Check out my latest story for Lost Girls: Dispatch from a Samba Tenderfoot. 

"Who invented this torturous, impossible beast of a movement? What kind of human being is able to move their hips at 3/4 time, or maybe even 6/8 time, and their feet at a 4/4 beat? It’s insane! Yet every Brazilian can somehow shake his or her beautiful body (seriously, they are all stacked), in perfect rhythm, without biting their lips in concentration, or furrowing their brows, or counting the beats in their heads the way I have to."

Check out my latest story for Lost Girls: Dispatch from a Samba Tenderfoot.

"Who invented this torturous, impossible beast of a movement? What kind of human being is able to move their hips at 3/4 time, or maybe even 6/8 time, and their feet at a 4/4 beat? It’s insane! Yet every Brazilian can somehow shake his or her beautiful body (seriously, they are all stacked), in perfect rhythm, without biting their lips in concentration, or furrowing their brows, or counting the beats in their heads the way I have to."


Dear El Travel Blog Readers,

image

My South American adventure is like so totally omg over. Sadly. But I’m back in New York! It’s awesome! And expensive! More on all that later.  I still have a ton of things I never covered that I’ll try to post up over the next few weeks. Like, Argentina. And my (second, much crazier) return to lovely Bogota. And the Colombian coast. And San Gil. Ok. GO!

Nerd alert… First attempt at narration with el “vlogging.” Which, that’s a gross word. 

Anywho, here’s a look at street art in Rio de Janeiro. Miss u Brasil! 

I decided to warm up to video editing with a montage of favorite/most ridiculous clips from Travis and I`s summer in South America. I promise to make some more, uhm, informative videos in the coming weeks… For now, enjoy the ridiculousness!

South America. YEAH!

I’m mostly just posting these because it is FREEZING here in Arequipa and I’m kinda missing the Brazilian humidity. (Also Ipanema Beach)

I’m mostly just posting these because it is FREEZING here in Arequipa and I’m kinda missing the Brazilian humidity. (Also Ipanema Beach)

These are my Braziljuries. Backpack + flip flops = bloody toe. Clumsy Erin + old creaky window = broken finger. Not pictured: chicken pox levels of bug bites (PS I heard that mosquitoes like people who eat bananas. Urban legend?)

Let’s hope Peru goes easier on me…

No such thing as a stylish backpacker
At a samba club last night a Brazilian woman came up to us and asked where we were from. "Estados Unidos, Inglaterra, Dinamarca," we said.She, answering in English, said, “Ahhh. I could tell you weren’t from here. Because you’re all wearing Havaianas.”"The sandals are no good?""Noo! We wear the Havaianas for… going to the toilet!"Pause"Not Samba!"Pause"And also, I could tell by your dancing."
Then she walked away.

No such thing as a stylish backpacker

At a samba club last night a Brazilian woman came up to us and asked where we were from.
"Estados Unidos, Inglaterra, Dinamarca," we said.
She, answering in English, said, “Ahhh. I could tell you weren’t from here. Because you’re all wearing Havaianas.”
"The sandals are no good?"
"Noo! We wear the Havaianas for… going to the toilet!"
Pause
"Not Samba!"
Pause
"And also, I could tell by your dancing."

Then she walked away.

On Knowing What Freaking Time It Is
I mentioned before that we are losing track of time and days around here (this is at first unsettling, and then strangely comfortable). The time thing is particularly a problem; neither of us have a watch or carry cell phones.
Even worse, when I successfully ask a stranger the time in Portuguese, I only rarely understand their answer. 
After weeks of scouring Rio for a cheap, simple watch and finding that option simply doesn’t exist (seriously! I was considering buying a cell phone to tape to my wrist), I broke down and bought a fake Rolex from the Chinatown market. It cost 5 bucks and looks it. I actually had to send the first one back because it only said “ROL.” I wanted that “EX” dammit.  
And unsurprisingly, given my well-documented love for all things gold and tacky, I got the goldest, tackiest one they had.
So for the past five days I’ve known what time it is.
Today I dropped the fucker and the “ROLEX” came off. The tiny little letters are sliding around inside this finely crafted machine of a watch now. That would maybe matter if the watch itself was still functioning. Now I’m back at square one, using the position of the sun and wildly inaccurate guessing to tell the time.

