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288 travelers at this place:

  • Day14

    Back to Sao Paulo

    November 9 in Brazil

    So we are back in Sampa, why you may ask but I'll get to that in a bit. It wasn't the best start as we arrived from the night bus at 7am but couldn't get into our airbnb until midday. However we had a cunning plan to ask a nearby hostel to look after our bags. So we rocked up and Kat in her sweetest voice asked the guy behind the reception. "No" was the response. Now Kat being a pretty blonde woman wasn't used to the word no and her bottom lip started to quiver. So back on to the streets we went to hatch a new plan and whilst Kat recovered and I searched for Starbucks the guy came out to say we could after all - and order was restored to the universe!

    Being back also gave us a chance to catch up with a friend of mine Catherine. We met in a craft beer pub (I know, I'm sorry) and we ended up sitting next to some brewers who were having their beer showcased. They gave us plenty of tips (all their beer unsurprisingly) but as most of them were over 7%, we had to be careful. Croma they were called, you heard it here first!

    Now for the reason we returned, to go to the Brazilian grand prix. Amazingly thanks to Joey we had paddock access, I was so excited! Given the robbery of the Mercedes team last year we were a bit nervous on the way to the track but it was totally fine. An easy metro ride there spotting fellow F1ers (they weren't hard to spot, team baseball cap and sporty top over a beer belly) and walk to the track with enterprising locals selling everything you might need from their garages.

    We went there two days, qualifying on the Saturday and the race itself on Sunday. Kat had been researching F1 all the day before but it clearly wasn't up to much as she spent most of it asking 'who's that?' and was most excited when she saw Steve Jones of T4 fame! Sadly she didn't pluck up the courage to ask for a selfie which she is still regretting but we did get ourselves in the background of plenty of interviews.

    Joey had also kindly arranged for us to get a garage tour of the Williams team. It was incredible how much kit they have, 40 sets of tires for the weekend! We saw all the backstage set up, including an engineer in his pants...

    The drivers themselves were much harder to come by, that was until I went to the gents about 15 minutes before the start and found myself washing hands next to Kimi Raikkonen. From that point Kat and I weirdly found ourselves hanging outside the gents spotting the drivers jog in for their pre race pee.

    Sorry this has been a long post (we had vowed to keep them short) but it turns out we really liked Sampa, not expecting to at all. The city is huge and we only made the lightest of scratches on the surface but it seemed like a really cool city and I was a little sad to leave.
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  • Day49

    Maceio, Brazil

    February 21 in Brazil

    We are headed around the “nose” of South America and this lovely city provided us with the restfulness of lovely beaches, turquoise water and warm breezes as we strolled along the pedestrian walkway that runs the full length of the beach.
    There are some rather unusual sailboats (see photos) that take people out for rides. They are very casual, with wooden benches on the deck of the boat and beautifully shaped sails. Coconut water and ice cream seem to be the refreshment of choice here.
    We met and visited with a charming young Brazilian woman who is a construction engineering student and is here on vacation for a few weeks.
    One more stop before we head into the Amazon!
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  • Day60

    This is our last stop both in Brazil and the Amazon. This is a very small village is located on a very small river off the Amazon and is unusual because the waters are very clear and it draws many tourists and locals for swimming.
    It is difficult to imagine we could be any hotter than we had been in the past couple of days, but it definitely was possible. It took just a few minutes for our clothes to be completely soaked and the unforgiving sun mercilessly beating down on us did nothing to dry them - hhmmmm... maybe it was the 95% humidity.
    In any case, a quick stop tomorrow to allow the pilot to disembark and we will be on our way to the Barbados. We are looking forward to 3 full days at sea so we can begin to process all we have seen in the various countries in South America and start to ease into life off the ship.
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  • Day48

