Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beach bumming...

Our beach babe look ;)

Yup that's actually me!!
I'm so proud of myself I had to add 2 pics - hey, the bruises shouldn't be for nothing!

Riding the buggie for my first kitesurf class

Sunset on the beach - Jeri

Breakfast with new friends in Fortaleza

Best part so far: All we do is meet amazing people, hang out, drink, dance and generally have great conversations with great people. We can't stress enough how wonderful people are. Great news - We like people again! Yay!!

Nationalities we’ve made friends with: Germans, Fins, French, Swiss, Brit, Argentinean, Polish, Brazilians and half of Israel. Incidentally, we have spoken more French in the last 2 weeks than we have in years. And all we can say in Portuguese is Oi (hello in slang) and Obrigada (thanks) - so ya, getting really far there...

Most potent drink: Um, everything! All the drinks here are made with fresh fruits shaken or blended into it. Yes, drinking is considered a leisure sport here...

Most enjoyable beer: We both don’t drink beer but we’ve learned that there’s nothing better than that first cold cooling gulp after a hot sweaty day in the beach. Omg, beer drinkers of the world - we understand the enjoyment.

Fave meal: The specials around here - it’s chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, beans, salad. Even Yuko started talking about the explosion of flavours in her mouth.

Modes of transportation: So far, we’ve taken planes, taxis, dune buggies (over sand dunes), trucks (that have been reformed to fit 18 people to get through cobble and packed red clay streets), buses and little sail barges.

Best place to swim: Azul Lagoon. Pristine, fresh water lagoon. Best enjoyed with awesome company and vodka red bulls.

Most exhilarating moment: Kitesurfing! While, I haven’t made it to pro status - I did graduate from my 3 day intensive basic course. My instructor was this cute hunk of a 21 year old Brazilian beach bum - who’s nickname is Backstreet boy because he’s so purrrrty! Kitesurfing was the most amazing feeling…when you actually get on the board. Apparently, I have “good control” but I need to “push the bar and not pull so much”. I have to learn to “feel the wind and be one with it” ;) I am so sore and I’m pretty sure that I have bruises in the weirdest places but it was all worth it!

Ugh moment: Being sun burned. Although we’re ridiculously diligent about sun block, apparently, being this close to the equator means that the sun is strong. By the way, funny thing - sunblock prices here get more expensive as the SPF goes up! So weird but I guess the whiter you are the richer you are...stupid tourists. ;)

Coolest realization: It’s amazing how the days just fly by. It’s something like day 18 and Yuko thinks it still feels like we’re just on a 3 week holiday. Myself, not so much. It definitely feels like we’re traveling and it’s a journey...for now, from one beach town to another!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Paradise i n Norther n Brazil

Omg, ok so it takes forever to get anything done. It´s been ages since the last post but honestly, between the fact that it takes about twice as long to get anything done, the crazy heat that we are not use to, meeting awesome people, going out maybe a little too much, shoddy internet connection, being kinda lazy and voila - you´ve got all the reasons why there´s not much on this.

So , I´m going to try and make an attempt to describe how awesome the last 9 days have been! We finally left the insanity aof Carnival ain Salvador and made it up to Fortaleza. We thought we´d stay for a night or 2 but ended up staying for 4. We stayed at a hostel,which was our first official backpacking experiecence and it was a bit like a sauna. The first night I think we sweated about a pound off. I´m not going to lie, I totally had a what the heck am I doing with my life moment. That was quickly replaced by my first zen moment. . .which is now being replaced by irr itation at this awful keyboard at this cafe - which sucks cause there have been so many wonderful things that we´ve experienced already and I can´t type it.. So I´ll have to save the witty stuff for later.

  • Meeting awesome people - like seriously impressive and nice, fun people to be around. The kind that makes you feel humbled cause they speak like 3-5 languages and are so friendly that it feels like the world is an amazing place.
  • Praia de Furtoro - that beach was glorious. Boogieboarding and going for a run was so much fun.
  • Drinking beer and wine- i. It´s some crazy conconction - it´s potent and ridiculous ly delic ious. Was our fave drink but that has been replaced by capirinhas and other yumy drinks that are all blended with fresh exotic fruits like - passionfruit, siriguelas, mangos, pineapples and a bunch of other names we can´t pronounce or remember.
  • Jericoacoara - This beach town is wonderful. We´re staying at Pousada (a Brazilian B&B) and the good times have yet to stop. Haven´t started my kitesurfing lessons - maybe tomorrow.
  • I´m not sure my stomach agrees that this is a HL but I did find a 7 protein sandwich . I think I´m over it now ;)
Lowlights - this keyboard...

