After a 7 year absence I am finally back in Brazil! This will be a huge trip. In the past, my travels in South America have been limited to Rio de Janeiro where most of my Brazilian family lives. This trip will cover Machu Picchu, Manaus and the rainforest, Belem and the mouth of the Amazon River, Recife and Rio.
The landscape transitioned quite a bit as I flew into Rio this morning.
Recently, a wall was built along the highway into the city. It serves two purposes: separate/hide the favelas (shanty towns) from the wealthier parts of the city, and protect the drivers from gang fights. Apparently, the wall is bulletproof. Various paintings decorate the panels with positive motifs. Though beautiful, but they struck me as a bit ironic.
Rio's traffic has always been unforgettable. Motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic as if they have never heard of a "lane," traffic lights are optional, and vendors knock on your windows trying to sell cold drinks and cookies.
It is HOT here. While it's fun to trade in my ski jacket for a sundress, it won't last for long. Tomorrow I fly into Rio Branco, the Brazilian city closest to Peru. The bus trip from Rio Branco to Cusco will take a grueling 24 hours. At 13,000 feet, colder temperatures and lack of oxygen will call for a least a day curled up in bed to acclimate. Hopefully I will be able to blog again after relaxing a bit in Cusco.