Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yeah yeah, it's been awhile

So, I think everyone knows by now that I'm terrible at keeping a blog. I think the last thing I wrote was about Huacachina and Ica. Well, I've done quite a lot since then. First of all, the job I started I really like. The people are great and I have constantly been given more and more responsibility, which I love BUT I wish the pay would show it a little better. Anyhow, after awhile, I realized that my Spanish wasn't advancing like I wanted it to and that speaking English at work all day wasn't helping anything. So I gave them my two week notice. They were surprised, as was I, and were trying to think of creative ways to get me to stay. In the end, I told them they needed to speak to me in Spanish and asked to be moved to a different position where I would be in more contact with speaking Spanish. They were OK with that and have been thinking of options. I have a meeting with them this Saturday to hopefully get things figured out.

OK to rewind a bit to catch up with the traveling I've done. About a month and a half ago, I went to Iquitos, a city in the Amazon, with Abby, two girls who live with me (Carolin and Deanna) and two German guys. It was sooo much fun! We arrived in Iquitos, then took a little boat on the Amazon River two hours south of the city. We arrived in this tiny village called "Centroamerica." It was seriously in the middle of nowhere in the jungle. It was great. We stayed in a little hut with no running water and slept under mosquito nets. Thank GOD for mosquito nets. I got bit to crap even with them. I don't ever want to imagine how it would have been without. Anyhow, we went on night walks through the jungle, where we saw tarantulas, scorpions, giant frogs, tiny frogs, and other really crazy creepy crawlers. Our guide, who went by his jungle name of 'Mono' (monkey), at one point caught one of the giant frogs we saw. He asked if anyone wanted to hold it and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity. It was huge!!!! I was holding it and it was so interesting. Another guy asked to hold it, but as he was holding it, we hear a high pitched scream and he drops the frog and it quickly hops into the foliage. We quickly realize that it was not, in fact the man who screamed. It was the frog! Weird!! The man, Egbert, dropped the frog because of the sound that came out of it.

Before I go any further, I have to comment on this Egbert guy. Technically his name is Egbert and he comes from Amsterdam. But, we liked to call McCain (sorry to all you McCain fans) because he basically sucked. He was always grouchy and constantly told us that every country was shit, except for Bolivia. Whatever Amsterdam boy, go to Bolivia and leave the rest of us alone.

Enough of the rant. So anyhow. Later, as we were walking, we saw another large frog, albeit this one wasn't as large as the first. But our guide said, hey look here's another frog, anyone want to get it? Oh yeah! I caught it! But, as soon as I caught it and held it up for everyone to look at, it began to pee. This wasn't just a tinkle. This was a waterfall. It was incredible how much liquid came out of this frog....and onto my hand. Gross. But kids, Auntie Erin did NOT let go of that frog! I held on like a champ and showed that Kermit that he could taint my hand as much as he wanted but he wasn't going anywhere. No one else wanted to hold it afterwards, though. Go figure. :P

If you look at the picture, you can see the frog pee on the ground. Hmmmm.

So, other than the night walks and the adventures that came with those, we also went fishing for piranhas and held a baby cayman *small alligator* in our mouths. :)

All in all, the Amazon rocks. Absolutely loved it.

Well, after the Amazon, a few weeks later of course, I went on a two week trip with the two German guys that went to Iquitos with us. We flew from Lima to Arequipa. While in Arequipa, we went to Colca Canyon. Colca Canyon is the world's deepest canyon. Not the steepest though. It was interesting, but to be honest I was expecting to be more wowed by it. Oh well. It was still cool and I saw the largest bird in the world!!! The condor! It was interesting too. After Arequipa, we flew to Puno. Well, technically we flew to Juliaca, then took a bus to Puno. Once in Puno, we got in a boat and put putted along to different islands on Lake Titicaca. The first islands we stopped at were floating islands. Yes, floating. They were made from reeds grown in the lake. The reeds are stacked so thick that they can support not only people, but also houses. The funniest thing though, was that families lived on the same island, but when they got into family feuds, they would get their distance by cutting the reeds *aka the floor* between their house and the other family members and they would push off. Haha, "Abby, I'm mad at you. I'm going to float away." Hilarious. The next island we stopped at we got off the boat and stayed with a family. The families on this island were very very poor. No running water. No electricity. After Puno and the lake, we next went to Cuzco. Unbelievable.

