The last day in Brazil was spent enjoying our last moments on the bus with each other. We stopped at our last churrascaria for lunch and headed back on the road. Finally our bus arrived at the Rio de Janeiro airport. It was good to hear many American voices around me once again. The airplane left around ten in the evening and spent nine hours in the air. I could not sleep at all but found this trip to be worth the discomfort I experienced.
Twenty hours of Sunday was spent riding on the bus. We stopped at a churrascaria for lunch and continued our time on the road. After a long day on the bus we arrived at the Novotel and ate at a nearby pizza restaurant called Mister Pizza. I loved this restaurant because it was the service was quick, the pizza was delicious and we were easily able to communicate with the manager who spoke perfect English. He lived in England for year and Miami as well; therefore he knew everything about restaurants back in America and could relate his pizza to pizzas from American pizza franchises. I went to bed early and was ready for our last six hours of traveling the next day.
Our last day in Salvador was spent relaxing until seven in the evening. My friend Ben and I woke up early and went to the local beach. We ventured out on top of coral where we found thousands of sea urchins in many crevasses. This was by far the most beautiful memory of Brazil that I had. The storm and tide rising made the ocean water flow through the coral with great force and speed. This made several small waterways and lagoons that disappeared with the blink of an eye. I cannot say it enough, but once again, this area was really cool! We later spent time relaxing at the pool. Ben and I played foosball with two Brazilian children that came up to us. They were fascinated by us and later played volleyball with us.
Back in Shalimar I bought a boogey board that I did not use at all during the trip, so I decided to be a Good Samaritan and give this board to one of the kids Mathieus. He was more than happy to have accepted it and even made me sign it. I do not know if he thought I was a surfer or professional boogey boarder, but I sure did feel like a celebrity! Other Brazilian children who spoke English played volleyball with our group for the rest of the afternoon. It was neat to see how such a simple sport could bring two different cultures together to have afternoon fun in the sun.
We packed and ate dinner for one more time at the hotel restaurant. Then we set out for Rio de Janeiro with a stop at the Ile Aiye concert nearby. This allowed everybody to dance one more time and enjoy the sounds of Brazilian music. After dancing I looked out of a window and had a moment to myself. I noticed several beaten-down homes and questioned if we were at a concert in the favelas. Several students complained earlier about how the bus ride back to Rio de Janeiro is going to be uncomfortable and terrible. But I looked at these homes and realized that people living in these houses would be more than happy to sleep on the bus. After all, these houses might have beds made out of straw or no beds at all. This moment of grace made me appreciate everything I have in life and stopped me from complaining for the rest of the trip. After the concert we started our two-day journey to Rio de Janeiro.
Friday began with a two-hour bus ride to a small Brazilian village along the beach which was home to the Tamar turtle exhibit sponsored by Petrobras, a major Brazilian company. I found today to be exceptionally hot right from the beginning. The turtle exhibit consisted of several turtles, nurse sharks, sting rays and various fish including gigantic groupers. After visiting the exihibit we spent an hour having lunch and exploring and headed back to the bus where we set out for an afternoon on a nearby beach. This beach was home to a surfing school and was not as crowded as the beaches of Salvador or Rio de Janeiro. I started walking in the water and stepped on a massive bed of coral. This coral must have stretched out for several hundreds of feet out to sea, which was why it was not deep anywhere at all. It also accounted for the production of waves as well. After relaxing in the ocean several of the boys played beach football. This was very interesting to local Brazilians who watched us play because they might have never seen this game being played before. It was interesting to see how our cultural baggage affected Brazilians.
We headed back to Salvador after the beach. I noticed two interesting observations along the way. First, I saw a wall surrounding a piece of property, but this wall had thousands of pieces of broken glass on top of the wall. I suppose it makes one fascinating security system for Brazilians. Secondly, while at a stop to get some beverages I noticed a band playing on top of a massive truck next to a gas station and found this to be quite different and cool. We arrived at the hotel where we ate delicious sushi and meats at the hotel restaurant and called it an early night.
