Virtual Dance Class: Travel from Colombia To Mexico through Cumbia

It’s Fall season, when spirits are said to come back to roam our realm. In honor of the Mexican holiday of “Dia de los Muertos“, our founder Ale will be offering a virtual Rumbaterapia dance class on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 at 8pm EST / 5pm PST to commemorate our ancestors through dancing Cumbia. This begins “Travel through Dance”, a new virtual dance class series where we explore different cultures in this unique way.

She will lead a 1.5 hour session beginning with a trip that starts in Colombia during colonial times when folkloric Cumbia was born on the Caribbean coast. Join her as she travels to land in Mexico to see the progression of the dance & music of Cumbia throughout Latin America. Of course, no such event can go without honoring La Santa Selena, Techno-Cumbia Queen.

Participants will be encouraged to prepare an altar honoring their ancestors (and/or Selena) before the dance class begins, and close to where they will be dancing. We will start with an introduction to the theme of the class, stretching, music & dance progression from old school Cumbia to modern Cumbia, and then we will end with a ritual to honor our ancestors, a breathing exercise, and then close out with a meditation. Feel free to dress in folklĂłrico outfits, Selena impersonation costumes, and/or overall get as creative as possible to celebrate the dead through dance. It’s suggested to load up on incense, candles, sage, palo santo, or anything that you would like to incorporate into this dance therapy ritual.

There is a minimum $10 donation required for this class since all funds raised will go towards the Mochila Fundraiser to help us monetize our website. Send your payment with your email, and we will send you the virtual class link. Accepted forms of payment are: 1) Venmo @Travel_Latina, 2) Paypal aletracy4@gmail.com, or 3) Zelle aletracy4@gmail.com.

Carnaval de Barranquilla

Quien lo Vive es Quien lo Goza

Carnival is a mix of joy and rebellious celebration, and while the world knows all about Rio de Janeiro, it’s Colombia’s festival that has a place in my corazoncito!

The biggest celebration during the week and a half before Ash Wednesday takes place in the industrial port city of Barranquilla. I’ve explored much of the Colombian Caribbean coast’s pre-carnaval celebrations that occur every weekend leading up to Mardi Gras, and my experience was specifically in a small beach-side pueblo in Dibulla, La Guajira about 4 hours from Barranquilla. Recently I had the opportunity to experience the festivity with many of my Peace Corps co-workers in Baranquilla.

I highly encourage everyone to check out this vibrant, colorful, happy, and fun event. It’s no wonder their slogan is always “quien lo vive es quien lo goza“, translating to “who lives it is who enjoys it.”

History
Carnival originates from a combination of pagan ceremonies, catholic beliefs, and ethnic diversity (a mixture of the African, Indigenous, and European traditions), dancing, and music. It was at first a holiday for slaves protesting and mocking the reigning power, religious authority, the wealthiest classes, and other forms of crippling colonization. It later grew to be a celebration of the region. The first documented date in the Carnival’s history was in 1888 when the first King Momo was picked. The King Momo signifies the beginning of festivities, is usually charismatic and/or a good dancer. Unfortunately, the queen is chosen by her physical appearance, unlike the King, as well as her charisma and/or dancing skill. It is customary to choose a King Momo and Queen by schools, institutions, and regions.

Parade
We had a wonderful time! We attended the biggest parade that takes place on Saturday before Mardi Gras by road Via 40. Here is where we haggled for tickets (25,000 Colombian Pesos or about $8.50 USD per person) just outside of the parade gates. We did have to wait around for about an hour in order to find the best price with the help of local Colombian friends. It didn’t help that we were with a small group of “stereotypical” Gringos, therefore we were given higher prices by most. This is where being Latinx or POC and speaking fluent Spanish will help you, and possibly get you in faster with a better price offer. The same Colombian friends said the tickets are usually more expensive if you buy ahead of time because the tickets we got were last minute. We went to the parade again on Sunday, which was free but not as extravagant as Saturday.

The most comical of these caricatures is the Marimonda because they are usually silly and perform goofy dance moves. They are always trying to make fun of everyone, especially the ruling powers. When I ask what type of animal the mask represents, I get hilarious explanations:  “a monkey”, or “no it’s not an animal, it represents male and female genitalia on the face!”

