The plan was to select Miss Bum Bum in São Paulo, visit the Valley of Single Women in Minas Gerais, party at Micareta Folianópolis in Florianópolis, and to find a Pocahontas in the Amazonian jungle. Unsurprisingly, the reality deviated from the plans. During my third Brazilian adventure, I also wanted to see how it would be to live there. This trip provided a lot of emotions and insights about the country and its people. Curious? Read on.
I took a flight from Boston to São Paulo with a stopover in New York. At the gate at JFK, I could almost feel like I’m in Brazil. Everyone spoke Portuguese. Most of the people were Brazilians. They were looking at me constantly as if I were Jesus. They figured out I was a gringo (=foreigner). How? Stereotypical gringos from North America and Europe look differently from stereotypical Brazilians, wear different clothes, and behave differently. Simple example: Brazilians often wear white socks and sport shoes. Myself? I would not wear white socks. They get dirty too easily. Sport shoes? Only for jogging.
The plane landed around 9am. As previously, I flew with TAM; a very solid Brazilian airline. At the airport, I was searching for my buddy, Ansis Romansis. He had been traveling around Brazil for several weeks. We would meet up, rent a car, and then go to Itatiba to visit Juliana. She is our Brazilian friend from Canada. Meeting Ansis was easy. Renting a car? Instead of 5 minutes it took more like an hour. In Brazil time slows down :-)
I picked a pretty decent car online. I was willing to pay more to make sure we don’t die in case of an accident. (Sadly, cars in Brazil are a generation or two behind those in Europe and North America.) At the airport, we got a piece of shit that was barely able to accelerate and brake. Hello adventure! Nonetheless, there is something intrinsically cool about disembarking the plane and renting a car to drive to another city… It always makes me feel like James Bond :-)
It took us two hours to get to Itatiba. It’s a mid-size town north of São Paulo. If you follow my blog, you know I’ve already been there. The highway was pretty congested. Driving in Brazil is definitely an adventure in itself. Turn signals? Unnecessary. Honking? Advised. Bikers? Everywhere. Pedestrians? Walk along the highway. Lanes? Very narrow or nonexistent. Most drivers seemed careful, though.
At Juliana’s we were warmly welcomed by her and her parents. It was a fantastic opportunity to practice Portuguese. We were offered Italian spaghetti and carne louca for lunch. The latter is a beef dish. I’m not sure how to describe it. It resembled marinated herring, but the texture was different. The taste was delectable.
In the afternoon, we made new friends: Barbara, Hugo, Nara, Rodrigo, and Mayara. Altogether, we were on our way to a samba party. Oh man, what a cool event! It started at 4pm in some small town. The general rule is: the bigger the shithole, the better the party :-) No idea how many caipirinhas we had and how many people we met. All I remember is that everyone was really cool, enthusiastic, and loved to party. (Interestingly, I believe I saw one lady that starred in pr0n videos.)
At the party I got a chance to learn several useful phrases. Brazilian Portuguese has a lot of idioms. For example, Não tô valendo nada (I’m worth nothing). What is the meaning? Basically, it means that you’re worth nothing (to people who would otherwise care about you), because you fuck around. Sweet, eh? It’s an honest statement. If you say that to a girl, and she replies Não tô valendo nada também (=as well), then you’re both on the same page :-P
I don’t remember when the party ended. My guess would be 3 or 4am. Some time before the end we were dropping it to the floor. I dropped it so much that my pants ripped right on my ass. From the samba party we went to the store to find the ingredients for our signature drink: lovenade. Vodka, cucumber, lemon, ginger ale, aloe vera, and a lot of love. That’s how gringos do afterparties.
Very chill day. We went to Pedra Bela to enjoy beautiful landscapes and to relax surrounded by the nature.
We were supposed to go to Miss Bum Bum in São Paulo. What is it? It’s a contest for the best Brazilian ass. Not sure if any other country has that kind of a contest, but the idea is neat, indeed. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any information about the time and place of the event. Most likely, it was a closed event.
Time is money. Instead, we decided to drive around the area, explore Campinas, a nearby trail, and off-roads. On the calm road to Campinas, suddenly, Ansis yelled: coconuts! Within 0.001s I realized there was a coconut stand by the road. I hit the brake pedal as if I were about to avoid hitting a pedestrian. My head almost ended up on the windshield. I’m glad the cars behind us didn’t crash into our back. Literally, the whole traffic stopped. I quickly shifted to the reverse and maneuvered the car to the left. Perhaps, the Brazilian drivers were wondering what the fuck is going on. Well, gringos wanted to drink fresh coconut water.
Once our taste buds were satisfied, we continued to Campinas. Architecture-wise the city seemed rather plain. I liked the cobblestone street in downtown. Some girls were picking us up but my heart didn’t fall in love. We headed to the University of Campinas to check out the opportunities on Tinder. We were both pleased with the visual quality of women in the area.
