The lifestyle is contagious, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are vibrant. I'm saving up for a summer home there haha.
This time I made the trip back to the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) with our entire study abroad group. It was a fresh perspective too as our group did things in the city that I hadn't done already there...so although I returned, it felt like a new city to me.
First things first, Ipanema and Copacabana are all they're cracked up to be. Bustling beaches with crashing waves, incredible landscapes, daring surfers, beach-crazy clientele, sand volleyball players, gigantic sand castles, coconut water kiosks, and no shortage of Brazilian bikinis! Although it wasn't a beach-weekend per se via the schedule, the weather was beautiful and I got up early a day or two to catch a few rays...it is BRAZIL after all!
We also made our way to the very famous Lapa area where place after place was filled with plenty of Cariocas and posers trying to dance crazily fast to live samba bands! The streets were filled with people, vendors selling excessive amounts of caipirinhas, salgados, and more. It definitely had a very dirty Latin American feel but the energy was palpable and we danced the night away at an outdoor samba club...one of the most Brazilian things I've ever done!
It was great practice because the following night, we went to a real Samba School in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. I'm not sure that words can actually describe what I witnessed. It was easily one of the coolest and most culturally identifiable things I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Even better was that people of all ages (God Bless me if I'm ever 90 years old dancing samba at 3 AM like most everyone was doing) came together in music and song as one big cultural family to do what Brazilians do best...share their love of music, dancing, and drinking caipirinhas! It was a neat site to see so many generations of Salgueiro (name of the school) fans come together and enjoy an evening as they did. Enjoy a few of the videos here!
All in all, this trip to Rio was the turning point in my experience here. It was the most Brazilian I've felt since being here...and well...if what I experienced is a "day in the life" then I'm very glad that I have many more days ahead of me!