It’s been a few weeks now since we left Brazil (the first country on our trip), and we wanted to take a moment to summarize our impressions based upon our time there.
These are just some of our experiences based on a small amount of time, seeing a small portion of this huge country.
Our feeling coming away from Brazil is somewhat mixed. It’s not that we disliked our time there. Far from it. But, despite everything we liked about Brazil, there were some elements that made it quite a difficult country to fully enjoy.
- Most challanging was that on the one hand, as we traveled around we met some super friendly, open and sociable people; interested in interacting and finding out about us, as well as letting us into their lives a bit. On the other hand a lot of people we came into contact with (particularly in the hostels which were predominantly filled with Brazilian guests) were seemingly quite cold and closed off to outsiders. It may’ve been down to the language barrier. Although even when trying to muster up whatever Portuguese(-ish) we could, (after having frozen on the spot for a couple of minutes trying to do so), this often still didn’t help in connecting with people. This took us a bit by surprise in a country which is known for its openness and hospitality.
- Another significant factor was that on the one hand there were places where you felt perfectly safe to walk around at any time of day. Also with your camera, phone, etc. On the other hand there were so many places where you didn’t feel free to do this. Moreover, you were constantly warned by people about the dangers; making it harder to be able to let your guard down and relax (which to be fair, Carl already has some issues with in normal circumstances).
- Finally, something not affecting our trip directly as such, but that was hard to see. On the one hand there were beautiful neighborhoods which had loads of nice cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, etc.; really nice to spend the days walking round. On the other hand these places felt like fortresses to keep the outside out. Meanwhile, in most places there was a vast amount of desperately poor people having to beg (or worse) on the streets to survive. We know poverty exists everywhere, but the inequality between rich and poor in Brazil was so stark in comparison to a lot of places we have been to. We couldn’t help feel a sense of injustice in Brazilian society.
As we said at the start (and as you will see from some of our previous blogs), overall we did have great experiences in Brazil. It has served as a wake up call; as we travel around, we’ll need to learn to take the rough with the smooth. As a friend said to us before we started the trip ‘you might not always like what you see, but at least you’re walking the path’.
Would we come back again? Most likely, yes. Because for all of the above, it still has a beauty that draws you in. There are some places we’d love to go back to, as well as plenty of places we didn’t manage to see; in particular Northern Brazil, which we’ve heard is amazing and quite different from other regions. But, not before that crash course in Portuguese.
Next up in our blog: Uruguay.
Carl & Jeroen x