Alright, so I guess I should explain the pictures you're about to see. The first is what we saw when we first got off the plane in Arequipa. On the ground, you can see that the ground was decorated with Inca designs, etc. I think they were arrranged with flowers. We couldn't get up close enough to know for sure, but that's my guess. Next, you'll see the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa. So far, my favorite plaza. Then, a lookout point on our way to Colca Canyon. Yes, then I'm kissing an alpaca. Very gentle. Next, Incan and pre incan ruins. The pile of rocks I'm behind signify something, but I can't remember. Ha, just kidding. The guys I was with, Christian and Frederic, and I built that. It's an Incan tradition, a way of asking for good health, luck, etc. Uh huh, cactus in my mouth, and no, I didn't get pricked. Why? Cause I'm awesome, that's why. Get over it. ;P The plateaued land is an irrigation technique. They level off the land to be able to farm, and then the water also trickles down from one platform to the next. Clearly, there are lots of other measures taken, but that's the gist of it. Then Frederic and I at the Plaza de Armas again. Then, me in a boat at the floating islands. The very modest bed in a very modest room was where I slept for the weekend while staying with the poor family I mentioned earlier. The children dressed in colorful outfits is in a tiny town called Yanque. It's a traditional dress and they are dancing...for tourists. Sorry, it's the truth, but nonetheless interesting. Next we've got a pretty view, then mate de coca (coca leaf tea). It's supposed to help with altitude sickness. We drank it fairly often to prevent any nausea. The natives encouraged us to do it, they just failed to mention that it tastes like crap. Ew gross. They also had us chew on the leaves and suck the juice that comes out. Oh man, H O R R I B L E! Oh and I then found out that if I have a blood test taken in the near future to test for drugs. I'll probably fail thanks to this little plant. It's the one used to produce cocaine. Good thing cocaine includes lot of chemical processing or I might have become an addict. haha Kidding. Next picture, me being excited to be in such a beautiful place--and showing that excitment by sitting in the middle of the road? Don't ask. Who knows. Still like the pic though. The bird you see is Colca Canyon's famous condore. It came out to greet us as we were admiring the canyon. I like raging rivers and yes, I tend to jump out to the far rocks just for a picture. Sorry mom. Just don't think about it. Who's the guy? Shane West. Who's that, you ask? Remember the main male character in A Walk to Remember? That's him. They were doing a film in the market place in Cuzco. I was told two different names. So, it's either "Dorado" or "Jack the Hunter." Aaand, I paid to hold an eagle. It was cool! hah. Then, there's a beautiful view. The next few are at Machu Picchu. Peru's world wonder. And what a wonder it is!! Absolutely breathtaking. Once again mom, sorry about the taking risks and jumping out to lone rocks and random walls on the edge of the mountain. Made for killer and unique views though! After Machu Picchu, we've got more marketplace photos. This place was gigantic! They sold anything you could think of and then more. We sat down and had a smoothie. Yummy. That's why my tongue's hanging out of my mouth. Fresh, natural fruit juice. When we ordered what we wanted, the lady had to run to the different fruit stands and buy the fruits. haha. That's one way of doing it. The last photo is a distant view of the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco. Overall, the trip was a success. Had some troubles, but in the end it all worked out and we saw some incredible sights. Next goal: eat cuy. (guinea pig for those who are wondering). I know I know, I've been in Peru almost 4 months now and still haven't tried it. I'm scared, OK? haha. I'll eat it before I leave though.....hopefully. Ok that's all for now folks. And seeing how I'm so great at keeping this thing updated, it'll probably just be the last entry before I go home. I leave for the states in 15days. exactly. Can't wait to see everyone!!! oh and ps, I'm currently searching for jobs here so I can come back in March for another few months. :) Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peru, I´m getting to know you

Sooo, I arrived in Lima, Peru about 2 1/2 weeks ago (August 10 to be exact). I arrived in the middle of the night, thanks to an unexpected delay in New York, Newark Airport. We were on the runway, ready to leave when the pilot comes on and says that there´s a storm in Jersey, so we couldn´t leave until it settled down. They turned off the plane and we sat on the runway for more than two hours. Just before we left, we decided to quickly try and call home to have them inform Abby´s host family to send a taxi at a later time than originally planned. Since we only thought of that literally 30 seconds before we were finally taking off, there wasn´t time to tell them my email address, etc to contact the people who were sending a taxi for me. Which, unfortunately, resulted in me paying double the amount that Abby paid and still about twice as much as a Peruvian would have paid at any given time. I had to pay 100 soles, which is about 33 dollars which, for a 20 minute taxi ride, still isn´t bad, but for Lima standards, was out of this world. Oh well, that´s the way it goes I guess.