In the evening we encountered more Juliana’s friends: Giovana and Joseane. We met up in a nice restaurant where I got caipivinho (caipirinha with wine). The drink was a bit sweet to my taste. Maybe it’s a girly drink? Anyway, it was another excellent opportunity to practice Portuguese.
Interestingly, in the restaurant, there was a girl that I ditched the previous night at the samba party. She was ignoring me. Girl, how can you ignore a gringo? :-P
We woke up early to drive to São Paulo. We assumed the ride would take around 2h. We grossly underestimated the Brazilian traffic. It took over 4h to get to downtown. Despite the crazy traffic, the ride was very enjoyable. I honestly loved these unique landscapes: green hills on the left, green hills on the right, and you drive in a valley in between.
I was supposed to visit the Valley of Single Women around Belo Horizonte. The trip did not happen. God decided to change my plans. He said: Gringo, you are meant to visit Curitiba. OK, fine. There are several interesting facts about Curitiba. First, it’s one of the colder cities in Brazil. Second, it has a large population of European descent, in particular Polish, Ukrainian, German, and Italian. Third, as for Brazil, it is a civilized and well developed city.
We went to the bus station to get the tickets and to catch the next bus to Curitiba. Getting tickets was easy. For some reason we were asked to write our names and passport numbers on the tickets. God knows why. More bureaucracy manifested itself when I was getting a SIM card for my phone. When registering the card I was asked to provide a CPF (Brazilian ID number). Obviously, I had none. Eventually, I paid R$5 and they registered without the CPF. A little bit of encouragement solves many bureaucratic problems.
Finally, we took the bus. The bus itself was very comfortable and clean. Let me bitch about the traffic again. Instead of the planned 5h, it took 10h to get to Curitiba from Såo Paulo. The traffic was enormous. What caught my attention, was how quickly Brazilians could recognize business opportunities. After standing for 30 minutes in the traffic, local people started walking around the vehicles and selling water and snacks.
We went to explore the city. We started with the famous botanical garden. Curitiba is full of gardens, so we skipped most of them.
I noticed that people in Curitiba speak with a different accent: they don’t roll their r (as in American English). Also, the people there have whiter skin, and, in general, girls are very good looking. One of the first things that we did in each city, was to check out the talent on Tinder. I was pleasantly surprised and sent several messages. My favorite line was: Oi tchutchuca linda! It is difficult to translate, but it’s like Hi pretty sweety girl! The reaction was always laughter; nobody would expect a gringo to know this phrase. From then on, I was using this phrase to meet tchutchucas lindas in Brazil.
As we were walking around the street, I spotted a local newspaper. The headline was clear: a girl from Paraná (Curitiba’s state) won miss bumbum. Congratulations!
A minute later a girl approached us. Outta nowhere. She asked if I’m a model: Você é modelo? I said: not yet, but I’d consider that career. She said that I’d need to move to Curitiba and that the modeling agency is waiting for me.
We came back to the hostel in the evening and inquired about cool stuff to do. The owner recommended going to Woods. It is a bar that hosts parties with sertanejo music. That night Thaeme e Thiago was giving a show. We were advised to go very early, around 9pm, since the lineup would be huge. And so it was. In the lineup we met cool local guys. When they realized we were gringos, they offered vodka. We quickly made more friends. Some girls just grabbed me and we took a picture at the entrance.
The show itself was fantastic. A lot of energy, a lot of drinks, and a lot of tchutchucas lindas. You see, most Brazilian guys hate that kind of music. They go to the shows only because of the girls. As a result, the ratio is very favorable. Our new friends introduced us to more people. One of the cool dudes was Luiz, a.k.a., rei do camarote (king of the VIP area). He took us to the VIP area where he introduced me to more tchutchucas lindas. As usually in Brazilian clubs, makeouts are easily obtainable and abundant. Also, if you say you are a gringo, the girls will be happy to teach you dancing. In fact, I always thought that Brazilians are amazing dancers. Whereas they are good at dancing, they are by no means professionals. They are just happy to dance and to help you dance along.
Ressaca (hangover) was the word of the day. I somehow got out of bed, got my shit together, and we took a bus to Florianópolis. I heard many good things about the city: that it has amazing beaches, the most beautiful girls, great weather, and is safe. My expectations were high. Again, instead of 5h, it took 10h to get to Florianópolis by bus. I’m never ever taking the bus in Brazil again.
That was the first night of Folianópolis: micareta mais bonita (the most beautiful micareta). What is a micareta? It’s a Bahian-style off-season carnival. If you read my blog post about Salvador, you know what to expect. I was staying at a hotel included in the party package. Ansis found a hostel.
