Wednesday, 4 May 2011

An English girl in Brazil

She might miss a decent cup of tea if she were to leave the UK for Brazil forever, but London-based Lindsay Stocker fell in love with the country after her recent trip to Salvador (for carnival), Morro de São Paulo and Rio. Sounds like the Brazilian boys fell in love with her too… Here’s what Lindsay had to say about her trip.

What made you decide to go on holiday to Brazil?
Brazil has always been one of those places that I was pretty sure had to be seen to be believed...throw carnival into the mix and I seriously wasn't wrong.

Where did you go?
Because we were just going for a holiday (rather than travelling) we wanted to mix a bit of relaxing beach time with sightseeing and the famous carnival. A bit of a mean feat but we started in Morro de São Paulo (one of five villages on the island of Tinharé in Bahia), hit carnival in Salvador and then went to town on the sightseeing in Rio.

What did you think of it?
The three were VERY different places. Morro was an absolutely beautiful, relaxing sleepy little island. We had been told some horror stories about Brazil in general and how to keep safe but this really was a very safe and touristy little place. Absolutely gorgeous.
For Salvador, the only word I can use to describe it is INSANE! I couldn't tell you what it is normally like but for the week of Carnival it is absolutely electric everywhere you go! I'm talking about Baha really; Pelourinho had a much more old town vibe and almost felt European - it was a lovely little place and although still mad, was a nice place to go to take a little bit of a step back. I have never been so scared, excited, amazed and shocked in all my life!
This continued through to Rio. Unfortunately we weren't there for long enough but what I saw, I loved. Whereas in Salvador, it felt a bit more scary as the rich/poor, safe/dangerous areas were all mixed up together, in Rio it was much easier to navigate your way to the safer areas –unless you include the ridiculous amounts of shopping in Rio in the dangerous area category…

What were the highlights and lowlights?
The highlight was just being in Brazil. Seeing Christ the Redeemer in Rio was amazing, but the absolute highlight was being in a “Bloco” (samba band) in Carnival. Dancing with the float until I actually wore through my shoes absolutely couldn't be beaten!

Did you see and do any Samba?
Yes. Samba can be a little bit daunting as I am convinced that the Brazilians have very different hips to us...mine sure don't move like that! Saying that, they love a tryer and it is so much fun you have to fully embrace it.

What was your favourite part of the trip?
Samba Samba Samba!

If you were to live in Brazil, what would you miss about the UK?
I'd miss my family and friends more than anything but if I was to live in Rio, I'm not sure there would be a lot missing from there. It seemed to be a bit like London so I reckon you could stumble across most things you need there. A good cup of tea might be hard to find?!

What did you eat and drink there?
Unfortunately one of the girls I was with was a vegetarian so that ruled out the major meat buffets but we had things from the beach, like the cheese they sell which some of us actually began to crave (so good, a bit like haloumi but better!), a very nice bit of sushi and good seafood (on Morro).

What did you think of the Brazilians?
Brazilians on the whole were the friendliest people. Sometimes too friendly ;-)

What were some of the main cultural differences between Brazil and the UK?
This goes back to the previous answer… let's just say, especially during carnival time, the Brazilians are not backwards in coming forward! Some of the matrix/dance moves we pulled out the bag to avoid those situations were legendary!

If you were to go again, what would you do differently?
I'd spend longer in Rio and I'd like to see Salvador when it isn't arrives with a bang and there is no escaping it.

What would your advice be to other tourists who want to visit the area?
Keep your wits about you but don't let all the scary stories make you paranoid. Don't take anything out that you don't want to lose (during Carnival at least). I think we were too on edge at times so just enjoy all the happiness that comes with being in Brazil!

If you could describe Brazil in three words, what would they be?
Fun, Flirty and Frenzy.

Which other parts of Brazil would you like to visit?
I'd love to go to Florianopolis purely because everyone has told me that if I liked Rio and Salvador, I will love it there.

Have you been to different parts of Brazil? What did you think? Are there any areas you'd like to know more about?

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