Anyhow, arrived in Lima, got to our respective new homes, and got some much needed rest. The next day, I spent organizing my room and getting ready to explore Lima. After being here for a couple of days, I had met all of the 20?? people that live in the same hostel as I and had also gotten a small map of the blocks around my, what I will now refer to as my house. Grocery shopping, exploring and all the normal things followed. I also met Abby´s family and told them that I was going to begin searching for a job. That night, they gave Abby a jobs listings paper with a few interesting options circled. I emailed those places and got a response back that day from one located in the city center. They wanted to interview me the next day bright and early! Ahhh! I don´t know my way around the city!!! So, I found my way, clumsily, to the interview, they hired me on the spot and I began training that day. My job is to train people on English comprehension and how to use a specific software program utilized in the job. So, basically they have to go through me and my three co-trainers in order to be hired on for the job. The business works with transcribing voice mail messages into text messages so that you can recieve your voicemails without having to take the time to check your voicemail. It comes as a text, nice and easy, to your cell phone and you can quickly read it. It´s a simple idea, but one that´s taking flight all over the US, Europe, Canada, and South Africa. Interesting, eh?

So, I´ve been working in the job now for about two weeks and I really like it. Besides that, I´ve been working at finding flights back to Brazil to visit, with no luck so far. The flights I´ve found are not only extremely expensive, but they fly first to Miami, Florida, and then back down to Brazil! Yeah right, I´m not flying for 15 hours just to get to Brazil. I might as well take a bus and take in some scenery for that kind of travel time. Yuuuck. I´m still looking though.

This past weekend, Abby and I, along with about 58 other people, went with this hostel in another part of the city and drove to a city called Ica. From Ica, we took vans to this small lake called Huacachina, which is surrounded by restaurants, hostels, and desert!! We took dune buggy rides through the desert and stopped three times to go sandboarding. We went, head first on our stomachs down huge sand dunes, while laying on a smaller version of a snowboard. It was soooo much fun!! In total, I think I spent about $65-70 US. It was really cheap! That included the excursion, the hostel, all our food and a club + drinks on Saturday night. Not too shabby, huh?

Hopefully, our next trip will be the Amazon. We´re trying to get there before their rainy season hits, which will be starting before too long. Yikes!!! Keep the mosquitos away!

Soo, until next time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Arrival in Peru

ok, sooo first day info. here it goes. today, i unpacked, organized my room, got a better tour of the place where i'm staying. met the owner's wife, fiorella, who is WONDERFUL! she's so sweet. she has a five year old and she's pregnant with another, due in december. there are about 10? people living here right now, i haven't met any of them...yet. some haven't arrived yet, but they are coming in the next couple of weeks.

abby came over around 3 and we went to a mini market close to my place and bought some food cause i hadn't eaten yet at that point. i had lunch/breakfast and then we head out to find a certain supermarket so we could get some shampoo, conditioner, milk and other things that weren't' at the mini mart. well, we were told to take this form of transportation called a 'combi' so we stood on the street corner at the stop and asked a lady how to get to the market we were looking for. she flagged down a combi and told it where to drop us off. combi, we learned, is a miniature full sized van...if that makes sense. *think full sized van look only smaller proportions*. this thing is sooo shady looking! it was awesome! we cram into this van with another 10+ people and it costs 1 sole, which is about 35 cents, and they take off before you even get a chance to sit down. sink or swim, baby. anyhow, they take off and swerve through traffic, slamming on the breaks and throwing open the sliding door any time they see an interested customer on the side of the road-just hope to God they are on the same side as the combi, or else we're doing a major lane change on the fly. when it's your turn to get off, you go and go quickly, cause they're doing their thing as fast as possible. soooo, we jump out and look around, not seeing the supermarket and without a clear idea of where we are. we decide to follow the crowds and walk straight ahead. we walked for a couple blocks, with a map in hand might i add, looking for this so-called supermarket. we decide to ask someone and they say, "oh yeah, it's straight ahead, keep walking". well, we walk a little further with no luck and i suggest that we ask another two people to cross-reference our directions (brazil taught me that people tend to give directions, even when they have no earthly clue where you need to be going). of course, the next two people (independently asked) each gave us different directions. thanks guys. we finally saw a hotel and stopped there to ask directions.

