Category Archives: Brazil

The Amazon

Amazon who hasn’t heard about it? It was the last part of my trip in Brazil and I was really curious about it. I heard a lot of stories, also about people getting underwhelmed.

I arrived at my hostel in Manaus, the portal city to the Amazon, at midnight. We had to be careful not to wake people up in the room, as I installed my backpack, daypack and took my place in the bunkbed. The next day I woke up. The plan was to search for a tour to the Amazon. I met the hostess for the first time. She was ferm. “I hate Manuas. Manaus is no good. And I hate the Amazon, the Pantanal is better.” Eh… ok, so much for the marketing section of the hostel. Obviously she used to live near the Pantanal. “But if you want to book a tour to the Amazon”, she continued “we have some great tours.” Eh.. didn’t you just say…? Of course I decided not to go with the hostel, but instead went in town to look for a better tour operator. I was accompanied by a Swiss guy, who was travelling the world for three years. I met him that morning and he was also searching for a tour. You would expect that Manuas would be full of tour operators on every corner, but the contrary is true. These operators are hard to find. I will spare you the hustle, but eventually I booked two tours. One day tour to get acquainted with the Amazon and a two day tour to really get deep in to the rainforest.


The day tour was ok. It was a tourist-type boot with a guy speaking bad english on a microphone with bad equipment. “Sooa gherwhehavethemeetingoffatheriverss and as you can see thisissawherebeautifulspot and… ” Like what did he say!? Haha The boat took us to the meeting of waters. This is the place where the two rivers Rio Negro and Rio Solimões come together and form in to the Amazon river. The Rio Negro comes from Columbia, has a black color and is warm. The Rio Solimões comes from Peru, has a brown, sandy-like color and is somewhat cold. Because the Rio Solimões streams faster and has a lower temparature than the Rio Negro, the two rivers don’t mix for more than 6 km. You can really see the stroke of brown water and the stroke of black water flowing next to each other. The boat even stopped on the center line. We could put our hands in the water on both sides, so we could literally feel that the temperature of the Rio Negro water being hotter than that of the Rio Solimões. Crazy experience!!

And I scraped another thing of my bucket list. Swimming with the pink dolphins! These wild dolphins were given lunch daily at the same time at this same bay. And because they are smart creatures they come all the way to this little spot to get there lunch and what a coincidence it was, that we happened to be there at that same time hahaha. We jumped in the water and saw them coming from afar. The guide helt a piece of fish just above the water. The dolpins in the distance then disappeared under water. Then suddenly I felt something big and slippery touching my legs under water, before I knew it I saw a huge dolphin jumping out of the water right next to me, catching the fish. I could actually hug it. A wow moment!!

We also had an encounter with a Pirarucu (the monster fish of the Amazon), helt an anaconda around my neck, helt a sloth and visited the indigenous people. I heard stories about the last one being a show that was set up to cater to the perception the foreign tourists already have. The show was ok though. We danced with the tribe and had a fun time! But I couldn’t help thinking that this Indian man was going back to his room calculate the income of the shows on his macbook, watch a movie and play a game on his iPad after the show was finished. Hahaha LOL!

The next day it was time for the real thing. Going really deep in to the jungle to sleep there. Shut off from internet and all other modern technology. What the guide hadn’t told me was that I needed some form of hat or head cover. Luckily when we arrived at the dock I could buy one. It was a really obvious one: Army Print, Rambo looking tough guy type of hat! Lol hahaha We had to take a car, a boat, another car and then another boat to arrive at the heart of the Amazon. And as we arrived there I felt the soul of the forest, realizing I’m here! The Amazon…

On our way the guide stopped to show us water lilies. However a whole other caught everyones attention. A flower that moved as soon as you touched one of it’s leaves. The Mimosa pudica. I have never seen it before. I also touch it and I actually saw the leaves reacting to my touch as if I touched a living creature. We also sailed across the floating city: A village floating on the Amazon river.

It was raining season. This means the Amazon was partially under water. We where actually sailing between the top of the trees where normally at dry season you could walk at their feet. You could actually see the watermarks on some trees, where the water had been higher. Could you imagine this!!?? A jungle filled with more than four meters of water and we are flowing on it! And the place where we were sailing is the same place you look up to in the dry season, when you walk the forest. Amazing!

The first thing on our list: Fishing for Piranha’s. We went on a small motorized fishermen’s boat with about six people and a guide. We had simple fishing rods made of branches and used chicken as bate! Hahaha. We went to the first spot. No luck. The guide told us about the piranha’s. He showed us a missing part of his finger, due to a Piranha encounter. Then we went to the second spot. The guide told us, that actually Piranha’s were not that vicious as people think. You can even have a swim with them, unless you don’t bleed. Because if one Piranha bites you and you start to bleed, that’s like honey to the rest of the flock. You will not survive. When we went on our way to the third spot, my hope of catching a piranha was affected. There was also a couple on the boat. The guy was a professional fisher. And while he was talking about his fishing experience someone yelled: “Whoaaah, I feel something bite!” From that moment we knew they were here. We waited, and waited. I put on fresh new piece of chicken on my hook. And then suddenly the fisherman’s girlfriend caught the first piranha!! We saw it and it was quite big. The guide helt the piranha and put a wooden stick between the fish’s teeth. Snap! Before you knew it his jaws clipped the stick like it was nothing. Now everybody was driven to catch a Piranha too. We waited, waited and again!!! The fishermen’s girlfriend caught another piranha. We started to make jokes about she being the real fishermen of the two. It was funny, but after she caught her fourth one in a row, the fisherman was not laughing at all. Then one of the others caught one. After that it was my turn. I felt something nibbling at my hook and BAM there it was! A piranha fresh on my hook. Also while we were fishing wild dolphins visited us. They even came pretty close to the boat, jumping playfully. Beautiful! Eventually the fisherman caught one piranha too, but a meager result compared to the seven piranha’s his girlfriend had caught at the end of the day.

We came back at our lodges by dusk to eat and drink something. We ate, something, played domino’s and had some Caipharina’s. Night was falling and everyone was talking about what we were going to do the next day. But as it is a fact that most creatures come out at night, we were surprised by the guide.. “We are going to look for caimans in the river. Now!” Slightly overwhelmed we got in to a small boat. Knowing the night had fallen and all the animals are out, it felt like National Geographic in real life! This is were I realized again where I was. Crazy! The water was just a few centimeters below the edge of the small boat. It felt like a large caiman could easily get in. We sailed across the river. The other guide stood on the tip of the boat like a rambo, pointing his flashlight at the grass of the river bank. We joked a bit about him: “Oh, yeah and now he will catch a caiman from the water with his bear hands hahaha” Then suddenly he went flat on his belly, put his hand in the water and actually caught one! We were in shock! He freaking did it! It was not a large one, it was a baby black & white caiman and these babies can grow to 6 meters. Caimans have no taste or smell, they will eat everything!

