Sunday, April 17, 2005


Another port… another amazing time. As soon as I got off the ship I met up with my good friend from school Noemi. She is studying abroad in Chile, and her and a friend who is also studying in Chile came to Brazil to visit while I am here. The two girls had been there for a few days before I got there having a good time hanging around Salvador.

The first night we were there we went to a soccer match, Bahia v. Victoria. The fans were intense. Everyone was wearing their team’s jersey, chanting together. The game ended in a draw, so both sides were upset but at least there was no fighting or anything like we were told there very well could have been if either teams had lost.

The next day we (Meghan, Noemi, Dave, and I) got on a ferry headed for Morro de San Paulo (St. Paul’s Island). It was a 2 hour ride. I thought that we would be fine after being on the ship for 2 months, but I learned that a little ferry is a lot different than a huge cruise ship. Although none of threw up, we all felt sick for the whole ride. Other people that we met on the island said that everyone on their ferry was throwing up in bags and over the side the entire ride, even some semester at sea kids.

The island was absolutely beautiful. There were no cars, only wheelbarrows that had taxi painted on them. They would carry your bags around, and say “Beep, beep” whenever they passed another taxi. The island was very chill, lots of beaches and restaurants. There were also uninhabited beaches, and there were clay cliffs next to them. You could rub the clay on your skin and bake in the sun. There were juice stands all over the place (near the public beaches) where you could buy a fresh fruit drink. One night while we were there there was a party on the beach, and the other there was one up by the light house. There was also a huge zip-line that went from the lighthouse into the water. We stayed at this beautiful hotel in the jungle-ish area. The guys had a place to ourselves and the girls did as well. There was a balcony in front with a hammock which definitely got a lot of use. Little monkeys were running around, and there were lots of great birds.

We were there for two nights. The night that we got back and went to this great party. There was a band on stage and everyone was dancing. Everyone seemed to know the hundreds of dance moves that someone would start and then everyone would join along. I tried my hardest to keep up but could barely figure it out half the time. It was great being out there though trying, and the Brazilians seemed to enjoy my efforts. After the party I went back with some guys from semester at sea who had rented a house for the week. When we got up we grilled out and swam, quite a good way to end up my time in Brazil.

One thing that I noticed about Brazil is that barely anyone speaks English. This was a little strange to me, especially after having many people understand everywhere from Viet Nam to Kenya. Although my Spanish is horrible, I was sometimes able to get around easier using my bad Spanish than trying to understand their English. I also felt a little less comfortable at night there than I have in other countries, and friends of mine who went to Rio said it was even worse. I’m not trying to say this to discourage anyone from going. I had a great time there, and it was beautiful. I’m mentioning it because of all the places on the itinerary I was worried about places like Viet Nam and India, not Brazil.

We are now on the way to Venezuela. We have all the finals this week, so everyone is a little stressed. Venezuela is also the last port before we finish up in Ft. Lauderdale, so everyone is starting to get sad and miss people already. I guess its maybe a good thing that we have finals to keep our mind off of this being almost over. After Lauderdale, it’s a bunch of packing for 4 days then a million goodbyes.

Monday, April 04, 2005

south africa

Wow, Im gonna do it again… South Africa is the coolest place ive ever been to. The only thing that we hear about south Africa back home is the amount of aids there is and the apartheid. Well, guess what? There is a lot more than that in place, who wudda thought?

First of all, Cape Town is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Table mountain over looks the city along with a few other peaks, all with biblically themed names. There are gorgeous beaches the whole way around. South Africa accounts for a huge percentage of Africa’s wealth, and it is apparent. There are BMWs everywhere, designer stores, etc. Not what you think of when you think of Africa usually.

Cape Town is a really “extreme” place. You can do anything from skydiving to shark diving to ostrich racing to sand surfing to penguin swimming. Between all of my friends, all of these things were done, and all of them said it was amazing. You can climb Table Mountain or take the cable car up and have a picnic on the top. Like I said, a very cool place.

There is a place called long street which kinda reminds be of hate-ashbury (is that how they are spelled): tons of bars, trendy stores, coffee shops, head shops, tattoo/piercing places. For some reason about a third of the girls on the ship got a nose piercing or a tattoo in cape town. They aren’t cheaper here, but I guess there is something about saying that you got it in cape town which makes it worth it.

My friend ariana is studying here for the semester, so I spent a lot of my time in cape town with her. She is loving it as well, and is getting to do a lot of cool stuff. On the first day I hung out with her and went to a few shops and basically just walked around and asked her a million questions about the area. That night I went on a night life tour of the city. We went through a township which was great. Townships are places that the blacks used to live during apartheid because they couldn’t live in cape town but they needed to be near the city for work. These were actually lucky people, cause the other blacks weren’t even allowed to live this close and had no jobs. They cooked for us and were genuinely excited to see us and see that we were interested to learn about them. The next day I went to a beach and then to the theater at night. It was a one woman show about growing up in cape town during apartheid. Moving, but not really my style. Oh well. The next day was spend driving around stellenbosch, one of the most popular winelands in south Africa. It was a lot of fun, but ive realize im not at the point in my life to be a wine connoisseur. We did get to taste south africa’s best wines, however, along with learn a lot about wine. That night we went to a friend of a friend’s house for dinner. We had a bbq on their roof, called a brei there, and then went out. Lots of fun. Thursday I spent with some of my ship friends early on and then with ariana at night. We met some local south African guys who seemed to know everyone in the city. They were excited that we were going to brazil next, so they took us to a salsa club where (obviously) they knew the owner and the guy teaching salsa. We ate mangos and then some dinner. Its really amazing how some of these people are. Even the people asking for money in the streets really make an effort to ask a favor of you instead of simply begging. Im not sure if I would have known the difference before this trip, but I am well aware of it now. Friday was a pretty cool day. I walked around the city along with no purpose. I walked in some neighborhoods which definitely weren’t for tourists. Ate in a place that a lot of locals eat for lunch. Had some nice conversations which people who didn’t automatically assume that I was a tourist, but rather a foreign resident or something. It was pretty interesting.

Cape town was definitely a port that I didn’t want to leave. I have loved every other port that I have been to, but ive been pretty happy at the end of my trip there. I would love to visit them, but I was ready to get back on the ship and see what else the world had to offer me. Cape town was different some how. I really just wanted to hang out a little bit more. Meet some more people. Something like that.

Well, now im back on the ship. Long trip to brazil across the Atlantic ahead of me. Most kids are heading up to Rio, but ive decided to stay in Salvador, see what it has to offer. Every night just about we are gaining an hour, getting closer and closer to east coast time. I think we are 5 ahead right now because you all did day light savings time I think, and tomorrow we will only be 4. ill be home soon. Although I never want this trip to end, I also cant wait to tell you all about it in person, show you some pictures, tell you all a million times that you should do it some time, and if you don’t think you have time to then you should make time.