Shortly after my sister’s wedding, I returned back to Rio and then promptly flew up to Fortaleza to explore the North-East of the Brazil. Being so close to the equator, Fortaleza felt extremely different to Rio (which was going through winter at the time). The air was much thicker than I had expected and there were a lot more mosquitos. On top of this, the Portuguese accent in Fortaleza is very strange in comparison (just imagine how Scottish must sound to foreigners).
After a few days of exploring the city, trying to Samba and getting lost in favelas, me and some friends in the hostel rented a car and travelled to a small fishing village called Jericoacoara (yea, we couldn’t pronounce it either!)
With white sandy beaches, hammocks, cheap alcohol and water sports, many Brazilians travel here for their holidays (and many foreigners have decided to live here permanently… I can’t see why).
One of the highlights in Jeri for me was a giant sand dune just on the outside of the town where everybody watches the sunset. Just afterwards, everybody runs or jumps down the dune as quickly as they can to get to the bottom (which is a lot more fun than it looks!)
After a week here (and lots of organisation), I managed to split a ride over to an even smaller town called Barreirinhas which sits just outside a giant national park called Lençois Maranhenses. Unknown to the people I was traveling with, it was actually my birthday on the day that we arrived – as soon as they found out, one person in the group somehow managed to buy the largest Caipirinha I have ever seen!
Over the course of the next couple of days we explored the national park which interestingly has the name, “Lençois” as it looks like a giant bedsheet.
Shortly after this I travelled to São Luiz and then got a flight back to Rio.
About two weeks after I got back, the Olympics began. During the build-up of the Olympics I wasn’t really looking forward to anything; I didn’t buy any tickets and honestly didn’t think that Rio was ready to host anything. After it began however, it felt like the mood in the city began to change and people started enjoying it. As a whole, I was pleased that nothing went catastrophically wrong (with the exception of a small green swimming pool…) and I’m sure the city felt the same way but probably more so relieved when it all finished.
What also helped during this time was that my friend from school, Diarmuid, flew into Rio just as the games began and literally lived next door to me for the month. During this time, we went a few games together and even hiked up a nearby mountain called Pedra da Gavea.
After he left, the next few months (my final few months) flew by and I really wished that I didn’t have to leave so soon.
I’m now going to spend what looks like a year or more in the UK to work, save money and perhaps focus a bit on building a career. I’m really not looking forward to spending winter in England (especially as I just had winter in Rio) but… it is nice to be home for Christmas after spending the last two away.
In the meantime, I will try to work around the unnecessarily complicated visa system and hopefully get a job in Brazil in the upcoming years.RIP tan, it was nice knowing you 😥