The next day we got up early to go in to the forest. The guide told us a lot about the forest. We saw cashew nuts, which are actually poisoned fruits until you bake them. We saw cacao and ate it right of the tree. It does not taste anything like the chocolate it eventually becomes. It has actually a real fruitlike taste. Tucan birds flying above our heads as we got a taste of the Brazilian nut. The shell which contains the nuts can only be opened with a machete. The guide took the shell with him, to open it up for us later. We saw cotton which are flowers in the tree and pineapples growing above the ground. Then suddenly we came across an old lady with a machete. She was one of the indegious people. The guide lent her machete and opened the Brazilian nut. It tasted really good! We also saw rubber trees. The guide told us about the history of the rubber tree, which only grew in Brazil and gave much wealth to Manaus. He was surprised that I added to his story, the fact that an English man stole the seed of the tree to plant it in Malaysia and India, thus taking away the monopoly position of Manaus. This eventually turned out to be catastrophic for the Manaus economy. He laught: “I was going to tell that, but there are English people here.” Hahaha. On our way back I had a talk with the guy who controlled our boat. He was born in the Amazon. Through him I really understand how well they are at reading their environment. For example he swims amongst big caimans, but only at day time. At day time they are not hungry, because they hunt and feed at night time. He also told me how they catch the caimans. The trick is to point your flashlight in the water and look for the reflection of the caimans eyes. Then look at the distance between the eyes to see if it’s a small one. If so, get near and just grab it by the neck. Also he explained how lakes form nodes and rivers connect these nodes. That’s how they find their way across the rivers. His house is build on pillars to protect it from a flood, but also to keep out insects. And finally they hold chickens who kill all the bugs for them. It all actually sounds pretty logic when you here it like this. When we arrived back at the lodges, they served us the piranha’s we caught the day before. Awesome! I was already wondering why we didn’t put them back in to the river. ;-)

The Amazon was nice! I didn’t expect to see any jaguars, so I wasn’t underwhelmed. In fact I thought that I would have a hard time with nature. but I guess it is the same as with a computer. The more you know about it, the less scary it becomes Hahaha.

Jeri, Surfing and Paradise Lagoon

Jericoacoa, pronounced Jeri Kwa kwa ra and called Jeri by most, is a virgin beach hidden behind the dunes of the west coast of Jijoca and was selected by The Washington Post as one of the Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. I heard about it during my travel in Brazil. A lot of backpackers told me that it is the nicest place in Brazil and that I should definitely go there. After hearing this multiple times I decided to go there. Jeri is so remote, that you can’t get there by normal car or plane. The only way to get there is to go to Fortaleza, take a bus to Jijoca and from there take a uncomfortable 40 minute 4 wheel drive Jeep through the dunes. And so I did.


First I arrived in Fortaleza and stayed there for two days. Fortaleza is a nice town with beautiful beaches, but nothing compared to Jeri. I got a little sick in Fortaleza, a small cold. The only real funny thing I experienced in Fortaleza were these Red & Black lions perfumes I saw in a local shop. Does this look familiar? Hahaha

And in Fortaleza I also learnt that in Brazil more men watch soaps on television than woman. I don’t say anything more. Haha. After relaxing at Fortaleza for two days I took a minivan to Jijoca which took like six hours. I went and sit in the back, but the driver immediately asked me if I don’t want to go and sit in the front. The reason: the humpy road to Jijoca. I followed his recommendations, because I figured he had done this trip way more often than me. Hahaha. For six hours I listened to 80’s slow jams which he played on his mini dvd player in the front. And to be honest, it was quite relaxing listening to songs like “Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting For You”, “Lionel Richi – Hello” and “Michael Bolton – When a man loves a woman” Than got on this 4 wheel drive, tied our luggage to the roof and did the ride to Jeri. Crazy! The car jumped up and down the dune hills, cracking our backs and at the same time catering us with the most beautiful sights. Escpecially the last part of the trip seemed like a roller coaster ride.g compared to Jeri. I got a little sick in Fortaleza, a small cold. The only real funny thing I experienced in Fortaleza were these Red & Black lions perfumes I saw in a local shop. Does this look familiar? Hahaha

Finally we arrived in to this simple, small, lovely town with no pavestones but only sand in the streets. I really stood out, wearing my sneakers. It seemed like wearing shoes here was not done. I was actually the only one in the streets wearing any shoes. Everyone wore flip flops. I quickly adjusted ;-). Buggies flood these sand filled streets. Jeri is simple. A beach, a small center, a few lagoons, a mountain and dunes on the left where you can admire the beautiful sunset. The fresh sea breeze and the nice air made my little illnis vanish immediately.

During the4 wheel drive I was thinking: “This place is so remote, I wonder if they have an ATM”. They didn’t!! So I had two options when I arrived there with hardly any money: 1. Take the ride back to Jijoca and take money from the ATM there or 2. Withdraw money at the one big Supermarket and be charged with 15%. Well… I wanted to stay in Jeri, so guess what I did. Lol!

Like Cahuita and Paraty, Jeri is also small, simple and warm. I think I like towns like this. You wake up to the sound of crowing rooster, relax all day and in the late afternoon everyone goes to the dunes to enjoy the beautiful sunset. When I got there the sun was setting in front of me and behind me there was a full moon at the same time. Epic!! Every night they danced Capoeira on the beach and with full moon, they did a special ceremony which I got to witness.

The first day at the beach I had a crêpe with Dolce leite and green grapes. Dolce leite is this sweet, thick milk, which Brazilians, including me like. But i had no idea what the green grapes where when I ordered it. Then I got an eyeopener. In the Netherlands we call green grapes, white grapes, because of their juice and the wine they produce. Here (and I think the rest of the world) they call ‘m green, because of the color they have. Now who is right? Haha

A guy from Israel which I met in Fortaleza also went to the same hostel. He makes me laugh, even when I think of him. He was a small, grumpy, young guy and he hated it when there were no people around him. He actually got mad when the lobby of the hostel was empty and everyone seemed the have went to the beach. He would complain: “Where ‘s the people man!! There’s no people here. Where’s the people?” Then he came back from a walk on the beach, he said “Where are the people, there are no people on the beach. I hate it here!” I went to Jeri one day before him. He was thinking bout going to the same hostel. On Facebook he texted me: “Frans. How is the hostel? How is the people, are there any people there?” When I met him at the hostel, he was like: “I like this hostel, there are people here!” Hahaha. Can you believe him! From then on, every time we saw him and were with a group of people we reassured him, “There are people here, there are people here!”

