Monday, April 02, 2007

Viva Brasil!

as this is the last entry of the great roadtrip that lies behind us, i am lost for words. i can only close my eyes and touch the sand at my feet. i can only take in what the sun has offered me. i look back to all the faces of those i have loved since the first day of flight, and those that i have met down this long and dusty road. i am not allowed to forget the sea, that great body of water and her calm and rocking waves. i am not allowed to forget each word, each syllable pronounced, each satisfying gulp of food and drink and especially the toasts we made for and in each others company.

the dance is in all of us and we must abide to it with our eyes closed, bodies free of restraint and just swing.

thanks to everyone in Brasil for allowing me in on another secret.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Porto Seguro

21st March - 26th March

Porto Seguro is a colorful yet mild comparison to Salvador
, a major city in the north that prides itself on true Bahian culture, food and history. Therefore, I will offer you Porto Seguro by means of a visual tour. Enjoy!

Paraty & Trindade

16th March - 21st March

Paraty is an old romantic colonial town of 10,000. The streets are well preserved and offer night performers a home for their shows and stunts.

The town is surrounded by steep jungle mountains and secluded beaches, a well kept secret among Brazilian tourists. During an evening stroll, soothing sounds of bossa nova and forro are heard in many dark-lit cafes.

A well deserved introduction is due to a trio that entertained a greater part of southeast Brasil for many days and nights. This trio has been compared by many to ´The Three Amigos´, ´The Three Stooges` and ´The Three Muskateers`; they had courage, they had style and, most importantly, they did not take themselves seriously FOR A SINGLE MOMENT (even under physical force and bribery). For your pleasure and enjoyment, they are Benjamin, Zhenia and Neil.

Ladies and Gentlemen: a moment that must never be forgotten. Here, Benjamin is accosted and taken advantage of by the local loco, a woman of boundless beauty, brilliance and seduction. Later in the evening, she gave him a sweet love bite on his shoulder with her jagged teeth when he least expected it. With her leading the crowd, we all pissed in our pants from laughter.

A short bus ride south of Paraty sits Trindade, a quiet beach town of a few hundred residents and easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Benjamin and Neil, having visited Trindade resently, decided to take us on a sightseeing day tour. Here, we climb through thick jungle and mud paths to get to the mystical ´Rock that Swallows`.

Miscellaneous pics:

Ilha Grande

8th March - 15th March

Rio felt too big to swallow in a few days so we decided to head to the south coast
where the beaches are pristine and the island philosophy of "do less, enjoy more" rules. Upon our arrival, there was an agreed moment of silence for we had nothing more to say.

Mishka and Sergey were the ultimate comic duo during our stay. These two clowns couldn´t stop posing as they both love the spotlight.

Even mouia found a moment to pose in the new "all hangs out" bikini.

The dirt and rock tracks that twist and wind around the island provide a great way to see the different coast formations, jungles and beaches. We wasted no time (actually 6 days post arrival) to hike to Dos Rios, a 2 hour trail to the southeast of the island. At 11 a.m. there was much energy and enthusiasm. Beautiful plant life covered the whole trail. One could spend days just picking up flowers left behind by mother earth.

Hot, sweaty and bothered, we arrived to Dos Rios and sank our feet into the cool sand.

On the way back we huffed, puffed (the color of Talia´s face says it all) and struggled to catch the last beams of light before darkness set in on the jungle. Things got a little bit crazy.

This picture was taken when Sergey was leaving and we all stayed on the dock until his ferry disappeared from the horizon. Much credit is due to you, Seryoshka, for slipping a joke at awkward moments and being a true gentleman.

Ilhe Grande is a harmony of percussion, guitar and sweat left over by the heat of the day. A tiny church sits midst a white-washed plaza square, a meeting point for many and the musical center of the busy island town. The breeze is cool at night and on the weekends sun-kissed locals and tourists come out in their tropical costumes and walk over bridges and awkward cobblestone streets that trail away like sea snakes underwater. When the late night drums and hip swaying ends and my feet are tired, the sand and water lovingly invite and we wait for the kiss of the morning sun on our faces and tired flesh.

Rio de Janeiro

1st March - 7th March

Arriving into Rio from the cold fronts of the Bay Area felt like a sweaty, sticky affair filled with titilating views of Brazilian men and women in all their uninhibited glory. The general attitude here is...the less you wear the more comfortable you are. This wild city breathes rhythm and sex. Here, you are truly welcome.

Seeing Sasha after 11 months made the 30 hour flight that much worth it. The first few hours felt unreal.

Another moment to highlight: the smiles and laughter that Mishka effortlessly brought out in all of us. What a charmer!

While waiting for Sergey, our younger cousin to arrive for a brief visit, we stayed in Ipanema, known for its beautiful beaches and the famous bossa nova song "The Girl from Ipanema".

Brazil~s most famous icon, Mr. JC himself. Bless him.

A bird´s eye view of Rio from JC´s perspective.

Mountenous Rio at night. The beaches to the left of the photo are Copacabana and Ipanema.

As soon as Sergey arrived and the Nagorny´s finally reunited, all was set into motion. Let the party begin...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Odysseus Team hit the U.K and San Francisco

15th February - 1st March

Bangkok was the very last stop for the Odysseus Travel Team
before they split up. Tom went to the U.K. to see his family and is looking as adorable as ever...

...and has even managed to pursuade his mom to buy him a pair of posh Victorian shoes.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Zhenia arrived for a 2 week stop-over in San Francisco to visit a few close friends and family before heading to Brazil to see Sasha for a month. The city truly provides the best transition from a long trip abroad back to America but the February chill took a bit longer to get adjusted to. The red hat is signature and compliments of Dan's mom.

Dan and I attended a fundraiser which provided pure karaoke entertainment plus cheap booze. Here, Dan and Mark sing Natalie Imbrulia's Torn with much charisma and spunk.
The true posers of the night: Dan and Sam, a dear friend and one of the organizers of the event.
On a pleasantly clear afternoon, we decided to walk through much of the city. One of the first stops: the de Young museum had a fantastic (and free) scultpure garden.

I also got a chance to see my uncle and aunt who had recently moved from Toledo (Ohio) to San Jose, another great reason to visit the West Coast more often. We started the day with a cosy lunch in Dan's apartment which overlooks Baker Beach. ...and then headed out to enjoy a bit of sightseeing.
With a short break from San Francisco on a Greyhound to Los Angeles, I paid a sweet visit to my old high school buddies, Rona and Dennis. With Rona's sass and Dennis' culinary genius, little entertainment was needed and we passed the time laughing and drinking delicious wine (hey i'm in wine country). A toast to the best chicken parm this side of the Mason-Dixie; a toast to old and new reunions.
These two weeks included many wonderful meetings and conversations. Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the silliness. Here are other pictures of interest...