Brazil: Part 4

I personally believe there is a big difference between being a tourist and being a traveler. When I go to different places, I try my best to be the latter. (Disclaimer: I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a tourist, it just isn’t really my thing.)

When I travel, I like to try to stay with locals, if I can, and experience what life is really “like.” Without getting too theoretical, there is the question of whether there’s a bit of a performance going on when you stay with locals, as they’re most likely trying to show you the “best of” everything, but regardless, I feel that the overall experience is a bit more authentic than if I were to see a place through a tour bus and the words of a tour guide.

That being said, I definitely did my fair share of touristing around Rio over the time I was there.

 I tried a coconut water out of a real, live coconut multiple times. Had to see if it tasted better depending on the scenery!

 Rai made me brigadero, a traditional Brazilian dish made of condensed milk and Nescafe cocoa powder, for me and her friends.

 It’s pretty world famous for smiles, even at inopportune times like those above. She’s a great cook.

I was also able to try Rai’s mom’s moqueca, a traditional seafood dish, and Rai’s guava mouse. Just one word sums up homemade Brazilian food: AMAZING.

The boys also had me try Globo and mate, two Brazilian beach favorites, during a lazy morning in Leblon.

 And I was instrumental in preparing for a Brazilian barbecue. You can see what the priority was at this particular fete- though in our defense, it was quite a busy party! (And I made everyone eat grilled veggies, a complete first for most guests.)

 On a more cultural note, I attended the opera, which was held in the Teatro, a nationally renown space designed after L’Opera in Paris, with Rai, her sister and her dad on Brazilian Father’s Day.

 We also went to an art show at CCBB, which featured artwork from Cai Guo-Qiang, who had some interesting pieces on exhibit.

 We stopped by Bar Urca numerous times for some beers and sunset-watching. Not only is the beer cold and the view fabulously spectacular, it’s a great place to meet up with friends for a few laughs. I was lucky enough to go with a few old friends from London who are currently traveling the world (read more about their adventures here); it was an absolute riot all night. I can’t remember the last time I had such fun!

In just one day, we visited every big tourist spot in Rio, including Christ the Redeemer, Pao do Acucar (the Sugarloaf) and the Escadaria Serlaron, a staircase created by a local Rio artist.

View from Christ the Redeemer- it was my favorite part of visiting the statue.
…although, this picture is pretty priceless.

I was also lucky enough to take a boat tour in Barra, the city next to Rio. We toured the lagoon, where there were lots of birds, alligators and beautiful views.
Finally, we were given a tour of one of the favelas, Grand Tijuca, and asked to be special guests on the local radio channel. It was random but super fun! Sorry I didn’t take more pictures of the favela itself, but it was a little dangerous to flash a camera about.
  So, overall, Brazil was full of beautiful sights, good food, new (and old) friends- oh, and I forgot! I tried hang gliding. Me! I was definitely a little more outgoing and adventurous than the “normal” Khaleelah while there, that’s for sure!
I’m told it’s me up there flying high!

Overall, I had the time of my life, and would love to do it all over again. I’ll be back soon, Brazil!


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