the lady said that she didn't know the market we were looking for, but there was another close by. we went to that one, picked out some stuff, were heading for the checkout line when i realized that it was going to be a pain in the a** to carry all of that stuff home. crap! i contemplated putting it all back and nixing the whole idea until i got better accustomed to things, but i really needed some of the stuff. we decided to bring it all back to abby's place, so i could see where she lived, and then we would find a way to get it back to mine. not having a car is really annoying when you're wanting to bring stuff home. soooo, we started walking to find our way to abby's. wait a sec, we don't know where we are. we can't find the roads, really, on the map and things are just not adding up. well, after asking about 4 people, we finally discover that we aren't in abby's neighborhood (San Isidro), like we previously thought, but are actually in the neighboring one (Miraflores) and it's now dark and not a good idea to walk all the way back. crap! we find an extremely nice lady who explains it all to us after much confusion and then flags down a taxi and speaks with the driver. i heard her speaking to him and was really glad when one of the first things out of her mouth was "you better not overcharge these girls. how much will you take to bring them to...yadda yadda yadda". haha, sooo in the end, we took a taxi back to abby's for 6 soles= about 2 dollars.

we got to abby's and spent the rest of the night talking with her host family. they're really great, but man do they loooove to talk. i spaced quite a few times, don't tell. they're really sweet, though. the mom insisted on driving me home because she didn't want me to get lost. thanks! aaand, here i am. just got home and am exhausted. i can't wait to sleep. busy day, more planned for tomorrow.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Time´s a Dwindling

Well, I´ve only got about three weeks left and it seems like it´s passing really quickly! I can´t decide if I´m happy or not about that. I can´t wait to see my family but I like Brazil too and I´m loving learning the language. This is the only bad thing about traveling....leaving everything and everyone behind...on both ends. Leaving my family and friends in the states and then having to leave my friends and the amazing people I´ve met in Brazil.

Today was the last day *almost* of all my classes. I say almost because I have one more exam on Wednesday, but it´s going to be cake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This past weekend was yet another holiday at the universities here, so i took the break as another opportunity to travel...logically. Two friends and I went to this area called Lençois. This place was gorgeousssssssssss!!!! We hiked through outstanding views, up mountains, cliffs and through, over, under and around rivers. We found crazy waterfalls hidden miles into the forests and natural springs that were perfect swimming temperatures. If I had to choose one place that was my favorite in amazing sights, it would be this place. I don´t even know how to describe everythign I saw! Breathtaking, that´s about the best i can do. haha!

Anyhow, the first day we were there, we arrived about 4:30am and got a ride to the place we were staying. We slept for a few hours and then went off with a guide on a 7 hour hike through the wilderness to search out ginormous cliffs *if that´s not really a word, I´m making it a word*, waterfalls and everything in between. We stopped twice to swim..one place had a natural slide down the side of a huge hill. it was sooo neat sliding down the rock into cool water! it didn´t really hurt either....the water had smoothed it out enough.

the second day we decided to take it easy on ourselves a little and go on a bus tour. we were brought to different places far away where we would unload, hike for about an hour or so, and then go back to the van after we saw the main attractions. one of the places we went was two this site with two caves called Lapa Doce and Gruta Azul. When we were in one of them, we had the chance to go snorkling inside the cave so, naturally, I jumped at the opportunity!!! I WENT SNORKLING IN A CAVE!!! haha how cool is that?! It was really weird though because we were broken up into pairs. Well, my friend Baird and I were paired up, but some of the people around him were kicking him in the water and such so he decided to leave me alone and go ahead by the guide. Well, that left me alone in the middle of this cave when, after he left, so did all those people who were bothering him. I was there looking at everything below when it got too deep and dark to see anything. Talk about freaky!!!! Who knows what kind of crazy creepers dwell in the 150+ meter deep hole we were swimming over! So I got weirded out and found my other friend to keep me company..haha. I know, I´m weak!

