulous!
  • Brazilians eat a lot of meat. A lot. And it´s TASTY. And cheap. I loved the food in Brazil.
  • Brazilians will speak to you even if you tell them you don´t speak the language, and don´t understand them. They´ll continue speaking to you, making huge efforts to explain what they mean. Unfortunately, this explanation is also in Portuguese. :) But they smile a lot, and gesticulate, and even if you have no idea what´s going on, you still end up laughing together at the end.
  • Brazil is an amazing, amazing country. I feel so blessed to have spent 6 weeks there. I am SO EXCITED to go back in a few months!!! For the Carnaval, no less!!! It´s going to be BRILLIANT!!!

Love, love, love until next time! xox

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whimsical Wanderings...

  • I love travelling!
  • I love backpacking!
  • I love the spontaneity that travelling in South America entails!
  • I love being able to simply do things on a whim, and having them work out beautifully!
  • Yesterday I actually made a plan for the first time, since arriving in Brazil 6 weeks ago - and that was to fly to Bogota, the capital of Colombia.
  • To date, my trip has seen me calmly and happily riding waves from adventure to adventure.
  • A brief summary:
  • I landed in Sao Paulo originally, and decided immediately that I needed to be OUT of big cities, and near the beach rather. At breakfast, 10 minutes after arriving, I met a guy at the hostel who was heading to a gorgeous beach town, Paraty. Within minutes, we were going together!
  • After a few days in Paraty, the people working at the hostel recommended an idyllic island not far away, so me and a couple that I'd met took a bus and then a ferry to paradise, also known as Isla Grande.
  • Next, a group of 5 of us decided that since we were so close to Rio, it was time to head there next... and so we did.
  • After a CRAZY (excellent!) week in Rio, I thought to go to Bolivia next. But on the way, there is the Pantanal, the largest flooplain on earth, known for its abundant wildlife, birds, plants. So I went into the Pantanal instead.
  • There, I met a Canadian guy who was taking a boat up the Amazon for 4 days. Normally, I would never have considered such a plan, as a woman travelling on my own, taking a boat alone for 4 days is not really advisable. But here was a brilliant opportunity at a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! So off we went!
  • Once we arrived in Manaus, I met up again with a surfer from California and a Brazilian who owns a campsite at the Brazilian-Venezuelan border (we'd met at the Port, they were on a different boat). These 2 were taking a road-trip through the Amazon, through an indigenous reserve, and across the Equator to get to the Northern Hemisphere... so off I went! This adventure was epic: we slept in hammocks, in tents, under the stars, in the mountains, in the Amazon.
  • Now I'm back in Manaus, and on my way to the airport. I'm SO EXCITED to get to Colombia!!! I've heard it's AMAZING - the people, the culture, the energy, the nightlife...
  • So there you have it! Never plan too much. Life falls into place so beautifully when you don't. Let that be the Thought For The Day! :)

Until next time from Colombia - love and kisses to you all! xxxxxx