Brazil in a Nutshell

I can’t believe it’s almost been six weeks since we landed in Brazil!  Tomorrow we cross the border into Argentina at Iguazu Falls.  All sorts of emotions and reflections are whizzing around my head about this wonderful country.

1. The People

First and foremost, Brazil has incredibly beautiful colours. Yes, some of you can vouch that Korea also has colours everywhere you turn; however, when I say this, I mean the Brazilian people come in all shapes and colours.  Walking down the street, I forget what country I’m actually in, and it feels fabulous! Similar to Korea, fashion is also colourful and very unique here, but I get to enjoy it in the natural sunlight instead of peering through the blinding neon lights.

Secondly, these people carry an air of confidence that allows them to walk around with very little clothing on.  Skin is a big part of the fashion here.  Korean women do it to a modest extent by showing off their fabulous legs, but Brazilians go all the way.  I’ve never before seen smaller bikinis, or speedos for that matter.

Third, Brazilians love to touch.  Similiar to Koreans drunken hugging and girlies linking arms, Brazilians have their own way to show affection.  A girl is guarunteed to get a kiss on each check when she is greeted by a Brazilian.

And it is also guartunteed that you will run into couples making out. Brazil loves EXTREME PDA!!!

Overall, the people have been great!  Our couchsurfing hosts became fast friends, people are on the streets were almost always helpful (except when trying to steal our water). Not as many in-your-face touts made for an enjoyable stay.

2. The Language Barrier

I wish I could say that my Portuguese is awesome after six weeks of being submersed into it, but alas, I got by with a few basic words–polite formalities, food, and money.  It was interesting to finally be in a country that uses a familiar alphabet, so even when I couldn’t understand everything, I could luckily read and sound it out.

I was told to expect a lack of English here, but I forgot how that affects the experience.  Yes, Brazil has tons of tourism, but it mostly consists of other Brazilians or non-English speaking people (as opposed to us English folk that dominate in southeast Asia).  Even travelers in our hostel were speaking English as a second language.  I would’ve thought that with the money that does run through Brazil that the restaurant employees and souvenir stand owners would have invested in learning some English, but I quickly learned that they don’t need to to make their money.

3. The Food

I have been eating extremely well here.  Huge pay-by-kilo buffets are quite popular, as are pastry and juice bars on the streets.  It’s more expensive than Asian cuisine, but we managed to find the cheaper places after some trial and error.

We’ve been eating lots of rice, meat, beans, and salad platters that come in HUGE portions, so we often only need to order one to share.

I love the fruit juices and especially the popular Acai smoothie type fruit dish that you can get topped with granola, honey and bananas.

Lastly, Brazilians seem very influenced by Italian eating.  There are pasta shops and pizzerias everywhere; however we haven’t eaten much of it because it’s a bit out of the budget!

4. The Beaches and Adventures

We got to experience a great mix of the big cities of Rio and Salvador.  Some parts were gorgeous with beautiful greenery lining the streets; other parts of the cities were tagged with graffiti and need a clean up.

The beaches in Brazil have been some of the most amazing I’ve ever seen.  Aside from the urban coasts, these quiet beaches were clean, empty and surrounded by trees and ocean.  There were countless days of sitting alone in the sand or with only a few others.  Even the busier beaches still never felt crowded. The best beaches in Brazil were definitely in Buzios, Morro de Sao Paulo and the deserted Barre Grande.

We obviously hit up the tourist attractions: Carnaval, Christ Redeemer statue, museums, art galleries, and Iguazu Falls.  Pictures and explanations can never do justice to the experience.  Standing with the water falls all around me, feeling the mist soaking me to my core and the sheer sound of the pounding water was incredible.

I can’t wait to experience it from the Argentinian side!  Tomorrow we attempt our first land border crossing.  More excitement to come!

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Brazil in a Nutshell

I can’t believe it’s almost been six weeks since we landed in Brazil!  Tomorrow we cross the border into Argentina at Iguazu Falls.  All sorts of emotions and reflections are whizzing around my head about this wonderful country.

1. The People

First and foremost, Brazil has incredibly beautiful colours. Yes, some of you can vouch that Korea also has colours everywhere you turn; however, when I say this, I mean the Brazilian people come in all shapes and colours.  Walking down the street, I forget what country I’m actually in, and it feels fabulous! Similar to Korea, fashion is also colourful and very unique here, but I get to enjoy it in the natural sunlight instead of peering through the blinding neon lights.

Secondly, these people carry an air of confidence that allows them to walk around with very little clothing on.  Skin is a big part of the fashion here.  Korean women do it to a modest extent by showing off their fabulous legs, but Brazilians go all the way.  I’ve never before seen smaller bikinis, or speedos for that matter.

Third, Brazilians love to touch.  Similiar to Koreans drunken hugging and girlies linking arms, Brazilians have their own way to show affection.  A girl is guarunteed to get a kiss on each check when she is greeted by a Brazilian.

And it is also guartunteed that you will run into couples making out. Brazil loves EXTREME PDA!!!

Overall, the people have been great!  Our couchsurfing hosts became fast friends, people are on the streets were almost always helpful (except when trying to steal our water). Not as many in-your-face touts made for an enjoyable stay.

2. The Language Barrier

I wish I could say that my Portuguese is awesome after six weeks of being submersed into it, but alas, I got by with a few basic words–polite formalities, food, and money.  It was interesting to finally be in a country that uses a familiar alphabet, so even when I couldn’t understand everything, I could luckily read and sound it out.

I was told to expect a lack of English here, but I forgot how that affects the experience.  Yes, Brazil has tons of tourism, but it mostly consists of other Brazilians or non-English speaking people (as opposed to us English folk that dominate in southeast Asia).  Even travelers in our hostel were speaking English as a second language.  I would’ve thought that with the money that does run through Brazil that the restaurant employees and souvenir stand owners would have invested in learning some English, but I quickly learned that they don’t need to to make their money.

3. The Food

I have been eating extremely well here.  Huge pay-by-kilo buffets are quite popular, as are pastry and juice bars on the streets.  It’s more expensive than Asian cuisine, but we managed to find the cheaper places after some trial and error.

We’ve been eating lots of rice, meat, beans, and salad platters that come in HUGE portions, so we often only need to order one to share.

I love the fruit juices and especially the popular Acai smoothie type fruit dish that you can get topped with granola, honey and bananas.

Lastly, Brazilians seem very influenced by Italian eating.  There are pasta shops and pizzerias everywhere; however we haven’t eaten much of it because it’s a bit out of the budget!

4. The Beaches and Adventures

We got to experience a great mix of the big cities of Rio and Salvador.  Some parts were gorgeous with beautiful greenery lining the streets; other parts of the cities were tagged with graffiti and need a clean up.

The beaches in Brazil have been some of the most amazing I’ve ever seen.  Aside from the urban coasts, these quiet beaches were clean, empty and surrounded by trees and ocean.  There were countless days of sitting alone in the sand or with only a few others.  Even the busier beaches still never felt crowded. The best beaches in Brazil were definitely in Buzios, Morro de Sao Paulo and the deserted Barre Grande.

We obviously hit up the tourist attractions: Carnaval, Christ Redeemer statue, museums, art galleries, and Iguazu Falls.  Pictures and explanations can never do justice to the experience.  Standing with the water falls all around me, feeling the mist soaking me to my core and the sheer sound of the pounding water was incredible.

I can’t wait to experience it from the Argentinian side!  Tomorrow we attempt our first land border crossing.  More excitement to come!

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Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
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Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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