Brazil – Rio de Janeiro / São Paulo

31/10/2011

Brazil, South-America

My first stop of this year-long trip will be sunny Brazil. In order to get most of my time there, I’ve looked up some information in advance to avoid missing out on the good stuff what Brazil has to offer.

First: they speak Portugese in Brazil. I know, everyone should’ve known that already, but I didn’t… and apparently Brazilians will feel a bit offended if you assume that they speak Spanish just like any other South American country. I’ve started to learn some basic Portugese in order to “blend” in as much as I can but I’m no Rain man so I’ll prolly have to talk with my hands most of the time….

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio

Christ the Redeemer

Most famous sight in Rio must be Christ the Redeemer. Everyone has probably seen pictures of this tall statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. Probably a must on my to-do list when I’m in Rio.

Beaches

Brazil and beaches go hand in hand. And one of the most famous beaches is the Copacabana of course. Brazil has it’s own beach culture and plenty of beach activities to do. Personally I’m not much of a beach person myself, but I’ll be sure to check out the atmosphere there and perhaps try my luck at surfing if time permits!

Beach in Rio de Janeiro

Beach in Rio de Janeiro

Samba

A personal goal of mine is to take up a samba class when I’m in Brazil. I have a lot of respect for people who actually know how to dance and not just to dry-hump the hell out of eachother on the dancefloor. Hopefully I won’t embarrass myself too much on the dance floor and that I’ll be able to wake up my inner latin-lover personality. Also besides the popular Samba, Brazil is also popular for its Chorro and Bosso Nova music. I don’t know much about that genre itself but curious to find out what it’s all about.

Hiking & outdoor activities

So apparently Rio De Janeiro has an actual forest within its limits. Meaning there is a lot of outdoor activities to do combined with city life. There are several popular hiking routes for everyone who wants some more outdoor action.  One of the more popular one is the Sugar Loaf route which takes about 20-30mins to get to the top. Especially because you can go up for free then hitch a ride back on the cable car (after 6pm, it’s free to return on it).

Another fun activity is going hangliding or paragliding. I’m no expert but usually you start at the top of the mountain or hill and end up at the foot of the hill. But the difference with gliding in Rio is that since you’re so close to the sea and beaches, you can actually land on the beach after taking a flight off the hills looking over the city. Providing you with a wide range of views during your flight down. A certain must-do for myself.

Favelas & Carnaval

Sadly I won’t be around during the most famous festival in Brazil: Carnaval. I guess it gives me an excuse to come back again. I’d love to witness the whole celebration and the parades.

Not sure if I’ll have time to visit the favelas, lots of people said it was dangerous even with a tour or guide, but personally, I don’t really have a reason to look at how poor people live in Brazil compared to the city. It’s just their life and no need to see it as a “touristic” place.

Food

According to wikitravel, the most famous Brazilian dish is the Feijoada. So I’ll have to try that at least once. The caipirinha doesn’t sound too shabby either!

Don’t miss the Brazilian most famous dish, the feijoada (fay-zho-AH-da), a black bean stew filled with big chunks of meat, like sausages, pork and beef. Along with the “feijoada”, you also get some colorful side dishes that come with it, such as rice, cassava (roasted manioc), collard greens, fried pork rinds, and some orange slices, to sweeten things up a bit. This is bonafide, authentic carioca culinary excellence, almost worth the trip alone! Best while sipping down a “caipirinha”.

Also from wikitravel, apparently Brazil has the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan. Personally, I did not know that. But a lot of Japanese, also means that sushi and sashimi is rather popular in Brazil. I thought I had to miss my sushi till I got to Japan, but I guess there’s no running from sushi.

As for drinks: Brazilians like their juices and they are offered in plenty of the juice bars around Brazil. Some of the more popular ones: guaraná (gwa-ra-NAH; soda made from the seed of an Amazon fruit, also available as a strong drink), mate (MAHTCH; sweet ice tea; not like Rio Grande do Sul or Argentina’s hot and sour mate), água de coco (ah-gwa-djee-KOH-ku; natural coconut water) or caldo de cana (caw-do-djee-KAH-na; sugarcane juice).

And of course the caipirinha. No need for further explanation.

This is just a short list of what there is to do and worth seeing in Brazil, when I arrive, I’ll probably be wandering around and just see what the city has to offer. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed!

 

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About Alex Yip

Alex Yip is a web enthusiast who put his online marketing career on hold to travel around the world for a year. This blog is his virtual journal and logbook to keep people updated on his backpacking adventures on the road.

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