Uma outra greve? Well that’s just gravy.

•June 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Last Wednesday, Lara and I were working in the grad student office when André, our professor, walks in and asks us if we were aware that the bus drivers were on strike. My immediate reaction was incredulity. Are you kidding me?! The teachers are on strike, now the bus drivers are on strike…my brain is about to go on strike and refuse to do any more school work! Anyways, in our slight panic we decided to leave early just to avoid being stranded all the way away on the Pici Campus. After waiting at the bus stop for about 10 minutes one of the buses we usually take finally pulled up to let someone else off. Then it drove away. It drove away as we ran after it screaming and trying to hit it to get it to stop for us. At this point I’m thinking “Ok great…so this is what the strike means. We’re never gonna make it home.” Eventually another bus stopped stopped for us not too much later and we finally made it home. The guy driving the bus was not a regular and he kept asking people on the bus for directions. It was a little funny haha. Since André told us only about 30% of the buses were running, we figured we’d just have to wait around a little longer than usual the next morning and eventually make it to school. Lara had a test in the afternoon and I had projects to finish so we would be going to school no matter what.

Let’s just say it took much longer than we expected.

So Thursday morning, we left the apartment around 715ish, a little later than usual but not drastically late or anything. The bus came after about 10-15 minutes of waiting and the guy collecting the money was one of the guys we usually see in the morning so he knows us. When we went through the turnstile, he kept trying to tell us something about the strike. I figured he was just trying to tell us the bus drivers were on strike so we were like yeah we know just get us to school please. After an hour on the bus, we still had not even made it halfway to school. I could not for the life of me figure out why traffic was moving so slowly. It has never been that bad. Once we passed the hospital (the marker for “hey you’re a 1/3 of the way to school!”) the bus driver opened the doors, said something, and the other passengers got off the bus save for two elderly people. Lara and I just looked at each other completely confused. We decided we might as well get off and walk until we had passed the traffic then jump back on another bus the rest of the way to school. A couple block down from where our original bus was still stuck in traffic, we discovered the cause for the standstill traffic: the bus drivers had parked their buses in the middle of the really skinny streets of Fortaleza in what I’m guessing was a way to enforce their strike. Now, I’m sure they have perfectly legitimate complaints, but I am not okay with any more drama and problems in my life that I can’t control or fix! So at this point, I’m fuming and stomping down the street past the buses shooting death glares everywhere because it’s hot, we’re in a part of the city I only know from the bus routes, and now we’re walking trying to find some part of the city that isn’t in stand still traffic so we can get a ride to school. I mean, we could’ve walked from where we were, but we were still a pretty far off way from school in an unknown part of town. Lara and I ended up walking the next 1/3 of the way to school looking for a taxi or a bus that was actually moving in the direction of campus. As we’re walking, I hear a guy on the phone walking behind us mention UFC. I’m still incredibly on edge, hyper-alert, and wary of every person on the street after the beach incident, so automatically I don’t want this guy following us anymore. We let him pass us and watch him hop on a bus to school. We followed in suit and rode a similar bus the rest of the way to campus. By the time we got to the office, I was drenched in sweat, dehydrated, and way too angry to do any work. Once again, I was gifted a study abroad experience I probably could’ve lived just fine without.

The way back home on the bus went much more smoothly. No stops and relatively quickly. After that trial we decided not to go to campus on Friday and just work from home. This morning we took a taxi to campus since Lara had a test at 8am. From what I can find on the websites of the newspapers from the area, it looks like the strike might be over. I sure hope it is. We’ll definitely find out this afternoon though!

Only a week and a half left in Brazil then I’m back in Mississippi!

Abraços e beijos!!

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Update: blogging is a fantastic procrastination tool

•June 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The strike is on! The Teachers’ Union of the Universidades Federais do Estado do Ceará voted Monday to go on strike by a vote of 883 to 379 (for more information open GoogleChrome, go to http://www.adufc.org.br, and translate the webpage into English, unless you read Portuguese). I found out yesterday that UFC is one of the last schools to go on strike for an indefinite amount of time. So far 50 of 58 universities are paralyzed, and some have been on strike for 2 to 3 months! I really don’t know what we would’ve done if UFC had gone on strike that early…