On Knowing What Freaking Time It Is

I mentioned before that we are losing track of time and days around here (this is at first unsettling, and then strangely comfortable). The time thing is particularly a problem; neither of us have a watch or carry cell phones.

Even worse, when I successfully ask a stranger the time in Portuguese, I only rarely understand their answer. 

After weeks of scouring Rio for a cheap, simple watch and finding that option simply doesn’t exist (seriously! I was considering buying a cell phone to tape to my wrist), I broke down and bought a fake Rolex from the Chinatown market. It cost 5 bucks and looks it. I actually had to send the first one back because it only said “ROL.” I wanted that “EX” dammit.  

And unsurprisingly, given my well-documented love for all things gold and tacky, I got the goldest, tackiest one they had.

So for the past five days I’ve known what time it is.

Today I dropped the fucker and the “ROLEX” came off. The tiny little letters are sliding around inside this finely crafted machine of a watch now. That would maybe matter if the watch itself was still functioning. Now I’m back at square one, using the position of the sun and wildly inaccurate guessing to tell the time.

Creditstyles: Pretty much all of these photos have been yanked from the Flickr page of Travis. You can view all of his photos here.

Creditstyles: Pretty much all of these photos have been yanked from the Flickr page of Travis. You can view all of his photos here.

US WINS 1-1!
The posts below are actually from last week. We spent the last few days back in Rio, where our friends at the hostel commented on how much more relaxed and tanned we looked compared with our arrival last month.
So we met a big excellent group of British and Australian friends and spent the weekend drinking cachaca, playing cards (seriously, we played drinking games; I feel old), and watching the World Cup. The hostel was starting to feel like summer camp, since all of us ended up staying up giggling and chatting like children in our bunk beds each night. We also visited Christ the Redeemer and did Lapa Friday Round Two.
Then yesterday and today Travis and I rode, for 24 hours, on a bus, in the same seats, next to each other, to Iguazu Falls.
Conclusion: Brazil is large. Conclusion two: 24 hours, while long, is not *that bad* of a bus ride. I got through it with the help of This American Life and The Moth podcasts, as well as several games of M.A.S.H. (remember that?) and a ton of Brazilian junk food. I feel pretty sick to my stomach about now, but I think Travis, who ripped his shorts and hit his head on various parts of the bus, is feeling worse.
Tomorrow we get to see this:

US WINS 1-1!

The posts below are actually from last week. We spent the last few days back in Rio, where our friends at the hostel commented on how much more relaxed and tanned we looked compared with our arrival last month.

So we met a big excellent group of British and Australian friends and spent the weekend drinking cachaca, playing cards (seriously, we played drinking games; I feel old), and watching the World Cup. The hostel was starting to feel like summer camp, since all of us ended up staying up giggling and chatting like children in our bunk beds each night. We also visited Christ the Redeemer and did Lapa Friday Round Two.

Then yesterday and today Travis and I rode, for 24 hours, on a bus, in the same seats, next to each other, to Iguazu Falls.

Conclusion: Brazil is large. Conclusion two: 24 hours, while long, is not *that bad* of a bus ride. I got through it with the help of This American Life and The Moth podcasts, as well as several games of M.A.S.H. (remember that?) and a ton of Brazilian junk food. I feel pretty sick to my stomach about now, but I think Travis, who ripped his shorts and hit his head on various parts of the bus, is feeling worse.

Tomorrow we get to see this:

image

The natural waterslide!

The natural waterslide!

