Brazil

São Paulo

South America is as South America can be. Hot, humid and a little rough around the edges. Anja and myself stepped off at Guarulhos International Airport late on Thursday afternoon after two connecting flights from Cape Town. We made our way to our hotel for the night which looked like a paradise on the inside - see image attached. It had an awesome street view with a little park and Shell garage close by which I utilized for a middle-of-the-night coffee. Rowdy teenagers were also out and about; getting legal beers and cigarettes from their local grocer. I finished my coffee and made my way back to the hotel.

Our breakfast buffet was out of this world and we were psyched to catch our flight out to Foz that next morning.

Foz do Iguaçu

Foz reminded me of Ubud. It had open green areas, was less developed than the busy streets and societies of São Paulo and had a relaxing holiday feel to it. We grabbed an Uber and headed over to Parque das Aves - a center for bird conservation and recovery. It was beautiful to see the bold vivid colours of the birds and parrots against the tropical green landscapes these parts provided for me. We spotted a toucan and some pink flamingos and were ready to head on over to the Iguazu Falls round about 4pm. After waiting inline like you just discovered the Monkey Falls at Ratanga, a buss picks you up and takes you to different drop-off zones. We picked the one with a 1,4km hike - highly recommended especially for photographers. (Oooh and I also made friends with an anteater). The Falls were captivating. I can still remember the roars of the water and feeling so powerful and connected to it. There are about 280 waterfalls in Foz and the Iguazu Falls is so magnificent it bridges 3 countries - Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

I did a little mantra here in my head. My old faithful - The Gāyatrī Mantra

Rio De Janeiro

Rio seemed like home. We arrived early the afternoon and got ready to hit the streets for some photographs and exploring. The city had a wide range of culture, personality and diversity to it. Something new in every street, like little gems in an urban jungle maze. The name means “River of January” in Portuguese because the bay was mistaken for a river back in the day. The country exported most of it’s resources to Portugal in the early 1800s and received it’s name based on the red-barked Paubrasilia tree.

Our hotel had a view over two favelas on some beautiful mountain shapes with Copocabana beach just a 5-minute walk away. It was perfect! We did a small tour up to Christ the Redeemer one misty morning and took the cable car up the breathtaking Sugarloaf Mountain for some landscape views over Rio. The currency they use in Brazil is called Real and it trades at about 4 ZAR per 1 R$. With petrol prices at 2.55 R$ per liter it’s easy to see why Uber is so much more affordable than in South Africa and living costs/food transportation costs are at a minimum. The street art scene is insane and extremely vivid and detailed; especially around the Escadaria Selarón parts.

There’s jack fruit in most trees - although the locals mock their smell and barely eat them; and coconuts hang around every corner. This is a real tropical paradise and I couldn’t help myself but long home thinking my raspberry plant would really love it here! I struggled to find avocado and canned jack fruit but managed to discover Guaraná Antarctica - almost like a cherry Fanta flavoured soft drink, originating in the country and so deliciously addictive. Brazil, if you are reading this send me Guaranás com açucar por favor. Obrigada! I traveled light and as per personal tradition bought back some local incense, Brazillian-brew coffee and a lifetime of memories and LIFE XP ++

A xxx

Hotel in São Paulo

Hotel in São Paulo

Street view - São Paulo

Street view - São Paulo

Parque das Aves

Parque das Aves

Travel partner and fellow INFJ Arian - Anja Wintour

Travel partner and fellow INFJ Arian - Anja Wintour

Parque das Aves

Parque das Aves

Toucan - Foz do Iguaçu

Toucan - Foz do Iguaçu

Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu Falls

athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
Me at Iguaçu Falls

Me at Iguaçu Falls

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

View of Sugarloaf Mountain

View of Sugarloaf Mountain

View from Sugarloaf Mountain

View from Sugarloaf Mountain

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Confeitaria Colombo

Confeitaria Colombo

Escadaria Selarón

Escadaria Selarón

athenaandromedabrazil
Jardim Botânico

Jardim Botânico

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athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
athenaandromedabrazil
Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Behind the Scenes - IPhone

Behind the Scenes - IPhone

athenaandromedabrazil

Bali

KUTA

In 2017 I took it upon myself to travel somewhere new and doing it solo. It was amazing! (Apart from the ridiculously long airport layovers which were over 20 hours in total.) I touched ground in Bali, Indonesia around 8pm at night. It was humid, it was warm and it smelt like adventure. I had a driver take my luggage and transport me to my little hotel - tucked deep into the busy streets of Kuta.