For me, this means the rest of my semester has been squished from three weeks into one, kinda like an accordion. So far I’ve had two tests (Climatology and Environmental Health) and one more still to go on Friday (Wastewater Treatment). I still have to talk with my Brazilian culture professor to figure when and where I’m giving my presentation and just how I’m going to get another grade for her class. On top of studying for all these tests, I also have two group projects reviewing the latest IPCC report and the connection between climate and civilization collapse, a 10-page group paper analyzing the latest legislation on water and wastewater treatment, and an individual project analyzing climate indices to finish. It’s only Wednesday morning and my brain is dead tired. My mantra/theme song for the week: 

Thankfully my group members for the projects have been super helpful with organizing the group projects so all I have to do is write and send them my work. I’ve gotten to the point in my work that I can no longer tell the difference between English and Portuguese when I’m reading. While it is kinda cool and slightly helpful, it wears my brain out and I’m usually left staring at my computer screen for five minutes trying to decipher one sentence. I’ve developed some new procrastination habits to deal with my brain exhaustion, such as blogging! The Euros also offer a nice 2-4 hour break haha. So far, I’ve managed to catch a few games like GERvsPOR,  ENGvsFRA, and both Group A games yesterday, but I disappointed I won’t be able to watch the Netherlands take on Germany. The International Bar, where Lara and I watched the Champions League Final and the USAvsBrazil game, has a whole special set up for the Euros. We found out on Saturday that the guy who owns it and most of the people that work there are Dutch so the whole joint is decked out in orange. It would be so much fun to watch the Dutch-German game there this afternoon, but alas I have class. Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Abraços!

(ps. USMNT and Guatemala drew 1-1 in last night’s qualifier. Frustrating game, but I greatly appreciated my dad texting me regular updates from the game which was PPV only.)

Last minute chaos

•June 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

With officially one month left to go, apparently Brazil decided I needed to cram in a few more exciting experiences before I head back home. First the beach incident on Sunday and now a greve (aka the strike) at school. Last semester when I was working on turning in all my paperwork for the university, my study abroad advisor Kerollyne pushed me to get everything in as soon as possible in case of a strike, since UFC is a public university. Well in the past couple months there have been stirrings of strike talk. There were a couple assemblias where the professors and other university faculty met to discuss their demands. Apparently they weren’t satisfied.

Then a couple weeks ago the students in my classes started talking about the greater possibility that the strike would actually happen. Most of my professors were quite nonchalant about it, but started to rearrange the material for the rest of the year just incase the strike occurred. This week, the strike seems an almost certainty. In my Brazilian culture class on Monday, we talked about telenovelas for about 30 minutes then got completely off track and discussed the impending strike. A couple students were surprised to learn that it was the whole campus, not specific departments. From what I could understand and how my other professors have reacted, the meeting the professors had yesterday didn’t resolve their problems and the strike will more than likely start next Friday, June 15.

As a result, all my professors push all the due dates up. I now have tests in climatology, environmental health and water treatment, a presentation in culture, extra classes in environmental health, and I have no idea if I still have the projects due in climatology. My test in climatology at first was non-existent. Then the teacher decided since a majority if the class just quit coming to class in the past few weeks that we would have the test. Now the test date is getting moved up to accommodate the strike. So suddenly, I’ve gone from have a moderate amount of work for a month to being swamped with writing and studying in order to accomplish everything in two weeks! In the discussion we had in my culture class, my professor said something about the strike lasting till September if nothing is resolved. Seriously?! So I might finish school a couple weeks early, but my grades won’t get turned into Ole Miss until who knows when. It is just chaos and everyone only has snippets of details rather than the whole picture. So I’ll keep y’all updated and hopefully everything turns out well.

Até próximo! Abraços!

Thank you Cee Lo for putting it so eloquently

•June 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

Last week was pretty uneventful and normal: continuing talk of the impending greve(aka strike) among the teachers at UFC, last minute assignments and tests in all classes, and the US men’s team capitulating against Brazil in a depressing 4-1 loss. All of my professors are attempting to squish as much as they can into the next two weeks since talk of strike is stirring. If no resolution occurs, we’re looking at the strike happening in about 2-3 weeks. Yippee. Awesome how they match it up with the end of the semester, right? As a result, I now have a report due this Friday, two tests next Friday, another test the following Friday, and a presentation in my Brazilian Culture class at some point in time. Wednesday night around 8pmish, Lara and I returned to our soccer-watching venue all pumped up and excited for a promising performance from the Yanks following their incredible obliteration of the Scotland national team last Saturday. About two hours later, the score stands 4-1 Brazil and I’m sitting on the bar stool with my USA scarf wrapped around my head yelling at the Brazilian who keeps laughing and insisting that the Seleção needs another goal. Thursday and Friday were much better for lifting my depression. I even met two students from UGA who are here with their anthropology teacher for the summer! Saturday night I got to watch a little of Argentina rolling over Ecuador. I almost wrote this post afterwards out of sheer boredom but figured I’d wait till after the USA-Canada game. It’s like the universe was trying to tell me to wait for a bigger story to come along. Like being robbed at the beach.

