Monday, June 21, 2010

Vol State Student Witnesses World Cup Fever in Brazil

Here's another trip report from Vol State student Samantha Hearn, she's finding some cool sights and soccer craziness in Brazil (or Brasil as they spell it) as part of a travel study program:

Every Saturday here my classmates and I go with our teachers to a different beach. This past Saturday, we went to Morro Branco, quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. That's because Morro Branco is not only a beach, but a part desert, part colossal sand formation retreat. The beach, of course, was beautiful. Each turn, you see not just restaurants and artisan booths, but sailboats of every color and palm trees of every size. Go a little further, and you start to see the beauty of the sand formations.

The sand formations are huge, colossal figures formed over thousands, if not millions, of years. In colors like beige, orange, sienna, and creme, it's hard not to be in awe of these giant structures created by Earth's amazing natural processes. Entering the formations is even better. As you walk through the formations and look up high to the top of them, your curiosity is bound to get the best of you. Case in point, our group HAD to get a look from the top!

The climb was a bit scary, considering that the formations are sand and quite fragile, but we made it with no one suffering a single scratch or fall. Once to the top, I was in awe of what I saw before me. It was like Brasil's Grand Canyon. Words really cannot describe it. I don't know what religion you readers are, but it's hard not to believe in God when you see the beauty of Morro Branco. It was more than was breathtaking.

Morro Branco not only holds their very own "Grand Canyon," but a desert, too. We took dune buggies out into the sand dunes, flying through the swells to finally reach a stopping point, where we could "Ski Bunda." In American terms, we called it Butt Surfing. It's where you sit on these skateboard type things (without wheels, of course) and glide down this huge sand dune at a fairly quick speed. We each paid only R$ 3, and got to Ski Bunda twice. SO FUN!

While Morro Branco was beautiful and full of adventure, I had my own adventure when I forgot to put on sunscreen. Talk about a terrible sunburn!! I spent the next day or two rubbing skin creme on myself and sleeping off the excess sun. Worth it not only for the experience, but for the tan I now have! No peeling, either! Yeah!! :)

As some of you readers may know, the World Cup has started. In my previous blog I mentioned that I had heard hat people go crazy over it, and now I know that crazy is an understatement! My host family has the entire house decorated in green, yellow and blue, including covers on the sofas, confetti, lamps, all sorts of crazy decorations, costumes, everything!! It's like they went to Party City and bought everything they could find in the Brasilian colors. It's like a Superbowl party in America times a thousand.

The big game day was Wednesday, Brasil's first game against North Korea. My host family had a huge party here at the apartment with all of their friends and family. Everyone was dressed in the colors and had either colored hairspray, colored makeup, crazy hats, or all of the above!! Brasil won, of course, and every time they would score a point everyone would scream and yell and jump up and down! I have never seen anything so energetic in my life. It gives a whole new meaning to the term "nationalism" for me. I love it!!

So far, Brasil has been an amazing experience. My classes are going so well and I feel like I am learning so much. My Portuguese is getting better and I am meeting all kinds of new people here and trying to immerse myself in the culture. I can't wait to see more of this beautiful city!

-Samantha Hearn
Volunteer State Community College

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