My First Day in Brazil…and Gun Shots

It was a Monday…I had just gotten to my new apartment on Sunday. It was a day of settling into the new place, the new country…

I was at the sink washing some dishes when all of the sudden I heard gun shots. I heard this place was crazy…but really? Day one.

I immediately froze and waited to see what happened next.

More loud noises…but this one had a long hiss…and then a popping sound. What the hell was going on at 3pm on a Monday?

Then I put the pieces together…these weren’t gun shots…they were fire crackers…

Again…it’s Monday…WTF…and then it clicked. “Oh yeah, Brazil plays in the world cup today at 5pm.”

Businesses close, firecrackers explode, bands come to the streets, people start these weird soccer chants.

Seriously? All this for a soccer game? It’s still the first round…and they were playing a team that hadn’t won a game yet…but then again it’s Brazil…and a soccer game seems like a good of reason as any to ditch work, fire up the grill and start partying…

Welcome to Brasil (Brawl-sill).

I made it to my first Brazilian BBQ to watch the game and was treated like a king…not sure if it was because I was a guest or a gringo…probably a little of both.

And these guys knew how to party. I’m not sure if they ran a background check on me before I showed up and knew that I had a particular liking for beer…but my cup never got half empty before they were refilling it again. I mean it’s not polite to show up to another country and turn down their offerings 🙂

The Brazilian food, the Brazilian beer, the Brazilian people…it was a great first night in my new home…one that I’ll never forget…although I probably don’t remember all of it…welcome to Brasil 🙂

Brazilian Girls

Brazilian BBQ


Becoming the “envy” again…

Due to personal reasons, I will be headed back across International Borders again.

I made this decision and had an apartment rented in Brazil, my flight booked and my belongings in storage all within a 72 hour window.

When I told my friends and family my decision, the word that was used most was “envy.”

I have found it so interesting that if you ask someone, “What do you think? Should I move to Brazil for the next 6 months?” They say, “Of course you should, you have to do it while you can.” And at the same time they’re not willing to do it themselves.

This idea of international travel and living seems so radical for most people in the US. It seemed radical to me the first time I did it.

Then, once I landed and met people from all over the world and from all walks of life, it hit me…”this is actually pretty normal.” All you need is a plane ticket.

The thing I love most about traveling is you really realize how many opportunities are out there in the world.

I also love to find beautiful places that are cheap. My favorite place so far is definitely been Medellin, Colombia.

This place is beautiful, loads of fun, the people are really nice. The “good areas of town” are really cool, laid back and very relaxing. And if you can figure out how to make $2,000 – $3,000 a month, you can live like a king. I’m talking about penthouse style.

This doesn’t seem radical to me at all…or envious…it just is what it is. The world is there for the taking. You just have to decide if you want to take the “leap of faith” or not. And if you do it, I’m sure you’ll have the same realization as I did.

“This isn’t so crazy, radical or different at all.”

Safe Travels,



Since I only have a few days left in Sint Maarten, I decided to spend a little money on the best thing to do in the islands…get off the shore and onto the water.

After a quick internet search, I found these guys: Blue Beard Charters and I’m sure glad I did. We sailed out of Simpson Bay at 8:30am and returned at 4:30pm. We were supposed to sail to the north side of Anguilla to Prickly Pear, but do to sea conditions we had to “settle” for Rendezvous Bay which is just on the south side of Anguilla (Sint Maarten is south of Anguilla).

The boat ride still took close to 2 hours. The water was amazing. You could easily see 50 feet down in a lot of areas. The boat was amazing too. It was my first catamaran experience and I must say I prefer it. More stability, means more relaxation. I mainly stretch out on the trampolines (in the front, with holes in them so you can see the water) and listened to the water and napped.

Rendezvous Bay was a very beautiful beach with beautiful and calm water…a great place to swim. Not much for snorkeling though as there was hardly any sea life around.

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A Day Trip To Panama – A Pleasant Surprise


On my way to Sint Maarten from Medellin, Colombia, there was going to be an overnight layover in Panama. I’ve never been to Panama so I decided to book an early flight to arrive at 8:30 so I’d have a full day to check it out.

I’m no Panamanian travel expert but my gut said if I saw Panama City and the canal, I would pretty much “see Panama.”

I have to admit, I was surprised. After a little over 3 weeks in Colombia, I was used to second-rate type buildings and infrastructure and such. However, I was taken aback. Panama looked like a little Miami. The skyscrapers were beautiful. I felt like I was in America.

We booked a hotel on Calle 49 and lucky we did…more on that later.

