Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No fim, não tô a fim de Beagá

While bumping along on a city bus this morning, suddenly the guy behind me--who smelled like he slept in an ashtray--coughed. He didn't cover his mouth, so I could feel his stinky, moist breath on the back of my neck. When he did it a second time I turned and shot my evilest glare while demonstrating the simplicity of the polite hand-over-mouth gesture. He snarled, "You sat there."

That vignette summarizes my feelings on Belo Horizonte: I am not charmed.

Porto Alegre is cleaner and more quaint, São Paulo more diverse and alluring, Rio de Janeiro more topographically and culturally interesting. Belo Horizonte (of which, perhaps, I had unrealistically high expectations), and I just didn't connect. Sorry, Beagá.

(Belo Horizonte - a nice skyline nevertheless)

On a positive note, I have met some great people. I couchsurfed with Márcio for a couple nights. He has a warm and considerate demeanor, and he took me out for cheap beers with a gaggle of friends on Friday. If not by the city itself, I was completely charmed by Amilton and Bernardo, who took me on a personalized driving tour of the best sights on Saturday. I spent Sunday night chatting with New Yorker Matthew and Kiwi Stephen at the hostel, and Monday, getting to know George from Surrey on a day-trip. They are great lads, the lot of them.

I also saw a few interesting places like UNESCO World Heritage site, Ouro Preto, and the Museu Giramundo. The latter, which tickled me for its uniqueness, will be a post feature in the near-term, after I get back to POA and sort out the photos. But first...

I left my iPod at home, which I never do during travel. This time, though, I truly didn't expect I would have time to use it. That was an unfortunate assumption, as I am about to board an overnight bus ride to the coastal, capital city of Espírito Santo, Vitória. D'oh.


Sunday, April 4, 2010


...at a ridiculous churrasco-gorging session this evening...

Loquinha: I can't have another caipirinha. I have to work at eleven tomorrow.

Lisa: (incredulously) I have to be at work at seven!

Ivan: (quietly) I have to harvest my strawberries on Farmville.

(gales of laughter)


Loquinha: I can't wait to get home and undo my pants.

Torres 2: Tatuira

I've never been much of an ocean-girl. I mean, it's big, it's neat, pretty, yadda yadda yadda... but it's salty. And it's mysterious, in a potentially bad way. (I have a somewhat-irrational fear of encountering dead people in large bodies of water.) I grew up near fresh water lakes which were largely seaweed and dead-body-free. In fact, until this year, I've only swum in the ocean a few times.

In February, though, my perfect week in Punta del Diablo* went a long way toward converting me into an ocean lover.

Then, a few weeks ago, I headed back to Torres in the good company of Eliana, Adriana, and Ivan. Suddenly, I find myself wondering what the bleep I was thinking choosing an inland city in a country that boasts (roughly) 1,243 miles of diverse and distinguished beaches, pra caralho.

Anyway, the weather was beautiful. The fried lula (calamari) and siri na casca (like crab cakes) were delectable and the maracujá (passion fruit) caipirinhas, a bit dangerous.

I discovered some very cool living things, like tatuira (mole crab).

Watch the sand closely and you'll see them...
...just before they become frutas de mar for another hunter.

Despite my clear preference for the tatuira, I also befriended these tiny mollusks that looked just like chicken hearts, and ghost crabs, which we hunted and theorized about one afternoon as if we were Animal Planet documentarians.

Honestly, I floated in the foamy water and played in the sand (with my tiny new friends) for ages--delighting in being eight years old again.
Hmm. Sea food-for-thought: Recife in eight weeks.

My life rulz.
Loquinha Prainha

* Speaking of Punta del Diablo, I amended this post with a fun video of IvanOne.