I asked to change my seat on the first flight that took me from New York to Sao Paolo.  You just never know how you might have altered your fate when you do something like this, and my initial thought was that I might have really screwed myself.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  I ended up next to a really sweet and talkative girl from Florianopolis, the Hamptons of Brazil.  She had just been in Boston for three months learning English so it was endearing when she kept apologizing for her English and it was great to meet a local right away.  We talked so much that i barely noticed we had been waiting almost an hour on the runway.

As I started listening more closely to all the announcements and sounds of Portuguese that surrounded me I managed  to pick up some useful words, many of which i realized were so similar to Spanish they would be easy to remember –  chegado, obrigado, fala, and many others.

Ciudade Maravilloso it certainly is - Ipanema Beach

First thoughts…

In many cases, what you might have ever heard or read about the dangers of a place like Rio have been exaggerated – for first day i was apprehensive but within only few hours i realized how silly it was.  The people here are amazing and everyone wants to talk to you and be friendly, whether or not they speak your language

Wow, when they said bronzed bodies on the beach they werent lying.  Mahoganny would be a better word, which made trying to blend in pretty difficult.  The beach scene is unlike anywhere else, and I could spend at least a week just observing all the interesting things that happen in this never ending expanse of sand, especially the vendors and the amazing surroundings of mountains.

I have to admit, in only a matter of four hours of being on Ipanema beach I have grown to quite like the tiny bathing suits the men wear, and i somehow am already used to my tiny brazilian bathing suit that was a required purchase in order to avoid standing out so much.  Somehow i stil felt more covered up than many of the women I saw.

I heart Rio beaches - bronzed and buff lifeguards on Ipanema Beach

It occurred to me today that people from Rio would be so happy in a place like LA for many reasons.  I never expected it,  but everyone is so amazingly active and healthy, and sports like skateboarding and running, so foreign and strange when you go to a place like Europe, are common place here.  Each beach also has its own distinct vibe in terms of the kind of people who hang out, what they wear, what class of people they are etc., much like the differences in LA between the crazy eclectic mix you see at Venus beach in stark contrast to a place like Huntington beach

I cannot get enough of the laid back attitude of everyone here – the people hanging out and drinking chopp (draft beer) at the sidewalk cafes, watching soccer until very late and not caring they have to get up for work tomorrow.  The crowds of comfortably almost naked people on the beach everyday, the non-existent dress code.   It is truly a city with so much life.

There are so many amazing things to taste and smell here – the most amazing fresh squeezed fruit juice you drink at the counter of Suco bars on almost every corner, the smell of roasting popcorn covered in condensed milk on the streets, 100% arabica coffee, deep fried pasteles – and the list goes on

I have fallen in love with brazilian food, as i expected.   This street food called tapioca is amazing.  Its manioc flour that is fried and somehow solidifies as its heated, and then you add toppings like cheese and sausage or bananas and cinnamon.  All for $1.50.

Much more to write about but the keyboard is slowing me down –  you will have to excuse many strange typos, missing appostrophes and the like during the course of my blog due to the different language keyboards i am using and am too lazy to figure out!