My last night in Brazil was spent at Regina's family reunion at a countryside house in Haipuacu, about an hour outside of Rio. We, like pretty much everyone else, arrived by bus and stayed overnight. After munching on salad and churrascaria (barbecued meat), I faced I could not fake another sentence of Portuguese and so I wandered off.
It was nice being out in the middle of what felt like nowhere--time to just reflect on where I'd been and what I'd figured out. Brazil is a huge and compelling country -- there is so much going on there (beaches, jungle, mountains, megacities, art, dance, music, indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilian culture/spirituality) that many Brazilians are content to explore within rather than venture beyond their country's borders. Beyond their own borders, the country, language and culture they are most interested in is the USA. Their contact with Portugal is minimal compared to our contact with England. We devour British theater, music and media exports, while they consider Portugal to be culturally dull.
In the morning Regina and I walked down to the beach and I took a final swim. Afterwards we had some acai and another helping of coconut water. Eventually we found boarded a bus that took us to Niteroi where we caught a ferry that glided across the Rio Harbor.