When I approached the hotel, I saw several Brazilian guys drinking on the street. They figured out I was a foreigner. They yelled: Gringooooooo!!! They offered some vodka with redbull. I quickly revealed that I’m Polish, so besides gringo, I also got the following nicknames: Lewandowski, and Podolski (football players). The guys were very cool and we spoke mostly Portuguese. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Mauricio and Jaimie!
At the party, we met up with Ansis and his new friends from Bahia. In the lineup a very cute girl was standing behind me. She was caressing my back and gently kicked my heel. In Brazil girls can go very far to get your attention. She was very cute, indeed. I said Oi tchutchuca linda! and grabbed her face as if to kiss her (this is how it worked in Salvador, haha). I knew she liked me, but her non-verbal answer was not yet. I turned back. Then she kept touching my back. I playfully said Don’t play with me like that and ignored her in the lineup. I knew I’d meet her at the party, skipping all the games. And so I did :-)
The first day of the party was pretty slow. It wasn’t as crowded as I would have thought and the makeouts were not as common as during the carnival. On the other hand, the quality of women was superb. I was very pleased to see so much beauty around. I am also happy to report that Ansis Romansis found his love at first sight. The party ended around 6am. From what I remember, I made a lot of friends during the breakfast in the hotel haha
By day we were checking out Tinder and explored the city. The city was visibly clean. I felt like I could even live there. It’s definitely a more civilized part of Brazil. However, the real surprise came from Tinder. The quality of women was stunning! Let’s say in Boston (USA), I would accept maybe 3-4% of the girls on Tinder. In Floripa? Over 80%! The amount of talent was extraordinary. I’m saying that as someone who grew up in Poland and spent some time in Sweden where beauty is very common.
The evening has come. We did pre-drinks at the hotel. Afterwards, I took a shower, left the room, and walked out of the hotel. The area was crowded, but I felt like a rockstar. Someone yelled: gringo Lewandowskiiii!!! Everyone was looking at me. I just smiled and asked if anybody speaks English. Some three ladies introduced themselves. Can’t remember their names, but the makeouts, that I remember fo sho. Next, I made new friends with Pedro, Caroline, Olivier, and Ian. Very cool people! They introduced me to their other friends and offered a ride to the party. I felt like it’s very cool to be a gringo in Brazil. Everyone was super-nice, welcoming, curious, and open to talk and party. That’s the spirit!
On the way, we grabbed some rocket fuel and met up with Aline and Lauren. Funny thing, I just said Oi gatinha assanhada! and people started singing along. It’s very cool that in Brazil you can say a word or a phrase, and everyone will be singing, jumping, and partying. The second day of the micareta was simply awesome. A lot of happiness, new friends, beauty, gasolina, and love.
Around noon we took a bus and went to a macarronada (all you can east pasta). It was a posh party at Jurerê Internacional. It’s a place where affluent people go to see others and to be seen. I rarely go to that kind of parties. It was included in my party package so I was curious to check it out.
- First thought (after 10 seconds): I have never ever seen so many beautiful girls at one place in my life.
The quality was extraordinarily high. In principle, model-quality, but with nice bodies.
- Second thought (after 5 minutes): people are kinda stiff , let’s see what happens if they drink a bit.
Get loose? Get wild?
- Third thought (after 4 hours): this place is fucking wicked!
So many beautiful people enjoying their lives. I remember I made quite a few new friends :-)
- Fourth thought (after 6 hours): what the fuck are we doing on this bus? Let’s partyyy!!!!
Although the place was full of good looking people, I was getting a lot of attention. Brazilians are crazy about blond hair and blue eyes. I’m afraid, as a gringo, you can do whatever you like, but it’s just impossible to hide the inner gringo haha. At that point of my Brazilian adventure, I felt like living vida mais ou menos. Literally, it means an OK life. The true meaning of this phrase is living a very good life.
Partying all night long, polishing off all the beers with Lauren, just to wake up after two hours to check out of the hotel… I was dying. It took me several hours to move from the hotel to the hostel where Ansis was staying. We all got in touch on Whatsapp with the people that were partying together last night. I was speaking Portuguese a lot, in good faith. I quickly realized that the people were making fun of my gringoness and my Portuguese accent, haha. Oh, well. My accent sucks, but it’s unique, at least :-)
I got several messages from tchutchucas lindas. They were like: Hey! Do you remember me? We met at X. I felt really embarrassed :-/ Initially, I remembered very little. God must have helped me. It took a short while and I recalled all my memories. The last evening and night were crazy indeed, haha. I am happy that I continued that good tradition of micaretas. After the party I was honored to be named: o maior mito da história das micaretas… gringo levandowisky (the greatest myth in the history of micaretas… foreigner Lewandowsky), haha
I made it to the hostel in the evening. I met Ansis and four Brazilian girls. I was somehow tired and didn’t feel like speaking Portuguese anymore. Some time later I forced myself to speak. We met two very friendly girls from Goiânia: Kamylla and Natcha. From what they told us, it sounds like sertanejo parties in Goiânia are second to none! Also, they liked my book Guia de Amor (Guide of love) with over 700 phrases to express love. It was another good evening to practice Portuguese.
