Saturday, April 30, 2011

McDonald's Jeans

In Costa Rica, I saw for my very first time the phenomenon at a McDonald's in which all of the employees were wearing jeans with the McDonald's logo on the butt.  I was so fascinated by this...but never had an opportunity to take a photo.  It's harder than it seems to take a picture of an innocent person's butt, trust me.  (Not to mention how creepy you might feel.)

Anyway, I finally got my chance in Brazil.  Here, for your viewing pleasure, an innocent McDonald's employee's butt, in the McDonald's logo jeans:

Poor guy.

If you google 'McDonald's jeans', you can see more innocent people's butts.  The crazy thing my opinion, they seem to look good on EVERYONE. 

In summary, if you want to buy me a present, this is just one idea.  I also need plane tickets.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I'm waiting for the fringe bangs-mullet to come back around.  Why can't I get this kind of volume in the front of MY hair?

Milestone Reached

I travelled so much, my passport is full of stamps.  Silly...but that makes me so happy!!! 

It's so FULL, in fact that I wasn't sure that I would have enough space to get HOME, so I had to get new pages for it today at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires. 

The process went a little something like this:

1) Take bus across town around 9am.
2) Walk twenty minutes to Embassy.
3) Skip past longest line ever and go straight into the "American Citizens" section.
4) Relinquish camera.
5) Get number A701 and wait in DMV-style lounge area for my number to be called.
6) Answer "no" to the question, "did you fill out the form?"  oops!
7) Fill out the form.
8) Return the form.
9) Get sent to another window to pay $82 fee.
10) Return to original window with receipt of payment.
11) Get told to return at 2:30pm to pick up passport with extra pages.
12) Arrive home at 3:30pm with big, fat, extra-pages-passport.
13) Noted to self:  At renewal, request 52-page passport.  It's completely free if you ask upfront!

All told, pretty painless.  I can't say the same for these poor schlubs (waiting outside, just to get into the Embassy...they probably didn't yet know they were only standing in line to get a number to stand in another line where they would be fingerprinted and then given yet another number for the DMV-like lounge area, and, after having waited forever to be helped, would then only have to stand in the final line, for which I couldn't determine the purpose):

And this was the line for the bathroom.  Wakka wakka.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Luxury

I am in Buenos Aires!  I travelled by bus from Puerto Iguazu in Argentina.  It's an 18-hour ride, but I heard that Argentinian buses were super nice and the best in South America, so I was kind of looking forward to it.  I ended up going with Crusero del Norte, for $120.  Que expensive!  But the bus didn't disappoint.  Here are some photos of my little area, comparable to the space you get in first class on an airplane. 

Reclining chair with footrest!


Trip opens with a pour of Whisky.

And "The King's Speech"

Food not so bad.  I accidentally wasted my parmesan cheese by pouring it on the little sandwich, not realizing that gnocce with meat sauce was still on the way.
So I slept for 12 hours and watched three movies.  "The King's Speech", "Unstoppable", and another one about the Marines and aliens and Aaron Eckhart.  It was STOOPID.  Bathroom -- not bad.  No soap, but not bad.  All in all, the bus was great.  But of course it can't all be fancy schmance.  When I arrived in BA, my bag was open, like so:


And the top flipped down.

...And I have hundreds of mysterious bites all over my body.

Even the champagne can't make up for that.
So, sorry, Crucero del Norte, I can't give you a two thumbs up review.  Who exactly opened my bag?  When I discovered it, and asked the guy, he was like *shrugs shoulders*.  He asked me if anything was missing.  How the heck should I know?  I won't know until I do an investigation.  I said, "I don't know" and then he shrugged his shoulders again and they drove off, all quick-like.  (Interestingly my ticket included a $4 Real fee for "bag safety").  Luckily all my valuables were with me on the bus in my little backpack.  Summer and I saw this exact same thing happen somewhere in Thailand.  A German girl got her bag back and it was open, and unfortunately she had all her money stolen.  That taught me never to put anything valuable under the bus.  But I still feel a little violated.  I still don't know if anything is missing...but I don't think so.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Incomplete List of Things Brazilian Girls Like

  1. Squishy plastic toilet seats
  2. Really short shorts and ridiculous shoes
  3. Mascara
  4. Lipstick
  5. VPL (Visible Panty Lines)

6.  Something I like to call "VBL" (Visible Bra Lines), or in this case, Visible Bra:

7.  Samba
8.  Brazilian men

I suppose this means I'm a Brazilian Girl.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Marginally Harrowing Experience

This story is really embarrassing and I don't want to tell it.  But as I always tell my dad, I'm a journalist blogger and I have to report the truth.

