Trip Start Feb 04, 2007
15Trip End May 26, 2007
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My first official entry on the road!!! Currently I'm writing from Salvador do Bahia, Brazil. Shan, Joe and my sister Samantha are here, arriving safely and in high spirits. Carnival is in full effect here. It's like no party I've ever seen in my entire life, rivals include the full moon party in Thailand and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, but really in a league of it's own.
It is estimated that there are two million people in the streets at any given moment. I would say that's a gross underestimate. We are staying at a condo on the main beach, Farrol da Barra (pronounced baha), looking straight down on the main drag. Mom, you would be proud, waves are beautiful and in between the 'blocos' rolling by, you can actually hear them
The way carnival works is a loose system of organized chaos. Around 7 pm, the 'blocos electricos' line up just behind the building we are in. Each bloco is a huge stage set upon an 18 wheeler. They slowly creep down the main drags for about 3-4 kms. The blocos are surrounded by security guards, holding arms and a rope that totally encompasses the people inside that particular bloco. The rope is about 50 feet wide and about 4 football fields long! Inside, there are tens of thousands of dancing fans! Unlike Rio, carnival here is a participatory event, not a spectator sport.
Before Salvador, also referred to as Bahia, Joe and I were in Fortaleza, a Miami-esque city with one claim to fame. "The best Monday night on the planet," though self proclaimed, I can't disagree. Like Salvador, Fortaleza is a coastal city, with african-americans making up about 80% of the general population. Tourists in cities like this tend to attract more Brazilian toursits than white westerners. So far, being in Brazil for about 2 weeks, I've met 4 americans, all from California.
While in Fortaleza, we took advantage of the white sand beaches, specifically, Praia (beach) do Futuro
Pre-Fortaleza, I was in the Amazon. 2-meter-wide water lillys, baby alligators, snakes, tarantulas the size of a small bear and countless beautiful tours of the Rio Negro. A beautiful jet black arm of the Amazon. We stayed two nights in a floating hotel, one night sleeping on a white sand beach (on a river, wierd) and one night deep, deep in the bush.
Brazil in general has seriously exceeded my expectations which were already sky high. The food is good, the fruit is better, the people are super passionate about everything and very sexy. With passion running high on all fronts, I experienced it first hand when I bumped into a guy my age holding various beers, causing him to drop them. He picked the unopened cans of Skol beer up and got right in my face, clearly an eager invitation to fight. Not being the fighting type, I walked away with Shan (6'5" 250lbs), ignoring the guy. About 4 seconds later, out of nowhere, his fearless buddy, with a running start punched me square in the side of the face. Mom, Dad, I'm fine, but I had to tell the story. A little shiner for Carnival.
I love you all and miss you! I wish you could all see what's going on. Here are some photos!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, TODAY IS MICHAEL JORDAN'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!
MY MAIN MAN!