One of the first quotes I saw in large, bold print on a taxi when I first arrived to Barranquilla for my initial Peace Corps training said “MĂĄs feliz que un gringo con disfraz de Marimonda“, which translates to “More happy than a gringo with a Marimonda costume”, meaning that even foreigners enjoy the fun that this caricature brings.

A couple of us were featured in the local newspaper El Herlado with exactly that quote as the title since Colombians have been very excited about the decrease in violence and the uptick in tourism.

Entertainment
The most popular form of music and dancing during the parade and other events is Cumbia and Mapalé:

Two highly recommended evening events we attended for open-air dancing were the Carnavalada in the Parque Cultural del Caribe with live music, and the famous La Troja on Carrera 44 con calle 74. Take a look at the Carnaval’s main website for a list of events starting from pre-carnival season until Mardi Gras. The most common music played at these venues is Vallenato, Champeta, Salsa, Reggaeton and other Afro-Colombian beats.

Warnings
Be aware of three potentially annoying things to look out for at this celebration.
1) Constant flour, foam, and water being thrown in your face, hair, clothing, and even directly in your eyes. This will happen no matter what you try, so if you know you won’t like this, don’t go.
2) Be wary of wearing fancy jewellery, clothing, or carrying your phone. Colombians will always urge you to not “
dar papaya” which is slang for “making yourself a target.”
3) Black Face is very prevalent throughout the festivity which is cringe-worthy. Be prepared to see this, while most dancers and paraders are a mix of black and brown Colombians, and while the majority of the queens are white or light-skin Colombians. Be careful if people dressed like this approach you because they like to intimidate tourists and foreigners to give them money, and they will try to touch you with the tar they are painted with.

black face

This caricature is supposed to represent African slaves mocking their masters. They cover themselves with black tar, wear large colorful hats, and make crazy movements with their mouth.

 

Experience it yourself, por que quien lo vive es quien lo goza!  Carnaval de Barranquilla‘s main parade takes place the Saturday before Mardi Gras every year. If the time coincides, flights to Colombia are very cheap in February!

To hype you up, enjoy a video I organized of our 2017 experience:

An Exchange to India

India will always have a piece of my heart. It’s what started my wanderlust and helped me be who I am now. How can I sum up five months in a few short paragraphs? India was a puzzle. Its complex history and its diversity of people was something new to me. But in the end, India for me was an awakening.

Since I was young I was often obsessed with other countries. By the time I was in high school, my younger sister and classmates got me into Bollywood movies. These movies were a mixture of Mexican telenovela type drama with catchy songs and beautiful dances. I was quickly fascinated with the top movie stars and memorized hit songs. My obsession with Bollywood soon expanded to all things related to India and by the time I was a junior in college, I was determined to be an exchange student there.

With Bollywood songs to motivate me along the way, I jumped through hoops to secure scholarships and approval from my university to be an exchange student in Hyderabad. I assuaged my mothers fears by making a small brochure of where I was going with all relevant contact information included. With everything set, I arrived to India in late December 2009.

Reactions to New Surroundings

When I arrived at the airport, I walked out and saw two armed-to-the-teeth guards and a sea of people walking in every direction. The first thought to cross my mind was, “what did I get myself into?” I had never been outside of the US, so Hyderabad was a jump into the deep end of the pool.

I walked through the crowd looking for the person who was supposed to pick me up to take me to the university campus. I found him holding a sign that said “University of Hyderabad”, and introduced myself. The chaos outside of the airport was scary, but the walk to the car and the drive through the city calmed my nerves. The images of India being crowded with people and loud noises I had seen were true however, those images didn’t communicate that there was a pattern to the madness. Yes the roads were loud, but drivers honked so often only to signal information to others. People were everywhere, but there always seemed to be just enough space. India seemed like everything I expected, but it wasn’t until I was there, that I understood it better.

Old city hyderabad 2

Historical center of Hyderabad

The university campus was rural, with many scenes along the way to my hostel. After a few weeks I learned where the best spots for street food were. Although I should have been more cautious, I ate nearly anything in front of me. US Indian restaurants typically offer dishes like butter chicken, tikka masala, and palak paneer. The food in India is much more diverse. Each region has its own kind of cuisine and I was very fortunate to live in the south where dosas and biryani were easily found. Also, vegetarianism is common in India so it felt great to see a menu filled with items I could eat.

