Published: December 27th 2007December 26th 2007
At 3pm, on a THURSDAY. Go to work you people
Note: This entry was not written by Mike Bebernes.
I tried to just forget it. I thought if I just go back to sleep I won´t have to deal with it. But the urge would not and could not be suppressed. Fine...I´ll succumb to this feeling, but I´ll fight until the end. I unwillingly emerged from a warm oven of body heat and blankets and gently pressed my big toe to the tile floor below. I immediately quivered but knew I had to go on. Aside from the chill that stuck me awake I was in total darkness. With my hands out in front of me I slowly crept forward to the other side of the room. With each step I had to be prepared that at any moment I could bump the knee level table or bed post and shater the eerie silence of the night. I kept going. Finally, my hands felt the gentle reassurance of the wall and I knew my battle would soon be over. Sheer instinct told me to keep sliding my hands upward and finally I found what I was looking for. I flipped the switch and took a deep breath in. What I
Feliz Natal Yáll
Not quite nimble enough to get the star to the top of the tree
saw could bring a grown man to tears. It was stark but beautiful at the same time. The gleaming porcelien reflected the florsescent lights above and I then realized what I had just seen. I was in the cleanest bathroom since we began our trip!
Alright so it´s no Gargancha Del Diablo, but it´s the closest thing I have to Mike´s previous entry. While in Falls De Igauzu we learned that Mike´s Brazil Visa would only allow him to stay in the country for 30 days, and since we have an out-going ticket to South Africa on January 15th, we had to time our depature from Argentina accordingly. We had about four days to kill before we could enter into Brazil. Our budget does not allow for any excess travelling, so we were forced to head south a couple of hours to the little city of Posadas. Yes the town is as exciting as the name. Since we were there in protest we decided to make the best of it and treat ourselves to a $30 a night hotel room. Sure there were Jesuit ruins we could see and missions that were hundreds of years old, but our itinerary
Merry Christmas Michael
Jenny got me underwear too. Because I´ve run out and stopped wearing it.
did not allow for such activities. We were much more concerned with what we were going to watch on T.V. after the hour of Friends from 9 to 10 every morning. That first day the only time we left the room was when either Mike or myself went out to the corner store to stock up on cookies, ice cream, and maybe something of substinance...fried chicken. The next couple of days pretty much consisted of the same routine, but one day we did gather enough motivation between the two of us to walk across the street to the movie theater and see Michael Clayton. At night we feasted on mall food, and then brought back a cheap bottle of red wine. And that pretty much sums up Posadas. I can confidently say that I can tell you absolutely nothing culturally was gained through the experience.
We finally got to the Brazilian side of Igauzu Falls and had plans of taking an 18 hour bus ride to a southern beach town called Florianopolis. However, first we had to kill 6 hours in Foz do Igauzu while we waited for our bus. At the beginning of our trip Mike and I
Our hostel, plus 6 others all in the same courtyard. It´s like the united nations
made a pact that we were not going to eat at McDonalds or Starbucks the entire time we are gone. Starbucks is easy because neither of us like coffee, and I have only seen one while on the road anyway. But, we cracked with McDonalds! Oh the shame! We we wandering around this deserted city (It was a Sunday coupled with the fact that it was siesta time) and starving. We found a sushi place took one look at the menu and recieved a big slap in the face. We had left of comfort zone of Spanish and have entered into the forgein land of Portuguese. We couldn´t recognize any of the words and as we looked to our right, out the window the big golden arches were too much to resist. Eh, we knew we were going to break that pact anyway so why not start now. And it was glorious. All those hydrogonated oils and lipids. And the salt! Couldn´t get enough. Actually, we ended up overstuffing ourselves and left sick. We walked to the local tourist center and asked what their city had to offer. She suggested none other than the newly built mall. We made our
37 degrees celcius today. Which, if Jenny´s math is correct, is like 153 degrees farenheit
way over there, had some chocolate mousee to further perpetuate our stomach problem, and finally it was time to head to the sunny seaside paradise Florianopolis!
