4700 miles for the best açai ever
Brazil was one of my bucket list places to visit. My husband was born in Brazil, and learning more about his culture and influences was the main reason I wanted to visit… but it was also a great reason to indulge in flan (creamy and silky dessert made from condensed milk) and pão de queijo (small baked cheese roll).
There was some culture shock, because the primary language spoken is Brazilian Portuguese. The Google translate app was my lifesaver for most of my trip, but my 8-year-old nieces-in-law graciously also taught me many words, using the entire alphabet. They loved hearing me speak in Portuguese and would laugh at my weird pronunciation.
Another thing I found interesting (and slightly terrifying) were the electric showers. The shower head was connected to a bunch of wires that led behind the wall. There was one handle to turn on the flow of the water, and once it ran for about 10 seconds, the handle needed to be turned clockwise to slightly close the flow in order to get hot water. I didn’t understand the mechanics of what was going on, exactly, but I’m just glad I didn’t get shocked while showering!
The food was incredible. The staples were any variation of rice and beans, farofa (toasted cassava), grilled beef, and fried potatoes. Açai is a local fruit and I found these dessert stands in many places we visited in Brazil. It was so delicious and refreshing and I honestly wish it was more affordable in North America (one can wish). It’s important to note that the food can vary depending on the region, because it’s highly influenced by a mixture of native and immigrant populations.
My favorite place was Rio de Janeiro. Home to many scenic views, including Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana beaches, Sambódromo, and Maracanã Stadium, to name a few. Seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue in person was incredible. The scale of everything was massive. The cable car ride up to Sugarloaf Mountain was like something out of a postcard. And looking at the panoramic views of the city from above was breathtaking because any vantage point was picturesque. A funny memory was seeing wild marmosets (South American monkeys) weave in and out of the foliage to nab food off the floor from unsuspecting tourists.
Overall, I would highly recommend traveling to Brazil. The people are warm and friendly, the cultural experiences are memorable, and the weather varies quite a bit throughout the country, so there’s something for everyone!