Chapada Diamantina got its name because they use to mine diamonds there. I’ve never been anywhere where diamonds are found before but Id always imagined it would have to be a geographically interesting place… Chapada Diamantina is TO SAY THE LEAST a very special place. The whole time my new friends and I would adventure around, someone would burst out into song…into the Indian Jones theme song to be exact.. and for damn good reason! This place is filled with hidden crystal caves, waterfalls upon waterfalls and just brimming with adventure! Woo hoo (Chapada) Diamantinas are a Lia girls best friend
I really really really dont want to dump all the amazingness of this place into one blog and overload everyones brain, including my own, so Im going to make up for my week of posting More >
Last time I wrote, I was ready to leave the city life of Salvador and do some R&R alongside a nearby beach. I wanted to relax, unwind, drink lots of coconut water, stick my toes in the sand, eat healthy, and let my liver recover a little from all these caipirinhas! Just as I was swooning over this idea, an older Canadian gentleman, who was using a hammock in my hostel dorm room, came up to me. He wore an explorer hat, had a cazy white mustache and looked like he must be in his late 60s. He walked up to me absent minded-ly, seemingly a little lost. I wasnt sure If he had forgetten we had only really spoken once before so he didnt really know me, or just seemed indifferent to that fact but he goes “Hey, Im going to this cool hippy colony on the beach about an hour from here. Micky Jagger More >
Last night I went into to ask about what music would be going on and Daniel told me there was going to be a party here! It was Colombian themed to promote a friend’s company, so Colombia food and lots and lots of salsa dancing!
Still not sure what the fire dance was about, he even burned his hair and then would wipe the fire across his crotch….hmm nothing says masculinity like the smell of burning hair…
Tonight I woke up with sore salsa dancing feet and the urge to do a detox from all the caiprinhas! A Canadian gentleman living in Ecuador invited me to come check one of the oldest hippy villages around, and supposedly some famous people like Mick Jagger have even been there. Sounds like a good place to recoup, and Ill be sticking to water if they are passing around any More >
I woke up to a really rainy day here in tropical Brazil and decided that I might as well go eat something delicious. On my way back to the hostel after eating, the dreaded guy who works here (and took me on the walk around) named Daniel asked me if I had plans tonight. “Me and some friends are performing drums and percussion tonight if you want to come. Its at 7.” At first I was wondering if he was inviting me solely to be nice or because he was trying to make me his gringa girlfriend (maybe both) but as soon as I said yes, I realized another girl from Bahia and an older man from Canada were also going. No need to find out if its a group outing
Because of the heavy rain, the concert was delayed a little, so everyone decided to take the time to practice a little more…practice being, jam More >
Right after I wrote last night I woke up my friend Daniel to call me a cab to the airport. He was still in a sleep-food comma from the feast we made at the hostel that night with whatever food I had left in the fridge… lentils, pasta, sweet potato, pumpkin and garlic bread madness yummm It all had to go! The taxi showed up ten minutes later and I was off to the north! Despite what the owner of the hostel said, the taxi turned out to be quite expensive (like 30 US) which is crazy but it was nice to not be sleeping at the airport (the last bus is at 11pm and the next bus is at 7am- after my flight leaves) and to have eaten a last dinner with my hostel worker friends. Such a lovely group who I already miss
I got to the airport, figuring that even with the taxi price, the total trip was More >
Whether or not it exists, Im all about embracing destiny on this trip. The best way to predict the future is to create it right??? BUT what about that other part. Time. Chance. In the intricate web of life, you just happened to walk down the street when another person had begun walking down that same street. You never knew each other existed but then BOOM you bump into each other. Start a conversation. Whatever. Next thing you know you’re married or dead or somehow impacted by that person. Traveling, I never know where my day is going to go. Who Im going to meet. I try to plan it so I have lots of fun but really so much of my reality depends on chance. Right now Im sitting in a hostel for free until 4am when I will get on a plane that I booked this morning to Salvador Brazil. (Yay!!! More >
9 months ago
In 1996 the King of Pop decided to make a music video called “They Dont Care About Us” and Spike Jones got involved, deciding it would be shot in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and in Salvador Brazil (my next stop!!). The government wasnt so keen on the idea of showing the world the conditions of their poor class, but the Brasilians loved it! So now there is a statue dedicated to good old MJ to show that he loved them enough to film in their neighboorhood and they loved him back forever!