We went to the Paradise Lagoon with a group of Brazilians. The energy was fantastic! The lagoon had hammocks in the sea. The lagoon seems to be filled solely with water from rain. The fish in the lagoon are adapted to salt en sweet water. In the dry season the fish stay under the ground. Amazing! I was the only gringo amongst all these Carioca’s and then of course you get these funny conversations about the language differences. They wanted to learn some Dutch words, so I told them to just to pick a word and I would give them the dutch translation. “Beach”, they asked me. “How do you say beach in dutch?” “Strand”, I answered. We had a little laugh about their pronunciation, and then came the second word: “Shit!, how do you say shit in dutch?” “Stront”, I answered and they just could not hear the difference between “Strand” and “Stront” Hahaha. It took me a while to explain that the beaches in the Netherlands do not consist of doodoo Lol! hahaha We ate dinner, finger food after finger food, drank, laughed, danced, sang… but when the sun set, the bill came. Suddenly we were kicked out of paradise in to the real world again! ;-) Hahaha.

I went to the Pedra Furada the next day. The Pedra Furada, meaning pierced rock) is an important collection of over 800 archaeological sites in Brazil, including numerous rock paintings, which suggest a human presence prior to the arrival of Clovis people in North America. The walk to the Pedra Fourada is about 50 minutes alongside the beach. This side of the beach is desolated except for a kissing couple and a woman doing yoga on the beach. The constant whisper of wind in your ear is somewhat meditating. The footsteps of people, dogs and horses in the sand, the smell of the salty sea all had a relaxing effect on me. I choose the path uphill. After a walk for 20 minutes without a single soul to see, I suddenly saw something move in the distance. When I approached I saw it was a black ox-like creature. For a minute I thought: “This is not a bull? Or is it?…” Hahaha. That would be crazy. But then of course they wouldn’t let it walk freely here, so of course it was just a cow, but the encounter was somewhat special. The Pedra Fourada was nice. I heard about a quick route back to the center, but I had to go over the hill. Well, the sun was shining fierce, the sand was burning my feet and I was sweating like crazy! I managed, but it was harsh. I even burned my left leg on a stinging nettle plant.

A lot of people I met here are sampa’s (people from Sao Paulo) who went here on a holiday and ended up living here. By the way, I also noticed that a large percentage of the tourist in Brazil are actually Brazilians. And that’s why almost no one speaks english. The hostels, the tour operators, restaurants hardley anywhere do they speak english. I tried to book a surf lessons on the beach. Thank God, I speak a little Portuguese, otherwise I wouldn’t manage to explain it. I hold my heart for the Worldcup 2014 to come with all these English speaking tourist who don’t know one word Portuguese! Help! If you read well, you will have noticed I mentioned “Surf lessons”. Yes I did!

I went to the beach to find the surf school stand I saw the day before. The stand was gone. I asked a few guys sitting at a Caipharina stand if they know about the surf school and why it isn’t here now. One of them, Flavio, jumped up with a glittering in his eyes. “You want surf lessons. I can give you”, he said. Normally one would hesitate and be sceptic. I just followed my gut feeling. I went with him. Later on I heard that he used to be a popular professional surfer a long time ago, but still has the moves. And he really thought well. He introduced me to his son, which he ordered to take pictures with my camera. We first did a dry surfing lesson on the beach and then went in the water. I had a hard time with the salt water getting in to my nose at each wave. The first time I lied on the board on my belly, a wave came, he pushed the board, I tried to stand, but went straight in to the water. Hahaha. Then we tried it a second time. Again my belly on the board, I relaxed, focused, a wave came, he pushed my board in to the wave, I helt the board firmly stood on my two feet, spread my arms and there I was… surfing!! It felt like a stood on the board for ages Hahaha. Nice!

After a few more stunts on the board we went back to the shore. His son literally only took three pictures during that one hour. Like… really!? But I must admit, the pictures he took are stunning. A man of quality, not quantity Lol hahaha Before the surf lesson Flavio strongly advised me to eat light. I ate a whole plate of delicious pasta! Hahaha. The worst that could happen was that I would not be able to keep my balance on the board. I think the pasta might have helped actually ;-)

After the lessons I went in to the main street. There I met these two guys sitting alongside the road selling handmade jewelry. They asked me if I wanted to buy something. I replied: “No thank you” Then they asked me if I could buy them a beer. Normally I would just say no and continue my walk, but this time I followed my gut feeling again. Bought them both a beer and had a chat with them. They had rasta’s and tattoo’s all over their face and only spoke Portuguese. When I told them about my upcoming trip to Easter Island they got really excited. Telling me all about the prophecy, the aliens, the history and the fact that all the Moai statues look in the same direction. We had a lively chat and drew in the sand to explain what we meant. It felt like the beginning of an adventure movie, where the prophecy or omen is set forth. One of them was a fan of the movie Gremlins and had a Gremlin tattood on his body. So far for his credibility ;-) Hahaha

We had two full moon days in a row. The second day, the full moon was even surrounded by an aura. We went to the dunes in the night with a group of people. There was a special atmosphere about it. Also the sound the frogs at the beach make during a full moon is indescribable. One of the guys made a picture of the sky and three dots appeared in the picture. He was convinced these were aliens. I was convinced his camera was dirty ;-) Next stop Amazone Manuas!

p.s. When I told the Hostel owner about my trip to Amazone and my dislike of Tarantula’s he told me that Jericoacoara is famous for having a lot of tarantula’s, they love Jeri. Luckily he told me this on my departure ;-)

Salvador de Bahia

I had heard that traveling around in Brazil is hard. Especially for a foreigner. I got used to traveling around in the bus, going to the bus companies, being the only gringo in the bus etc. etc. But domestic flights in Brazil is a whole other league! I wanted to fly from Rio to Salvador on the sixth of March. One day before I booked a flight on the internet. It went really easy and everything seemed fine. But when logged on again to my account, there was no booking and I also did not get any confirmation email. I decided to call the airline company. My portuguese was not at a level to explain the airplane company my problem, so I asked the guy from the hostel to assist me. After half an hour on the phone, their answer was: “Try it again, but do it before 23:45 because then the system goes down”. I tried several times, but got the same error message over and over. ERROR: Double booking, while there was no booking at all. Finally we managed to do the booking by telephone with another employee. I even got a credit card sms alert, that my creditcard had been charged. I had a plane at 13:30 the next day. Jeej!

It was my last night in Rio, so I did what you do in the cidade maravilhosa… party! We came back at the hostel a bit early. I went to sleep and decided I didn’t need to set my alarm, because my plane was leaving 13:30 and I mostly wake up way before that.