OK, so I left Florianopolis last night at 6:30 heading for Iguazu Falls, which is on the border of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.  More or less.  I was to arrive at 8:30 this morning.  So...something like 14 hours.

Some highlights of the bus trip:
Bus broke down, had to switch to new bus that stunk like must and mold.
New assigned seat was directly underneath a squeaky air conditioning vent that made a noise not even I could cope with. 
Moved my seat, several times because people kept getting on and I kept being in their spot.
Finally went back to my assigned seat when bus filled up. 

The sweet nice lady next to me offered me part of her blanket, I took a Xanex, or the poor man's equivalent (I can never remember the name) and I fell asleep for the night.  That lady would later inadvertently royally screw me over.

She elbowed me awake at 8am, and made a motion to move so she could get off the bus.  I hopped up, rubbed my eyes, grabbed my backpack and hit the bathroom.  After that I hailed a taxi and asked him to take me to Hostel Bambu.  He didn't know it, so I asked him for a pen and wrote it on my hand.  He was like, "yes, Bourbon".  I was like...NO.  "Bambu", but he was so sure of himself I decided to go with it.  Who knows?   Maybe they pronounce Bambu as Bourbon here.  What?  I was tired.  We drove all the way across town and arrived at Hotel Bourbon.  I was irritated.  $16 real ($10USD) and I wasn't even at the right place.  Ugh.  So I made him come into Hotel Bourbon with me to ask where is the Hostel Bambu, and maybe look it up on the internet.  As they were talking, it dawned on me.  I was not in Iguazu Falls.  I was in a different town.  I flashed back to arriving.  I didn't ask anybody if I was in Iguazu Falls when the lady elbowed me awake.  

I started crying (this is the part I'm embarrassed about.)  I couldn't stop.  I tried to man up as I asked where I was, and how far from Iguazu Falls?  140 kilometers away.  I cried harder.  The taxi driver felt SO bad for me, and took me back to the bus station.  I had to pay him of course and by then it was $24 real ($15USD).  But he came in with me and helped me get info about the next bus to Iguazu.  Not for another 7 hours!  I cried harder.

Then I put my bags down and tried to stop crying.  I couldn't.  For what reason, I have no idea.  I guess I was just irritated at myself for such a dumb error.  I know better than this!  But -- I am not on a schedule.  I don't have to be anywhere until May 3.  Whatever!  'I am a laid back chilled out traveler' I kept repeating in my mind.  I decided to go for a walk.  I strapped on my bags again and walked by my taxi driver who said, "tranquilo" as I walked by, which means "calm down".  He meant it to be nice but I hate when people tell me that so I muttered something mean under my breath. 

I walked and walked and walked and realized how stupid I was being.  In fact, I even got a little scared because the neighborhoods near bus stations are never good and I decided that if I got mugged and/or worse, how silly and ridiculous I would feel then for behaving this way over getting off a dumb bus too early.  So I stopped crying, marched right back into the bus station and found a new ticket on a different bus line for only $25 real and made it to the Falls no problem.  In total a $30USD / 2 hour mistake.  No bigs.

Do I look like somebody who cries over a missed bus?

Look at this place.  What a dream:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's Going to Be a Leetle While...

I'm leaving Brazil today, and embarking on a mini-adventure. I have no idea how often I will have internet access over the next month while I visit Paraguay, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, hike the Inca Trail in Peru and fly home after traveling across the salt flats in Bolivia.  I know, I know, that is NOT enough time, but that is what I have to work with.  (Somebody stayed too long in Costa Rica.)  So, while I am away, never fear, my literally dozens of blog fans!  You will still be able to enjoy the over 900 archived posts from the last two-and-a-half years!  I have labeled most posts and you can find the menu on the left hand side of the blog.  Click away and enjoy!