Pai Inacio

Pai Inacio

Vom dot com
As mentioned previously, last weekend Travis and I and Olivier went to a pretty island with no cars called Morro de Sau Paulo. It was slightly touristy but peaceful and quaint and that’s about it. The highlight was riding horses (David Bowie!) all over the island. Other than that we just ate a lot of acai, plowed through our books, and got sunburned on the beach (come onnnnn tan!).
We returned in a very rocky two-hour catamaran ride. The view out the windows literally went from underwater to clouds and back down to underwater, and then clouds again, and then underwater, and then clouds again, and then underwater, and etc etc.  My easily-nauseated stomach almost made it the entire way.
And I would have made it, I am certain, if that lady in front of me hadn’t all of a sudden exploded with vomit. Her face and the puke were each a horrific shade of pale institutional green. It actually made me wonder what the hell she had eaten since Brazilians don’t believe in leafy green vegetables.
So anyhow if you imagine the smell of the pale institutional green upchuck, plus the clouds-water-clouds-water-clouds-water scene, plus the forced air they were pumping, plus maybe the movie they were playing, Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2, you can probably deduce the fate of my lunch. At least I made it to the deck.

Vom dot com

As mentioned previously, last weekend Travis and I and Olivier went to a pretty island with no cars called Morro de Sau Paulo. It was slightly touristy but peaceful and quaint and that’s about it. The highlight was riding horses (David Bowie!) all over the island. Other than that we just ate a lot of acai, plowed through our books, and got sunburned on the beach (come onnnnn tan!).

We returned in a very rocky two-hour catamaran ride. The view out the windows literally went from underwater to clouds and back down to underwater, and then clouds again, and then underwater, and then clouds again, and then underwater, and etc etc.  My easily-nauseated stomach almost made it the entire way.

And I would have made it, I am certain, if that lady in front of me hadn’t all of a sudden exploded with vomit. Her face and the puke were each a horrific shade of pale institutional green. It actually made me wonder what the hell she had eaten since Brazilians don’t believe in leafy green vegetables.

So anyhow if you imagine the smell of the pale institutional green upchuck, plus the clouds-water-clouds-water-clouds-water scene, plus the forced air they were pumping, plus maybe the movie they were playing, Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2, you can probably deduce the fate of my lunch. At least I made it to the deck.

Boat ride to Ihla de Mare.

Boat ride to Ihla de Mare.

Tags: brasil brazil

For a day trip we checked out Ihla de Mare, a really secluded, really poor island off the coast of a favella outside of Salvador. We went with our new friend Olivier, who is French. I make note of his Frenchness because we can’t decide if he doesn’t understand half of what we say or if he is simply ignoring us. Probably a mix of both.
Anyhow we rode there on the tiniest little boat which soaked most of its passengers with the rocking waves. That ended up not mattering at all because there was no dock on the island. We had to unload onto little rowboats, which proved pointless without oars, so we just waded to the shore in our clothes. It was pretty low-tech, which ended up mattering even LESS because within an hour of walking around the island I slipped down a rock covered in algae, which covered my shorts and back in a nice funky crust of green.
Beyond that, Ihla de Mare had a lot of horses and roosters. Yeah.

For a day trip we checked out Ihla de Mare, a really secluded, really poor island off the coast of a favella outside of Salvador. We went with our new friend Olivier, who is French. I make note of his Frenchness because we can’t decide if he doesn’t understand half of what we say or if he is simply ignoring us. Probably a mix of both.

Anyhow we rode there on the tiniest little boat which soaked most of its passengers with the rocking waves. That ended up not mattering at all because there was no dock on the island. We had to unload onto little rowboats, which proved pointless without oars, so we just waded to the shore in our clothes. It was pretty low-tech, which ended up mattering even LESS because within an hour of walking around the island I slipped down a rock covered in algae, which covered my shorts and back in a nice funky crust of green.

Beyond that, Ihla de Mare had a lot of horses and roosters. Yeah.