The third day, we went on another foot hike to this waterfall called Sosego. It was this amazing site with crazy cliffs and ledges all around the pond it made. Well, once again opportunity was knocking, so I decided to climb some of the ledges and jump....the highest was about 50 feet.... it was sooo scary but oh so worth it!!! Ok so I did it three times from the highest point. haha. I couldn´t just stop after the first time!!! lol

Monday, October 29, 2007

Porto Seguro

Porto Seguro, a city south of Salvador, was the site of my most recent adventure. CIEE, the program I´m a part of down here, brought us all on a trip to this city. We left on Friday, meaning I had to skip all of my classes that day to get to the airport on time to leave, and shockingly enough, the flight was delayed. Haha, oh Brazil, you are teaching me so much patience. Anyhow, we get to this city and settle down in the little posada (little hotel-like place, only where they have a yard, pool, trees, etc which make it different from a hotel which would just be a building with rooms). We all broke up to go explore the city for awhile before we went out to dinner at this little restaurant with all kinds of salads, vegetables, and other yummies. One thing I´ve noticed here in Brazil is, no matter how fancy or common the restaurant is, they will ALWAYS have french fries on the menu or, in this instance, on the buffet. Anyhow, we ate. Long story short. After stuffing our faces (i don´t know how many times we have to go to a buffet and feel disguisting after eating too much that we will learn to stop when we are satisfied instead of holding on to the american point of view of eating as much as possible in order to ´get your money´s worth´ ) we had the rest of the night to continue exploring the city or do as we choose. The city was pretty touristy, in the sense that there were little stands everywhere selling jewelry, knick-knacks, shirts, and more jewelry. When it got too dark and sketchy to continue looking around, we all returned to the posada and enjoyed the night while sitting in hammocks, swimming in the pool (ok it was mainly me, but then i got kicked out by the desk clerk, saying that the pool hours actually ended at 10pm, and i wasn´t allowed to be swimming around at 2am). Well geesh, there should have been a sign. I took that as a suggestion to just be quieter so I continued swimming at my own risk...only silently this time.

Saturday, we were all taken to this Indian Reserve, which I thought was pretty neat. These Indians, the Pataxós, were oppressed and, in order to conserve their heritage and history, decided to set up this reserve and give tours, etc to earn money to be able to afford keeping some of their land and traditions. Anyhow, they took us on a tour of the reserve, and showed us some of their animal traps. Very cool! They explained how the traps worked and set them up and demonstrated for us. They also showed different ways of communicating with eachother without actually speaking or yelling (when the person was far away). These methods included different animal-like calls and, my personal favorite, utilizing a large *about 5ft in length* leaf from a common tree that is banana-shaped to produce a loud, resonating sound. How it worked? Well, let me enlighten you. The leaf was large, as I said, and banana shaped. Well, they would hold on to the stem of the leaf while the rest would rest on the ground. They took a mallot, or a thick stick, and pounded the stem of the leaf. The stem was probably 2 inches in diameter. The impact would create a resonating, deep sound that would carry a far distance. They would have different sequences of pounds to mean different things. Three hits would be a message of `i´m over here, where are you?´. The person receiving the message would hit his leaf similarly and the two would walk a while and then repeat the message until they found eachother. If someone was in danger, they would hit the stem repeatedly over and over to indicate danger and a plea for assistance. It was really interesting. I even got to try out hitting the leaf and sending my own message! It was pretty amazing to see how much sound was created with such little effort. After the tour, they did a little ritual for us. We also sat and listened to one of them telling us different cultural customs, such as their dating ritual. I thought this was super interesting. When a boy was interested in a girl, because of certain traditions of the two sexes not interacting much during their youth, the boy would toss a tiny stone at the girl. If the girl was also interested in the boy, she would toss it back. They would continue the relationship in this way for some time, also exchanging glances through the cracks of their homes. If the boy then decided that he wanted to marry the girl, he would toss a flower to the girl. If she accepted the proposal, she would toss a flower back. Once this exchange was made, the boy would then be obligated to go through a series of tasks to prove he was worthy of marrying the girl. One of the tasks involved him carrying a wooden post the weight of the girl across a distance. This was in order to prove that, in the case of an attack or other emergency, the boy was fit enough to carry his wife to safety. If he was unable to accomplish this task, he had to start over again with the pebble-throwing, etc. which would set him back a significant amount of time in his plans for marrying.

