Welcome to Renegades Brazil, beetches!
Before getting into the Brazil trip, just a quick coda on the last one. After traveling through India from 2020 to 2021, I returned to the U.S. to recover from my motorcycle accident. During this time I stayed at my dad’s in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where I ate fast food hamburgers and watched TV for the first time in 14 months.
I did neither of these things in India. They don’t even sell beef burgers in Indian McDonalds, what with cows being sacred and all.
Needless to say I developed some bad stomach problems from U.S. fast food and my brain was warped from seeing that AT&T cellular commercial with the lady and the whiteboard six million times. Also terrifying is the Verizon commercial with Kate McKinnon running around frantically giving everyone free 5G phones.
In conclusion, America is like a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its hamburgers and cell phones into everyone’s mouths with one tentacle and sucking all the money from their pockets with another — this to paraphrase Matt Taibbi.
I therefore completely and unequivocally renounce my U.S. citizenship … unless of course you are a foreign immigration official, or cute Brazilian girl who likes Americans.
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro
(Pop. 6.7 million impossibly sexy people)
Thanks to the miracle of flight, in just 19 hours travel time I was transported from my dad’s basement in Wisconsin to Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro. Basically the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb exploding in my brain.
But wait, the media and U.S. government says “Do Not Travel” here. Better just stay home, stare at your phones and eat more hamburgers — as if that won’t kill you.
Since April I have been to the top three COVID-afflicted countries in the world: India, U.S.A., and now Brazil, completing some sort of sick COVID trifecta. If you watch the news you would think it’s all chaos and bodies burning in their streets.
Don’t watch the news. It’s fine. VERY FINE, in fact.
In both India and Brazil there are so few travelers around that you can get a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore attractions basically all to yourself and make deep connections with locals. Speaking of which, this episode of RENEGADES has a returning character! It’s Zaza, the Brazilian Oracle Reader whom I originally met at yoga school in Goa, India.
Zaza was the one who invited me to Rio promising to show me a good time. She told her friends there was a crazy American travel blogger coming and they all welcomed me with a four-day party to kick off the trip. Thank you Zaza and friends, trust your path!
Since then Zaza and her friends went back to their hometowns where they are med students. I shifted to Beach House Ipanema hostel, which is a great vibe, right near the beach with a bar, a pool and the right amount of people to meet and go out with.
Everyone (including the State Department, I guess) warned against going into the slums at night due to crime. “You will get robbed,” they say. Well after I left a nightclub in the Lapa neighborhood I noticed my cell phone missing from my pocket. I’m not saying I got robbed, but yes I probably got robbed.
*** UPDATED TRAVEL CELL PHONE DEATH LIST ***
- iPhone X — lost June 2020 during camping trip in Manali, India
- iPhone 7 — destroyed November 2020 in hostel in Goa, India
- Samsung A71 — likely stolen July 2021 in club in Rio, Brazil
There are two ways to approach the loss of a cell phone while traveling a foreign country.
#1) FREAK OUT!
#2) Realize that you are now freed from the tyrannical shackles of technology and become present to the infinite beauty of the universe.
I made it four months in India with no cell phone. I was living in a village for most of this time and most people in India speak English so it wasn’t so difficult to live without a magic supercomputer in my pocket.
I don’t know how long I can do this in Brazil, where it’s mostly just Portuguese, but I will give it to myself as a challenge. Perhaps I will be able to pick up Portuguese faster with no phone. Who knows?
**NOTE TO SELF: Don’t get lost and forget address of accommodation.
In the meantime I still have my MacBook for blogging and travel planning and my GoPro to take pictures and videos. Thus ends Chapter 1 of Renegades Brazil. I hope you enjoyed and stay tuned for more adventures and misadventures — the yin and the yang of travel.