pre-game excitement

One of the wonderful things about our location in Fortaleza is the fact that the beach is literally one block away. Very convenient. Now, both Lara and I have extensive experience abroad and we know it’s better to travel in groups. Since we’ve been here in Brazil, we’ve been warned several times by everybody to be wary and alert for people trying to steal our purses and stuff. When I was in Rio, my host mom was out walking her dog and this kid rode by on a bike and snatched her purse off her shoulder. Sunday was our beach day for the weekend. We went out in the morning for a couple hours then headed back in for lunch and sunscreen reapplication. Then we went back out for another couple hours. It was super crowded; we had figured out that Sunday tends to be beach day for all of Fortaleza. A little over an hour of sun being there, a group of adolescent boys came and sat down a couple meters away from us. I didn’t really think anything of it since everywhere was crowded and there weren’t a lot of places for a group of 10 to chill. Then suddenly, when I’m lying down half-asleep, I hear someone run up and Lara screamed “NO!” I look up and this guy has my Guatemala purse in his hands and is trying to wrestle it from Lara’s grasp. I yelled something like “HEY!” (don’t really remember) and latched onto my purse as well and yanked as hard as I could. This brought the dude’s face close enough to mine so that we ended in a stare down. I’m fairly certain I had my death glare on but he wouldn’t relent. He kept trying to tell me to let go, which of course I wasn’t going to do. Then his little partner in crime ran up from behind us and yanked from the opposite direction causing both Lara and I to lose balance and my purse slipped through our fingers. I have never seen two men disappear as fast as these two did. What pissed me off the most was the crowd of people sitting around who just sat there and watched. They did nothing. I glared at the boys next to us until I realized they were probably friends with the two guys given their facial expressions.

The contents of my purse included R$5 in cash, my Ole Miss nalgene, my cheap sunglasses from Rio, my cell phone, and, most importantly, the key to our apartment which just happens to have our address written on it. We sat there on the beach for a couple minutes fuming and trying to process what had just happened. Some nice lady selling food and water gave us a water for free as a way of apologizing, I guess. Finally we got up and walked back to our apartment, making sure no one followed, praying the whole way back that the doormen would just happened to have an extra key. If we had been at Praia do Futuro, we would’ve been screwed without money to catch a bus back or our professor’s number memorized. Thankfully, the doormen had a bucket of unmarked keys, one of which fit our door.

Once we were back inside I sat there and fumed for the next few hours. I’m still angry. I was never scared, didn’t even think of the possibility that they might’ve been armed, just severely pissed off. Now I just feel like Cee Lo puts it the best way possible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OiF-o8l_Tk&feature=fvwrel.

André came later by after I emailed him and canceled our cell numbers for us and called someone to come today to change the lock on our door yesterday morning. They never actually showed up, so we slept with the couch against the door again. They finally showed up this morning and changed the lock for us!

Also, it’s starting to look like the possibility of a strike is more and more likely, so I’ll cover that in my next post.

Tchau pessoal!

Sweat, Donkey, and Redbull

•May 28, 2012 • 1 Comment

Yesterday was the Redbull Flugtag competition in Fortaleza. Up until a couple months ago, I had absolutely no idea what flugtag was. Then one day Ivinne, Regis, and Ishmael (some of the students from the lab) started jumping up and down and screaming in excitement. Once they calmed down, they had to explain what exactly was flugtag. Bascially, Redbull came up with this ridiculous competition as a way to promote their brand. It requires groups of people to design the most ridiculous flying contraption possible that will then be launched off a platform into a body of water. If you saw the youtube link I posted on here a while back, the whole event is insane. The lab kids’ design for the competition had been accepted and they would get to compete this year. Their group name was Engejegue (and I have no idea what that means). The contraption was based on Donkey from Shrek.