Not much to report. Just chillax, exploring the city, napping, and Tinder.
I took a flight from Floripa to Manaus. It is a city in the middle of the Amazonian jungle. I was couchsurfing at Mayara’s place. I barely made it to her apartment, and we already had capirinhas with limes, kiwis, and passion fruit. Nice, eh? In the evening, we went to a forró bate bate party. The club was full of Pocahontas and almost no men. I was striving to learn to dance the forró from Manaus, but it was kkinda challenging. This is how it looks like.
I went to explore the city and to meet tchutchucas from Tinder. The city has some nice spots, but it definitely felt different from the Brazil I knew. When it comes to Tinder, it was crazy. I was getting 8 matches per hour. One of the Pocahontas explained that there are no men in the jungle and that mostly women live in Manaus.
I was longing for this day: the trip to the Amazonian jungle. It takes a car, a boat, another car, and another boat to leave the civilization. Obviously, the trip was full of adventures. Enough to say that the engine of the second boat fucked up half way. Gasoline was leaking. Several sparks later, the boss fixed the engine and we were all set. One of the passengers, though, had to manually pump the gasoline into the engine. Cool, eh?
On our first stop in the jungle, we went on hiking. That Thursday, most Americans were eating turkeys and celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. Myself? I went to the jungle to eat larvae. The guide picked something that resembled a small coconut and chopped off the upper part of it. The holes inside accommodated two white larvae.
The guide asked: who is going to eat this? You need to survive in the jungle. Several grown up men, adult women… everyone was afraid of the small larva. I said: alright, I’ll eat this shit. How do you eat this? The proper way is to hold the head of the larva and to bite off the white part of the tail. The texture is mushy. Surprisingly, the taste is luscious. The larva tastes like coconut.
In the evening, we set up a camp, hung out the hammocks, and prepared the dinner. We roasted a chicken over the bonfire. I must confess. It was the best chicken I ever had in the jungle.
Early morning we took the boat and went to visit a local family in the jungle. If you think in terms of money, you’d think they are extremely poor. A woman with 13 kids lives off of R$100 (USD$40) per week. All day long they work hard making tapioca flower. Even a boy that was 3 years old was walking around with machetes and chopped trees and plants. Nonetheless, all these kids and the woman seemed to be internally very happy. In contrast with you, they are self-sufficient.
Before going to the jungle I took all the required vaccinations, anti-malarial drugs, and a mosquito repellent. Many people warned me that mosquitos are horrible there. Maybe I went during special time, or something, but I had no problems with the insects. I was hanging out in shorts and a t-shirt and didn’t get bitten too much. It definitely wasn’t much worse than what I experienced in Mazury in Poland (a geographical area with hundreds of lakes).
I returned to the civilization in the evening. Even though I liked the jungle, I wanted to check out a sertanejo party in Manaus. Same evening, I met two guys: Eliomar and Wilton. We started off the night by grabbing caipirinhas in downtown, and then went to the balada. The sertanejo place was very nice. Half of the club was covered, whereas the other half was open-air. There were a lot of Pocahontas. Some of them were even cute, but not my type. I definitely prefer the tchutchucas lindas from the south of Brazil. In the end, though, it’s all for experience. It was still good to see how the jungle girls kiss.
I spent most of the day traveling from the jungle to São Paulo. I made it to the hostel around 11pm. Time is money. Having checked in, I got my shit together and went to the same pubcrawl as in March. As previously, it was really good crowd. Some girls proposed tequila shots. Tequila makes ladies go crazy, so bring it on! At the same bar, I met two very cool guys Matheus and Arthur. They know how to roll. I wish I could be as good at dancing sertanejo/forró, haha Later at the party, Maíra taught me some moves.
I had several hours to spare before leaving Brazil. I went to explore the city, the art gallery, and culinary offerings. I kinda liked São Paulo. Certainly, it has no natural beauty as Rio de Janeiro, but it seems better developed, more organized, and has some cool parties. It also seemed like a business place that is relatively fast paced.
Despite all the craziness, I really did my best to look at Brazil as a potential place to live. The south seems especially promising! Overall, I met an incredible number of really cool people! Guys, I will visit all of you, so get ready to party haha Also, it was flattering to hear: you’re not a real gringo, you’re Brazilian! I guess, we have similar values. Being a gringo, though, gives me a slight edge. Unlike you, Brazilian guys, a gringo in Brazil can get away with almost anything :-P