18 hours later we arrive in beautiful parad.....it´s raining! Once again our visions lying on a sun-soaked beach are shattered. Alright we thought. We´ll get oursleves settled, find a place to stay, and tomorrow will be better. We got into the picturesque little town, and even though the weather was foul one could immediately see the charm. The whole appeal of the little city was the beach because it streched on for miles, there were lakes and streams interlaces with the town, the locals were friendly, and we knew why people come here. We found a lovley woman who rents out apartments to toursits. A one bedroom apartment with a kitchen and warm water was going to cost Mike and I about $20 a night between the two of us. What a deal! That price was much cheaper than any hostel we had looked at, so we decided we would take the place. Our entire Brazil trip is month long, so we imagined we would stay in Floripa for about 3 weeks before
Rooftop Veiw of a Favela
This place houses 60000 people, but doesn´t show up on any map
heading to Rio. We paid the lady in advance for 11 days to secure our spot. After that was lunch, and since it was raining then we were off to the internet cafe. I checked the weather to see how long the rain was going to last. Apparently we were catching the tail end of a storm and there was rain in the forecast everyday for the next week and a half! We decided immediately that we did not come to Brazil to watch it rain so that very night we took a bus 12 hours north to Rio de Janeiro. It was scheduled to rain in Rio as well, but we figured we might as well be in a big city with more options than just a beach town. However, we couldn´t leave without a fight with our landlady who said that weather was not a good enough excuse to get all of our money back. We paid $440 real (about $220 USD) and got back $300 (About $150 USD). Naturally we were furious with the lady, but more with ourselves. Never book that far in advance because as we very well know plans change daily, and more importantly
We were told not to take pictures of certain areas and people. When someone asked why, our guide said "Don´t ask questions you don´t want to know the answer to."
check the weather before you go. Rookie mistake!
So we pull into Rio on the 19th of December and it was gorgeous and sunny for most of the afternoon. We went straight to the beach, discussed American politics (gulp, we´re sorry) with a Swedish couple, got sunburnt, and then went to a Christmas Party! Things were already looking up. The owner of this travel blog site, Mr. Ali Watters, currently resides in Rio and wanted to put together a Christmas party for any travellers that would be in the area. Mike and I were the only ones there, but it was really fun getting to know him and his fascinating life story. We went to this amazing churrascaría resataurant. When you sit down you get a circular card, one side is green and the other side is red, and the waiters come around with different types of meat. If you´re card is green all the servers will offer you food, and if the red side is up they will keep walking past you. The next few days it rained, but we kept ourselves entertained. We went on a tour through the one of the city´s biggest favelas (shanty town).
They just lop off the top with a machete and hand you a straw
At fist Mike and I had moral objections to going and taking pictures of people who are in the unfortunate position of having to live a lifestyle of extreme poverty. However, after talking with a local we learned that most of the tour guides come from favelas, and encourage public participation in order to bring money in and also break the stereotype that all people from these places are dangerous. It was a great tour and we learned a lot of Brazilan politics along the way. Also, I found on a Rio events calander that a Christmas Parade was happening on Copacabana Beach. Of course I dragged Mike to it, and it was sponsored by none other than Coca-Cola, we in the end we were both amazed. it´s true that the Brazilians really do know how to party, and they do this with every aspect of life. The costumes were over the top, but such great quality, and the floats blew me away.
Finally Christmas came!!! Mike and I were so cheesy. On Christmas morning we went down to the beach and opened our presents we bought for each other. All this while wearing Santa hats and taking pictures.
Amazing float was just one of many
We couldn´t resist. Then that night Mike suprised me and took me out for dinner, which was really nice since we had said that we were only going to spend $20 on each other. He´s so cute. And we also lucked out because Christmas Day was by far the best beach day we have had yet, and since then the days have been spectacular. So you can imagine what our days are like. Wake up, eat breakfast, go to the beach, eat lunch, beachbeachbeach. The last event we went to was last night and it was really incredible. Brazil is know for hosting the world´s greatest sin show a week before Lent starts. Samab is huge in this country and the main even during Carnaval is a Samba competion where 14 local Samaba schools compete for first place. Last night we were fortunate to go to Salguiero Samba School, in one of the favelas, and watch their Samba Rehersal for the show they are going to perform at Carnaval. Basically it was hundreds of people from that neighborhood who volunteer to particiapte in this event. The rehersals start in August to be ready in time for Febuaray. The people are
More holly jolly fun
so passioante, the drums are so powerful, and the dancers put Beyoncé to shame.
And now we are awaiting New Year´s Eve on Copacabanca Beach. Until then, we´ll be on Ipanema beach sipping Caiparinhias.
There are more photos below