Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Runway

Dan and I modeled for Thais' final project rocked. We spent hours back stage preparing, but it was cool because you are with all the other models and the anticipation just keeps building as you get closer to showtime. It also didn't hurt to be surrounded by so many amazingly pretty girls.

Her theme for the designs came from a very old Gothic-style German film. Finally, after all the preparation and anticipation, when it was time to shine it was done in just 2 minutes. Congratulations Thais!

Chillin' pre-showtime

Afterward with the star of the night...recently graduated stylist, Thais

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back to Bahia

Last week was my long-awaited return to the area where I served as a missionary. The trip was amazing and reminded me how much I truly love Bahia.

I spent my first day in Salvador visiting friends and members I taught. Unfortunately, I do not feel particularly comfortable walking around Salvador anymore (it is not the most tourist friendly city) so while it was good to see old faces, I was eager to move on to my next destination.

I caught an overnight bus that evening to Vitória da Conquista and spent 4 days at the Guerra's house, good friends of mine and a family I greatly admire. It was a very relaxing atmosphere and I spent most of the time visiting with them and playing with the kids. We also hosted a barbecue as a means of me catching up with everyone in the Morada Real ward (my last area) which was very successful.

After Conquista, I took a bus to Itacaré where Dan met up with me. I could go on forever about Itacaré, but I will just say that I was completely enchanted by the place. It is a very small beach town, about 8,000 inhabitants, nestled on the southern coast of Bahia where the Contas river meets the ocean. It was once the location of many cacau plantations, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that the first paved road to the city was completed. This allowed the city to remain quite untouched from the outside world and much of the natural forest remains intact.

We spent most of our time there enjoying the beautiful beaches and hanging with fellow hostel members. It was very interesting to get to know many of the people and hear about their history and other adventures they had throughout the world.

While in Itacaré we also did an awesome day trip to Taipú de Fora which is basically only accessible by Land Rover. In some respects, I really liked the fact that the region lacks infrastructure like paved roads b/c it makes for much more adventure. The attraction at Taipú de Fora is the natural swimming pools caused by the coral reefs just off the shore.

All the beaches were gorgeous, the water was perfect, and the city was really chill. It is no wonder that many travelers I talked with said they had been in town for quite sometime b/c they just did not want to leave.

Salvador, Bahia

Churrasco in Conquista

Guerra Family, excellent hosts

Resende Beach, Itacaré, Bahia

Costa Beach, Itacaré, Bahia

Our balcony at the hostel

They pulled these out of the river

Boarding the ferry for our trek to Taipú

Taipú de Fora

Returning to Itacaré, the scenic route

Hammocks are part of the seating at this roadside snack shop!

Our guide was a stud

My hostel and the dog that followed us all around town

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Be Happenin'

Life continues to be sweet. This second module is keeping me slightly more busy in terms of schoolwork and I also have projects for Empresa Junior on my slate. That being said, my motto for my stay in Brasil "Work hard and play harder" is still in full swing.

Today is a holiday and some friends came up to São Paulo for the weekend so we could party. Hooray for living in a Catholic-influenced society...lots of holidays in the name of religion!

HUGE caterpillar. I wonder what kinda butterfly it turns into...

We decided to rock it up for Halloween.

The Ninja Cupcakes, minus the lovely Thais.

I guess you know you hit it right when several people at the party ask to have a picture with you.

Just another fun-filled day at Vila Lobos park with the regular posse.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"What are you doing in Florianopolis? Don't you ever go to school down there?"

This was Dad's last email to me. I must admit, my schedule is favorable to travelling. I only have classes 2 days per week, but I have 9 hours of class on Monday...I can't help how they set up my schedule. It is kinda like binge studying.

The real explanation, though, it is spring break and Dan and I are enjoying the great city of Florianopolis (Floripa to locals) for the week. Floripa is a very charming city situated on an island just off the mainland in south. It is the "surf city" of the country and may just be my preferred local in all of Brasil. Big city but very relaxed pace of life, and there is much more to do than just beach life.

In other news, in light of my very open schedule I am participating in GV's Junior Enterprise. Basically, it is a group of student consultants and my team and I meet with businesses to discuss their difficulties and propose solutions. But the grunt work is left for other teams, so it works out nicely.

Interestingly, I have not come to know Sao Paulo very well. It seems every chance I have I am travelling elsewhere. My goal for this next module is to get to know places in Sao Paulo. Why is it that whenever we live somewhere we often overlook it for other places of interest?

Here are a few pics from the stay in Floripa thus far:

There was a Childrens Day party at Samara's work before we left. This was my 5th grader smile.

After an all-night car ride, the sunrise just outside Floripa.

Highest point on the island.

Natalia, Valerio, Thais, Dan, Jay, Leandro

Natalia, eager to catch some waves

Guarda do Embau. You have to wade through the ocean to get to this beach. The tide was higher than expected so we had to give up and grab a boat.

Dan is way more ripped than I am.

Boat ride back to shore.

Our boat dude was awesome. You could hardly understand him and he kept laughing hysterically at his own jokes ;)

One of the many cool, little hippie shops in the town.

We are Usain Bolt.

Dan found the biggest sand dollar ever.

Rice patties