Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Week 2 in Brazil

Well, I’ve had an eventful second week.  Moved to Vitoria by bus, which was a hellish 8-hour bus ride, with the woman in front of me reclining in my lap…  Apparently, in Brazil, they do not have the same concept of personal space as we do in the U. S.A.  The seats were made to recline, and recline bem mesmo!  I literally could have rested my arm on the top of her head, as it is, I used the top of her seat (thus providing shade for the top of her head which rested upon my lap) as a book prop!  I was unable to move, because any shift in movement resulted in my driving a knee into her back (and receiving a disgruntled look as a result).  It was quite interesting I must say…

I arrived at the bus station, where my family was waiting for me, and immediately received a huge hug from my little “sister,” Mariana, who is 8.  I have a “mother” who is 3 years younger than me, a “father,” two younger sisters (Mariana and Darah, who is five) and two younger brothers (whom I haven’t met yet, but who are 10 and 14).  Darah and the boys are off traveling with relatives, but will be arriving on Sunday, so the house should be exploding with people in another week.

And speaking of the house… I have my own room with own bathroom (!), a large bed that is not a mattress on the floor (so I’m feeling quite privileged here) and plenty of space for the tiny amount of clothing that I brought (in comparison to the other women I traveled in Rio with, who each brought a minimum of three giant suitcases/duffle bags/etc.)  Actually, every room in the house has its own bathroom, which means that there are SEVEN bathrooms total, and there’s a swimming pool!  Plus, I’m a couple blocks from the beach.  I’m living right, yes, I am.

This weekend, we had our first excursion.  Went to Biriricas in the mountains, stayed in cabins in the woods, and went on an unbelievably adventurous river rafting trip Saturday morning and afternoon.  More about that in a separate email later, when I have more time to describe the incredible events of the day (a warning to all those who might be disturbed by images of Amy almost drowning in the rapids of Brazil:  don’t read that email!)  Sunday we had a crappy day of too much sun and too much sickness (envision no less than 3 girls at any given time puking out the windows of our bus as we rocketed down the mountain at nauseating speeds) and late Sunday night was convinced I was dying of some dread Third World disease, as my system expelled everything it has consumed all weekend long and my legs went up in flames due to the thousands (okay, maybe 30) of mosquito bites they had suffered.

Basically, it’s been fun!  Classes start this week and they’re intense as well.

I hope all is well with everyone else.  Just a word of warning:  if you ever travel to Brazil… take PLENTY of bug spray along and use it LIBERALLY!

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