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Of samba, visas, goodbyes and twins

BRAZIL | Friday, 1 February 2008 | Views [946] | Comments [2]



The official trip is over. After much fuss, I've finally arrived in Montevideo and completed the first day of my internship here at Choike. And here's how it all happened.

After a brief stint in Sao Joao del Rei, Nadja and I arrived in Rio for the third time, to see Giuliana and Cahe again. We felt like old veterans in the city now, but might have ended up doing more things this time than the last 2 we were there: we watched a samba practice (huge, loud and the definition of happiness), saw a waterfall in a jungle in the middle of big Rio, went to Maracaná to watch a game with Fluminense, and made friends with a cool fellow couchsurfer named Yuri, among other things.

Our final stop on this long trip around Brazil was Sao Paulo, from which Nadja was flying to Toronto. We stayed with a couchsurfer named Leo and his really sweet mom, Luciane and explored the center of the city a bit before leaving the next day. Or so we intended. Well, Nadja managed to do everything as planned, but I could only get hold of a bus ticket to Montevideo for that Thursday (we arrived on Monday morning). So after Nadja left, more or less signifying the end of this amazing trip, I had a few more days to go in SP which I spent walking around Ibirapuera park, looking at museums and going to another samba practice with Leo and his friends.

I also managed to meet up with Phuong, a girl Monica and I had seen twice in Buenos Aires and who just happened to be at the bus terminal in Sao Paulo when Nadja and I arrived there at 5 am. Not being sure it was the same girl, I stared at her a lot and then finally walked up to her and asked if she'd been in BsAs a month earlier, and it turned out that it actually was her (yes, she recognized me too). AND it just so happened that she's half Finnish, half Vietnamese. She was picked up by a Brazilian friend at the terminal, emails were exchanged and after a couple of days I managed to get hold of her again. On the Thursday I was leaving for Montevideo, I managed to meet up with her and her Paulistano friends, though only for an hour, which was a shame since I really took a liking to them all.

Well, it turned out that there was no shame to be had. When I came to show the bus company my passport at 10:30 at night, it turned out that I had only received a 30 day visa instead of the usual 90 day one, and I had overstayed my welcome by, oh, just a little over 20 days. Crapola. I was not allowed to travel out of the country, my ticket was cancelled and it was suggested that I contact the federal police. And would you look at that; the following day it was the 454th anniversary of SP, so everything would be closed. Yay.

I managed to contact another couchsurfer, Paulo, who thankfully took me in in the middle of the night. The next day, however, I was feeling extremely restless and couldn't imagine spending the whole weekend in the city I hadn't actually wanted to come to in the first place anyway, so I called Phuong's friend Erich who was with her at the beach in Sao Sebastiao and asked if it was all right for me to come join them. That evening I took the bus there and ended up having a fantastic weekend with the two of them, Erich's girlfriend Ana and his friend Daniel. We stayed with Daniel's really sweet grandma and spent the days driving around to different beaches. We also visited Erich's tattooist friend Ariana's place, which was ridiculously nice and everything was just good good good. Furthermore, Erich has a company that promotes recycling (www.recicleiros.com) and works together with Daniel who's an industrial designer and creates cool things out of recycled material. And Phuong and I also discovered that we're twins.

After the all-too-brief weekend, it was time for us to return to Sao Paulo (except for Phuong, who continued to Rio) and for me to sort out that visa problem. After a lot of annoyingness, I was told that I could leave the country; I just have to pay 190 reals next time I want to come back (divide by about 1.65 to get US$) and of course I'm very welcome back. I then got a new ticket to Montevideo (didn't have to pay extra) and zooom it was finally time for me to leave, for real this time.

So yesterday morning, I arrived bright and early and was picked up by a frantically grinning Monica and neither of us could stop talking for a few hours. We hadn't seen each other for 2 and a half weeks, after all.

Ok, gotta go, but more shall be told soon.

Tags: On the Road




La vida gorda!!

Hasta la proxima!!


  Joe Feb 5, 2008 5:05 AM


Hey darling!!
How nice was seeing Pave's photo just on the top of this page.
I was acctually just finding things regarded to my company's name to see how it's going by the time I found some vietswedish journalis talking about that amazing weekend.
How's everything going with you? Have a good trip?
I have got the photos from you.... so glad that I met you here.
Still looking forward to seeing you soon again.

Good luck!


  Erich Feb 8, 2008 5:54 AM

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