 I finally arrived after a 40 minute drive and was welcomed with fresh juice and escorted up three flights of teeny tiny stairs to my room. Using it as an equipment charging base - and free wifi point, I made it my mission to be up and in the streets at 5am every morning. There's really only one good reason for this... less people! (During the day the streets of Kuta gets flooded with tourists, shop owners and market stalls.) I met a friendly Anjing (Indonesian word for 'dog') along the way; got to track my area and become familiar with all the streets and landmarks that was around me.

 

UBUD

This little Indonesian jungle stole a huge chunk of my heart. The community here are a lively bunch, the streets were green and there were loads of rice fields, spaces, scooters and animals AKA Athena heaven <3 I visited the sacred monkey forest in Ubud and sipped Chai Tea at an intimate little deli just outside my hotel most nights.  Fresh dragon fruit became my spirit animal during this expedition and I quickly got over my fear of driving on bikes and scooters - especially with strangers. I made lots of friends with the locals and learnt a couple of Indonesian phrases which always helps when you are trying to find your way (and can't read a map - joke. But really).

 

If you want to live life on the edge then try and take an Uber around these parts. Instead of supporting expensively outsourced transport for tourists I decided to rather invest in the local community and arrange an Uber from Ubud to Sanur. I needed to get to the Coast if I was going to island hop to Nusa Lembongan. At that stage there were only 3 listed Uber drivers in the whole of Ubud. One of the drivers agreed to pick me up but not somewhere 'so public'. He asked me to walk two streets down, memorize his number plate and just hop in the car when comes driving by. Now I know this sounds like the beginning of an award winning horror movie but I promise you everything went smooth AF. There's loads of tension in the transport community in Bali currently and Uber drivers (being less expensive than the 'touristy' taxi's) are being watched and threatened. I also learnt about the religious practices of the area, festivals, public holidays and their meanings and, of course, their vegetation. They were also colonized by the Dutch and also call a room a 'kamer'.  Lekker!

 

SANUR

Sanur was a busy area and I arrived late morning after my drive down from Ubud. I arranged for a boat to take me over to Nusa and made my way to the beach front. We were a group of about 40 passengers getting on board. You have to walk quite a bit into the shallow water to get to the boat and climb up into it so they had everyone take off their shoes, chucked them into one crate and started loaded the boat. I got myself a lovely window seat and 30 mins later we approached the beautiful Nusa Lembongan. When it got shallow enough we could jump out and walk through the crystal clear turquoise water up unto the shore of this beautiful island. Little beachfront restaurants and chalets ruled the coastal line here. During my trip I had made friends with a Spaniard who had already made his way to Nusa and was waiting with a scooter to pick me up. The most beautiful scene was going over the yellow bridge that interconnects the mini islands around Nusa Lembongan. 

 

Two days later there were big reports on the volcano on the island being active. Everyone around the mountain had started evacuating and were on high alert. I made my way back to Kuta, checked in for my flight and slowly started greeting this beautiful paradise. Every now and again I light some of my Balinese incense and take a trip down memory lane to the busy busy streets of Kuta, my playlist and earphones, the smells of Asian foods and the delight sights of White & Yellow Frangipani flowers; everywhere.

 

Ah Bali. You will see me again, promise - terima kasih

A xx

 

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street of my hotel l Kuta

Street of my hotel l Kuta

View from my room l Kuta

View from my room l Kuta

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Street l Kuta

Unknown l Kuta

Unknown l Kuta

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Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Street l Kuta

Monkey Forest l Ubud

Monkey Forest l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Temple l Ubud

Me on a swing l Ubud

Me on a swing l Ubud

My hotel l Ubud

My hotel l Ubud

Street l Ubud

Street l Ubud

Gas station l Ubud

Gas station l Ubud

Bridge l Ubud

Bridge l Ubud

Wall l Ubud

Wall l Ubud