The next day I woke up at 13:38. Damn!! Missed my flight!! :( We called the airline company to tell them I missed my flight and they replied that there wasn’t even a booking on my name at 13:30. Really!?? I decided to just pack my stuff and go to the airport myself. No ticket, no place to sleep and all my valuable stuff with me. Normally one has to worry a bit, but the feeling of adventure took the overhand. Luckily I could take a flight at 20:00 which would have me waiting for only 3 hours or so. I even negotiated a better price. :-)

I arrived in Salvador, the first colonial capital of Brazil, the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, notable for it’s music, cuisine and architecture. The hostel I stayed in was beautiful designed and again had a swimming pool. This time the pool was even on the roof where you can watch the beautiful Salvador sunset. By the way my iPhone got pick pocketed. I could laugh it away, because I had such a good time in Brazil and I kind of expected it to happen at one time, but it is still a huge loss. I used it on my trip a lot. Whatsapp, offline GPS maps, Panorama pictures, Duolingo, working on the blog etc. Boehoe!

Reporting the incident at the police station in Bahia is a whole other thing. I arrived there in a small room, with two counters. They only spoke Portuguese. The policeman behind the counter looked like Sylvester Stallone and there was even a police dog laying in front of the porch. It looked so put in scene that I couldn’t help thinking this was like a fake, setup prank and that they would give me my phone back, saying: “You just got pranked!” and laugh it off. Unfortunately this was real. Above me hung a tv showing a Disney movie which had just started. The policeman asked me a question, I answered, he went on typing on his computer for about ten minutes, then asked me another question, I didn’t understand, he explained with his hands, I understood, I answered, and again he went on typing for another ten minutes and so on. Every time he was typing I couldn’t help watching at this movie. It was “Bolt”, the animation with the dog, but then in Portuguese. The whole process took so long, that I almost watched the complete film Hahaha Lol

I went to the Pelourinho the historic centre. A Portuguese teacher I met in the bus, showed me around for a bit. I ate the typical Bahian dish Acarajé en Beijo. Acarajé is like a Bara but they put unpeeled shrimp in it, which you eat as a whole. That was the part I didn’t like. I saw another guy, who ordered the same, just chew on the unpeeled shrimp. I mean head, tail, legs everything!!! Beijo was eatable, but also not top of the list. I did like Fogo de Chão rated as one of the best churrascaria of Bahia. But a Culinairy capital?… no. I couldn’t see it. I did learn something about Caipharina’s though. Here I learned that there are a lot of variations to Caipharina. You have got Caipharina with Cacha, Pineaplle or Kiwi instead of Lemon. And even Caipharina with vodka instead of the typical cachaca rum: Caipiroska. Wow!

Salvador is divided into an upper town and a lower town. You can move between the two levels with the Elevador Lacerda, a very large elevator connecting the two levels of Salvador. A ride only costs 0,15 R$ which is like 5 euro cent. The Elevador Lacerda has connected the two sections since 1873. Pretty crazy isn’t it?

I know the personal space of Brazilians is a lot smaller then we are used to, but I really noticed it when standing in line here in Brazil. I see a person waiting at a kiosk to buy a coconut juice. I get in line behind that person. Suddenly another person just slips right in between me and the person in front of me. When I say something about it they look surprised. At first I didn’t know what was going on here. But then I figured that for them I was standing so far from the person in front of me, that I wasn’t even in the line. They littery almost touch the person before them when they wait in line. So now I’m adjusted Hahaha

On my way back I had to take the bus. At the bus station. There I saw a real sad sight. Dozens of people where waiting for the bus and on the bench of the busstop sat a neglected, skin and bone, naked man, clearly intoxicated by some substance and nobody, really nobody paid any attention. Unbelievalbe! May be these encounters colored my opinion of the city you either love or hate. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand the people here are really friendly, it is said to be the culinary capital, the historic centre and everyone says there is a lot to do. On the other hand there is a lot of poverty, I couldn’t find the culinary part and if I ask around what are the best things to do, people don’t seem to know really. So I think I go with the latter one. Yeah, sorry, I don’t find everything great, amazing, fantastic or awesome LOL! Hahaha.

Carnaval 2014!!

Then there was the big day! I had to be at the Samba Drome at 11 o’ clock in the evening and would be parading at night from 1:20 to 2:00. I had to get out at the metro station “Praça once” and would be in sector 6, ala 27. There I would find the concentration. The concentrations is the line you wait in before you enter the Samba Drome. I took a shower, dressed up and took the headpiece and some other large parts of the fantasia with me in a large, plastic bag. I took a taxi to the metro station and was on my own from there on. I saw a few other people also dragging a large, plastic bag with the larger pieces of their fantasia. People like to talk with you, because they know you are going to parade. Off course everyone spoke to me in Portuguese, to find out that I was sort of a gringo. Hahaha. I arrived at the concentration and needed to use the toilet. Believe me, it is hard to use the toilet with your fantasia on and especially a public, plastic festival toilet. I had my all-time favorite sunglasses stuffed on my waste and forgot about them when using the toilet. They *plop* just fell in to the awfully dirty water of the toilet. Can you believe that I loved these glasses so much, that for a split second I had this crazy thought of fishing them out. Only a split second though hahaha. Ah well, you win something, you loose something as long as you win more than you loose, you’ll be ok.


I met dozens of people with the same outfit. Must be my formation. We helped each other get fully dressed. The atmosphere became more tense as we lined up in the concentration. We also got introduced to our director. Each sector has it’s own director, telling you to go slower, faster, stay in line, stop etc. We wait for hours in the concentration, like caged bulls wanting to get out. Then the first section of our school hit the Samba Drome. Each entering of a school is heralded with a large firework show. I was in section 6, so it would take a little while before it was our turn. The song of the school started to play in the Samba Drome, we could hear it from far, together with the fireworks and all the people in my section started to hum along with the song. That was a beautiful, meditative, intense moment! Then I suddenly realized where I was: About to enter the great Samba Drome with thousands of people for the Carnival 2014! I got in my zone. Bam! And there it started… my sector was moving, we danced, I could hear the music getting louder and suddenly I was surrounded by loud drums, cheering people and beautiful colors. The director started to yell directions. My section was horrible at making a straight line, he got frustrated and we almost gave the director a heart attack. Eventually no one even listened to him and just enjoyed their moment. We absorbed the energy of the crowd and danced like there was no tomorrow. I completely got in my role even caught myself, giving hand kisses to the audience and do the queen wave. Frans!? Really? Hahaha. Instead of 1:20 we had left at nearly 3 o’ clock and the walk took like 40 minutes, which felt like 10. My pants were constantly sacking, because of my samba moves, but that couldn’t stop me.