Our group took a visit to Pelourinho once again and visited the Steve Biko institute, a school founded around twenty years ago dedicated to Afro-Brazilian students throughout all of Brazil. The institute takes its name from Steve Biko, a civil rights activist in Brazil thirty years ago who left a legacy of heroism behind with his dedication to freedom and his catastrophic death. Members of the institute (including a Dominican women raised in New York who spoke perfect English and Portuguese) gave a presentation on what the institute stands for and does. I found the most surprising part of this presentation to be the statistics of worker discrimination in Brazil: Afro-Brazilian men make eighty percent of what a white Brazilian’s income would be, white women make fifty-five percent, and Afro-Brazilian women make only forty percent of that income. This is unheard of in the United States. The members of the institute also explained the vestibular and how it affects the social classes of Brazil. This is an annual national entrance exam into colleges that Brazilian students making students study for approximately eleven years! And finally I found Professor Jefferson’s promise to teach at the institute for a year to be very surprising and I hope that he follows through with this promise. Overall this presentation was one of the most mind-opening experiences that I have not only had on the trip but also in my life. It made me understand racism in Brazil opposed to America and understand how it is omnipresent.
We had lunch at an Afro-Brazilian restaurant and we able to eat a wide variety of African-influenced foods including squid and my favorite, the Cherken. After eating we had another presentation of Capoeira, but this time we were allowed to participate! I enjoyed learning the basic techniques and participating. We were also able to participate in making music using typical Brazilian instruments. While walking back to the bus we took a detour around a large group of Brazilian children drumming loud and vigorously in the middle of the road. The rest of the day was free and was taken advantage of with relaxing at the pool.
Wednesday was enjoyable because we had the chance to sleep in until three in the afternoon, but my classmates and I woke up early and went to the beach. Once again I could not escape Obama in Brazil! Our activities started off with a tour of Pelourinho by a tour guide wearing an Obama t-shirt. We took a tour of an Afro-Brazilian museum and a jewelry store. Then we walked around for a couple of more hours waiting for an evening light show. I found this light show to be quite entertaining despite the fact that I could not understand the Portuguese dialect spoken in it. This show took place on several buildings and a couple of cathedrals in downtown Pelourinho. After the light show we ate at a restaurant near our hotel in which we walked back to. The day started off late but was still full of enjoyment with our tour.
Tuesday morning was bizarre because I forgot to set my alarm clock but still woke up when I planned to at exactly 6:45 a.m.; however, the sun was bright and shining and convinced me that I overslept. I thought that had to be around noon and my group left me behind, but I looked out the window only to see a fellow classmate next to our bus. We ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and headed to downtown Ilheus to see the house of Jorge Amado, a famous Brazilian writer of the 20th Century. The most intriguing piece of information that I noticed in this house was a list of languages in which his books were translated into. From this list I realized how popular his writing was because this list contained about fifty different languages. We stopped in the middle of town where our tour guide Theresa explained the importance of a statue of the god Sapho and a church. Theresa later took us to a research center outside the city named CEPLAC. The tour of CEPLAC was made up of observing sloths, monkeys and snakes and visiting a cacao (chocolate) farm where we learned how chocolate was made and tasted cacao and chocolate sauce.
President Barack Obama was being inaugurated during our tour. I noticed his how popular he is because we were far away from. The rest of our day was spent in the bus once again on the way to Salvador. We stopped for lunch at a churrascaria, or Brazilian barbeque. We knew what to expect from this restaurant as the waiters cut several different meats on our plates because we ate at several churrascarias before. I felt like a kid as we waited to leave and played on a playground outside. From this playground I made a theory about the trees surrounding this area. These trees were painted from the bottom to the center to about four feet, so I thought that this paint symbolized a height marker for children who were allowed to play on the playground. We were on our way for several more hours to Salvador.
We finally arrived in Salvador around eight in the evening and unpacked quickly at the Bahia Othon Palace, our hotel for the next three days. After unpacking we went to Salvador’s downtown district of Pelourihno where we attended the Olodum concert. Once again I quickly noticed President Obama’s influence on Brazil on a screen displaying the concert. The famous image of Obama with the word “Hope” was everywhere on the screen, including the background for a short time and on the clothes of the band. I danced all night during this concert and naturally enjoyed it being as I was used to the fun and excitement of the Brazilian concerts that we have experienced.
