inkan trail
inkan trail

We live in a changing world – my first big trip through Europe I was scrambling for Euros whenever I spotted an internet cafe to quickly write error-laden emails home (due to whatever language keyboard quirks I was dealing with) to let people know I was alive. Blogs weren’t a thing then. The months I spent in Central America saw the advancement of internet cafes with Skype and the means to upload pictures, and I began blogging the trek (see Gringa Diaries for more), complete with embarrassing bathroom stories and graphic descriptions of chicken busses, much to my mother’s chagrin.

But now there is internet so readily available by phone everywhere, I don’t even see cafes to blog from!

"I'm thinking Ludwig or Crema. Really brings out the tannins in this one."
“I’m thinking Ludwig or Crema. Really brings out the tannins in this one.”

In the last month, I’ve been in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia, and like last year when I went to Ireland and Spain, we had wifi everywhere we stayed. It almost killed the whole “off the grid vibe.” Except for a few pictures, I tried to let me friends do the endless instagramming/filtering/captioning of our meals and Malbecs. But now that I’m back home in Rio, I find I do want to share my adventures with you. I’m currently sweating in the hammock, watching a massive lightening storm, ignoring the dead cockroaches in my room and pretending my laundry will do itself. So yeah, reliving the last few weeks sounds like a good deal to me.

We last left off getting ready to ring in the New Year (2015. Two. THOUSAND. Plus fifteen more. I can’t even…) in Copacabana. We had such a fun getting-ready-and-girlie party – dressed in all white, crowded in the one room with AC, drinking champagne and feeling beautiful. We bussed into Copa, easily found a space on the beach (we paid 40 reales each for a chair and two tables as a group of eight, when we had expected to pay maybe 100-150 for entrance to a kiosk) and settled in to watch the sun set and the sand fill up around us after grabbing some street tapioca with carne seca (my favorite thing).

Last night of 2014 selfie!
Last night of 2014 selfie!

It’s easy to get drinks on the beach, the people watching was spectacular, there was music playing. I dared a friend to talk to a camera crew and then he got interviewed for a documentary! I tried not to pout. I always want to be famous. :) There were altars and flowers dotting the beach, and time passed quickly until we were screaming the final countdown.

just us and two million other people.
just us and two million other people.

We watched an incredible fireworks show that I went more bananas than I usually do for (I am a moron for fireworks, and the beach drinks only fueled it), thanking God and Jesus for colors and dynamite. Then we held hands and jumped, right foot first, over seven waves for good luck. We got home by bus and then were led by twinkly lights to our boat (sometimes my life is magical). Then we ate a lot of leftover food before climbing into bed around 4am. I had really wanted the super cute and friendly gays behind us to invite us dancing or at least spare me a kiss, but other than that oversight, the night was perfect.

At the Lapa Steps
At the Lapa Steps

The next day, while the rest of Brazil was sleeping it off, Ryann and I hit the metaphorical trail. No smartphone, no real plan, just some vague landmarks and I think a lot of misplaced trust in me. “I’m not sure…lets just…” was my general answer. But it was kind of more fun that way. MAPS and ASKING people. We’re so vintage. We bussed for hours through the hills, we walked, we taxied. Everyone was nice to us and we had the city pretty much to ourselves to wander through tiny alleys and take pictures.

lapa arcos
os arcos

The Lapa steps and arches are easy to get to once you’re there, wading through the urine and other unidentifiable puddles and smells. We hiked up into Santa Teresa, a little boho area and settled for some beers and snacks for the afternoon before heading back down. We saw an amazing sunset, had an awesome meal, walked and walked and walked some more.

urco sunset

The next day I made her walk about four miles to try an avocado milkshake and açai, and then we beached it some more. Apparently she was cursing my existence the entire time we walked in almost 100 degree F weather to get some dumb juice…but I didn’t know it at the time. :) Anyone who has gone on a walk or a hike with me knows I can be a little…ambitious.

For our last night, we went to my favorite beach restaurant and ate too much, listened to live music and the waves and life is always so perfect in those few hours. I am blessed blessed blessed to live on a beach. It’s always where I feel the most happy version of me.

And so we totally destroyed the bucket list I made for her. Literally. She spilled water all over it. BUT we did do almost all of it. I tour guide real good.

Remember when I made this video to try and get you to visit me in North Carolina? I waver between “Where is my Oscar?” and “This is embarassing. I need to delete this who am i.”

I think a Brazil one is in order.

Tchau for now.