I’m currently writing this from Fulbright mid-year meet up in Brazil’s capital…Brasilia. Spoiler Alert: Exciting non-job/future/life related news at the end of the blog post!
My favorite city…period.
As you may or may not know…I like hyperbole. And yet, I find myself at a loss of words because there really isn’t a way to properly and hyperbolically describe Rio. Spectacular? Sure. Beautiful? Of course. Complex? No doubt. Yet, none of these adjectives fully encapsulate the essence of the city. Nonetheless, despite its many issues and obvious shortcomings, I have no hesitation saying that Rio is my favorite city I have visited during my 23 short years of life…
That time I got the plague…
Last Monday was quite possibly the most uncomfortable 24 hours I’ve spent in Brazil. Between the constant fever and mind-splittingly awful sore throat, I honestly felt like I had contracted the plague. Needless to say, the doctors went into illogical doctor-parent mode and were sure I had either Dengue Fever or Malaria…pretty hilarious. I’ve concluded one thing about doctors as parents: they tend to be good at medical advice…until it involves their own children.
Some Rio Highlights:
- Families…UNITE: One of the best parts of my experience in Rio was getting to spend some quality time with both my parents and Donovan’s mom, who was also visiting. It was definitely nice getting to know the famous Belinda Ervin and I think everyone got along quite well. Plus, the dudes from Santarém certainly weren’t complaining about going out to eat on a real-person budget…Get. In. My. Belly.
- The Selaron Steps: Probably my favorite tourist sight in Rio was the Selaron Steps. The increasingly iconic steps have been a work in progress by a Chilean ex-pat since 1991 and are his “gift to the people of Brazil.” We got to meet the famous Mr. Selaron hard at work tiling a new section during our guided city tour. Apparently, Farrell and the artist formally known as Snoop Dogg (he’s a “Lion” now…you know) brought the steps to an international audience in their music video “Beautiful”…the more you know.
- Christ the Redeemer: U.n.b.e.l.i.e.v.a.b.l.e. As amazing as it looks in pictures. Also, check pluses to Jorge Dallos for once again providing us with another priceless photo…
- Copacabana and Ipanema: Chicago tries…LA does to…Miami gives it a go …but none of those cities’ beaches can even come close to Copacabana or Ipanema. The finest urban beaches in the world are in Rio…I’m convinced. Great weather, stunning setting, and good-looking people…what’s not to like? Seriously, Jorge got a little ridiculous with the poses…
- Vasco de Gama vs. Corinthians: There was a 0.000000% that I would go to Rio and not attend a soccer game. Doctor D and I ventured out to the big Vasco vs. Corinthians (the recently crowned South American champions) game on Sunday and had an…experience…to say the least. Standing room only, no assigned seats, die-hard fans, and more “filho da putas” dropped in 90 minutes than I thought humanely possible (didn’t matter which team somebody was playing for)…the game was certainly something new for me as a soccer fan.
- FAST INTERNET: So fast I almost wet myself…
…I’m not kidding.
That announcement I was talking about:
I’m not ready to go back to Santarém. Last Friday I finally concluded that Brazil has WAY to much to see and offer for me to spend the next couple of weeks idly baking in the sun, being eaten by ants, and waiting for the strike to end. That said, Donovan and I have decided to extend our trip/adventure/extravaganza by 11 days! After mid-year meet up, we’ll be heading to the world famous Pantanal! Located in the Center-West of Brazil (the only region of the country I’ve yet to explore), the Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world (literally 20 times larger than the Florida Everglades) and will provide me the opportunity to 1. see jaguars and 2. wear my hat. Awesomeness? Youbetcha. After exploring cowboy country, our plan is to head to Goiania (the capital of Goias state) and hang with some of our Fulbright buddies for 4-5 days. Exciting to say the least! Horseback riding, jaguar tracking, SAFARIING…GET AT ME!
Quote of Andy’s Week:
I read something the other day that I thought readily applicable to my life and useful to thinking about the passage of time…
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
- Amuuuurrrica! After losing the medal count to the Chinese in Beijing, it was nice to see that we still have the Olympics in us! Like I said last week, my main memory from the 2012 Olympics will be Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt reaching absolute legendary status. P.S Brazil lost in Olympic soccer again…with a quasi-World Cup squad…2014 is two short years away…UH OH.
- It’s apparently getting WAY toastier in the ‘Rem these days. Last week, my Santareno Facebook friends posted to the effect “Esta ficando quente demais!” (It’s getting really hot!) If it’s getting hotter…what would they call March, April, May, June, and July???? Boy ohhhhhh boy I’m in for a unpleasant surprise August 29th.
- English Premier League starts up this weekend…with our smashing signings this summer…the good days are here again for the Arsenal. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!
Get ready for some seriously stunning pictures….and a hilarious George Dallos story to boot next Monday! Until then…have a splendiferously good week!
P.S Andyinhat.tumblr.com has been updated with some EXCLUSIVE content! CHECK IT OUT PEOPLE!
P.S.S Awesome Facebook album to be posted at some point this week!