The beginning of the day started off with a small breakfast at the Shalimar and a tour of the Reserve of Jaqueira, an Indian reservation from the 18th century located nearby. This area had the first college of Brazil created in 1551. We had a new tour guide Sheila show us the way around this Williamsburg-like area. Our group watched a brief Capoeira show in the beginning of the tour. I was surprised how skilled these men were at this intense form of martial arts. There were even small boys around 7-10 years old showing off their neat Capoeira skills! Sheila then showed us the significance of the Chavaca plant, a plant resembling that of a mangrove. It was used by the Indians as a medicine to cure many illnesses. We stepped into the first of three churches in the village, but before we did Sheila told us to step in with our right foot first and make three wishes. Our next stop was at an area overlooking a line of coral in Porto Seguro. Sheila explained that this coral protected the people of this town from invaders and hence gave the town the name Porto Seguro, or “Safe Port.”
After having walked throughout the village and visiting its many shops and churches, we stopped at a food stand. My friend bought a Camaro du Carne, a Brazilian food made with flatbread, shrimp, a special sauce, and various vegatables. This without a dobut the best food I tasted in Brazil. Our next destination was another Indian reservation, the Pa ta chau (Sound of Water), in Porto Seguro. This reservation was very different because it was found in a forest and did not have any churches or buildings at all. The Pa ta chau contains 22 tribes in Bahia and 3 in Minas Gerais. I found the concept of marriage to be very interesting from this reservation. A flower was used to ask the women’s hand in marriage instead of a ring and the men would have to carry a log the same weight of his fiancé to show her that he could carry her if she could not walk through the forest. The man would not ask the woman’s father for her hand in marriage but rather the chief, or Carihi, of the tribe. Also, men could not marry past the age of twenty five.
We stopped in Ilheus, another small town along the beach and slept in a hotel that was also a brothel and also ate at a restaurant that was an old brothel as well.
Sunday was not an enjoyable day because we spent most it riding in a bus. Our bus stopped at a small restaurant where we ate plenty of meat including a “different” kind of food that I have never experienced – chicken heart. I found this to be delicious after taking my first bite. It has a salty taste and is very easy to chew. Although I cut a heart open and found a ventricle and artery, I still continued to devour these hearts. We were on our way to sleeping at the Best Western Shalimar hotel in Porto Seguro, the land where Brazil’s founder Miguel Cabral landed. It was much nicer than had anticipated and I found it to be better than the Golden Tulip. A long day in the bus gave way to a quite enjoyable sleep.
Today we took a boat tour around Guanabara Bay in the ridiculously hot sun. This wooden old-fashioned boat was situated in a boat yard located next to an airport. From the boat yard I noticed what I always see in Rio virtually anywhere I am - the Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugar-Loaf Mountain and several favelas. On the boat were many Japanese tourists. The Japanese are found everywhere in Brazil due to a great number of immigrants who came to this country. The next three hours were spent taking a nap on the bow of the boat and looking at beautiful buildings such as the Museum of Modern Art built by Brazil’s famous architect Oscar Niemayer. I found it fascinating to learn about this man on the trip and how he influences so much of Brazil. Niemayer is around one-hundred years old and still works everyday!
The rest of the day was spent relaxing on Copacabana Beach and preparing for the long ride ahead of us to Salvador. We ate dinner and left the Golden Tulip Hotel to make one last stop at an enormous Samba school before our journey. This place was packed with people and excitement! After leaving at two in the morning we started our bus ride to Salvador, Bahia.
Marcos took our group to a Folk-Art museum in the area of Baja outside of Rio de Janeiro. I immediately noticed the differences between Leme and Baja because Baja resembles America much more than Leme does. It has more modern architecture than Leme with its unique style of buildings and is heavily influenced by American companies. I noticed the American influence with several characteristics such as two McDonald’s restaurants across the road from one another and a building named New York. The New York building had a massive Statue of Liberty replica and consisted of an 18-screen movie theater, an Applebee’s, an Outback Steakhouse, TGI Fridays and several other American-based restaurants. There were also many more modern car dealerships in this area than in Leme. The houses in Baja were very different also. Houses are rare in Leme because Leme contains mainly apartment buildings and several small homes; however, Baja has a number of up-to-date large homes. A mansion was typical in Baja but not in Leme.
We arrived at the Folk-Arts museum which I found to be exceptional and fascinating. I thought that the museum would be located in an urban community and contain several paintings, but it was instead located in a smaller community and rather emphasized three-dimensional art. This museum contains thousands of sculptures and statues relating to history of Brazilian culture. My favorite part of the museum was the motorized models that would catch a viewer’s attention with just the push of a button. After visiting the museum in the morning we headed back to Leme and stopped in Ipanema on the way. This area has more shops than Copacabana beach and is heavily influenced by Brazilian fashion. My friends and I also agreed that the women in Ipanema are more beautiful than those of Copacabana beach. I had an Ipanema sandwich for lunch. This delicious sandwich consisted of a thick medium steak smothered in mozzarella cheese between two pieces of parsley-sprinkled bread. After spending the afternoon at Ipanema we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the rest of the day peacefully without any activities prepared for the night.
