Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leave Brazil right before Carnaval?? Were we crazy?

Was I falling for a city?? Of all places! Sao Paulo was something different than what I had expected and I was excited for the Antique market that was going to be full of hippies and gypsy Brazilian types that was to take place the next day but then The Other Tracy’s Brazilian friend had asked us to come to the Coast with him to him hometown. I am never one to say no to a random adventure with a local so I was all for it but first there was one thing we needed to take care of.

While on the beaches of Florianopolis Tracy joined me in my ridiculous jumping, dancing and splashing happiness that Brazil brought me. While jumping around like idiots in the ocean we both thought, why the heck are we leaving this country so soon?! I know we had just arrived but there was no way we could only stay until Feb 28! That would make it just five weeks in Brazil and we would be leaving right before Carnaval. This just did not make sense! Being in Brazil right around Carnaval and then leaving, what were we thinking?! Ok yes I know what we were thinking, it was going to be crazy expensive, commercial and with huge crowds. As well would it take away from the amazing Carnaval experience I had in Barranquilla Colombia last year?

Well the one thing we were certain on was we had to stay longer in Brazil! We decided to stay for Carnaval and thought perhaps not Rio. Rio is the big deal but we were looking for something a bit different, and Carnaval is all over Brazil, so we were bound to find one that was a fit for us.

At first I thought something was working against me staying in Brazil as nothing was going right at the Tam agency in Sao Paulo we went to, to change our flights. I was frustrated and withholding my bitchiness. Our Brazilian friend came to my rescue and drove us to the airport where they effortlessly change my flight with minimal cost. Apparently it wasn’t the universe against me, it was a stupid Tam agent with a unibrow who wanted to add me to facebook (Gross!).

It was official we were staying in Brazil for Carnaval. Two more months in Brazil....or should I stay longer??

The Taste of Brazil: Acai

There are so many reasons to travel; for history, for the weather, beautiful beaches, sports, cities, landscape. I travel because I want to know it all; I want to experience the entire culture, the fabric and being of a land. I want to see it, smell it, hear it and above all taste it.

Ask me about the food in Brazil, ask anyone about it and they will or at least should say;

“Acai! Acai! Acai!”

Pronounced (a, sa’i)

I had never heard of it before being in Brazil but apparently this little black purple berry is a hot commodity back home and it’s marketed as a super fruit that helps with weight loss and is packed with antioxidants. This I find strange, just as strange as how everyone back home pronounces it, as it is packed with sugar!

I was first introduced to Acai in Sao Paulo, my traveling partner "The Other Tracy" made plans to meet up with a Brazilian friend of hers that she met in Chile a few years back. He picked us up in his car and gave us of a tour of Sao Paulo’s alternative night scene before going to this out of the way fruit stall. It was quite large and busy with bright lights shining down on wooden tables in the middle of the night packed with people awaiting their orders of Acai…Acai?!? What the heck is Acai? We had yet to hear of this. Grace our third party in Florianopolis may have mentioned something but we didn’t pay much attention.

Then it came... in a heaping bowl, it was sort of like a bright purple sorbet made from a little berry called Acai that comes from the Amazon. You get a package of granola with it to sprinkle on top and slices of banana. There on that night in Sao Paulo started our addiction, our love and our passion for this most amazing Brazilian treat.

From that night on we knew what the rest of the world didn’t about this fruit. We knew what the vendors were doing when they would walk up and down the beaches in little Speedos yelling into a megaphone, “ Acai! Acai! Acai!” We knew the furry of a late night fruit stall. So no matter what the rest of the world is trying to market this fruit as here in Brazil it full of sugar, it is a meal replacement, it is a coffee replacement, it is an addiction, it is delicious, it is a smile on a hot day and it is Brazil.

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