What are the odds? I know two sets of friends who are both living in Brazil right now! One of my best friends from high school, Katie Onorato, and her husband live in Rio de Janeiro. AND a family of a past student of mine lives in Brasilia. I flew to Brazil over spring break and spent about 4 days with each of them!
Highlights in Rio de Janeiro included:
1) Taking the train up Corcovado Mountain to see Christ the Redeemer.
2) Trip up Sugarloaf Mountain, despite the rainy day
3) Going to a samba show at a bar with Katie and Matt. (Carioca do Gema) And just hanging out on Katie's balcony with wine and cheese and other tasty nibbles.
4) Taking public transportation with Katie and on my own throughout Rio! Katie, Minna and I went to a festival and to the beach. It was great!
5) The Favela Tour was probably my favorite part of my touring around Brazil. Favelas are shanty towns on the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro. They are often unrecognized by the government. People pay no taxes. And people get no trash service or other rights or
protections. Gangs can often become the default "leaders" of a community, which can cause problems. I thought it was fascinating to see how people live. We visited an afterschool program in Rochina Favela. Kids are kids everywhere! The tour guide leader lives in the favela herself.
Highlights in Brasilia included:
1) Spending time with Shiela and her family. They were such gracious hosts!
2) Experiencing being in a US Embassy and learning about life as a US Embassy officer.
3) Seeing a live capoeira show that I stumbled across!
4) The Juscelino Kubitschek (JK) Bridge! The city of Brasilia was laid out and planned all at once. The city is in the shape of an airplane fuselage and two wings. The two wings are the ares where people live. The fuselage is where the government and museums are. The city is definitely a driving city.
5) I forget the name of the town, but Shiela and I took off in the car one day and drove to a small, quaint town on a riverside. Amazing!
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