After I left the Samba Drome I was full of adrenaline. A dutch couple wanted to make a picture with me, thinking I was Brazilian. I heard them speaking in Dutch and understood everything they said. They didn’t knew that. “Pak jij de camera dan!” “Waar is dat ding!?” “In je tas, in je tas!!” “Schiet you op, straks loop tie door. Vraag die vent dear om een foto the nemen!” I kept my mouth shut, until the flashlight hit and the picture was made. “Staan we er goed op?” I asked them in dutch. Hahaha. They were completely shocked and couldn’t believe I was from the Netherlands and got to walk with the parade. And I thought to myself yeah… I freaking did it! One more off my bucket list ;-)

That night I returned to the hostel. Took of my Carnaval outfit and went to sleep with a smile. The next morning my whole outfit was spread across the room. Ozzy the hotel dog, paid us a little visit! Lol

Copacabana, Ipanema & Lapa

Fortunately I moved to another hostel in Botafogo, much closer to the beach. I had to pick up my fantasia (samba costume) at the same day as my checkin with the new hostel. This would mean I had to carry my backpack, daypack and the fantasia. The instructions for the location where again a bit vague, but the taxi driver managed to get me there. I checked the street name and street number and paid the taxi driver. However there was no sign of life at the address. Only an iron door. There I stood with all my belongings, in a strange neighborhood. My first plan was to fetch another taxi to the hostel, because I didn’t trust the neighborhood. Then suddenly the iron door opened and a woman waved me in. The door was immediately closed behind me. I saw a shack full of fantasia’s. Now I understand the caution. I recalled a fire in three Sambaschools back in 2011 destroying all the costumes. Investigation could not point out anything. The rivalry between the schools is harsh. A guy asked me if my name was Francis. (That’s how all the Brazilians call me. At one point I stopped correcting them ;)) I nodded yes and then he started picking all the parts of my fantasia together. The name of my fantasia was “Energia Eólica”!!! Yeah baby! Luckily I insisted on trying the complete fantasia before I left. The guy hated me for that, but I insisted. And luckily I did! Because I found out that the trousers where too short, the shoes too small and the sweater too large. We tried and tried until the outfit was ok. I stuffed a taxi with my backpack, daypack, fantasia with the windmill scepter hanging outside the window. Up to the next hostel! Hahaha

In this next hostel I met this crazy and cozy group of people with whom I would hang out the remaining days in Rio. I also met…. Ozz the hostel dog. When I first arrived in the hostel I told the owner that he was a cute dog. The owner answered: “He is the devil”. The owner was right. ;-) Hahaha I don’t like dogs, but this guy is another story. He ruined everybody’s life in the hostel, but still we loved him. The owner of the hostel found him on the streets of Brazil, so he must be gangster. ;-) At night he went through all our stuff. A bag of cookies, socks, sneakers.. nothing was safe, but we forgave him, because he was Ozzy.

The whole city was breathing Carnival. Before this I thought it was quite calm in the city. But now all over town there where these blocos, Brazilian block parties with live music, lot’s of people and Caipharinas. It was a sport to get to the best and most secret bloco to later brag that you had been there. Through an acquaintance of a guy at the hostel we heard about a bloco at Santa Theresa. We had to take the metro, go up the hill and on top of the hill we suddenly saw hundreds of people. Crazy!!

You also had blocos along the strip of Copacabana which were more like beach parties with pumping dance music. And again my Anderson Da Silva image didn’t leave me alone. One drunk guy pointed at me and shouted “Da Silva”. His friends quickly followed and surrounded me, shouting Da Silva. Before I know it, more people on the beach followed and I was jumping up and down with dozens of people all chanting my name, which off corse isn’t mine. Well it got me free beer though! ;-) Crazy experience!

We also went to Lapa, the real party district of Rio with loads of bars, clubs and blocos. We took the metro and missed the stop. Then we took the metro back, focused, but missed the stop again. After the third time we were told that the stop is skipped, because it is out of order, but we could get there through a special pathway by getting out at a stop before and walk. Felt a bit like the secret doorway on the Harry Potter train station hahaha. I loved Lapa. Great atmosphere, crowded, samba bumping out of the speakers. We even went to a real Hip-Hop club, where they played real good Hip-Hop music and the local Brazilians had great dance battles. We also went to the Escadaria Selarón staircases, featured in the 2002 “Beautiful” music video by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrel Williams. The picture there started as a picture of our little group, but through some energy more and more people wanted to get in the picture. We ended up with everyone on the stairs screaming: Cheeeese!!!

We partied for more than four days in a row. Even when you are tired, Rio gives you the energy to keep on partying. One day I decided to take it easy and just go to the supermarket to buy some food. I ended up in a bloco right across the supermarket and before I know it, I got sucked in to the Carnival again. Though the city gives you this natural energy, a little help from an energy drink now and then is not that bad Hahaha. I soon learned that if you order “Redbull” they have no idea what you are talking about until you pronounce it like “HedgeBully”. This resulted in awkward conversations like… Me: “I would like a Redbull!” Bartender: “A what!?” Me: “Redbull!” Bartender: “I don’t understand” Me: “A HedgeBully!!!” Bartender: “Aaaah, ok!!” Seriously!? Lol

It wasn’t only party. At one time we did a nightly work out on the beach. Again a mini ghetto workout ;-)

I try to speak as much Portuguese as I can. Even have full conversations in Portuguese. Some Brazilians want to learn English. Then we will switch to English. But all in all, my Portuguese is improving. I reached a new Milestone: I successfully helped to translate between an English speaking guest and Portuguese speaking staff at the hostel.

When I tell people I’m from the Netherlands, they immediately refer to Seedorf. They literally love him there! I once asked a janitor, who was surveilling a house, for directions to a party. We got to talk a little and he told me that Seedorf used to live in the house that he was surveilling and that he saw him go in and out every time. He is legendary to Botafogo. It makes me proud! Carnival is on it’s way…. I can’t wait.. can’t wait!!!

Corcovadoing it!

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro the “Cidade Maravilhosa”! At the bus station I had to wait for a taxi for almost an hour. This was an inverted world. Normally the taxi drivers flock around the potty, arrived, fresh, new tourist meat. This time around we all had to get in line and wait for a taxi to pick us up. My taxi ride was right through the Sambadrome, the big open air stadium where the Carnival parade takes place. They were busy constructing it all, so now cars can just drive through. It is on these grounds, that I will put my samba feet to an ever during Samba festivity. (Ok Frans, a bit too much LOL) Later on I went to the Sambadrome to see the Samba museum. Unfortunality it was closed, but strange enough I could just walk in de midst of the Sambadrome construction, without a helmet. The place was packed with construction workers. I really got to see the Sambadrome under construction. This is unthinkable in the Netherlands!

