Working on My Saudansgi
Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
57Trip End Sep 01, 2007
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I felt excited, and ready for it, and at the same time I could not believe I was about to enter the last Country of my journey!
As I saw the friendly faces of Claudia, Fabian and Tabare disappear in the distance I kicked back and started enjoying my 13 hours omnibus journey, whilst trying to get ready to what was awaiting me: Brazil.
Another language, enormous distances (this country accounts for a third of the whole South America), a completely different psyche, stories of dangers and never ending parties. Also, of all the other countries in the South American crown, Brazil is the most multicultural gem
The modern consequence of this is a multicultural Country with any shades and colours living together, such a refreshing sight after the other xenophobic South American countries I have visited. Brazil also hosts the biggest Japanese contingent outside Japan,which has great culinary and cultural influences.
Of course, the unmissable waves of immigration from Europe, also mean that there are strong communities of Italians, Germans and so on, especially in the South Coast, to the extent that there are some town where German is still the main language spoken. The North East has got more of an African influence, which is very strong in the food, and the culture of the people that live there.
Brazilian food is simple, and pretty generous, with the omniscient fajuada (basically beans, meat and rice) and the very nice moqueca (seafood soup) being very typical dishes. The tropical weather also means that fruit and juice bars are found virtually in every street corner- finally some vitamins after the protein-based diet of Uruguay and Argentina
The best fruit by far is Asai, a berry which is found only in the Amazon and which is turned into a delicious mousse in these juice bars above mentioned.
Of course the official language here is Portuguese, though the Brazilian version is more musical, more down to earth and rustic than the colonial one.
After a few days in the Country I have started understanding a bit of the lingo, though I tend to speak Spanish and to be answered in Portuguese.
The Portuguese influence is very evident in the architecture of the oldest cities, and can be spotted in the most important churches from the blue tiles and wood carving.
I entered Brazil from the South, my first stop Florianopolis, a city located on the island of Santa Caterina, famous for its beautiful beaches and its Germanic influences. The weather was turning, but still so much warmer than Uruguay, so I just spent a couple of days defrosting and chilling on beautiful Praia Mole. Here I had my first Asai and real caipirinha, which make you realize how crap the caipirinha you get in London is! They really drink a lot of this cocktails the locals, and it is virtually sold everywhere for as small as 75p
I finally decided to leave Praia Mole, and make my way towards Rio, where I was meant to meet Tabare after a few days. I stopped on the way in a fisherman island called Ilha Do mel. Now, this place I hear is crowded with travelers during the summer months, but I had the privilege of being the only tourist on this beautiful tropical island. The whole experience was surreal, me wondering alone along the spotless beaches, through the jungle paths and exploring the charming and car-less village. I had such a nice fish-based meal whilst watching the sun going down and enjoying the feeling of isolation;
I must admit, my traveling has helped me appreciate solitude and my own company in a way I previously would have not believed possible. In turn, i think I now enjoy others´company more. Anyhow, my day on Ilha Do Mel was just great, listening to the ocean and re-ordering my thoughts after the intensity of events in Montevideo.
Finally, after leaving Ilha I made my way to Rio. What can I say? Rio is such an amazing city!
The setting is stunning: the ocean, high hills, the Christ, the Sugar Loaf, the jungle (39 square kilometers of park), the lagoon, make this city enchanting and unique
The great thing is how we sort of integrated within Ipanema. We rented a flat most of the time just by the beach, ate in local places where people started recognising us (including local singer Maria who even dedicated a song in Italian to me), went out in local discos...and learned to be LAAAAZY like the locals!
As time was flying by without me seeing much of the country, I made myself go up north towards Bahia.
I met a nice couple of Israeli with whom I spent a few lovely days in Arail D'Ajuda.
However, my love for Rio forced me to go back after merely one week.
Finally, I went to Sao Paulo with Claudia to see her friends Fernando Marcela and Silvia for a crazy (and I mean it) last night before leaving the country. When I finally jumped on that plaine that was taking me home my heart was filled with mixed feelings.
It was the end of a great adventure.
/*Please find pictures on my facebook pace...search for Piero Bassu*/