Not Quite Carnival!

I was deciding between fake traveling to Peru or to Brazil in July. The deciding factor ended up being a book set in Brazil that I desperately wanted to read. So I spread my travel from home trip to Brazil over two days (though it took me until early August to finish the book).

My Choices

Meal: There are only a few Brazilian restaurants near me. Both were steakhouses, which isn’t the best place for a vegetarian like me to get a good meal. After thoroughly going through the menus, I decided on Fogo de Chão, even though it would mean more than an hour of driving. Turns out: I chose poorly. I ordered Pao de Queijo, Brazilian cheesy bread, and it was absolutely delicious! It tasted best the first day, but it took me almost a week to eat the twelve rolls in an order; not intended for singles like me. I wanted the black beans, but they were cooked in bacon. So I also ordered the quinoa tabbouleh, thinking that its lime and mint combination would feel Brazilian to me. Unfortunately, the parsley was overwhelming. I ended up eating around it as much as I could to get to the cucumbers and and roma tomatoes and didn’t end up finishing it. I was most excited about the apple manchego salad, which was the ultimate disappointment. No figs, no cracked pepper, and only two small pieces of cheese. It was basically some sliced granny smith apples in a tub of mayo & honey, not a salad by any stretch of the imagination.

Dessert: Because it had the right name to go with my trip, I went with the Brazilian-Style Flan. It was decadent and easily the best part of the meal. However, it looked unappetizing in its take-out container and was difficult to take out in order to snap a decent photo. Please believe me when I say it tasted better than it looks.

Music: When I asked Alexa to play Brazilian music, she played music from the Brazil charts but that was created here in America. Not exactly what I was after. So I ended up doing an AfroBrazil Dance Workout. I know just enough French to follow along with the basics, but the rest was lost on me. The next day, I did the second part of the workout. I’m really not great at dance workouts, but at least I got some Brazilian music and flavor in there.

Book: Rainbow Rowell’s final book in the Simon Snow series came out in July, and Barnes & Noble held a special launch event with her, hosted by Brazilian young adult fiction author Vitor Martins. I had come across Vitor’s debut book, Here the Whole Time, on a few lists, but this was the sign I needed to push me into finally reading it. I am so glad that I did. What would you do if you had to spend the next 15 days with your lifelong crush? It’s a story about Felipe dealing with his body image, anxiety, bullying, and having his childhood crush move into your room for two weeks with zero advance notice. I was immediately enchanted by Felipe (and Caio, of course). Felipe is kind and thoughtful and funny and sensitive, and the story through his POV is packed with emotion. He’s a guy who wants Green Lantern pajamas but buys the Batman ones because Caio suggests them and then googles how often he is supposed to wash pajamas. I just wanted to hug him the whole dang time.

Movie: Netflix didn’t have too many choices for me for movies set in Brazil. I narrowed down my options to: Chatô: The King of Brazil (the romanticized life of media mogul Assis Chateaubriand) and The Dreamseller (a disillusioned psychologist tries to commit suicide until he strikes up a friendship with an unlikely savior who teaches him a new way of living). I chose the latter and, once more, I chose poorly. The Dreamseller wasn’t terrible, but it was predictable and tried way too hard to be deep and thought-provoking. It is apparently based on a bestselling book in Brazil, but people who loved the book seem to have hated the movie and people who hadn’t read the book also seem to have hated the movie. I probably should have read the reviews ahead of time, but I hadn’t wanted them to color my opinion of the movie.

Series: To recover from the movie, I found myself watching The Circle: Brazil. The first two seasons of Netflix’s show, The Circle, are a guilty pleasure of mine. It turns out that my love for the reality show translates just find across countries. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Brazil cast, and I feel like I got a much better sense of Brazilian culture watching the show than I did watching the movie. I especially loved the Carnival celebration they had! It was definitely a great way to end my travel from home trip to Brazil (and it also directly lead me into watching The Circle: France).