Cultural Understandings

What I was most excited for was experiencing Indian “culture.” I put quotation marks around the word culture because there are limits to what I could experience as a foreigner. For example, because I’m not Indian, family events like marriages, births and funerals in addition to family expectations and relationships, were things I could only view and not participate in. For example, I did attend a wedding of an acquaintance, but I only watched a ceremony and ate dinner. If it had been a wedding of a family member I would have had a more active role.

sankranti

Tradition on Sankranti

Even though I could only participate in a small range of culture, I thoroughly enjoyed what I did experience. I was ecstatic to hear Bollywood hits in every shop or rickshaw I entered. I recognized the actors and actresses on most advertisements and even bought items based on my favorites. My peers and I participated in holidays with much gusto and I was fortunate enough to celebrate New Years and Sankranti with the family of a good friend of mine. All of these experiences shaped my perspective on India and helped me understand what kind of visitor/traveler I am.

The exchange program I participated in was unstructured so it was up to each student to create the experience that they wanted. My classmates and I spent weekends visiting tourist sites during the day and bar hopping at night. We also organized short trips to a beach in Goa and the religious site in Hampi, and to some northern cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. At first I disliked how unstructured the program was because I felt like we were left on our own and with very little support or resources. Now looking back I realize that it was the best way to learn how to travel.

India From an American-Latina Perspective

Most Indians don’t have Latin America on their radar. In India, people know the larger countries like Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. The smaller Latin American countries were unheard of. People often asked me where I was from and I would say I was from the US. But because people assumed that Americans were Caucasian, they wouldn’t believe me and asked why I was brown. I was even called “chocolaty brownie” once on a train. Most people told me that I was Indian even after I had denied it. Then I would explain to them that my parents were from El Salvador. No one had heard of El Salvador or Central America so it was difficult to explain where it was. When I used the term “Central America”, lots of people thought I was referring to the center part of the US. After three months, I gave up on trying to explain my Salvadoran heritage and told people that my parents were from Mexico.

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Kuchipudi dance class recital (I’m in the center)

Overall being a Latina with dark features was a benefit. It allowed me to somewhat blend in and not bring too much attention to myself. My Caucasian classmates failed at trying to blend in, but I managed it pretty well. I put some effort into creating an “Indian image.” I went to the city center to buy fabrics for several outfits and had salwar kameez and churidar suits tailor-made. Blending in gave me the opportunity to not stand out when I was by myself. Several classmates complained about getting stared at while they were in line at the post office or the local convenience shop. They were often asked for pictures whenever they visited tourist sights. I was able to go about my day without much notice because I was Latina and could “pass” for Indian.

A New Perspective

Since it was the first time I had been abroad, it was only natural that I went with a naïve and simplistic idea of what I was going to see. In only 5 months I learned a great deal about myself, my identity, my worldview, the US, people and much more. I wouldn’t say that I see things in a different way; it’s more like I am aware of myself and my surroundings in a way that I wasn’t before. The greatest shift in perspective was of where I wanted to be. I thought I was content and satisfied with living in Richmond, VA and my goal was to find a job there after graduating and starting my “adult life”. Since freshman year, I had decided that the life I had in Richmond was the best I could possibly have. Leaving Virginia made me reevaluate what I wanted from life.

After studying in India, I knew I wanted to continue traveling. I felt unsatisfied with staying in Virginia and I knew I was capable of more because I had pushed myself to get to India and tested my limits while I was there. I went to India because I was curious, but what I found there was more curiosity. It was an awakening because I thought I knew what I wanted but instead it made me question many long held ideas. I’m thankful for my time in India and one day I hope to go back and explore more because there is still so much to see.

 

 

Ella lo que quiere es Salsa!

Let’s talk Salsa in Colombia. Salsa is one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Colombia. A mi me encanta la salsa but unfortunately is it my weakest area when it comes to dance. Only because I am not great at it does not stop me from trying to dance it anywhere and everywhere I go. I always learn a thing or two from a new dance partner. Well here I am in Cartagena thinking, “oh! I know the basics…I’ll be okay. Right?” Wrong! Salsa en Colombia is on another level. We got most of our Salsa dancing on at “Cafe Havana,” located in Getsamani. We loved that place so much that we moved hostels to be closer to it. There was a live band every night that we went on the weekend. The cover to get in was 15,000 COP (~$5 USD) which is actually considered expensive to someone that lives in Cartagena. After learning about the expensive part it explained why the club was made up of an older bougie crowd. At Havana I got my first glimpse of Cali style Salsa. It had me so dumbfounded that I sat down at the bar and observed how people danced it for almost an hour. After a few daiquiris I asked one of the girls to teach me. She was a great instructor but I was a horrible student. I could not get the double- front- back step down. She taught me other dance moves  and commented that I was really good but I think she was just being nice. Nonetheless the nights spent at “Cafe Havana” were very memorable. The club is dimly lit, decorated with pictures of Cuban Salsa legends, a big bar, and a small stage up front where the Salsa bands play. Not once was I disappointed by the live music!

