Friday, December 30, 2005

getting my shit stolen

ok, i'm a minimalist.
i believe less is more.
and when i travel i usually don't travel with a lot of stuff.

i'm also always paranoid about my stuff.
which is why it really pisses me off, that i got taken today.
i put my bag down for a second. a guy distracted me and my friend by asking for directions, and someone else ran off with my bag. i feel so stupid for being gullible and not paying attention for a split second.

i had my camera stolen, my notes that i took for the travel guidebook writing, and my sketchbook. the camera can be replaced, but losing the notes, i lost about 2 days of work that i need to retrace in buenos aires. luckily, i entered all the info from iguazu falls online. the worst part is losing the sketchbook, because it means absolutely nothing to anyone else, is worth zero monetarial value, but it means a lot to me because it has my sketches, journal, and sentimental value from the beginning of this trip and from my trip to asia last winter. i don't know what bad karma brought this on, because i've been good lately. i only wish i could get back the sketchbook, because that stuff is irreplaceable.

anyway, anyone can be gullible at any time, and i've learned the hard way that letting your guard down for even a second, that professional thiefs can prey on you. i only hope karma bites them back with a big kick in the ass or a raging case of herpes.

i'm still enjoying buenos aires, but i'm just really pissed right now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

crossing over

in argentina now.
crossed over on christmas day.
spent christmas in iguassu falls. had christmas dinner with an australian girl, dutch girl, and an english guy. jesus would have been proud of the international good will during his birthday.

iguassu falls is incredible. 275 falls that you can hike above, right up to, and below on elevated catwalks. you can also do a boat ride into one of the falls. good wet fun, especially since it was around 98 degrees in the jungle....although, i don't think i'll get any sympathy from all the cold weather everyone else is getting.

also started work for the new travel guidebook. lots of work. i spent about 5 hours today transferring info onto the computer. i'm in buenos aires now, and will be here for about a month.

ok, enough computer. i'm gonna go get drunk.

my christmas eve good deed

spent christmas eve on a 15 hour overnight bus from florianopolis to iguassu falls on the brazil - argentina border.
was sitting next to a lady and her 2 or 3 year old girl sitting on her lap.
she had a mini skirt the length of boxer briefs....but that's not important.
anyway, at one point she was changing the kid's diaper while talking on the cell phone and nearly falling down from the car ride.
i gave up my seat to her kid, and sat in the back of the bus.
that's my christmas karma for the year.

feliz navidad

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

shooting hoops in paraty

in ilha santa catarina right now. haven´t had much chance to explore the island since i had an overnight bus ride last night, and i´m a little sluggish. just came in from paraty which is a neat little colonial town south of rio. their are a bunch of beaches accessible only by boat that we went to a couple of days ago to snorkel, hang out, and hang out somemore.
had my first foreign sport exchange in paraty the other night. ended up playing basketball with local brasilieros. we played their version of 21 which was a bit confusing at first, but i got it once we started playing. it was funny, i told them i was from the estados unidos, so when they explained things to me they started talking slowly. it didn´t matter whether they spoke 5 seconds per syllable, or a mile a minute, either way i didn´t understand. so i just nodded and tried to figure the game out. would have won the first game, but was confused by the rules. however, i properly represented the united states by winning the second game in dominant superpower fashion. i didn´t trash talk though, since they wouldn´t understand anything i said. so i just let my game and my air flip-flops do the talking.
i bailed out after that game, i was afraid they´d want to play futebol (soccer) afterwards which could result in strained relations between the u.s. and brasil.

My Haiku to My Cell Phone

My Haiku to My Cell Phone

miss you not cell phone
not your annoying sound or
your ear cancer waves

Sunday, December 18, 2005

how to say bread and not penis in portugese

ok, here´s a quick portugese lesson. if you know any spanish, words that you read or see might make sense, but when pronounced sound totally different.
lesson 1: the letter ´r´is pronounced like an ´h´. so rio de janiero is pronounced ´heeooo je jsanero´. also, you´ll notice that d´s are pronounced like ´j´s. so the word ´restaurante´, which in spanish sounds like ´restaurante´, is actually pronounced ´heees-tau-ranzche´. does that make sense? yeah, me neither.
lesson 2: if a word has an ´ã´in it, it´s pronounced with a sort of nasally ´n´to it. for example the word for bread is ´pão´, which is pronounced ´poowwng´. so if you want bread with cheese, or in portugese ´pão de quejo´, it is pronounced ´poowwng je quezho´. this is quite important pronouncing the ´ã´correctly, because in the case of ´pão de quejo´, if you pronounce it ´paauu de quejo´, the word ´pau´is slang for penis. henceforth, if you ask for ´pau de quejo´, you´re asking for dick and cheese, as i found out a couple times in rio.
sometimes it´s better to point.

anyway, i´ve been to ilha grande (great secluded island with no motor vehicles, and also no atm´s which can be a problem if you don~t plan ahead), and i´m in paraty right now. did a boat beach tour which was pretty rad. brazil is very lush and green along the coast, and the forests are thick and tropical. but if you can find a way to get to the secluded parts, you have perfect white sand beaches all to yourself.
i highly recommend it.