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Medellin Colombia – Mi Amor

medellin city


Medellin, Colombia had me from hello. On the way from the airport to the city, I could sense something was special about this place…and my intuition was right. Medellin is a beautiful city that offers whatever you want. I have to be honest, coming to Colombia from the states is a bit scary because all the negative you hear about this place. Medellin may have had a rough past, but the present sure was bright.

The weather was amazing, not hot or cold. The people were strangely nice and helpful. They were always very caring about me to make sure I was having fun or making sure I had directions to where I was going. The last night we went out, I met a man named Ivan that spoke some English. His main question was “Are you having a good time here?” I said I loved it here. He was so happy…”I’m so glad to hear that. In America you hear a lot of negative about this place, but it’s not true. We really care about people here.” I couldn’t agree more.

I will never forget the words of my paragliding guide, while we were hovering in the air, above his city…”This is a beautiful place…but the most important thing here is the people are free.” I thought that was very interesting and wandered if back home we would describe our state the same way.

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vegetarian restaurant medellin colombia

If you are traveling to Medellin, Colombia and are looking for a healthy option for lunch or dinner, you must check out Verdeo. Verdeo is located in the El Poblado area just north of Lleras Park. It became my favorite restaurant in Medellin.

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guatape rock

If you are traveling to Medellin, Colombia…then you MUST visit the Guatape Rock and Guatape City (Click here for my post on Guatape City).

Guatape Rock is the most fascinating site I’ve ever seen. To get to the top of the rock, you must climb 740 steps. Sounds like a lot…but we took our time and it took us 15 minutes to get to the top. Once you get to the top, go in the red building and climb the stairs there to the very top. There you will find step 740 and the best view you’ve ever seen in your life.

Not only was the rock beautiful, but it was also the most relaxing place I’ve ever been…even more relaxing than Honeymoon Beach in St. John B.V.I. I can’t explain why but, time simply stood still up there. There was barely any noise. The weather was perfect. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted a hammock and a book. I will never forget this experience and only regret I didn’t schedule more time for the rock.

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Relaxing on the Water in Guatape

After visiting Guatape Rock, we paid $5 to get a ride to Guatape City, Colombia. The city is really small but worth the trip. My only regret was we only planned a day trip to Guatape. If I hadn’t already booked flights and a hotel for the next leg of my trip, I would have stayed in Guatape for at least a weekend.

There’s not a ton to do there, but the place is very nice, the people are very nice and the town is very quiet. It’s the most relaxing place I’ve been to in Colombia. If you run out of things to do in Guatape, you can take a 15 minute cab ride to the next town. It had a small water park and a handful of things to do there as well.

As far as Guatape (gua-tal-pay) goes, the most famous attraction is the rock. You can view my post on that here: Guatape Rock. The rock is a must. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.

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Paragliding in Medellin Colombia

bye bye

(Video Below)

I’ve always heard the word paragliding but up until last Sunday, I really didn’t know what it was. I heard you “run off a mountain” so I thought it was like hang gliding or something.

The day started at 8:30am when the phone rang. Now, we knew ParaWorld was going to call then to let us know if the weather was okay for the day. When the phone rang, I was praying for a rainy day for more sleep. You see, we made the mistake of booking an apartment next to construction, therefore Sunday is the only day to sleep with no screeching, loud noises waking you up at 6am. But as luck would have it, it was a perfect day for paragliding. They were there to pick us up at 9.

The taxi drove us up the mountain, which when you’re in South America, taxi rides up and down narrow, winding, mountainous roads can also be considered a tourist experience! After the taxi ride there’s a beautiful climb to the top of the mountain using a make-shift staircase.

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El Estadio Olympic Swimming Pool For Free

estadio pool

El Estadio in Medellin, Colombia is a beautiful site to visit. This short post is about the swimming facilities. To see more details about Estadio, see my earlier post here.

If you like to swim for enjoyment or a workout then Estadio is going to make you happy. As you can see from my video, there are plenty of pool options to choose from. They even have a high dive board…unfortunately they wouldn’t let me jump off the high dive because I was an inexperienced diver. It’s interesting that in a country where it seems you can pretty much do anything you want…they draw the line at the high dive…whatever…they busted my bubble. They may have saved my life too…we’ll never know.

I opted for a nice workout in the Olympic pool. This is where they have international and qualifying competitions. Michael Phelps even swam here once. Did he win you ask? I didn’t know the guy ever lost…

To get in the facility, simply present your passport. They will jot your info down and give you a small ticket stub type thing. Keep the stub as you will have to give it to a guy in there to swim. The stub gets you an hour and a half of swim time. Me, I only needed 10 minutes of workout 🙂

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