After the reserve, we came back and went to a restaurant overlooking the beach. It was a churrascuria, which is a big buffet of salads, fruits and veggies, and the waiters bring around big chunks of meat on skewers to offer to everyone. Mmmmm so good! After dinner we were all sitting around the posada in a food coma when one of the girls in our group announced she was going to get a piercing. She was going to go alone, and I thought, hey, I´ve never seen anyone get a piercing before, I´ll go with her! She was happy for the company and two other girls decided to come too. When we got there, they said that only one person could enter the room, so they chose me because, according to them, I´m the mom of the group. haha, OK! I went in, held her hand, and half-watched them poke two holes in her ear in order to put in a bar. Ewww...I hate needles. I got a little icky feeling, but I looked at it as a step closer to overcoming my fear of needles. Slowly but surely. It was really funny, though because the other two girls were poking their heads in the room with cameras and curious, yet grossed-out faces. It was a cool experience. At one point I looked at her ear and saw two hollow needles just dangling from her cartilidge. It made me laugh and cringe all at the same time.

Sunday, we had the option of going snorkling at this coral reef a few kilometers out in the ocean. No way I´d pass up an oportunity like that! We went and it was amazing! On the ferry ride over there, there was music playing and we were dancing and singing. When we arrived, we jumped in the water, walked to the reef, and were instructed on where we could and could not go for our own safetly and the protection of the reef. We could only be there for about an hour due to the rising tide which would soon cover everything in 3-6 meters of water, making it difficult and very dangerous to stay out there. I snorkled in the major pool of water in the middle of the reef. I thought about exploring other parts, but the pool was so big and I kept finding amazing and beautiful things where I was, so I stayed. I saw tons of brightly colored fish, coral, and other sea animals. At one point I looked down and saw a sting ray! I followed it for awhile and watched its interaction with other fish passing by. It was soooo cool! Another time, I was near some coral and out of the corner of my eye saw lots of little reflecting lights. i turned and saw a school of fish just staring at me. they were all facing me and watching me with interest. It was amazing. It was their eyes that I saw reflecting and when I noticed that they were watching me, I faced them and returned the curious stare. We remained there for about a minute just observing one another until they got a little frightened and swam away. Multiple times, I saw a school of at least 50 fish gathered at the bottom of the pool exploring something. It was really breath taking. I can´t even begin to tell all of the amazing types of fish and animals I saw. I specifically remember, however, a larger (about a foot long) neon blue fish swim by me. Wow. I also saw a small black with yellow stripes fish hiding in the coral. Some day I´ll having to look up all the kinds of fish I saw to put a name to the colors and Oos and Ahs. I didn´t see any clown fish, unfortunately. It was OK though, because the things I saw were outstanding.

The tide was rising and it was time to get back on the boat, so we all boarded and began the hour ride back to shore. I ended up falling asleep laying down on the boat and woke up part way through, in a sleepy stupidness and thought to myself ``I think I´m getting burnt´´ So, I rolled over and fell back asleep. Yeah, not so smart. I really think I need someone to think for me for awhile after I wake up. When we got back to shore, I noticed that I was a little pink. `` I think I got a little burnt,´´ I thought. A little burnt was definately an understatement. Well, this is the first time I´ve had an entire body burn. Legs, thighs, butt, back, shoulders, face, chest, stomach, arms, the whole deal. I´m fried. I went home exhausted from the lack of sleep the past few days, and the energy stolen from me from the sun/sunburn, and feel asleep in a hammock. I woke up about two hours later because of the pain. It hurt sooo badly. I spent the rest of the night, including waking up multiple times throughout the night, and the next morning (today) hardly able to move, sensitive to touch and any exposure to the sun, and frequently putting lotion and aloe on. Oh mom, you´ve told me a million times to put sunblock on, and I just don´t learn...I know, I know. Well, floating on my stomach in the middle of the ocean at high noon, and then falling asleep on the ferry were not exactly two great combinations for keeping me from a burn. Out of the 21 people that went scuba diving, about 15 of them got burnt. Oh well, it was sooo worth it. Today, we left to get back to Salvador and the most common sound heard all day was ` Ouch, don´t touch me, it hurts!´ Haha. Oh, one of these days we´ll learn that the sun is a little hotter this close to the equator and when being exposed to it for long periods of time, sunblock is a good idea. One of these days.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So much catch-up to do...and no, not the condiment