Might I suggest:

Hal  Read about my ridiculously funny dad, including the hysterical run-in with prostate cancer last year
Hilarious Just my opinion...
Embarrassed This happens a lot.
And of course there is fart, poop, pee, and tampons but -- proceed at your own risk.

OR: You could go all the way back to the very beginning and read every single one!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ah, Those Japanese

They're so silly, with their raw fish and indeciphderable alphabet.  And the origami!  I hate to make sweeping generalizations about any one group of people, but have you ever met a Japanese person who didn't know how to make Origami?  Exactly my point.

Anyways, while I waited for the Japanese man to slowly and painstakingly make me a beautiful origami flower out of the tin foil casing of my amazing mall-food-court burrito, I got a little bored.  I decided to show him what I was made of.  I present to you -- American girl does Origami:

 Tadashi didn't see Minnesota, though.  He saw an ancient Babylonian king.  So I embellished:


Then, I made a gun.

A beard/mustache

A piece of wheat, like a farmer might chew on.

Again with the gun.

A book.

Finally he finished his silly little flower.  Amateur.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tricky Little Devils, Aren't They?

So now this little dude went and painted himself exactly the same color as my wall, in hopes that I wouldn't notice him.  Well, Sarah Lindahl, apparently centipedes are not only poisonous, but they're hyper-intelligent too.  Crap.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You'll Probably Hate me For This...

Every once in a while, I have a moment, where...I'm laying on a rock, in the most beautiful place in all the world, and I think, 'all my friends back home are working today.  And I'm in Brazil.  Fishing in the ocean with an Argentinian.  Speaking Spanish.' 

Good Lord I am a Pig.

You would think this disgusting mess and the fear of people seeing it would motivate me to clean up.  Nope.  What motivated me?

This guy:

He was getting awfully close to a pile of my clothes.

I decided to clean up my stuff because if I find this centipede in a pair of my underwear I am going to DIE.  My mom and dad will have to come and get my dead body and they pretty much already told me that wasn't going to happen. 

So, I cleaned my apartment.  It took fourteen seconds.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yerba Mate

Not my first time trying Mate (pronounced mah-tay), but I guess I forgot how bitter it can be.  It's like a really herby tea, but strong strong strong.  It's a South America thing, they are crazy for it in Paraguay and Uruguay and Argentina.
Me, I'm crazy for coffee.  But, when in Rome.

Oh, also you have to drink out of the permanent straw on the side of the gourd.  Which means you also have to just get over your silly germ fears.  It's all about sharing.

"I can't believe I just shared a straw."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Awwwwwwwww, The Baby Cockroach and the Centipede Made Friends

Unfortunately they made friends right under my kitchen table, and so I had to brutally murder one and set the other one free.  A terrible decision, 'which one lives and which one dies'...I didn't have time!  Did I make the right decision?  Was making my decision based on not wanting to feel the centipede squish in my hand the right basis?
This may haunt me until the day I die.

I may move to New York City and meet a handsome man and pretend it never happened, but he'll sense something is wrong...and finally, one alcohol-ridden night, I'll tell him. 

Are you getting these Sophie's Choice references, or are they wasted on you, you idiot?  Maybe they're wasted on you because I don't remember much about that movie...just the moving to New York City and the pretending it never happened.  I really can't remember how she told him, and if there was alcohol involved.  Who's the idiot now?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Months' Salary

I'm calling the cost of these shoes two months' salary because when you don't have a job and your income is $0, everything is two months' salary.  But also very literally, I made $155 in the last two months, because that is how long it took me to get my travel insurance claim paid for my Dengue Fever and my silly broken toe.  Total cost of both doctor/lab/pharmacy visits: $155.  Total cost of these shoes: $150.  Good trade.  And I swear, I will never ever ever ever ever complain if they are even the slightest bit uncomfortable.  And I will also not complain that I can't fit them in my backpack on the way home.  Because they are fabulous and they make me feel tall and pretty and skinny and they will forever be the shoes I bought in Brazil.

Yes. I laid down on the bed and shot up. It seemed like the best view since the floor is covered in my crap.
You may notice they look awfully similar to the shoes I already had in my backpack on this trip.  Yes, that is true.  And I didn't really realize that until after but I don't care! 