Our day began with a morning visiting the massive Christ the Redeemer statue at Corcovado Mountain. A road allows cars to drive all the way up the mountain; however, our tour bus was too large to drive up this narrow and curvy road so we took the train up to the top. Before taking the train up I noticed two men playing peteca on the road. These men were much better at us because they could not only keep one peteca up in the air for several minutes but could keep two pieces in the air at the same time! Watching these men truly showed me how good Brazilians could get at this game. We finally took a very steep route through a forest and a small village. Some unique things that I noticed in the forest were brown life-sized statues and several jack fruit. These are coconut-size spiky fruits known for their sweet and delicious taste. After riding for approximately ten minutes we finally arrived at the top of the mountain. The view was more than unbelievable because I was able to see all of Rio de Janeiro from a higher point than Sugarloaf Mountain. It was also unbelievable to fathom that this statue was brought up the mountain in bits and pieces and later assembled over a century ago when the technology was not as advanced. Something that also caught my attention was the fact that this statue was not only one of the most beautiful statues in the world but it also had a chapel inside of it. I had an acai smoothie after viewing the city and statue. This drink is common in Brazil because it has a delicious taste and gives individuals a boost of energy. I also tasted a sip of a vitamina mista smoothie from my friend which was much more sour but delicious as well.
Our ride down the bottom of the mountain to be much more fascinating because I had a better view of the city as well as the village surrounding the train track. I noticed a difference in Brazil opposed to America because it seemed to me that these village people were much more calm and relaxed as they sat outside their houses enjoying the beautiful day. This would not be as common in America because Americans seem busier than Brazilians and rarely have time during the day to relax outside and enjoy the weather.
Our next destination was Rio de Janeiro’s Samba city, a set of Samba schools dedicated to preparing for the city’s annual festival Carnaval. I quickly developed a feel of the intensity of this festival as we walked around the area and observed the people working on the spectacular floats. Every Carnaval has a central theme and never uses the same floats from the previous years. It was difficult to determine the themes because I noticed a number of different floats including replicas of Star Wars planes, Amazon floats and historical floats. The fiberglass used to create these floats produced a foul odor that gave me an unpleasant headache! The floats can be several stories high and hold several people. I realized how sturdy these floats can be when our group of over twenty people had the chance to take a photograph on a float used from the year before. An Afro-Brazilian woman caught our attention at the end of the tour because she wanted to interact with a group of foreign students for a Brazilian culture magazine. This beautiful lady also had the chance to demonstrate the Samba dance for our group.
Dinner took place at a restaurant in Lapa. I have never been so full in my life because I ate a massive amount of different savoring meats brought to our table. We later went to a three-story club downtown and experienced more of the Samba dance and Brazilian culture. My days have gotten better and better as days flew by on our trip. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me.
We set out to take a tour of a historical coffee farm approximately two hours away from Rio de Janeiro. This farm, also known as the Mombukamba farm, was established in 1830 and had about 400 slaves working six days a week for nearly fifteen hours per day. We were greeted by a baron, baroness and servant representing the farm as it was before slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888. These people gave us a tour of the main quarter of the farm before exploring its exterior. The tour included the baroness explaining the significance of a Saint John statue found in the main quarter, a model relating to the farm during coffee production, slaves categories and several significant items used by former slaves. The baroness then took us to the rooms across the main house in which the slaves lived in. I was fascinated by the immense amount of slaves living in each room because each room was about 20 x 20 feet and contained around 20 to 30 slaves in each room. I cringed when I found this out because I realized that it was typical for these slaves to have children and die in the same room over and over for over fifty years. A number of tools in one of these rooms such as clay pots and torture instruments provided better insight to the daily lives of slaves also. Majority of these items were wood and were burned which limited the history of these slaves. A crack in the old wooden floor caught my attention because I noticed the floor underneath the slave quarters. This bottom floor was used to store animals. This was sad and disgusting to realize that the slaves had to smell the foul odor of various animals on a daily basis. Following the tour of the slave quarters was a demonstration of the lives of the baron, baroness and slave during the nineteenth century. They also showed us how they danced by demonstrating a couple of dances including the Machichi.
