Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brazil Days 6-7: Living like a Brazilian

Lapa Viaduct that brought
water to Rio in the 1700s
Living like a Brazilian takes some getting used to. You might have prepared all the best research, asked everyone you know for advice, made multiple reservations in advance, but none of this will prepare you for that restaurant out of business, band wrapping up early, 3-hour bus ride taking 6 hours, scuba diving company disinterested in piloting their boats.

Olga hitching up to a pizza
cart on Praia Grande in Arraial
You have to take these things in stride like a Brazilian. So maybe you did email several dive companies in English and Portuguese weeks in advance (many of which received no reply and required a follow-up email), called to reconfirm, and bought bus tickets to travel hours to a tiny Brazilian town so you could get there in time for a night dive.

Dave enjoying an Acai
in Arraial do Cabo
Being a Brazilian means knowing it will all work out in the end. You find the bus trip to be long but relaxing, with time to read, eat, and nap. The bus is full of people like you - middle-class young couples and families trying to get away for an early weekend - not the experience you've been warned about with thieves trying to steal your bags while you sleep or head to the bathroom.  When you get to town, you might walk around and ask 8 different dive companies if they offer night dives, all with different explanations for why I don't qualify for one tonight.

Cheese on a stick! You're
supposed to bbq it, but
let's try Polly-O style.
The town of Arraial do Cabo is charming, and besides, you can always just dive in the morning. You may discover a spectacular restaurant near Praia Grande inside the Pousada Caminho do Sol -- serving "Brazilian lobster" Pumpkin Risotto -- and Cod with bananas and raisins cooked in a banana leaf. The extra time in town will afford you a chance to discover a town favorite: Acai drinks - essentially a slushie infused with local Acai fruit juice and topped with anything from ground peanut dust to chocolate jimmies. They are so popular, we saw more Acai stands in this small town than there are Starbucks in Seattle!

1 comment:

Karen the first said...

Great blog, Dave. Really well written -- a regular Anthony Bourdain!