salsa 2

Other Salsa clubs we visited were “Quiebra Canto” and “Donde Fidel.” Both locations were also very unique. Quiebra Canto had a mixed crowd. It was a very colorful location, with cool decorative art, and some tasty mojitos. The club was made up of two dance floors and the best part were the balconies. My friends and I danced all night on the small balconies with the clock tower view in front of us.

Source: El Universal

Source: El Universal

“Donde Fidel” is located within the walled city. Right by the clock tower entrance. This salsa club was recommended to us by all the locals and I could see why. Salsa clasica clasica clasica! Como dicen en Colombia, un lugar bacano! The crowd at this place was a lot older but everyone there had clean dancing skills. The place is so far from a being a hip bar that the lights are all on. Not that there is anything wrong with a place not being new and hip. You could really tell that “Donde Fidel” is highly appreciated and loved by the locals. There are dozens and dozens of photos of the famous salseros that have visited the bar.

donde fidel

I don’t have video of myself dancing Cali style Salsa (thankfully) but here is a good clip of an awesome couple on YouTube. Maybe one day I will get it down.

Cafe Havana – Esquina, Cra. 10, Cartagena, GetsemanĂ­, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.

Quiebra Canto – Carrera 5, No.17- 76, Cartagena, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.

Donde Fidel – Cra. 4, Cartagena, BolĂ­var, Colombia – In between De los Coches Square and Aduana Square – Open 24 hrs? haha!

My Brazilian Internship (Part 5) – wrapping-up & Rio de Janeiro

Co-workers Brasileiras
I had the pleasure of working with two lovely Brazilian ladies born and raised from Pintadas, Laise (La-ee-zee) and BĂȘtania. I mentioned them in previous posts, but I feel I need to talk about them more here. We were lucky that they hung out with us outside of work, we shared many jokes, and they helped us out with different things. Laise had her own manicure/pedicure business she would run from home mostly on the weekends but some evenings too. We loved getting nails done almost every other weekend we were there because she created her own little floral designs she would stick on our nails, and she charged us about $20 Reais for both mani-pedi (which is about $9 at that time)!!!! We made sure to leave her a tip though she never wanted to accept it, but we had to with that price. We loved asking her about her life growing up on the farm, working for Adapta SertĂŁo, getting ready for her marriage since she was recently engaged at the time, and many more conversations about life.  She is a very well connected young lady in the community, and one can tell she loves what she does.

From right to left: Helen, Laise, BĂȘtania, and Alexandra. The

From right to left: Helen, Laise, BĂȘtania, and Alexandra. The “Divas”.

BĂȘtania was a bit younger, about 17 years old. She was working with the cooperative, but I think it was more like an internship. She had a strong personality, and she got along best with Helen. They would joke around sarcastically like it was their business. They say you know you’ve reached a high level of learning a language when you can exchange stories and jokes in that new language. It was interesting to learn about her involvement with the Evangelical Church, especially since most Brazilians are Catholic. She would talk about how she didn’t drink alcohol and chose to dress modestly.  She was very happy about her religion, and she would attend Church more than once a week.

We called ourselves the

We called ourselves the “Divas” because it means the same in Portuguese. We weren’t mean though, I promise.

Our weekly ritual with our co-workers outside of work hours was most especially done on Mondays. In Pintadas, people didn’t work much on Mondays because it was the Feira, or farmer’s market day. Everyone did their groceries or sold their own products around the town square on Mondays. At night, it was a big get together in the town square where we sat and talked to mostly Laise and BĂȘtania, and we met other people too. People would play loud music like Funk (pronounced Funk-ee, a Brazilian type of Hip-hop) or more regional music like Forro or Pagode. What rendered me speechless was that people didn’t really dance. I made myself look like the crazy foreigner because there was times I was able to get some people to dance, mostly young people who were very curious about us. We would eat acarajé , a delicious small dish only served on Mondays because the shrimp was brought in fresh from Salvador. This dish is prevalently served in Salvador on the street everywhere by Afro-Brazilian women wearing traditional outfits. The dish, known as black-eyed pea fritters, is made out of a spicy black-eyed pea paste, molded into medium-sized balls, and deep-fried in red palm oil. It is later split and stuffed with spicy shrimp, where of course Helen added more pimenta (spicy sauce/ salsa).