In Rio I booked two hostels. The first hostel is called Corcovado Hostel and I could have guessed it, but it is right at the foot of the steep Corcovado hill which holds the statue of “Cristo Redentor” on top. I could see the statue from within the garden of the hostel which is really nice, but the hostel was a 40 minute bus ride away from the city center with all the beaches, the restaurants, the clubs etc. and I had to make a 10 minute walk to the bus station. And on my return this 10 minute walk would take 20 minutes, because of the steep hill. Good exercise though! Even despite all this I liked the hostel. Nice swimming pool, music and the owner, a former Shell employee, ran the hostel with his sons and nephew. I kicked it off with the guys a lot. Here I also learned about Havaianas, the famous flip-flops from Brazil. The word actually means flip-flop in Portuguese. I didn’t know about them, until I looked at my feet. I was wearing Havaianas. Lol.

Brazil is famous for it’s fruit juices, which are called Suco. And now I know why. I got addicted to them. Name a fruit and they have a juice of it. You can even mix random fruits and add some mint or ginger to it. I loved the watermelon juice. The name of the fruits were in Portuguese. And because I don’t know all the names, I sometimes randomly chose the names I liked the most and then get the surprise. One time I had a really sour, unrecognizable juice. But that is part of the game Hahaha. I also liked Açai, which is a berry that they use in a lot of things from juice to ice-cream.

When I went to Rio in 2010 the “Cristo Redentor” was under construction because of a flood. Back then I knew I would come back. And so I did. I went to see the Cristo. After purchasing my ticket I had to wait in this room with pictures of the Cristo, Rio and other attractions hanging on the wall. There I experienced the best example of NOT living in the now. A guy taking a picture of the picture of Critso hanging on the wall. Wow! A little train brought us to the top of the hill, accompanied by a live samba band. At the top I had to fight with all the other tourist to take a picture, without someone having their arms, head or feet in your picture. The Cristo was spectacular, but more so because I realized that I was standing next to the statue that symbolizes the beauty of Brazil and especially Rio de Janeiro. This was the statue I admired in many images, pictures and even my computer desktop and now I was there! Finally!

The people are also nice here. One time I was in the metro holding a plastic bag with some flyers and other non important stuff in it. The bag was a bit torned. The girl and guy from the hostel I was with, pointed it out and told me that my stuff was almost going to fall out of the bag. Then an old woman sitting next to us took something from her handbag. It was a new plastic bag, for me. If that ain’t sweet?

The day of my parade was coming closer and closer. And then I got a mail from the school that I had to be at a test on Sunday at eight o’ clock in the evening, next to the Red cross building. How vague can you be? I took a taxi and asked him to drop me off next to the Red cross building. Fortunately he knew it. The taxi driver was a nice guy. He stopped at the Maracanã stadium to took some pictures of me and explained to me what it was. I did not know that it was a famous soccer stadium. When I told him about my parade and that my school was “Salgueiro” he got really excited. He even gave me a CD right out of his CD player with all the songs of the samba schools, so that I could learn the Slagueiro song.

I arrived at the block and saw a huge crowd. A lot of people wearing “Salgueiro” t-shirts.There I understood the importance of the schools for the people. You breathe a certain school. Some people grew up with the school. It is kind of like the soccer teams, but without the aggression. And then the batteria (the group of people forming the drum section in the carnival parade) kicked in! It was really awesome to see how the directors instructed the batteria and the amazing sound it produced. I also got to find out, that the test was a test for the batteria and not for me. Pfieeeuw!! Hahaha. I had a lovely night and got a taste of my school. I’m in crowd now ;-) and ready for the real work! Samba de Janeiro!!!!


The Natural Waterslide

I took the bus from Iguaçu to Sao Paulo. The busses, by the way, are ice-cold. I always wear long trousers and a thick vest. Can you believe it? Airco? Why!? Maybe to cover all the funny smells in the bus ;-) I stayed in Sao Paulo for one night and took the bus to Paraty the next day.

Paraty is a small fisherman’s town between Sao Paulo and Rio. It has an historic center, with a cosy atmosphere. It has been said that a lot of writers, actors and chefs settled here after visiting this city and I truly understand why. I simply love this city! It is really inspirational. When you walk the historic centre in the evening you see all these picturesque buildings. The horse and carriage crossing the street in front of you, nice people relaxing in front of the botecos, live samba music coming out of all corners and restaurants, the smell of delicious food all together give you a warmly embrace. I only needed to get used to the paving stones in the historic centre, that kill your ankles hahaha. But that is just a matter of practice.

The day after my arrival I took a bike to the Cachoeira Tobogã which is a waterfall with a natural water slide. Yeah! No kidding! Seriously! A natural water slide! I had to see that one! I was told that there was a small chance that it might rain that day, but was optimistic because the sun was still shining brightly as I rented the bike. But as soon as I started my journey the rain kicked in. It was an 8 km trip, with 3 km of constant steep uphill climbing. I wasn’t going to let a little water change my plans. I threw on my bright, blue poncho and just started. It must have been a strange sight, seeing me pass by. For a moment I forgot I was in Brazil. It felt just like home, but then again at home I stay inside when it rains and don’t go cycling. ;-)

The journey was harsh, the rain was like a waterfall and my glasses where fogged. The climb uphill was killing. At one point walking was even quicker than cycling. So I did. Then out of no where luckily the rain stopped and the sun started to shine again. And it would stay dry for the whole day! I got to the falls, but could only see a restaurant across a provisionally constructed bridge made out of wooden shelfs and wire. I parked the bike, crossed the bridge and asked the owner of the restaurant where I could find the falls. I had to go under the bridge, through a tick bush, over a brook and then it would be on my left side. At first I was sceptic, but I followed his directions and it was a crazy moment when I heard the sound of joyful people and suddenly saw people really sliding down in the midst of nature. Wow! I was eager to do the slide too, but as soon as I took off my flip flops I slipped and landed straight on my buttocks. Hahaha Its that slippery over there! But then I took a run-up and slid all the way down! Loved it! I could not resist to do another slide!

To get to the Cachoeira Tobogã took me about two hours uphill, but to go down hill only took me 30 minutes. I didn’t have to cycle just kick back, enjoy the landscape which even had some cows in it and use my breaks at the right moment.

That same night I had a great time in the historic center. Good food, nice people, Caipharinas and I even got to play the drums with the live band. Amazing!! The next day however I had planned an Island tour with a boat. I was really tired from the night before, but then again, laying on a boat, enjoying breathtaking sights and go for a swim now and then, next to a coral reef, plus hopping from beach to beach is the best way to relax. At one time all the boats stopped at this coral reef for us to take a swim. One after the other jumped of the boat in the crystal clear water. I took of my t-shirt… check! Took of my flip flops… check! Took of my leather wrist band, watch and glasses… check! And I plunged into the water. Then I felt in my pocket. My wallet!!! Fortunately my wallet only contained money, but I paid with wet real notes for two days.

One thing I will surely try to see when I visit Paraty again is the world famous Puppet theatre. I missed it this time. I was told about it, but only discovered it’s beauty when I looked at movie clips online.

