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essays | places


a different Latin America




Rio de Janeiro / Brazil · 2014   walking on art


   It took 48 bus-hours to get to Rio, but the first 24 felt like 72. The mother in front of me had let her kid loose and the little boy befriended me quite forcefully. Ah, he was alright, but I didn’t shed a single tear after they got off. All I remember of that train of views whooshing past my window is blurred into layers: red soil at the bottom, green atop, the occasional layer of concrete in-between.

It rained upon arrival as though the heavens were co-lamenting my parting from her and our friends in Buenos Aires. Soon I was sandwiched between strangers in the middle of a three-bed bunk, splitting the room with 26 other hostel creatures.

Over the next weeks I learned that Portuguese might look like Spanish, but sounds nothing like it, and that Brazil’s ethnic mix is as diverse as others in Latin America but completely different. Rio had to fall short of the incredibly tall expectations others had built for me. But no hard feelings Rio. It wasn’t you. It was me. Just a bunch of unrelated circumstances wrongfully tainting the experience and with it the innocent place underneath.

After the concrete jungle, the jungle jungle covering Ilha Grande was refreshing. Cold really with its unrelenting downpours. And there was a witch on a beach and a patrol boat chasing me, but not really. I elaborate below.

Before long, I had to flee from the soccer world cup and the sharp prices that arrived with it. A day after my escape to Panama, my bed would have cost me tenfold. Until we meet again, Brazil!


a glimpse

The city's antagonist was pristine.


Ilha Grande / Brazil · 2014   the prelude to a tropical downpour


what a melodic overlap of cityscape and landscape


Rio de Janeiro / Brazil · 2014   where Frank found his girl






places / stories

Ilha Grande / Distracting Convenience

outrunning comfort to create memorable moments


Alas, convenience wanted me back in its walls for the same reasons it always does – for all the wrong reasons, distracting us from the bigger picture...

Rio de Janeiro / No Hard Feelings

distinguishing between place and experience


It is a circumstantial conceptualization, so my harshest criticism towards many travelers, and especially the ones armed with blogs, is that they don’t distinguish between a place and their experience there.



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