Holy Shit. Brazil is Hot. And Humid.
I’m talking 2-showers-a-day Hot and Humid. 3 if you’re lucky.
I mean, depending on the region of the country you’re in, this isn’t always true. But, since I’m living in the south of the Amazon, lately I’ve had this idea that staying clean for more than 20 minutes after taking a shower is about as realistic as seducing Brazilian supermodel Giselle (If you’re reading this, Giselle: Tudo Bem, Bonita ;)?)
For those of you who aren’t in the know, I will be living in Brazil for the next 8 months on a Fulbright Grant, a program through the U.S. Dept. of State. I am working as an English Teaching Assistant at the Federal University of Acre (UFAC), in the city of Rio Branco, the capital of the state of Acre.
This place is remote. So remote, in fact, that there is a saying throughout the rest of Brazil highlighting its mythical status: Acre não existe! (Acre doesn’t exist!).
Just to give you an idea of exactly how remote it is, here is a lovely illustrative picture from our Fulbright orientation in Brasilia:
So I didn’t end up getting placed in my first preference (and as I later found out, everyone else’s first preference…), but as you’ll see, I am coping quite well with wildcard Rio Branco.
Rio Branco means “White River” in English. And how shocked was I to find out that the river ISN’T WHITE?! Oh well…
As I hope to show you guys today and in the coming months, Rio Branco is a truly wonderful place, and it didn’t take me long to realize that this placement was a blessing in disguise. These 3 weeks have been incredible and incredibly eventful. Since so much has happened in the past 3 weeks, I will condense my first weeks into photographs with short descriptions after each one.
A PHOTO JOURNEY THROUGH MY FIRST 3 WEEKS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY.
Our Journey starts in the futuristic capital of Brazil, Brasilia.
Beautiful Cathedral designed by Oscar Niemier, the architect of futuristic Brasilia.
Inside the cathedral.
Me standing in front of important gov’t buildings. So important, in fact, that I forgot their names ;).
Me with the American Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde.
Getting louco with best buddy, Missy. Orientation activity where we had to create a collage of what we thought Brasil stood for.
When this waiter found out we were American, he kept saying “suck my ass!”. We decided to chant it in unison during what was definitely NOT an intoxicated moment for me
Brasilia was fun, but now it’s time for all 90 ETA’s to go to their respective destinations….. Nolan is PUMPED for Rio Branco!! Getting off the plane at Rio Branco…. First impressions: Hot and humid, beautiful vegetation, and HUGE ASS CLOUDS!!
Our buddy Luciana takes us for a little tour of the center. That bridge is the Joaquim Macedos walking bridge.
Luciana and Nolan on the Joaquim Macedo walking bridge.
Shops and restaurants lining the river. The heads of the English department take us on a tour of the mini jungle on the UFAC campus! There are snakes, monkeys, and even mini-jaguars called margays.There are tons of cats on my University’s campus. When asked why there are so many, I was told that someone just brought a couple cats here, they started reproducing, and people just started feeding them. The rest is history. Karaoke with the bros. An administrative building in Rio Branco shaped like a type of house indigenous people make.
River and sunset.
Magic by the river.
Brazilian steakhouse time!
Ostrich meat, chicken hearts, wild boar, and picanha (some cut of the hind parts.)
House hunting on beautiful brazilian streets.The Simpsons in Portuguese. Capybaras on the UFAC campus!! I told you: THOSE CLOUDS ARE HUUGGGEE!! Lines: a big part of Brazilian culture due to the notorious Brazilian bureaucracy.
Random people roaming the streets during Rio Branco’s carnaval (Here it’s pretty much non-existent. Sorry folks. That’s the OTHER Rio…)
The crew with our Australian friend who was just passing through Rio Branco. Here she’s eating Tacacá, an indigenous dish.
What’s so special about tacacá is that, along delicious shrimp, you are served the leaves of the jambu plant, which make your mouth and tongue go numb while eating them (because of a chemical they contain called espilantol).I was lucky enough to catch the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. As I was saying….
And saying… Vegetation typical of the area. Buying handmade furniture for cheap cheap cheap!!!
Cool graffiti I saw in the city.
And with that we end the photo tour of my first couple of weeks in this incredible city.
Do I love everything about my new home and culture? Absolutely not. But I have far more good days than bad, and I already feel myself growing and learning more about myself. Every culture has advantages and disadvantages to it, and in the coming months I hope to give you all an interesting perspective of life abroad in a place very different from that which most of us are accustomed to.
Until next time, carpe diem!