Laise holding Acarajé

Laise holding Acarajé

One of the funnest events we went to with our co-workers was the Cavalgada, which translates as a Horse Festival. The one we went to consisted of the municipality (Pintadas and surrounding townships) coming together to celebrate the tradition. We saw a 20 minute parade of people of all ages (I think I saw as young as 7 years old!) riding horses. There were street food vendors all over a plaza in the other town we were in. Once it got darker, there was a small concert stage where a diverse array of musicians played music. This was towards the end of our two months there, and it was the first time I saw everyone dancing without me having to act a fool first.

One of the horses at the Cavalgada

One of the horses at the Cavalgada

Pousada Revelations
One of the biggest revelations was finding out that the Donha (pronounced Don-y-aa, the title given to a female who runs a business), the manager of our Pousada hostel stay, is a nun. It made me realize that you can’t assume that all nuns are the same, and that it is possible that they don’t all dress like the stereotypical nun would. There were many things that finally made more sense about my observations with the Donha. She was always so warm and open and ready to talk. I could tell that many people who wanted help would come to her for an odd job to make some extra money. I had a small incident involving inappropriate photos accidentally appearing on my tablet computer, and she acted like nothing happened, no judgement at all. She simply said, “be careful, someone might break that!” I was so embarrassed, but I was comforted later on for some reason when I learned she is a nun.

Donha is the lady standing up. We are sitting at her dining table in the outside part of the Pousda with one of the girls who use to live with her.

Donha is the lady standing up. We are sitting at her dining table in the outside part of the Pousda with one of the girls who use to live with her.

There were many young adults who would come and visit her and stay for a couple of days, which I later learned were all orphans or kids who decided to leave their broken homes and stay with with the Donha instead. She provided a better life for at least 5 young adults and kids that I met and knew of. We interacted most with Riquelme and Floris. I bonded with Riquelme because of his love for break-dancing and making a living by teaching kids his art. I got to take some awesome pictures of him doing his thing. We interacted with Floris the most since he was the only kid living at the Pousada at the time. He became a “little brother” to us in our time there. Floris was all about soccer (as most Brazilians are), so we went to support him at one of his soccer games. His coaches allowed us to ride on his team bus which was interesting to hang out with 15-20 middle school aged Brazilian boys. They didn’t pay us much mind at all, we got to see a new little town, and Floris was happy to see us support him. Currently, Floris is in an advanced soccer club and lives in Salvador for that purpose.

Brazilian style middle school age soccer. Floris is the one with the ball.

Brazilian style middle school age soccer. Floris is the one with the ball.

Photoshoot I did of Riquelme break-dancing in Pintadas

Photoshoot I did of Riquelme break-dancing in Pintadas

Donha also organized a little weekly English class for me to teach of which failed miserably. Floris was in my class with about 10 kids a bit younger than him mostly from his school. I taught them once a week at about 8pm at the Catholic church nearby. The first two classes were great and fun. The kids loved learning and were genuinely interested. Floris, on the other hand, was very comfortable with me, and was also making it a way to be “too cool” for class. It was a very confusing thing to me because I thought he wanted to learn since he helped me organize it, but in the end he acted like he didn’t want to be in class and was more worried about pursuing a little gatinha (pronounced: ga-tee-nya, which literally means kitten but is used to refer to a girl) who was there too. It was hard to create structure and discipline for the kids when it was really just for fun. I had to make a couple of the kids leave two different times for what I remember was some foul language used, huge distractions, and something to do with Floris too. By the 5th or 6th class, the kids stopped coming. I was really sad and still think about what I could have done better. In the end, I think it turned into a babysitting gig for me, which wasn’t fun for them or I.

Our Pousada

Our Pousada “little brother”, Floris being silly with me.

