Wednesday, April 16, 2014

things I learned in Brasil

  1. Portuguese words are pronounced exactly unlike Spanish words.
  2. As you drive for the first time around Rio you will be continually boring your companion by saying “Wow, look at that beautiful mountain. And that mountain! WOW! Look at that exotic plant I’ve never seen before in my life with tentacles and blooms as big as my head. WOWEE ZOWEE, look at that gorgeous perfect crescent beach with artfully placed islands in the distance!”
  3. As you drive for the first time around Rio you will also be continually covering your eyes and saying “Holy cow, is it legal to drive like that here? Holy COW watch out for that suicidal pedestrian! HOLY COW look at that guy on a motorcycle who is texting and simultaneously driving over the hood of that taxi!”
  4. Carry extra batteries for your camera. You will want to photograph everything.
  5. Say bone JEEuh, not bom dia, Gringo.
  6. Do not miss the Hippie Feira on Sunday in Ipanema. If you're crafty like that. (You are.)
  7. Toilet paper is not supposed to go in the toilet. Let me say that again. Toilet paper. Is not supposed to go in the toilet.
  8. Eat. Much. Fruit. Stuff it in. And then eat more. And then order it in the form of fresh juice. In short, you will miss the fruit.
  9. Say HAY-eyes, not reais, Gringo.
  10. Do not expect central air conditioning anywhere you go. Dress for the Sahara. But fabulous.
  11. The elaborate graffiti murals will provide much interest and opportunity to discuss man's inhumanity to man while you are stuck in traffic.
  12. All plant lifeforms have been supersized there.
  13. Acquire a best friend who has taken two years of Portuguese lessons.
  14. You will need to purchase many pairs of Havaianas.
  15. The water at Prainha Beach is very very very very bracing.
  16. You will be going around humming Astrud Gilberto and Barry Manilow songs to yourself a lot. This is OK.
  17. Brazilians have perfected the art of beans and rice. Enjoy whenever possible.
  18. If a vendor offers to puncture a chilled green coconut for you say 'SIM, por favor'.
  19. Wall outlets look like smiley faces. They are cute. But they won’t fit your plug. Bring adapters so you can plug in your curling iron.
  20. But seriously don’t even bother plugging in your curling iron. 240% humidity.
  21. There is a curious lack of pepper in Brasil. Salt. But no pepper. Por que no pepper?
  22. Say deshCOOLpuh not desculpe, Gringo.
  23. If someone offers to treat you to breakfast at Escola do Pão, thank your lucky stars, skip dinner, clear your morning, and wear your stretchy pants.
  24. Thalita's new house is beautiful and gives me many ideas for decorating. Her babies are beautiful too. Obrigada, Thalita! So wonderful to finally meet you in person.
  25. Many interesting and sparkly minerals are mined in Brasil. Go see them at Legep.
  26. Lizards are no longer cute when they are near your pillow at night. Not even a little.
  27. Yes, absolutely ride up those mountains to Cristo Redentor and Pão de Açúcar. So awesome. Mind the gap.
  28. Say cah-FAY comb LAychi, not café com leite, Gringo.
  29. Beautiful black and white mosaic tile artwork? Yeah, that's just a sidewalk in Rio.
  30. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. All over. Two layers. Including your tongue. Not really. But yes.
  31. Papaya ice cream with cassis? Duh.
  32. If you stand still for too long in Centro you will be spray painted. And possibly mugged. Very probably mugged.
  33. Highway lane markings are more like lane suggestions.
  34. 'I drink your milkshake' t-shirts exist.
  35. Despite the chaotic freestyle driving, I never saw any road rage. Take note of that, Atlanta.
  36. Monkeys the size of squirrels. Let me say that again. ADORABLE, tufted, stripey-tailed monkeys the size of squirrels.
  37. Make sure your fingers are holding some banana if they get anywhere near the squirrel sized monkey.
  38. Do not fail to go to Paraty if at all possible.
  39. Say PadaCHEE not Paraty, Gringo.
  40. People from Buenos Aires named Maximilian and Noelia are awesome and will give you their cool pink fedora to protect your gringo head from the sun because they are super nice.
  41. Lumpy milk does not necessarily indicate a problem.
  42. If you hear the entire neighborhood screaming from their balconies do not be alarmed. Flamengo just scored. 
  43. 'Tudo bem' is both a question and the answer to that question. 
  44. That's not how you say it though. Haha.
  45. Keep your disk on the green side and nod YES to whatever skewered creature the waiters bring to your table at Barra Grille. You can diet later. 
  46. Rio is big. No, like BIG big. No, like BIG BIG big.
  47. Brasil has more natural beauty than any place I've ever seen ever.
  48. People named Wander and Dora are wonderful, good hearted, giving folks, and will bring you to tears by praying with you in Portuguese before your flight home. Muito obrigada, Wander.
  49. Despite economic problems, the people of Brasil are fiercely patriotic and loyal to their country. The Brazilian flag is flown everywhere and is on everything and people proudly wear it without irony. Let's take a page from their book, USA.
  50. Robyn Howe is not only my best friend and the world's most generous hostess, she is an unparalleled travel/sight-seeing/entertainment/dining planner. How can I thank you enough, Bob? Not possible.
I'm tired, tanned and very thankful to God for a safe journey there and back. More photos to come.
(Here are the links: Stuff we did in Brasil, Part I and Part II)


  1. Glad you had a great time. I cannot wait to be home for the World Cup

    1. House of Pinheiro, thank you! Lucky you to be there for that! That will be so exciting. Eat some fruit for me.

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome time.
    Did you either get spray painted or mugged? Hope not.

    1. Natalie, I did have an awesome time! Thanks to my hostess. I was neither spray painted or mugged because I kept moving. haha.

  3. looks like you had a fabulous time! Good job making Portuguese sound like French to me ! lol

    1. Hey, Juju, it actually sounds kind of Italian to me when it is spoken because of the inflection, except for all the softened letter sounds. It's a pretty language.

  4. You. crack. me. up. Seriously laughed out loud at the third, "... ____, not _____, Gringo"

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Traveling is the best.

    1. haha, Catie, glad I could share the laugh. I laughed at myself a LOT. It's humbling being a unilingual American who loves to travel.

  5. You should write travel brochures. I have never really considered going to Rio but now I feel that I need to.

    1. Oh, Skooks, go. It's an experience, what a gorgeous country. Maybe you could stay with Robyn. I'm sure she wouldn't mind. :-)

    2. Ha! Since very few of my American friends are willing to take the plunge, I might as well open it up to anyone willing to come down! ;) Gives me an excuse to get out and enjoy the city more myself!

  6. Looks like you met Rio like a carioca. Congratulations!
    Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    1. Ola, Ines, I owe my great experience to my carioca friend! Hellooo from Atlanta. Can you send me some fruit? :-)

    2. I wish I could! And I'm sad that you came here and I couldn't meet you. I like your blog very much!

    3. Ines, how sweet! Muito obrigada! I wish I could come again some day. Just kidding about the fruit, btw. Haha!

  7. I'm not even cool enough to understand much of this, but I'm so glad you had a great time!

    1. oh, Shelly, you are plenty cool. haha. I did have a blast!


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