Bom dia! Tudo bem? So after two quick and easy flights on Pluna, Uruguay´s national airline, I made it to Brazil! Note to budget travelers who might ever be looking to travel from Argentina to Brazil: I asked at the bus station in Buenos Aires how much bus tickets would cost to Porto Alegre, Brazil´s southernmost big city, and the price was only $20 USD less than the plane ticket, and would take 24 hours, rather than the 2.5-hour flight. I also bought my plane ticket late. A while ago, the flight was less expensive than the bus ticket–so it´s not always cheaper (or worth the time) to take the bus.
So I´m currently in Porto Alegre, where my friend lives and has kindly taken me in for a couple days to fuel up before I head to Carnival in Rio. I haven´t done much besides go to the grocery store, buy food, and eat, but I can honestly say in the one and a half days that I´ve been in Brazil I already like the food available here much better than in Buenos Aires. A few things of note:
1) The grocery stores here are much more similar to the big supermarkets back home in the good ole U.S. of A. Walking into the clean, modern-looking supermarket with its familiar polished linoleum floors, and bright flourescent lighting made me realize how much I miss mountains of produce, aisles full of various snacks, and the massive selection of just about anything you could want, available in our supermarkets in the U.S.
2) Brazilians looove fruit. And why wouldn´t they, since they have such an amazing selection of it here. Pineapples, papayas, passion fruit, mangoes, coconuts, oranges, bananas, etc., etc. And of course, the acai fruit–a huge source of pride for Brazilians as it is a fruit that only grows around the Amazon. With these fruits Brazilians like to make smoothies. And fresh fruit juices. And sauces, which they put on everything from desserts to fish to chicken. Had my first fish with passion fruit sauce today, and it was surprisingly delicious.
3) It is hooot, and it´s only going to get hotter as I move up the coast. I fully plan to wear just my bathing suit for as much of this trip as possible. Which sucks for me because I still have to carry around in my backpack the rest of the clothes I brought. But my real point in bringing up how hot it is is that in Buenos Aires, I had gotten accustomed to the level of heat there, which, despite all the grumbling from portenos, is really not that bad. And when it got really hot, it would always cool down again from a massive thunderstorm–which also made portenos complain. Turns out it´s pretty true what they say: Portenos like to complain about any and all weather.
Anyway, tomorrow I head to Rio to spend Carnival with people that I´ve known from all over the map: some friends from Buenos Aires, a couple friends that I studied abroad with in Shanghai, and–you never in a million years would have guessed this–two brothers of a good friend of mine from Philadelphia (yes, that would be Liz Daly´s brothers). By a stroke of very good luck (the travel gods are doing me a solid with this one), it turns out we were going to be in Rio at the same time and they were kind enough to let me stay with them. More updates to come from the greatest party on earth!