After 8 months of walking around in Central and South America, these may have just had it.

p.s. I do not endorse buying something for yourself when you receive an unexpected windfall.  I endorse saving the windfall and traveling with it later.  But come on people, just look at my new shoes!  They were even made here in Brazil!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Painting Day

Today, I helped Cristina paint Aldo and Jacina's bedroom.  I got woken up at 8:10am which was no fun but I was glad to roll out and help at about 9:00.  It started out pretty fun.  My job was to cut in the corners and trim and I must say I'm not too shabby.  But I'm a little impatient and when I put the ladder in the wrong place, I hurriedly tried to fix it and ended up falling on my butt and spilling paint everywhere.  In a different language it wasn't as funny because I couldn't really assure them that I was alright and that I was mostly just embarrassed.  They were wiping me and being very sweet.  If I was them, I'd be like, "stupid American", knowing I couldn't understand.  Maybe they did.  Like, feign compassion while speaking in a soothing voice saying, "I can't believe how dumb you are."  That's what I would have done.

Only the finest lingerie will do when painting in Brazil.

After the fall.

There is paint in my armpit.  I guess they didn't get it all when I got wiped.

Later when we said our goodbye hugs, I asked Luciana,

"Do I smell like paint?"

And she said, "No. You smell like a sweat people."

Here's a little idea of what it is like to be me for the last three weeks, surrounded by funny sounds:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Really Love the People I'm Staying With Right Now

Jacina and Aldo Coelho.  I am renting a house in back of their place here in Brazil, but they invite me for dinner all the time.  I love them.  They speak no English and I speak no Portuguese.  But tonight I pantomimed a story about how my dad wipes his boogers on his pants, and then later wipes his hands on his pants to clean his hands.  Aldo told me that nobody will want to marry a girl who wipes things on her pants.

EW (A Post I Forgot to Publish)

Can you believe they let these things run around Willy Nilly down here in Costa Rica?  Neither can I.  And I will put them on the list of things I will NOT miss when I leave Thursday.

(I think this was scheduled to be posted on March 14th.  oops.  But you get the point.  EW!!  When we were walking around in the town square, we looked up and saw these, and one even fell to the ground and made a loud THUMP!)

Who's Your Boyfriend?

I thought cutting my hair would be a really good idea for my year-off-travel-the-world-adventure. I regretted it almost immediately.  The cut would be adorable if it were possible to have access to a shower in a real bathroom and a blow dryer and flat iron and styling products every day.

See?  Adorbs!

But that's just not the reality of it. Here's what usually ends up happening:

Even the Koala is embarrassed for me.

The fact is, long hair is just easier. You would think the opposite were true, but it's not. If there's no time, long hair can be thrown into a messy traveler's ponytail. Short hair just sticks up in every direction, and not in a good way.  And when you decide it's time to grow it out, there's no awesome consistent stylist to help you look good through the process.

A couple things have made all of this even worse:
  • My travel companions have all been beautiful, long-haired women. 
  • I have a propensity towards flannel.

"Awwww, so nice of her to bring her little brother!"

Flannel.  And backpacks.

As you can imagine, some assumptions are probably being made.  In Nicaragua, I was with Dustin, Ted, and Nicole. We were walking around pretty late in Granada, and we were pretty sure that we were offered a prostitute. Dustin said, "well, we guys probably do look a little desperate and Kady's haircut isn't helping."


While in Thailand, Summer had this to say (not entirely the fault of my haircut, but hilarious anyways):

"We saved 4 bucks a night by going with a fan-cooled room instead of air-conditioning. The fan was between two twin beds and the sound of it oscillating was unbearable. So we turned off the oscillation and pushed the beds together to ensure maximum fan-cooling. I may or may not have been guilty of knowing the fan leaned a full degree or two in my favor.

"We were awakened far too early by the housekeeper. I answered the door trying to cover myself up in my t-shirt with that blank look on my face one has at 8:30 in the morning when on a beach vacation. I declined any cleaning service and turned to survey the view the cleaning lady had just gotten- the highlights being: Kady lying languidly in a bed wearing not much more than a sheet... and a bottle of five dollar Thai rum at the foot of two twin beds awkwardly pushed together."

That day, she said to me, "don't move".  "DO NOT MOVE."  And grabbed her camera to take this picture:
Click here for Summer's full story.
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