top of page


August-September 2016

The bottom of the Americas.

Brazil wasn't kind to me. At least, I didn't like it. The prices are nearly the same as the US. People were quite rude. The streets are super ghetto in most parts, and getting mugged is a constant fear. The smell of sewage is everywhere. I was unable to communicate in English or Spanish or even basic Portuguese.

My very first day in the country, while boarding a boat in Tabatinga that takes a week to go down the Amazon from the Colombian border to Manaus, soldiers searched the bags of all passengers with a drug-sniffing German shepherd, and pulled out one suspicious bag out of hundreds: mine. In front of all the other passengers, they searched and interrogated me, the only foreigner, until pulling the suspected package out of my bag: almonds. For a week, no one on the boat would talk to me, fearing I was a drug smuggler. I was searched, in front of other passengers, three more times that journey.

Along the Amazon, deforestation is rampant. The Brazilians I talked to either didn't know about it, or knew but didn't care. Heartbreaking.

In Manaus, the hostel I reserved and paid for in advance secretly turned out to be a family of Indians (from India) with an extra room and no business license. They didn't speak Portuguese and had never left the city of Manaus, and were useless in helping me plan an adventure into the Amazon.

When I finally found a way into the jungle, I showed up at the tour office in the morning ready to go and he told me the price had magically tripled, to something like $100 a day. I cancelled.

Manaus reeks of sewage. With no easy way out of the city, I had to buy an expensive flight to Sao Paulo. Here was a world-class and fun city, finally. Rio, in comparison, was dirty and disappointing. When I finally got to the north coast to go kiteboarding, the kiteboarding spot was so crowded we had to wait our turn, losing some of the valuable money I paid for the lessons to sit on the beach.

Many people love Brazil. I was happy to finally move on to Uruguay.

bottom of page