(Un)Safe. Brazilian. Summer.

HOT HOT HOT, that is the best description when talking about summer time in Brazil. It comes back everywhere; the temperature is about 35 to 40 degrees Celcius, the people are pretty and have good sporty hot bodies, dancing samba and forró with brazileros… Besides that it is a popular travel destination especially with the Olympic games in August. So why go there in Summer you might think. Well, in summer there is the biggest event of the year; carnaval, you can cool off easily at the prettiest beaches with a fresh coconut or caipirinha in your hand. Ate the same time, when living in the northern hemisphere, you escape winter! Reason enough to go!

Telling my dear ones at home about my plans to go to Brazil, the first thing they replied was that it’s unsafe and dangerous. Then hearing I would travel there with my tall, blank and pretty sister, they told us we are looking for trouble. The funny thing is that we had such an amazing experience. And after ‘only’ three weeks I decided I haven’t seen enough so I need to go back some day…

Back to the safety part… First of all, it all starts with your own attitude, behavior and why of thinking. When you hide your money in a money belt (my sister) or in your bra (me) you don’t walk in the street with a big (hand)bag and your money is safe. Dress normally and don’t show off any luxury looking accessories is rule number 2. Then there is the part that you don’t want to be in the dodgy dark places, like in every city in the world. So know where to go of become friends with locals so they guide you.

Is that all? Well no.. Of course there are robberies here, and they are more violent than Europe for example. The favelas are not safe to go by yourself and you should never take an empty bus, but further more you need to relax a bit while you are aware of the things and people around you.

Unfortunately sometimes bad things happen during the day, like one of our new friends. He got kidnapped, robbed, shot and beaten during the day (4 pm). The police found him in his boxer short and brought him to the hospital. Fortunately he is alive and is back home now to recover from this horrible incident. Sadly things like this happen but you can’t avoid it…

But yes, you can travel Brazil and be safe, like my sister and me. The people are so super friendly, kind and polite. They help you at any place at any time and share everything they have with you. There was not even one grumpy grandpa we met! The country is huge and has stunning nature with a lot of treasures. From deep green valleys with lakes, dunes, waterfalls to more dry area, to jungle fever in the Amazone. And of course don’t forget all the amazing white sandy blue sea beaches, there are thousands of them…

You don’t have to go to Brazil but if someone asks me I would be the person who encourage it, it is A-MA-ZING!

Obrigado Brasil

Special thanks to my sister who made this trip memorable <3

Carnaval. Off. The. Bucket. List.

Like many other people, carnaval in Brazil was on my bucket list. This year I was already in South America and decided to take the opportunity and celebrate carnaval in the land of samba. My sister heared my plans and decided to come over to join this unique experience….

Rio de Janeiro was our first stop. On the 29th of January it wasn’t officially carnaval yet but Brazileños like to party so there were already bloco’s; a carnaval street party. In total they made 10 days of partying instead of the normal five… For us the perfect way to experience this event in different places of Brazil.

Like Rio is huge, the bloco’s are huge… There are bloco’s which move or parties which stay in one place. Everywhere and at every time of the day there could be a bloco; from 7am-1 pm, 2-6 pm, 6pm-12am or anything in between. We started with a small one during the day with 3.000 other people (the big ones are up to 500.000 people!). On the streets of Rio people in the greatest costumes are dancing and celebrating. Of course including a (bad quality) beer, cocktail or some kind of chemical mix drink in a plastic bag(tube?)…. In 35 degrees Celcius partying on the street is a very hard task you know?! We had a great impression of what to expect the next days. Later when we got in out hostel, we heared this specific bloco ended in a shooting with 1 man killed an 2 others wounded…. Welcome to Rio…

City of carnaval no.2: Salvador. Besides the bloco’s in Salvador there are two main areas for carnaval; the historical center of Pelourinho and the big street parade (parcours) of Barra/Onda. We wanted to start small and slow but we got off the bus at the wrong bus stop so we eventually started with the big street parade in Barra. Along the main avenue are huge tribunes/stages where you can have an exclusive party and good view over the parade for “only” € 150 per person per night… Or, like what we did, you can walk with one of the samba bands in the parade and experience it from street level. You feel the music and all the energy so intense, what a feeling! Everything in detail was taking care of, including the samba dancers in their tiny but beautiful outfits.

The next day we made it to Pelourinho; a smaller family friendly type of carnaval. The afro style women in their white dresses singing and dancing on the street in a more traditional way. Samba bands are also playing and the members and supporters of that samba school is walking and partying with them while walking the streets. Next to that there are concerts at every square you come, very lovely! We spotted ‘our’ samba band also in a crowded club; a girl told us they are famous here in Bahia province; lucky us! Walking back to the bus station we saw parts of the dark side of Brazil like the favelas, dangerous dark alleys, polices fights, drugs dealers… We made it safe to the bus because of our local friend and when we got off the bus, the bus made a U-turn so our stop was not on the usual route but know the driver knew we would be safe at home, so kind!

Third and final carnaval stop: Itacaré. This small coastal village breaths relaxation, has a good laid back vibe, colorful houses, happy people and amazing beaches. I already fell in love with this place by entering… The carnaval has a different style here; instead of samba they play fohol and reggae music, the carnaval is on the boulevard and beach, people are more relaxed and kind to eachother, very safe! Only at night there is carnaval because during the day people sleep their hangover off… The night starts with a band playing on a big truck, followed by a few cars with an incredible amount of speakers and decibels. The whole village walks with the parade or watches on the side and party hard. The rest of the night we enjoyed live performances of different bands at the beach, including the famous band of Salvador, lucky us. Dancing bare foot with a cocktail with our crazy Swiss and several Brazilian friends; our best carnaval night!

Many people warned us for the dangerous streets of Brazil, it sometimes is dangerous but you must know where to go and how to behave. We made some local friends and that is the best thing to do; they inform and warn you while you’re partying and they keep you away from the dark alleys, police fights, drunk/drugged people etc… The Brazileños are so super friendly and helpful that our experience is super and I wish I can come back for carnaval next year!