After having learned the history of the Mombukamba farm we spent the afternoon lounging in the pool and engaging in a number of activities such as Frisbee, petece and soccer. Lunch was prepared for us later and was extremely delicious! I had some beef, rice, a salty-like vegetable resembling spinach and a Brazilian fruit drink that tasted like orange juice. A few of my classmates including myself noticed a waterfall next to the tour bus and decided to climb up a part of it to take some pictures before heading back to Rio de Janeiro. I looked out the window and observed the differences between the homes of the Brazilian countryside and those of the urban favelas.
The day started off with our first Brazilian breakfast in the hotel. I had cereal and a variety of sweet and delicious mixed fruits including my favorite fruit, pineapple. After breakfast we met our tour guide Marcos on the bus. He took out of the district of Leme to several other districts such as Lapa and Flamengo where we walked around historic Rio de Janeiro and learned the rich history of this area. The most fascinating thing that I learned from Marcos in is that the Rio de Janeiro was once covered in water and had a mountain that was removed to build an extension of this city. I noticed a man as we were walking down the historic alleys that caught my attention. He was wearing a Flamengo soccer jersey so I put my fist up to show him that I appreciate his love for soccer. He not only had a Flamengo jersey but also had a tattoo of a heart filled in with the black and red striped Flamengo pattern and the word “Paixa” next to it. This made me realize how important soccer is to Brazilians and how they show their pride of soccer teams. We walked into the Banco do Brazil to observe the modern architecture marked with fancy marble and an elaborate dome. This bank marked the division between historical buildings and modern architecture up to the Candelaria cathedral. On the exterior of this church were several broken windows; however, the exterior of this building did not set forth the decorative reputation of this building because the inside was amazing.
After spending some time in this cathedral we set out for our next destination, the Benedictine cathedral. This building marked the Brazilian gold rush because it was decorated top to bottom with an abundance of gold statues and other features. Marcos explained the historic significance of this building. The Benedictine order permitted women to attend their churches. It has changed over history as women were later allowed to attend these churches. We later took a visit to another cathedral, the Sao Sebastian cathedral. This was much different than the first two because it represented modern architecture with its yogurt-cup shaped. It was also very different on the inside as well because it was not decorated with any gold, did not have as many statues as the Candelaria and Benedictine cathedral, had an emphasis on stained glass windows and had a circular frame where the priest was in the middle of the cathedral and not in the front.
After visiting this cathedral we ate in a busy part of town around lunch time. I ate at Kentucky-fried chicken and noticed that these restaurants in Brazil served different food such as sides of black beans and rice. This difference made me aware of the pride that Brazilians have in certain foods in which they eat frequently. We walked about one-quarter of a mile in the blistering-hot sun to our tour bus. Along the way I was stopped by a small Afro-Brazilian girl around 5-8 years old who wanted to sell some gum. My encounter with the girl made me realize how desperate certain social classes are because this girl would not go away after I refused to buy gum from her. She tugged on my shirt as I was crossing a busy intersection and would not leave me alone.
Our next destination was beautiful Sugar-Loaf Mountain. We took two cable-cars to the summit only to find one of the most beautiful views of Rio de Janeiro. From the top we could see the entire city including where were staying at Copacabana beach and where we were earlier that day. This view represented the beauty of the city as well as its diversity with a number of favelas on the mountains. We purchased a peteca before leaving Sugar-Loaf Mountain. Peteca is a game similar to badminton used only with hands. The toy used for this game is a decorated beanbag with colorful feathers sprouting out of the top which is hit back and forth to the players. This game instantly became one of my favorite games as I played it with several of my classmates on the beach for nearly an hour.
The end of the day was marked with a dinner at a Brazilian pizzeria. Waiters immediately brought a number of different pizzas to our table including shrimp pizza, five-vegetable pizza, and several desert pizzas. I found them all to be delicious as I sampled nearly every flavor. The last stop of the day was to a market along Ipanema beach located next to Copacabana. There were at least one-hundred stands filled with several items such as Brazilian instruments, bathing suits and soccer. I once again noticed the poverty-stricken population of Rio de Janeiro because five small children and a pregnant woman begged several people in our group for money. This encounter with these poor individuals questioned my thoughts on the social classes in Brazil because I ate seven slices of pizza while these children were eating leftovers off of tables in front the marketplace. Overall my day was filled with fun because it made me understand Rio de Janeiro’s history much better and allowed myself to get a feel of Brazil’s unique culture.