My last day in Paraty I again rented a bike to visit the historic sights in the centre. I still wonder why I rented a bike, because there is no way you can bycilce on the rocky pavestone road. I visited the church for former slaves, the Forte Defensor Perpétuo where the gold was stashed and protected during the gold rush and a lot more historic sights.

Now I’m on my way to the “Cidade Maravilhosa”. Carnaval is just a few days away!!!

Foz de Iguacu

There I went, the 17 hour bus trip to Foz. Off course the bus was an hour late. This is Brazil. ;-) So we left about 23:00 o’ clock. The busses are very comfortable so I slept most of the time and only woke up when we made a stop. And I remembered the number and location of the bus, because you don’t want to take the wrong bus. At 0:00 we made another stop. I got out, went to the toilet and came back. Then we made a stop at 3:00. I got out, went to the toilet, bought a bottle of water and got back. Then at 6:00 the bus stopped again and only a few people got out. Again I went to the toilet, which was really hard to find this time. But when I was on my way back to the bus, I saw this girl running up to me asking panically and slightly out of breath: “Arr ghjoe fwam gheer!?” I recognized the girl, she was in the same bus as me. I replied: “No”, but still didn’t get the question. “Well, the bus driver was going to leave without you! This was not a stop. We have to get back quick!!”, she said. And we ran to the bus, which luckily was still there. Later on in the bus she told me the complete story. The bus driver was going to leave. She informed him, that I was not in my seat. He said, well that is bad luck for him. All Brazilians know that this is not a stop. She told him I probably was not Brazilian and that she was going to find me. He gave her two minutes to find me and other wise she would be left behind also. Wow! There are nice people in the world and the fact that I seem to look Brazilian can also work against me. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if I was left behind, with no money, no passport, no nothing.

We arrived in Foz de Iguacu which is a nice, little, cosy town. And I finally did a Churrascaria. A typical “all you can eat” Brazilian meat restaurant. They are all over Brazil and I was told that it really is an experience. And they were right. I loved it!! There is a buffet of salad, rice, beans, potato, olives etc. etc. You can put any thing on your plate. And the waiters constantly serve all kinds of meat at your table on a long spear. There is even a card with an image of a cow and they point out which part of the cow you are eating. They tell you what kind of meat it is and you can just say yes or no. I don’t know if I look like someone who can have a lot, because the waiters kept flocking my table. Rump steak, Filet minion, pork []vlees soorten]. Nine out of ten times I had to say no, because I wasn’t even ready with the previous piece of meat. Then suddenly a waiter came to my table saying: “Chicken heart sir?” At first I was like: “Seriously!? Chicken heart!?”, but then I was like: “I might as well try” So I ate chicken heart which obviously was discussing. It tasted like chicken, but had a mussel like structure. And I don’t like mussels. Hahaha. The most surprising thing wasn’t even the meat, though it was really good though, but the roasted pineapple with a caramelized cinnamon, sugar crust. Delicious!! When I was really stuffed and asked for the bill, the waiter just insisted I tried the deserts, because they were sweet. And he was soooo right!! I eventually literally rolled out of the Churrascaria. I don’t think I have ever felt this stuffed, but it a good way.

The next morning I visited the Iguacu Falls. The Iguacu Falls are arranged in a way that seems like a reverse letter “J”. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil’s Throat. On the right bank is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the left side jumps are Argentine, which make up almost 80% of the falls. I went to the Argentinian side, because there is more to do there. It is just a 1.5 hour trip to the Argentian border. We gave our passport to the guide to get us across the border, entered the national park and hiked to the falls. You hear the sound of 1800 m3 water per second spewing falls from a distance. It is the place which is called the mirror of God, a wholly burial place for the native indians, a place with a lot of history and suddenly you are standing eye to eye with this indescribable wonder of nature. Simply breath taking! We took a boat that got us really close to the falls. So close that we completely got wet. We crossed the 2 km long bridge over the whole stretch of the rivers that end out in the falls to eventually come to the “Garganta del diablo” or “Devil’s throat”. This is were the falls turn in a curvature, the half circle of the reverse letter “J”. We stood on the landmark of the three frontiers, the meeting point of the three countries: Brazil, Argentinia and Paragauy. It’s crazy to imagine! What I feel during this trip is so big it is difficult to find the words!

Now and then people ask me to make a picture. At first I think they ask me to take a picture for them, but then I find out they want me to pose with them in the picture. I’m not sure what this is. May be I have a look a like in Brazil!? (Not again ;) But one night a drunk guy at a bar looked at me and enthusiastic yelled: “Anderson THE SPIDER Silva!!! You look like Anderson THE SPIDER Silva. ” I googled the guy later on and thought seriously!!? I don’t look like this guy by far!!! But if this is really the guy I’m compared to a few people have a fan pic with a fake Anderson on it. LOL

When I came back I did the Churrascaria again. Why not? LOL And back at the hostel, I had a new room mate from Hong Kong. Named Ken. We talked a bit and then turned of the lights to take a nap. The lights were only out for 10 minutes when I heard him scream and move in panic! I rushed to turn on the light and asked him what was wrong. “An insect the size of my hand is flying around here!!” he replied in fear. I kept my calm, but I was not keen on an insect the size of a hand. Then it hit me, flattering it’s wings hardly against the side of my head. At first even I was shocked, but immediately discovered it was just a butterfly in panic. False alarm and two heroes! LOL hahaha

The next day I went to the Brazilian side of the Iguacu Falls. The Brazilian side has a lot less to do but gives a beautiful panoramic view of the falls and you can even walk a bridge that sets you amongst the falls. The Brazilian side is also more about making money. For example you can rent a helicopter to fly above the falls. The Argentinians don’t have that, because of the pollution. Also… and this is really crazy…. you have to pay an entrance fee, based on your country of residence. I went there with a guy from Denmark and we paid the head prize. On the other hand I think it’s pretty fair though. The Brazilian side also had a lot of coatimundis walking around. These creatures move in gangs, are really aggressive, can inflict serious scratches and the aim at your food. And still people are dum enough to feed them. Wow! Finally I searched for the Cataratas. I constantly saw this word and wondered what it was. I knew one thing. I had to see the Cataratas. Then I found out that Cataratas is Portuguese for waterfall and I guess…. I have… kind of… seen those by now. LOL

Barra Funda & The Samba

With 37 degrees Sao Paulo is hotter than ever! Even the Paulistanos complain about this insane temperature. These past couple of days I was just relaxing and seeing the city. I visited the Altino Arantes (161 meter skyscraper with a great view of Sao Paulo) and the famous Pinacoteca museum. I tried to do this the day before, but I wasn’t allowed in to the building because I had no id on me and the Pinacoteca museum was closed that day. So I ended up seeing the Municipal market and a lot of metro stations ;-) But eventually I got to see it all.