till next time - tudo bem, tudo bom

Thursday, December 15, 2005

chuva chuva chuva

rain rain rain

since my last post, i spent saturday in the colorful and hip hill district of santa teresa in rio. CHUVA
on sunday i spent the day in santa teresa staying with a sculptor in her home (part of an artist bed and breakfast network). beautiful view of downtown, but CHUVA
on monday i spent the day stuck in the house reading until the afternoon when i went to the city center where i was met by, CHUVA.
took an overnight bus to ouro preto and arrived on tuesday morning. slept a bit then looked outside to CHUVA. it's a beautiful colonial hilltown with unesco world heritage. would have taken great pics, but too much CHUVA.
spent most of wednesday in a youth hostel in ouro preto. visited an old gold mine that went down 315 meters into the ground. guide only spoke portugese, but luckily this dutch guy i was with translated. couldn't really do much afterward since all day there was off and on CHUVA.
overnight bus from ouro preto to ilha grande. great island about 4 hours south of rio with no motorcars or motorbikes whatsoever. beautiful island that i'll explore on hikes tomorrow....that is if there is no CHUVA. today was mostly overcast, but with only a little CHUVA....internet cafe is playing OPP by naughty by nature. unimportant, just thought i'd point it out.

anyway, i can't complain. it could be worse, i could be stuck in a cubicle somewhere (no offense to anyone out there!)

chau chau

Saturday, December 10, 2005

spanish is not portugese

hey folks -

first week here in rio, and i can´t complain. the weather was a little cloudy and rainy for the first few days, but it´s been sunny, warm, and about 80 degrees the last few days - optimum for beach. i´m learning first hand that portugese is not the same as spanish, and definitely not the same as spanglish. for those of you that have been to rio before, can attest to how beautiful a city it is. the ocean and bay meet the mountains and rainforest, with rounded granite peaks popping up along the atlantic. pretty spectacular. places i´ve been so far have been the corcovado (the peak with the big tall jesus looking over the city). great views up here with god looking over your shoulder.....i think that´s a good thing. there are a several peaks that you can climb, all offering great views of the city...or you can be like my lazy ass, and take a taxi up. also, went hangliding for the first time flying over rio. it´s a great rush. you run down a ramp with a guide and you attached to the glider, and then all of a sudden the thing takes off and you hear a big whoosh as you start to soar. if the buddhists are right, i´d like to reincarnate back as a bird..preferably not a pigeon. i´ll post pics as soon as i figure out how.

rio de janiero is pretty much all about the beach. on a sunny day, all beaches are mobbed. and as you´ve heard, the women wear dental floss for bikinis. i guess there´s a reason why it´s called a brazilian wax. a lot of guys wear the speedo banana hammocks, but not as much as i thought. i´m staying in ipanema and there´s a good amount of surfers there, so that might be way a few of the fellas have boardshorts on.

the most enlightining and perhaps best thing i´ve done so far is the favela tour. you go up into one of the favelas (slums up in the hill - think ´city of god´but even more crowded. about 20% of rio is favelas, and some of them are right up against the rich neighborhoods or houses. a guide takes you through narrow walkways with clay brick shantytowns built one on top of the other. you learn how the entire favela is run by drug dealers, and how there are scouts set up all around who light firecrackers to warn when the police are coming in. i didn´t see any of the scouts, but they definitely saw us. there´s crap in the paths (mostly dog i think) and the houses are built right on top of each other. the one i went to known as rocincha has about 200,000 people living there. the great thing is that everyone we encountered were super nice and friendly. we visited an artist studio where you could purchase stuff and the best part was visiting a pre-school that was built mostly from tourist dollars visiting the favelas. it was good to see some of my money being put to good use. the kids in the preschool were sleeping but as soon as we walked in, they started jumping on us wanting to be carryed around, have their photo taken and just generally play. the unfortunate thing, is that this oasis in the slum was only such a small percentage of the entire favela. the favela is such a tight crammed space, but most of the people who live here come from the countryside seeking better opportunities. they´re most of the service workers and they live close by so that they don´t have to travel long distances to go to work. if you ever happen to go to rio, make sure to donate some money for some of the building projects.

the famous rio nightlife meets up to the hype. went to a club a couple nights and a samba bar last night. it was pretty cool, especially since there were only a handful of westerners at the places. although trying to talk in portugese can be quite a challenge. the only bad thing so far about brazil has been it´s more expensive than i thought with the value of the dollar going down....fucking bush. anyway, i´m putting myself on lockdown tonite and tomorrow since going out can be quite pricey. i´m excited to head to argentina next month if not for anything, it´s a lot cheaper from what i´ve heard from other hostellers. i´m a bit hungover right now, so my sentence structure and thoughts are a little retarded. must go to beach now (sorry if it´s cold right now wherever you are) before heading up to santa teresa, an old bohemian neighborhood on a hill in rio.

ciao ciao

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

finally in s. america

flight at 11 from sfo to newark.
snowing in newark.
2 hour layover.
redeye from newark to sao paolo.
1 hour layover.
flight from sao paolo to rio.
in case you´re wondering, i´m in an internet cafe because it´s raining so there´s not much i can do, and also i arrived at the hostel around 4:30 in the afternoon. plus i still feel a bit under the weather, and i´m glad i´m doing my part to spread disease to the brazilian population.
having trouble figuring out the keyboard here, and all the text is in portugese so i hope it posts.
it´s pretty funny in here. there are all these kids in here, and they´re all loud and yelling. for those of y´all that have seen ´city of god´, i keep waiting for one of them to go ballistic on another...and well, you know how the rest of the story goes. i better get out of here before something goes sour...ciao

Friday, December 02, 2005

72 more hours

down to the last 3 days.
going through the final checklist items before taking off for rio.
making plans for the writing gig in argentina.
lots of work and lots of research, but it should be a new, exciting experience.
easily the toughest part of leaving is saying good-bye to my dog jessie.
but she'll be in good hands, and hopefully she'll look at it as a mini-vacation.
15 months out of the country is a long time.
plan is 6 months in south america followed by a 9 month rtw going west to east.

still have so much shit to do before leaving, so i shouldn't be wasting my time on this blog crap. on that note, i'm out.