Against all odds

Brazil Travel Blog

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Doing my final thesis in Journalism in the spring, I was really looking forward to a nice, relaxing vacation in exotic Brazil. I had never been to South America before, but a buddy of a buddy was working there, so a my good friend Dennis and I decided to go for a visit with a couple of more friends arriving later. It turned out to be quite adventurous, fun and educational, but not the least bit relaxing.

Maybe due to my hard schedule, I caught something the first day we got there. I later found out that it's quite common for Westerners to pick up bugs, so we were all one big crowd of sick, coughing foreigners. Anyway, my problems started much earlier as we arrived in Sao Paolo. We were actually moving on to Rio, but got stuck in the airport for four hours. When we finally found a person who could help us with a ticket, we learned that we would have to go to another airport one hour away, so we decided to stay in Sao Paolo. That decision, unfortunately, got us into a bunch of problems. Our suitcases vanished into the blue. The Brasilians are wonderful, helpful people, but being used to a very quick and high service level, we were almost driven into madness with their incompetence. My friend got his suitcase finally, but I had to leave for Manaus (the rain forest) with nothing else but the clothes clothes I was wearing. Well, that's not exactly true, because I fortunately I was heavily ensured, so I did a little shopping before we left. But my contact lenses, my medication, everything was gone.

Well, I always try and laugh about stuff like that so after a while I was just kidding about it and enjoyed a little bit of extra shopping. I taught me to appreciate how smoothly everything is done in my home country. I don't know if my trav buddies appreciated the smell of me though after spending a week in the jungle with only three t-shirts, two pair of trousers and two pair of socks. You really get to know each other in a whole new way, haha.

Moving on to the jungle: We had the most amazing little group consisting of our amazing guide Ruben, a German couple, an American chemist about 50 years old, and us Danes. We just had the best time laughing, talking, speaking German (well at least I tried), and learning about the jungle. This was the most amazing experience of my traveling life yet. Watching and touching wild animals like snakes and crocodiles were just so surreal. When we went out at midnight to hunt crocodiles I felt like I was part of a horror movie. Knowing the crocodiles were waiting right there under the surface of the water, just being able to see their eyes when shining with a flash light, was a little bit creepy. The fact that you couldn't see the size of them was very scary. I imagined one of them coming out of the water ripping the boat in two like Jaws. Everything was so dark and when you're afraid of the dark and used to live in a city with lights all night, it made me shake. Didn't do me any better that Ruben was constantly teasing me with making up spooky stories and threatning to throw the crocodile at me (yea, I know it's a baby, but if you'd been there;-)

I was constantly so eager to see an anaconda. But Ruben told me that during winter time they live under water. He told me a story though, of another guy who was almost attacked by one, while we were there. Only added to the exitement. Apparently, they only attack if you're alone, but still, with my fear of snake, and yet attracted to danger, I looked under my bed and sheets every night I went to bed.

One night we camped out under the open sky. I was lying in my hammock with my mosquito net to protect me from the creeps of the jungle, but in the middle of the night I woke up and just had to go to the "bathroom". Bathroom in the jungle equals the ground so I really considered if I HAD to go. I HAD to. I took a flashlight and went, sitting on the ground just waiting for the anaconda to attack me. Yep, I sound like such a baby (girl) now, but I was really scared. Seeing spiders the size of you hand and killer aunts just do that to you, I'm afraid.

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