three weeks in Brazil

We’ve been away for just over 3 weeks and we’ve seen so much, but it has just flown by. Brazil is huge and people come to visit only Brazil for months on end. At home our trip seemed exotic and unusual. As soon as you arrive in a hostel you realise everybody had the same idea as you and they have either come from your next destination or are going there next too. We’ve all taken an entire country and reduced it to Rio Ilha Grande ParatySao PauloIguazu Falls. It’s enough to make anybody feel like a total cliché.

Nobody we’ve met since Salvador seems too bothered to go there though. An idea we’ve encouraged. No offence Salvador, you aren’t bad, you just aren’t Rio. Try not being full of armed police. Just a thought.

And clichés we may be, but much better a cliché reducing Brazil to a list of cities than a cliché working a job they hate for 2 years and constantly whining about it. Ugh.

It’s lovely to meet all the other clichés too. From England and Scotland, Germany, Australia, Denmark and the US, among others. You find yourself in little troupes of nice people who you barely know, except that they’re from Sheffield and they don’t know what to do with themselves so they’re in South America for 6 weeks, as well as a list of places they’ve visited and will visit. And in our troupes we’ve visited Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema beach, Lopes Mendes beach on Ilha Grande (supposedly one of the best in the world, yeah, it was pretty good) and a huge selection of waterfalls and lagoons in Paraty.

There are also people you can’t stand. But that’s fairly everyday for Oliver and I. Mostly pairs of obnoxious Brits (I know, pot and kettle). But you’re polite, or you avoid them, or you change hostel as we did in Ilha Grande for a bunch of boring reasons. Obnoxious Brit couple, leaking shower, everywhere smells of wee.

I already feel like a hostel connoisseur, as does anybody that stays in a few. I’m after aircon, plentiful toilets and showers, somewhere other than a bed to sit and do nothing, halfway decent internet, a kitchen, a washing machine, a pleasant owner and a smashing free breakfast. A hostel pet cat, a reading light and good wifi is like hostel paradise. All for under R$38 a night please (about a tenner).

Soon Brazil will turn into Uruguay, a place with even less recommendations than Salvador, and then Buenos Aires, which I am so very excited for. But from Brazil I’ll miss cups of icy acai, lethal caipirinhas and warm and chewy pao de queijo. Brazilians put sugar in everything it seems, so I’m sure to experience a crash when I leave. Sugar in fruit juice, sugar in bread, sugar made into alcohol.

Before we leave though we’ll head to Sao Paulo, not especially popular (except for the 19 million people who live there) and Iguazu Falls, recommend and adored by everybody I meet. That people dismiss Sao Paulo encourages me and I can’t wait to see the busy streets filled with Oscar Niemeyer designs, visit Liberdade for sushi half the price of Rio’s and hang out with two of those previously mentioned troupe members. This little quote makes it sound especially appealing, probably because I usually live in Manchester: “The city, which is also colloquially known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion and multitude of skyscrapers”.

Looking forward to the city of drizzle.

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