I also went to the Samba bar in Vila Madalena, simply called “Bar Samba”! I was a bit nervous hahaha, because I have heard these stories about everyone is dancing at the end of the night. Everyone! So that also meant me I guess. And I don’t know any samba yet. The evening started out with a dinner and the Samba band playing slow songs. Then when the evening passed the band increased their tempo, people slowly started to get up, chairs and tables were put aside and eventually… I caught it! XD It was great! Everyone was doing there thing, dancing, chanting the songs and to be honest the band was the best! Also a professional couple gave away a little show and I knew right there that that was the way Samba is really danced!

I really like this metropolis Sao Paulo. And I have learned a few funny things during my stay here:

A zebra crossing doesn’t mean a thing. It is only an indication of where you might cross the street, but you are completely surrendered to the wrath of the cars deciding wether to stop for you or not.

Brazilians have a strange perception of distance. Many times when I asked the way, they tell me: “Oh, é perto daqui” meaning it’s nearby. In actuality this means a 2 – 3 km walk on a up-and-down landscape, which makes it even havier. So when I ask for directions and they tell me it is not so close I take the plane. Hahaha LOL

A firm “thumbs up” sign is the most used hand gesture. It used by everyone from waiters to police men on the street. It’s a constant check to see if you are on a good pace with each other.

If you see more and more street vendors, drug addicts and armed police forces it means you are entering a dangerous neighborhood. Make a right turn. Also, if you don’t see anyone openly using their smartphone, laptop, photo camera or mp3 player, there may be a reason for that. ;-)

In Europe we kiss three times on the cheek, in Rio de Janeiro two times, in Sao Paulo one time

It is funny how you can get used to things. In some places it is quite common for the wifi connection to fail for quite a period of time. Instead of complaining, you just go and do something else en try again like an hour later. Unthinkable in the Netherlands!! LOL

Sao Paulo is known for it’s marvelous Pizza’s. It’s true, I have tried a few. Decades ago there were a lot of Italian immigrants who brought the craft to Sao Paulo.

Brazilians eat diner in the afternoon and some snacks in the evening. I adjusted to this eating habit. In the beginning it was a bit strange to have a T-bone steak with rice, beans, salad and a desert around one o’ clock in the afternoon, but to be honest it is quite smart. You do actually use most of your energy in the afternoon and the evening. So why eat diner in the evening to subsequently hang on the coach watching TV!?

As long as I don’t open my mouth they see me for a Brazilian. I’m like an undercover Gringo. But I always blow my cover as soon as I start to speak or try to dance the samba! LOL. Hahahaha

These past couple of days I have also been planning the rest of my trip in Brazil. This last thing was quite a hustle. I had to decide which cities to pick, which cities to cancel and most of all how to get there? But then again, I don’t complain, because it’s a great full task :) Everyone I talk to has there favorite city or “must go to” place, but I can’t do ‘m all. I have also been told that getting around in Brazil is hard. I experienced it at first hand. For example, you’ve got dozens of competing bus companies in different places of the city, all driving to a different set of cities. I was also told you have to get your ticket way in advance and they mostly don’t speak English. So I just took a piece of paper, wrote down de dates I wanted to travel, the destination I wanted to go to and went to the Barra Funda (One of the major bus terminals in Sao Paulo). I could try and talk Portuguese, but I figured this was not the right situation and place to practice ;-). When I arrived there I saw dozens of ticket windows of the rivaling bus companies. I showed the piece of paper to the bus companies and picked the one that had like a normal price. You should never take the cheapest one, because you don’t want to end up in a shitty bus, with no airco for a 17 hour trip. Eventually I got my tickets and I must have looked very confident, because Brazilian people started asking me questions about the arrival and departure times of the busses Lol! Also getting around by plane is not transparent and really expensive. But finally I got the plan together!! This will more or less be my route:

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 4.28.19 PM

  • Sao Paulo
  • Paraty
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Salvador
  • Fortaleza
  • Jericoacoara
  • Manaus (Amazone)
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Back to Sao Paulo

Of course on the way everything can change. And it already did like an hour ago, because Foz do Iguaçu was going to be my last stop, but while I was writing I came to talk with this guy from Brazil, who later on happened to be a famous skydiver. I could do Iguazu easily in three days from Sao Paulo. So I’m heading for the Igazu falls tonight. It is a 17 hour ride, giving me flash backs of my teenage trips to Lloret de Mar in Spain. I planned it in the evening so I could sleep. Foz do Iguaçu! Off we go!!


Sampa and the Paulistanos

I have been in Sao Paulo or Sampa as they call it, for a few days now and I really know my way around the city. I went to the Ibirapuera park (I still can’t pronounce the name) where there are a lot of buildings from the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, like the Afro Museum for example which I visited. Real nice museum! I also went to the well known rue Paulista where the Art museum is. (Yeah I know, I’m getting old. I know, I know ;)

On the street I am constantly addressed in Brazilian Portuguese. Guess I really blend in with the Paulistanos as the people from São Paulo call themselves. I noticed that the weekend here starts on Wednesday, because the same bars that close early on Monday and Tuesday are packed, crowded full of people and live music from Wednesday on. I am constantly busy with the language. I really want to learn it. One time I asked for directions in Portuguese. I didn’t know what to do with the deluge of words that were replied. So I ended up asking four people the same question until I understood the words. And I mostly did it to practice my sentence four times and be understood LOL

Today I was even part of a movie set. I walked up the stairs at the Vila Madalena metro station and saw a camera crew, with sound technicians, actors and a director. First I stopped in order not to spoil the scene, but then I saw other people just continued their walk. So I also continuid mine, but as soon as I started walking I heard the director yell: “eee ação!!” wich means “Action!” I don’t know what was being filmed, but I guess I’m in it. hahaha

I ended my day with a Yoga class I followed at rue Harmonia. Really nice! It was completely in Portuguese, but with a little help from the teacher and now and then peeking sideways to what the other students did, I managed. For exemple when the teacher said: “pé direito na frente” I had no idea what he was really saying, but I recognized by the sound of it, that I had to put my right foot up front. When the teacher uses the words “respire” (=breathe in) and “expire” (=breathe out) I didn’t know wether to breathe in or breathe out, because the words sound really similar in Portuguese. I just listened wether everyone was breathing in or breathing out. Surviving tactics in the Yoga class haha. I was like super relaxed after that. I did hear a some bones crack inside of me during the class, but I guess that’s a good thing though. ;)


Oh yeah, and the sunglasses… the spacey ones… I like them! They are like sooooo 2014. I had to get me one. And at least I had to change something to my outfit, because I’m rotating the same sets week in, week out LOL