Adventures, adventures, and how to explain them. So two weekends ago, I went to São Paulo. I have some friends there that are with the same program as me, and who were in Salvador for the first month here taking intensive Portuguese classes with me. Well, anyhow, they are finishing their study abroad in São Paulo, and I decided to buy a plan ticket there and visit them and tour around the city a bit. I arrived on Thursday late afternoon, Oct. 11. The plan was a little late, and I knew that I had two friends waiting for me at the airport. I shuffled off the plane, and, walking to the baggage pick up site, I randomly looked to my left where I saw that the exit which was glass windows and doors. With his bare chest pressed against the glass, I saw my friend Josh. He was lifting his shirt with one hand and pointing to it with the other. My friend Kate was beside him. I busted out laughing, and, to the people standing all around me, appeared completely insane, because who laughs to themselves like that? Haha. Apparently, I do. Anyhow, I got my bag, still chuckling from the hilarious welcome scene and upon coming closer to Josh and Kate, realized that they had made a welcome banner for me....on Josh´s chest. And THAT was what he was showing me! Even better!!! Oh my gosh. It was so funny to see my name written across his chest, the Brazilian flag drawn oh so roughly, and all kinds of messages and welcome phrases on his stomach. What a great way to come into the city! haha. I loved it.

Well, we had to grab two busses and three subway trains (is that what you call them?...anyhow, ) to get to Kate´s house (where I would be staying for the duration of my time there). São Paulo is HUGE! It took almost two hours with all of the transportation...and we didn´t have to wait for more than 5 minutes for any of the busses nor subways. Crazy, huh? Anyhow, we got to her house, cleaned up a bit, and then went to this little japanses restaurant and had these sushi rolls. Afterwards, we went back to her house, where her hostmom had left for the weekend, and her host brother decided to invite friends over for a house party. Soooo much fun! We danced, sang, drank and played games all night. it was hilarious. The next day was devoted to sleeping (because we didn´t go to bed till about 5:30/6am) and walking around Kate´s neighborhood. We didn´t tour for long, because we met up with another friend, Talia, whose parents (real parents, not host parents) had come into town to visit and wanted to take us out to dinner. We went to this really amazing Lebonese restaurant and afterwards went to this Candomblê based dance/theatre performance. It was really interesting. you know in the circus how you sometimes see a girl wrap herself in a cloth way up in the air and do all kinds of acrobatic suff? well they had something like that too, only it was like dancing in the cloth. it was really neat. They had all these african dances too. Really interesting.

The next day, we went to this little flea market going on, which, might i add, was really neat, but i was amazing at how much they were charging for some of the used items there. it was crazy. something like 70 dollars for used glasses, purses, shoes, etc. it was crazy. i did end up finding really good priced jewelry though....yes! haha. after that, we went to a feijoada restaurant that had live samba music playing. it was so neat! there were people dancing and lots of feijoada and caipirinhas and caipiroskas....í´ll have to make them for you when i get home...oh so good. After feijoada restaurant, we went home, got ready, and then went to this club in the city. i´ve never spent so much money just to ENTER a club!!!! R$50...aka 25 dollars just to get in. Too bad they didn´t have good music and it was freaking crowded. whatever, we made it fun. We can manke anything fun! Sunday, we got up, went to this part of the city called Liberdade, where the Japanese population comes out to play every Sunday and set up these little stands selling anything and everything under the sun. It was great and i found some great things! Then, we walked around that part of the city a bit, and sadly, it was time for me to leave. I didn´t get to see a ton of the city, but it was worth the trip. i had a great time! OK, i´m about to be kicked off the internet, so i´ll have to finish the update when i have the next opportunity to get online. until then....