I wasnt sure what to feel at the Favelas. I felt like I was in a labrynth and that David Bowie might pop out at any second! (Labrynth, 1980s movie, you know??) The place is a crazy maze of “houses” piled on top of each other along the hill side. There were kids playing soccer, clothes hanging from all over the place and random ladders leading up to peoples “porches”. I put parenthesis around “porches” and “houses” because they were hardly the size of my closet growing up. Hairdressers, bars, restaurants were all cramped into these tiny little holes along buried alley ways. Although I could see the poverty, and knew that the appropriate emotion to feel was pity or saddness that this was these people’s reality… I also just really liked it okay!! It had a certain life to it. A vibe. These people were proud and beautiful and this was there home. Ok, granted this place got alot of tourism because of Michael Jackson so this place was not like City of God or anything, I could even take out my camera without fearing for my life…thats saying something!!! But it isnt just me. I told one of the guys who works at my hostel from Australia and he was like “OMG, I love the favellas and the funky”.
Funky is a REALLY popular type of music here where ghetto-ish girls with huge butts do things with their jelly that I never even knew was humanly possible. Basically this dance is like sex, really intense Brazilian sex…
Anyway, he was like “I want to go to the real Favela parties where its ghetto and the music and dancing is real. But Id need to go with someone who really knows the place, Ive been scoping out my prospects..”
Lia: “Maybe we could even dress up super ghetto and try to blend in?!
Dan: “Oh honey, they would smell our gringo blood coming from a mile away.”
Hahaha ok, dont worry, I dont have a death wish BUT bottom line, the Favelas are cool!!
As soon as I left Bolivia, I knew I was in Brazil because the buses had air conditioning and the bus drivers looked like pilots…what is this?! Theres wifi in lots of stores and ATMs readily available? There’s people called janitors walking around picking up trash off the floor?! So fancy.
Two days later (yes, two days in a bus! Thats HOW bad I wanted the beach in my life) I arrived in Rio de Janeiro. Me and my ridiculous giant backpack climbed into a bus, and up the hills of a favela (lower class, sometimes slum area) up to my hostel in an old colonial house, knowing absolutely NO Portuguese. I thought it would be simiar enough to Spanish, wrong. Maybe it is…kind of…if you read it, with your eyes half closed, but really I might as well be on a foreign planet.
9 months ago
Im sitting here thinking of the best way to describe Brazil and I dont even know if there is an English, or Spanish or Portuguese (well maybe in Portugese since they live here and clearly have no problem agreeing that Rio is the best place ever) word for it……Ok here it goes.,..
hmm, not quite right….
maybe more along those lines….
a little of that too…
obviously, but it doesn’t give it justice
Well, I think a little of all those thrown in together with some other colorful adjectives just begins to get the point across.
As soon as I got here I jumped in the ocean and snuggled up with the warm sand. I bought a tiny fashionable bikini (the whole thing!) for $15, indulged in some sweet limey caipirinhas (the national drink) and dove head first into this beautiful culture. There are parties in the streets, coconuts for sale along the beach, people of all shapes and colors flaunting their love for life (and for their butts) all over the place. The people are friendly, the sun is warm, Happy is “in”, the alcohol is strong…. Why dont we all live in Rio de Janeiro?! Why have I not been here the all my life until now?? Im so happy to be here that theres a stupid smile glued to my face and everyone keeps making fun of me.
After being a beach bum for two days straight, embracing the party scene and promoting skinny dipping as a hang over cure I decided it was time to get serious and go see the famous stuff. I hung out with the giant Christ today and took in the touristy but amazing views. I was talked into hang gliding over Rio and made a surf date for tomorrow. Right now theres a live jazz festival on the beach and the Lime and the Coconuts are begging me to come on down and shake it all up So to anyone reading this, or to myself who will read this down the road in life, be very jealous and book your next trip for Brazil already!!!
“Here come your first clients,” Alan, my Peruvian street vendor mentor said as he pointed at two Bolivian girls walking towards us. “What? Really?” I asked nervously. I imagined myself as one of the Bolivian bus vendors, standing on the side of the road yelling in a really irritating sing songy voice “Buses to Po-to-si POH TO Siiiiiii !!!” Oh man, how do I, this blond foreigner who they probably think eats cash for dessert, approach these people with my gringa cake? They walked past us. Ahh opportunity lost. “Let’s wait til we get to the plaza,” I said, trying to build up my confidence.
“Anything that walks is a client,” said Alan with his super mellow smile. “You’ll get it, and be sure to cut up one of those cakes to give out as samples! People will like that.”
So we marched through the More >