It’s a pretty big event and it was free so of course Lara and I were going to go. All last week, Regis and Ivinne kept asking us if we planned on going. It started Sunday morning around 10 and basically lasted all day. Regis told us to make sure we got there early since there would be a ton of people there. We ended up leaving home around 9:30am, which turned out to be a bit late haha. Redbull set up the competition in the Marina Park. Once we got there, it was already swarming with people. There was no schedule posted so we had no idea when Engejegue would be going. So we bought some redbull, and started shoving our way up to the front to get the best view possible. Needless to say, I now understand how people get crushed to death in panicky crowds. It was packed! We wove our way as close to the front as possible and our only respite from the incredible body heat around us was the occasional breeze. I’m so glad it was a cloudy day and it even drizzled a bit! As it got closer to starting time, the crowd started becoming very dense. As the first “planes” started to appear, people started to squish in to see; I could barely move my arms. Personal space did not exist. A few people climbed on their friends’ shoulders or scaled the trees to get a better view. Some people decided to be geniuses and rented sailboats so they could chill in the marina and watch everything comfortably. After about two hours of standing, I was drenched in sweat and I’m pretty sure not all of it was mine. The best thing about the sweat though was the fact that it made it easier to squeeze by people cause everyone was so slippery. Ew. Nasty. I managed to get pictures of a couple groups going off the edge, but I could barely watch them hit the water. One guy a couple people in front of us turned around and gave me a grade sheet to hold up; I was given the paper for 2 marks haha. Pretty sure he only gave it to me, because at that point my arms were stuck above my head and it was easy for him to just put it in my hand.

Eventually, Lara and I gave up and decided we needed air and water. As the good rugby player that she is, Lara led the way and forged our way out. I started to get stuck behind her so she reached back, stuck a finger through a belt loop on my shorts, and proceeded to yank me through the crowd. It was hysterical. I was laughing so hard I could barely see. Once we reached freedom, I looked down and my clothes were soaked all the way through from the sweat. It was absolutely disgusting. As we made our way away from the crowd near the barrier, we found out that you could actually see the launch pad from a ways back, just not the landing. So we sat there watching and waiting for Engejegue to appear. Once they did, we ran to the area with the screen showing the launches to get the clearest view. Then we realized we wouldn’t be able to take pictures of the screen to immortalize their work, so we scurried back and waited. Regis, as the pilot, was dressed as Shrek. Ishmael was wearing only his swimsuit and a cape and he was painted orange from head to toe as Puss. A couple of their other friends were other characters, but I couldn’t tell what there were supposed to be. I didn’t find out until this morning that the Donkey went off the side as they launched it rather than straight off the front. And Regis ended up face planting in the water. I mean, that was probably going to happen anyway, but seeing his reaction as he hit the water was hilarious. The judges gave them four 7s and an 8 for their launch. Lara and I cheered and bounced up and down during their turn.

By this point, we were starving so we decided to leave in order to beat the crowd trying to get home. We had to walk a bit to catch a bus, but it wasn’t too bad. We decided to go straight to the grocery store since we didn’t have anything for lunch back home. Bad idea. While all the sweat had dried, the janky smell from being smushed in a crowd like sardines hung over us. I could smell myself walking around the grocery store. Blegh! It was gross so we sped through our trip and ran back home. Taking a shower has never felt so good!

 

On another note, Lara and I ran into an American girl from Middle Tennessee who’s in Fortaleza for a month with her class. They’re staying in a hotel across the street from our apartment, so we offered to show them around the area if they wanted. I think a few of them are going to go with us this Wednesday to watch the US men’s national soccer team take on Brazil! It’s going to be epic! I’m so excited, especially after their whopper 5-1 win over Scotland on Saturday night.

Abraços pessoal!

Snaps is the name of the game, the name of the game is snaps

•May 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This past Wednesday, we had another unending torrential downpour. It’s been a while since we’ve had that much rain. Part of me wants to explain to y’all how rain down here works since that’s what I’ve been learning about in my climatology class but yeah…maybe not. Anyways, I ended up leaving the apartment after Lara (even though we usually leave together) and it took way longer than usual to get to school. I stood in the rain for about 20 minutes waiting on the stupid bus to come and of course the rain decided to pour hard and from every direction possible. I felt like Forrest Gump when the rain in the movie comes straight down, from the side, and even up from the bottom. I swear at one point the rain was coming at me from both the left and the right. It didn’t help when the idiots all nice and dry in their cars would speed through the puddles overlapping the sidewalk and the road causing everyone at the bus stop to run back to escape the resulting tidal waves. Once the bus finally arrived, it moved at a glacial pace. Considering the traffic we had, or lack thereof, the trip should’ve been about 30 minutes if not shorter. It took almost an hour because the driver was going to slowly!

