It seems to be getting harder to get myself to writing these blog posts. Overwhelming sensations, days full of new experiences... and the will to sit down and rationalize about them slowly goes away. On the other hand, if I don't write about it as soon as it happens, some of the smaller details and sensations tend to get lost in the bigger picture.
We called it "babecation" (a term whose creation I think belongs to my dear friend Elena Mangione, whom I miss a lot, btw) because my coworker Bruna from StumbleUpon joined us during the Rio part of our round-the-world trip. Bruna is Brazilian and she can't get enough of Rio. So, despite having a really long holiday vacation (StumbleUpon is really generous with that), she took an extra week off to meet us in Rio.
Aside from increasing the babe factor, having Bruna with us helped enormously because she speaks Portuguese. Which we don't. And in Brazil nobody speaks English. Nor Spanish. And those who do, refuse to understand. In terms of communication, Brazil was a real bitch for us. I speak Spanish pretty well and thought I'd be able to get around or understand what they're saying, but HELL NO! Ordering food and drinks on the street was a pain in the ass, asking for directions was impossible, we really had a hard time. I was almost in tears with frustration. Many times I tried to ask basic questions, often using gestures, and all I'd get back from the salesperson would be shrugs or a tirade of fast spoken Portuguese. But I guess I'm in their country, I have to play by their rules.
The views out the window compensated for the shitty ride. Brazil is a gorgeous country. It's so incredibly green. I wonder if the green in the flag stands for that. Every inch of land is covered by lush, seductive green-ness. There's no dry land, there's no dead land. Anything that exists immediately gets covered by lush vegetation. The image above shows these chandelier-looking trees. I don't know how they're called, but they were all over the hillsides on our 24-hour bus ride.
|A little alley in Ipanema that was lined up with hostels. Since the hostels were tiny and didn't have communal hang-out areas, people were mostly hanging out on the stoop, turning the alley into a big stoop party.|
As soon as we were done with that, we went straight to the beach, where we got coconuts and took the photo you can see above. Hell is always followed closely by heaven on our trip.
Rocinha's population is estimated at between 150,000 and 300,000 inhabitants.
The gay section of Ipanema beach is full of hunks in tiny colorful trunks. It's also the most packed section of the beach, as if someone drew an invisible line on the sand. I guess it's a great place to socialize and meet new love interests. We also saw a lot of foreigners with Brazilian boyfriends/vacation lovers.