    Salvador, Bahia

    February 20 in Brazil

    Salvador is an interesting city that is primarily influenced by Africa in everything from the food preparation, the handicrafts and the music.
    We had a fascinating excursion today that was a percussion workshop. It was located in one of the favelas (Salvador has a population of 2 million with half living in favelas). We were in a small recording studio that was owned by a gentleman named Peta who had been playing percussion instruments since he was 5 - he is now 47.
    He was an incredibly patient man and entrusted each of the 12 of us with one of his special instruments. He taught us various samba rhythms and gave us each a chance to play something. He gave us an idea of his musical history and life in Brazil. He is extremely talented and explained that as a child he would practice one particular beat for 3 hours at a time. He just completed Carnival here where he played for 8 hours each day.
    And, bless his heart, at the end he encouraged us all to take up an instrument and try to play with his background beat. Instead of plugging his ears, he smiled a wide smile and made us feel pretty good about ourselves.
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  • Day51

    Forteleza, Brazil

    February 23 in Brazil

    Forteleza is our last stop before entering the Amazon River in a few days. We had intentions of going in and at least taking a walk despite the fact that it is oppressively hot and humid. There is often a local person on board to offer assistance and answer questions. When we asked if there was somewhere we could walk, he said “no”. Apparently crime here is too high to allow a “gringo” to go anywhere safely. He suggested we ride the shuttle to the mall. When we got there (a very nice mall) we were escorted inside. We used the opportunity to pick up some necessities and walk a bit in the air conditioning.
    We were escorted back to the ship and decided to indulge in a nice lunch since we felt a little shorted on our stop.
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  • Day40

    Itajai, Brazil

    February 12 in Brazil

    Well, it’s our first stop in Brazil. It’s sort of drizzly and warm and humid enough that our glasses keep steaming up! Whenever we get off the ship in port, we are always thinking about what to see and do here. We often look around to see what other people are doing and where they’re headed. So we see a large gathering of people taking photos and chattering excitedly. We didn’t realize that the excitement was all about our ship being there! Oh well, I guess we have to make our own good time.
    This is a nice port because it’s what we call a “real life” port. It is not based on tourism and we are a small enough ship that we blend in easily with the people who live here. We had a good long walk and
    got a chance to see some Brazilian everyday life.
    We also had the chance to go in a local grocery store, which is one of our favorite things to do. There was a full aisle on both sides of sausages! Meat-eaters reign!
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  • Day41

    Paraty, Brazil (or not)

    February 13 in Brazil

    I’m afraid that all we are going to see of Paraty, Brazil is out our windows. Captain Zanello just informed us that the weather is too dangerous to allow us into this port. Rough seas, 60 knot winds and an hour-long tender ride from our anchor spot all add up to a big “no”. So we are on our way to the next port (where it is also supposed to be raining).
    After that we are headed to Rio (where it is ALSO supposed to raining), and we are hoping this weather system will drop the temperature in Rio from the 109 degrees that it was yesterday.
    Soooo, the bar is open and it will be reading and watching movies today.
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  • Day55

    So yesterday we turned from the South Atlantic Ocean into the Amazon River. To aid me in my inability to describe the scale of this river, picture this: the Amazon River basin covers an area the same size as the continental United States. Inconceivable. The flow is more than 12x the Mississippi River and the mouth is over 200 miles wide.
    The four of us had an excursion planned for today that was a hike through the jungle in a 2,000,000 acre National Park. As I looked out our window this morning shortly before we were to leave, I was dismayed to se that a good portion of the window was covered with mosquitoes. Those who know me well recognize that I am bait - the mosquitoes will always bite me first before snacking on anyone I am with. So even though I had on bug-proof pants and long-sleeved shirt, a hat sprayed with bug spray, boots and socks doused in bug spray and I had 100% deet on my face and hands, I went back for a second spray-over.
    So we are sitting on the bus in the pouring rain and I am forced to contemplate the wisdom of this outing. A hike through the Amazon rain forest during the rainy season wearing at least a full pound of mosquito repellent. Why not? I feel good that they have not given the lecture yet about the bugs of the Amazon because that just might keep me locked in the bathroom on the ship. Speaking of bugs, check out the photo of the water bug that was near our dining table last night.
    The hike was incredible. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and managed the 12 of us with the help of a young Brazilian guide who went along ahead of us with a big machete. We saw multiple fruit trees, the Brazil nut tree, rubber trees and a tree that I can’t remember the name of that grows to 300’ tall. There are 238 different types of termites here. If the bullet ant bites you, it causes pain that is much like being shot with a gun - definitely want to avoid that one.
    We have 4 more stops on the Amazon before heading into the Caribbean Sea. Stay tuned.
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  • Day34

    Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

    February 6 in Brazil

    Iguazu means “big water” and, oh my, it was BIG water!
    We left the ship the morning of the 6th to take the 90 minute flight out of Buenos Aires to Iguazu, Argentina to see the largest complex of waterfalls in the world. We quickly arrived at the Argentinian side of the Falls. There were winding, metal pathways that afforded intimate and close-up interactions with the Falls, including the incredible rumbling under your feet and light mist that rose up from the most powerful Falls. An added bonus to the day were all the beautifully colored butterflies that seemed to be everywhere posing for our cameras.
    The weather was perfect for viewing, even though it was a bit hot and humid. After this very fulfilling experience, we successfully crossed over the border to the Brazilian side of the Falls. I’m making that sound easier than it was since obtaining a Brazilian visa is more than a little difficult. In fact, 2 people in our party had to overnight in Argentina because of those difficulties. So, after a long day, we headed to our hotel, which was located in the Brazilian National Park. Just when I thought I didn’t have another gasp left in me, we arrived to see the last of the setting sun over a panoramic view of the Falls.
    The next morning we took a mile-long hike along paths that led to one jaw-dropping view after another. Since we were staying in the Park, we were able to use the paths before the park officially opened to visitors, so we had almost a private tour.
    We ended our walk by walking out on a bridge that was just above one of the biggest waterfalls and getting spectacularly wet. We were happy that the hotel had some powerful hairdryers so we could dry off a bit before getting back on the plane to return to the ship.
    I could post 100 pictures and still never fully convey the majesty of this sight-I see it every time I close my eyes.
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  • Day42

    Buzios, Brazil

    February 14 in Brazil

    We are hot and loving the beautiful sunshine here in Buzios, Brazil. This is a get-away town for people who live in Rio and Sao Paola, so everyone is happy, drinking beer and eating ice cream. And, recovering from the carnival celebration last night. They were sweeping up piles of confetti on the streets.
    We appreciated our little ship today when it was time to ride the tender back from town. We looked in disbelief at the tender line for the other cruise ship in the harbor that had to be 300 people. Someone caught us and directed us to our line of about 10 people.
    We enjoyed all the colorful architecture, tiles and cobbled streets here and tried to enjoy a little quiet before spending the next 3 days in Rio!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Federative Republic of Brazil, Brasilien, Brazil, Brasilië, ብራዚል, Brasil, البرازيل, ব্ৰাজিল, Braziliya, Бразілія, Бразилия, Berezili, ব্রাজিল, བ་རཱ་ཛིལ།, Brasile, Brazílie, བཱརཱ་ཛིལ, Brazil nutome, Βραζιλία, Brazilo, Brasiilia, برزیل, Beresiil, Brasilia, Brésil, Brèsil, Brazylje, An Bhrasaíl, Breasail, બ્રાઝિલ, Birazil, Palakila, ברזיל, ब्राज़िल, Brezil, Brazília, Բրազիլիա, ꀠꑭ, Brazilia, Brasilía, ブラジル連邦共和国, razgu'e, ბრაზილია, Brazili, ប្រេស៊ីល, ಬ್ರೆಜಿಲ್, 브라질, برازیل, Buraziiri, Braziel, Brezílɛ, ບຼາຊິວ, Brazilija, Mnulezile, Brazīlija, Brezila, Бразил, ബ്രസീല്‍, Бразили, ब्राझिल, Brażil, ဘရာဇီး, Brasīl, ब्राजिल, Brazilië, Brési, Braziilii, ବ୍ରାଜିଲ୍, Brazylia, برازيل, Brasila, Burezili, Brasili, Brezîli, බ්‍රසීලය, Baraasiil, பிரேஸில், బ్రజిల్, Brazíl, บราซิล, Palāsili, Brezilya, برازىلىيە, برازیلی, Braxil, Ba Tây (Bra-xin), Brasilän, בראזיליע, Orílẹ́ède Bàràsílì, 巴西, i-Brazil

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