Then I got to campus and noticed something was off. Everyone was standing outside their classrooms just chillaxing instead of being in class. When I got to the lab, I found out that the electricity was out. The lab kids and I just sat there for about an hour twiddling our thumbs and talking until someone got bored enough to suggest a game. The rainy day games of choice were all word games. The first game we played was basically Scategories. I don’t really know how else to explain it haha. Our categories were name, place, object, fruit, animal, car type, body part, and chemical element (yes, we are a bunch of science nerds). Then Ishmael looked and me and said I was only allowed to write in Portuguese. I started laughing hysterically because I’ve never learned the parts of the body, the only fruits I know are apple, papaya and mango, and the only animals I know are cat and dog. They tried to give me a quick run down on the parts of the body by singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” and I just sat there laughing until they relented and said I could write in English if I needed to. Regis was hilarious and the most outspoken during the game. I couldn’t tell whether he or Ishmael won because they kept trying to yell over each other once we finished. Needless to say, I ended up losing pretty badly since I was trying to write as much as I knew in Portuguese, but the game did proved to be a pretty good vocab lesson for me haha.

The next game was basically Catchphrase, but no timer and you were only allowed to say one word as a description of the word your pattern had to guess. Ishmael was my partner since he speaks the most English. Regis laid out the difficulty levels of the words as beginner, medium, hard, and challenge accepted. It’s so funny whenever any of the lab kids use an English phrase because after they say it, they always look at me really quickly to see if I’ll say anything about it. I was much better at this game that the first. I think they called it Dica (short for indicar aka indicate). It was a fun morning and, when the electricity finally came on around noon, everyone cheered.

The Redbull Flugtag competition is this weekend!! I’ll post pictures and stories next week. Should be fun!

Até próximo! Abraços!

Bucket list: visit Iguaçu Falls. Check!

•May 24, 2012 • 2 Comments

When I first found out I would be studying in Brazil for six months, one of my goals outside the academic sphere was to eventually visit Iguaçu Falls. It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Who doesn’t want to visit the incredible waterfall?! After I arrived to Brazil, I got so caught up in being in Rio that I just never got around to planning my trip. Then by the time I moved to Fortaleza, it seemed like a distant dream. Hah. Yeah my deep-seated ambition to see the Falls wouldn’t let this opportunity pass me by so around the beginning of April Lara and I started looking at our calendars and made a rather spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Iguaçu at the end of the month (Apr 28-May 1). We also thought it’d be fun to meet up with Konner and Rachel again since we hadn’t seen them in so long. Thanks to kayak.com/cheapflights.com and Hostelling International, we managed to plan a rather cheap trip for a weekend to Iguaçu with Rachel.

Our flight left Fortaleza late Saturday afternoon. Since Fortaleza isn’t a huge airport for traveling around the county, Lara and I had to catch a connecting flight in São Paolo. After a weekend of hopping around the country, I decided that I really don’t like the domestic terminals of Brazilian airports. They are WAY too small. I expected to have a rather large terminal to wander around in São Paolo during our layover. Nope! We had one “restaurant” and the whole terminal was packed and chaotic. That whole situation is definitely going to need to be sorted out before the World Cup in 2014 because there are going to be just too many people moving through the country. Lara and I arrived in Iguaçu around 1:30am, and luckily they had taxis waiting to transfer people to their hotels and hostels. Rachel had arrived much earlier that night so she was already asleep and comfy in her bed. Lara and I basically stormed into the room and tackled her. We hadn’t seen her in about 3 months so we automatically launched into stories with loads of laughter. Unfortunately, it was almost 3 in the morning when our neighbors came and knocked on our window begging for silence or at least muted voices. We apologized and went right to sleep.

I woke up the next morning FREEZING! I could not understand why! Then I remembered I had been living on the equator for three months and that the southern part of the country was in autumn heading towards winter. Of course it would be cold! And by cold I mean it was in the 60s. After putting on every piece of clothing we brought with us, we headed to breakfast where they served basically the same meal as the hostel in Jericoacoara. Then the guy who runs the hostel came and talked to us about our options for visiting the falls: Brazilian side one day then the Argentine side the next day. I fairly certain we provided the guy with more entertainment than he’d seen in a while cause he kept laughing as we were telling each other stories, launching into tangents and laughing our heads off.