Overall, it was a pleasure to get to know Donha, Floris, and Riquelme and the Pousada‘s rich stories. Many including the property rooster who hung around and crowed in the morning, the black kitten that was run over by a car the day after it snuggled and slept with me in my room, 3 spotted tarantulas in our rooms, 1 drunken man screaming in the courtyard who I later learned was Floris’ father, growing mold on the walls of our rooms that caused me to have an asthmatic reaction, and much much more. The Pousada will always hold a place in my heart, especially for the people who are given a chance to have a better opportunity in life.

We saw three different tarantula spiders in our rooms. This is one that survived. Sadly the other two were killed because we were too scared to try and capture them.

We saw three different tarantula spiders in our rooms. This is one that survived. Sadly the other two were killed because we were too scared to try and capture them.

Floris holding the Pousada rooster

Floris holding the Pousada rooster “Nego”, a name of endearment many Brazilians give each other.

The last week in Brazil
I remember that last week in September was very difficult for me. I have not mentioned it in the previous articles because I try not to shed too much light on the negative, but I was battling severe depression. The most severe I had experienced since my puberty years, except I was now in my mid 20’s and mentally punishing myself for allowing myself to feel depressed during such a wonderful experience. I was very upset with myself, but later on I would acknowledge and accept that depression can happen to anyone and it is better to deal with it with the support of loved ones. I was really thankful to have a significant other that helped me through this, along with some of my closest friends.

There was a large important meeting held with Adapta SertĂŁo, REDEH, and visitors from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on the last full day we were in Pintadas. The IDB representatives were staying at the Pousada with us, and they were all very kind and eager to learn our perspective on things. They were all men: 2 Americans, 1 Mexican, and 1 Spanish. It was exciting to see how the IDB wanted to learn more about the cooperative and understand how effective it was in that area. They were at the time deciding if they wanted to invest in the cooperative, and how much. Funding was later organized and approved in 2014. For more information on this specific IDB project, here is a direct link. Our professor’s findings were presented at this meeting, our general research initiative, along with more detailed information about what the cooperative does to help smallholder farmers and agricultural workers. Considering the fact that this meeting felt more like a mini-conference, we left Pintadas with a BANG of a meeting with live music, beautiful decorations, and delicious snacks like maracujĂĄ (pronounced: ma-ra-cu-sha, it means passion fruit) pudding.  I think all meetings or conferences should be held like this!

Front of the room at the meeting with the Inter-American Development Bank

Front of the room at the meeting with the Inter-American Development Bank

Our last 2-3 days were spent in Rio. We hitched a ride with one of the Brazilian government representatives who was in town for the IDB meeting. He made sure to let all of our REDEH and UCSD supervisors know that we were a pleasure to work with and that he recommends us for any job. He was so sweet! He encouraged us to stop at the large store Coubali to buy last minute quality Bahian leather products for our loved ones. I got my sister a beautiful pair of red, wide strappy, summery, shoes with a short and wide heel; my mom a gorgeous red, squared, puffy, medium-sized purse; and my dad a really fancy dark brown belt. I’m really careful about not spending too much money, and I saved up the majority of the stipend given to me from UCSD, so I treated myself to some nice turquoise wedged summery shoes. Everything cost about $100. I am pretty sure all of these products imported from Brazil would have cost a total of at least $250 in the US. We actually ran into our “Salvador host family” in the airport, coincidentally. It was a perfect way to give them a big hug farewell.

The second I stepped out of the airplane into the Rio airport,  I knew I wanted to make the most of our last few days in Rio. We did nothing short of paragliding to see Rio from above, visited the Island off the coast called Ilha Grande (2 days, 1 night), and went out dancing almost every night. Dancing included: Forro with our paragliding professional, a random club that played a Brazilian mix of everything where we met a random group of firemen, and Samba by ourselves in the Lapa district drinking caipirinhas from the street and interacting with the musicians (who let me play with their instruments). I can say I spent the majority of my stipend money in that week alone, and it was well worth it.

Paragliding above Rio

Paragliding above Rio

IMG_1275

Dancing to samba in the Lapa district

Thinking back to all of these memories, it only seems fitting to end with Aquarela do Brasil lyrics:

Brasil!
Meu Brasil Brasileiro
Meu mulato inzoneiro
Vou cantar-te nos meus versos
Brasil, samba que dĂĄ
Bamboleio, que faz gingar
O Brasil do meu amor
Terra de Nosso Senhor…

Click on this link to see more pictures of my time in Pintadas.
Click on this link to see more pictures of my time in Rio.

 

The rest of the Series: