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Published: April 11th 2012
So I finally tamed the Amazon river from one of the starting tributaries to the end at the Atlantic Ocean. I hopped on her back like she was a bull at the National Finals Rodeo and I rode her for the full 8 seconds (by BTW, did you know that some of the best bull riders come from Brazil? Who would've thought??). Well since I didn't have to navigate the ship, plan the route, etc maybe it was more like riding a horse along a trail. Come to think of it, maybe it was closer to riding a merry-go-round, but that doesn't sound as exciting now does it?
I finished the boat ride a few weeks ago and am now traveling south down the coast of Brazil. I will have more details on the trip down the river later.
Right now I am looking for a place to volunteer at for my remaining time for my trip and/or my time in Brazil. Just chilling out on the beach is nice but it is good to have a structured day. I would also like to learn a bit or Portuguese.
Volunteering in Brazil isn't easy. You need to commit to 6 months to 2 years, and/or be fluent in Portuguese. While I understand that it is better and more stable for the kids you are working with for the volunteers to be there longer, most people don't have that kind of time or can make that long of a commitment. I do think that a 2 or 3 month commitment is more reasonable. As far as being fluent in Portuguese that is ideal but most people don't speak Portuguese so you really limit your pool of potential volunteers. Basic Portuguese would seem more reasonable as I was able to work at Manos Amigas with just a basic knowledge of Spanish. That's just one man's opinion though, I'm just sayin'.
My visa in Brazil expires on May 28th. I will have to decide if I want to renew it for 3 more months, go to Argentina, or head back to Colombia.
Bogota, Colombia is the cheapest place to fly back to the US from and I wouldn't mind spending another month or so with the kids at Manos Amigas. It is just the journey all the way back to Colombia that I wouldn't be too thrilled about. Buenos Aries, Argentina is one of the most expensive places to fly back from, but Argentina is cheaper to travel around than Brazil. Ideally I could spend the rest of my time in Brazil, with a full month or more just in Rio de Janeiro. However as I was warned about by other backpackers, Brazil is expensive. I have to pay twice as much for a bed here than I did in Colombia and 3 times more than what I paid in Ecuador.
Brazil is my favorite country, but damn it's expensive, especially compared to the rest of South America.
I did find three places I could volunteer at in Rio de Janeiro without the long term time or language constraints, but you are responsible for your own boarding in the city which isn't cheap so I couldn't stay for a long time. Most places you volunteer at have a house with dorm rooms for the volunteers and may even include 1 or 2 meals a day but will at least include a kitchen so you can cook for yourself. In Rio no organizations have a volunteer house so I don't think I will volunteer there. So I am still looking for a place I could volunteer. Hopefully I'll stumble onto something.
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