After yet another chaotic almost calamitous attempt to catch a bus to the national park (go figure), we finally made it to the falls! And then we had to sit in three ridiculously long lines for about two hours to buy our tickets, enter the park, and board a bus to the falls. The bus was a double-decker with the top level open. Of course we sat up top in order to get the best pictures of the landscape. Bad idea. The theme for the weekend seemed to be freezing our butts off, so while the rest of the bus was nice and bundled up, the three of us froze in the wind. Our first view of the falls only gave us a tiny taste of the majestic river, but we managed to squeeze into the massive crowd along the fence and snap our first few photos. The trail that led to the main attraction a Garganta do Diabo (the Devil’s Throat) was pretty simple, with several areas to pull over and take photo shoots. As we approached the huge waterfall, rainbows littered the sky due to the incredible amount of mist coming from the falls. Once we got up to the bridge that took us under the falls, we passed people coming back who were completely soaked from head to toe. Rachel only came halfway out with Lara and me since she didn’t have a raincoat. The view at the end of the bridge was phenomenal. The water roared over the edge of the cliff and sprayed everywhere. I just stood there staring in awe at the sheer volume of water crashing down the gorge. After we scurried back to find Rachel, we took a few more photos then headed back to the park entrance to dry off, warm up and find food. By the time we left the park, we hadn’t eaten in over six hours. We found out the hard way that most everything in the town/city of Iguaçu closes pretty early on Sundays during holiday weekends. Luckily we found one little deli open and stuffed our faces with sandwiches and delicious pastries. Once we got back to the hostel, we crashed. Lara and I attempted to take showers. Up until that night, I’ve never actually had a shower that was so cold that it physically hurt. I thought I was going to end up with pneumonia from sleeping with glacial-cold, wet hair.

Monday, we woke up early and piled on our clothes again. It was a bit warmer but not by much haha. We had to be up and ready earlier because we were going to Argentina! The hostel took care of getting us to the Argentine side of the national park and through border security. Our group for the day consisted of two Brazilians, two Germans (both of whom had ridiculously crazy hair) and us three American girls. At the border, our driver stopped and insisted we get out and take photos straddling the border. He was also very good at taking jumping photos. After playing around for a bit, we went to border control and waited for an hour for our passports to be stamped and approved. Once we arrived on the Argentine side, we found out that we had three trails to visit! The first, and longest, would take us to the top of the Devil’s Throat, so we headed there first. We walked a part of the way, took a train to the trailhead, and then walked across the river for the last part. La Garganta del Diablo (Spanish for the Devil’s Throat) was even more spectacular from the top.  It was slightly worrying how many people were squished onto the platform, but everyone just wanted to stand and watch the water plunge down the rocks, including me. The other two trails took us to the upper and lower falls, which were smaller but more numerous. About halfway down the second trail, I started to get this really sharp pain in my foot. Turns out my tendonitis decided to migrate from my ankle to my foot and reappear with a vengeance. I managed to hobble the rest of the trails and, honestly, the stunning waterfalls were well worth the pain.

On our way back to the park entrance, we had a couple rather interesting and incredibly comical moments. First, we found out that juggling English, Portuguese AND Spanish in the space of one conversation doesn’t really work out that well. Lara was talking to an Argentine and a Brazilian and her English from talking to Rachel and myself kept screwing everything up for her. I just sat there laughing until it was my turn to ask people where we were and where we needed to go. I just never knew what language I needed to be speaking in haha. Then later on, while we were lounging in the deliciously warm sun, some guy walked up to me and started speaking in English! He wanted to know why I was wearing a Cambridge University sweatshirt. Turns out he was from Cambridge and had recently quit his job in England to backpack around South America. It was such a weird, small world coincidence. Once we got back to the hostel, we ate dinner at the restaurant there and just chilled. Lara and I left super early on Tuesday, around 5:30am. We spent the whole day traveling: one flight from Iguaçu to Brasilia with a short stop in Curitiba, a six-hour layover in Brasilia, then our final flight to Fortaleza. It was an incredible trip and I’m so glad we got to do it.

Até próximo pessoal! Beijos!