Ok, just wanted to update people that Life is still grand and we´re completely enjoying ourselves. Everything is soooo beautiful!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Carnival in Salvador, Brazil - Days 1 - 5/6/7... So happy it doesn't matter!

There have been grand plans and thoughts for the blog - but honestly, we are just exhausted! The 36 hour trip meant that we left our places at 10 am on Monday, Feb 8th and didn’t arrive at our hotel until 10 pm on Tuesday! So here are some lowlights and highlights:

* It took us 36 hours to get here.
* Carnival lasting until 5 am by our hotel. Ugh - as if Yuko doesn’t have enough sleep issues.
* Not yet acclimatized to the weather. We’re calling it our first week sweats…
* Not understanding Portuguese. Like at all. And no, the Spanish is really not helping. But Yuko is a great mime ;) She ordered spaghetti and got a salad. We pointed to a potato dish and said no carne (meat) and it had chicken instead. Oh good times. Ha ha ha.

* Dancing in Carnival in the rain. There was something so sexy and primal about the intense heat, the cool rain on our skin and the crazy music and vibe in the Barra section of Carnival.
* Making our Abada shirt - People get really artistic about it. Imagine a basketball like jersey and then imagine every single cut, design you can think to make it sexy and it’s there. It becomes tube tops, ripped a la Flashdance style, a bandana shirt. It’s so cool.
* Partying at Carnival until 4 am.
* Finding a Soya Burger for Yuko. 1 down. As for me, I had a Completo Burger which had 5 types of protein! Cheese, Hamburger patty, Ham, Sausage, Egg! It’s like Meat Heaven/Vegetarian Nightmare.
* Land of No Shame - We have never seen sooooo many muffin tops in our lifes. And when we say MT, we mean like let it all hang. Oh, that and jean shorts are alive and kicking. It’s like the 80s everywhere.
* The weather - it’s nice and hot at around 32 and cools to a balmy 28 at night…
* We are averaging roughly about 15,000-25,000 steps a day - that’s what my pedometer/alarm/watch says.
* We’re starting to lose weight. That saying women don’t sweat, we glow - does not apply in Brazil. Period. Luckily, we decided to fatten a bit before we left so it’s like Survivor - we’re good. We have the extra layers to survive on.

*** Pictures to follow when we get to our next destination - which looks like a great beach up North for some Kitesurfing! Yay!

Friday, February 5, 2010

T minus 3 Days...

Premise: Travel across South America for 5+ months.
Reason: Oh so many, but we'll go with - it's time for an adventure.
Goals: Explore the continent, Volunteer and make a difference, Pick up a few new hobbies, Experience a rather fun and stress free life, Enjoy all life has to offer...

I'd like to say that we're all ready and rearing to go. But the truth is, we're still running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. For those that have no idea what that looks like, we'll try to film and youtube it if we encounter it during our 5-6 month trip across South America ;) And trust me, with all the countries that we're hoping to see - we just might...

I've been saying this the last few weeks but honestly, who knew that running away would take so much pre-planning! Since we're going for an extended period of time, we don't actually have much of a plan expect to travel, volunteer and enjoy the whole experience. We haven't started packing and I'm sure that'll be another headache on it's own. We'll hit a few different seasons, experience housing from hostels to hotels, be in a variety of different topographies and altitudes - let's just say I've never had to pack a Goretex jacket with a bikini before.

To give you an idea of the herculean efforts it's taking to get everything done. Here's a partial checklist of what we've had to do:
  • Vaccinations - OMG, North America is obsessed with getting shots and pills for everything. If you have any questions - ask us, we're officially experts on what you need.
  • Buy travel gear - Did you know that travel towels are like gigantic Shamwows?
  • Banking - Mastercard wants you to call them every 2 months to update which countries you're going to, Visa doesn't care. ps - It's good not to put all your eggs in one basket, but consolidating things take forever.
  • Legal stuff - Between car storage insurance, travel insurance (BCAA is the best), condo/tenant insurance and POA - I can give you a litany of reasons why we're too tired to be excited at the moment.
That said, we are soooooooooo excited!! We'll miss everybody, but this awesome journey is exactly what we need. Oh, and we welcome suggestions, ideas, thoughts, recommendations, new friends throughout our whole trip. We're pretty much up for anything!