I landed in Brazil today after having traveled for twenty-two hours in airports and airplanes. My first impressions of the country varied from intimidated for being in a foreign country to ecstatic and waiting to enjoy the trip. This was marked by my first impressions of the airport which was nothing like a typical American airport in terms of security, customs and immigration. Overall, it was neither advanced nor developed as the airports in which I have been. I stepped outside of the airport only to feel the humid eighty-degree weather attack my body. We took a bus to the Golden Tulip Hotel approximately forty minutes away. Immediately I started to notice differences as miniature-sized cars passed by on an extremely narrow road surrounded by lush green plants.
Graffiti is very popular; I saw it painted virtually everywhere, including bridges, a wall surrounding beaten-down apartments and a skate park. I also started to smell the pungent odor of the favelas, or Brazilian slums, as the bus passed these areas. The houses in these areas are literally ten feet away from the highway and are continuously stacked on top of each other. They can do this because these slums are typically located on mountains. And finally I noticed the first stray horse among many in one of the favelas.
To the left of the bus was a different scenario because this was an industrial and military area and a bay was there. The water was very murky and had several islands on it. These strange islands had several abandoned buildings on each. A restaurant in this area caught my attention with the catchy American name “Bob’s burgers.” This quickly showed me the influence that American food could have on Brazilian restaurants. The end of the industrial and military district marked the beginning of a sandy white beach that I wanted to go to; however, I knew that Rio de Janeiro had extraordinary beaches so I remained casual about how excited I really was to be in Brazil. I also started to see many small shops as we were minutes away from arriving to the hotel. Water and ice trucks, two items needed frequently during the summer, were seen loading their cargo out to several shops and restaurants. They needed these two items especially during the summer. We finally arrived at the hotel and settled down and later met on the roof of the hotel before heading out to exchange money and eat lunch. This allowed me to get a great view of Rio’s Copacabana beach. There were a lot of people and many small food stands on the wide shoreline. Behind the hotel, were the favelas once again. We later ventured for the money exchange stand. On the way I felt a light drizzle of rain and heard two loud shots which could have been gunshots or a noise involving cars. Either way, they sure were intimidating! A shop caught my attention which had primarily dog food but also had several Brazilian meats. I also noticed that Brazilians carry heavy items on their heads rather than use alterative methods for transportation. We headed towards the beach. The entrance to the beach was covered in many exotic Brazilian plants.
Sindicado do Chopp was the restaurant where we ate. I started my meal off with a caipirinha, a Brazilian drink equivalent to a mojito. I was allowed to drink this because although I am twenty and the Brazilian drinking age is sixteen. My friend Justin and I shared a massive juicy Brazilian steak with fries. I would recommend a Brazilian steak to virtually anyone. After lunch we went to the beach, but the water was much colder than I thought. It felt great nonetheless. I later watched a group of Brazilian pee-wee beach soccer players. These toddlers learn at a young age to play the country’s national sport with perfection and a unique style. I grabbed a skol, Brazil’s famous beer, from a skol food stand and headed back to the hotel where I took a nap on the rooftop and later had dinner on the second floor. The chicken and fish literally melted in my mouth because its seasoning made them taste great! A long day, some drinks and plenty of food made me tired so I fell asleep at a reasonable hour waiting to experience the next day in beautiful Brazil.
The beginning of my journey to Brazil begins tomorrow! I am very excited to travel to Brazil after developing an understanding of the culture and to enjoy the warm weather, another factor that makes me excited to leave Ashland. It has rained here for the past week and temperatures have not exceeded fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately Brazil lies below the equator; therefore, it is summer and the forecast should be hot and sunny! I can relate to this weather because I am from Florida and it should be about the same temperature and humidity as that of Florida. I have the advantage to adapting to this weather over my fellow classmates and can hopefully show them how to have fun in the Brazilian sun. Also, I understand the Brazilian culture growing up in South Florida because it has plenty of Brazilian influence with its people, supermarkets, sports and other characteristics. We fly into Atlanta and take an international flight to Rio de Janeiro following. I am now packed for tomorrow and overall I am ready to spend two beautiful weeks in Brazil.