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another america…

my recent travels took me to South America… Rio de Janeiro… Brazil… wow, what a wild place… it’s like New York City in the heart of a mountain jungle on a beach… and i can guarantee that i didn’t see the whole city… i got some amazing perspectives and views, but to really understand a city i like to push around on my shred stick… this wasn’t a skateboarding trip, so the board was cooped up in the hotel room most of the time… nonetheless, it was quite an experience!

the travel process is amazingly desensitizing… although you travel over 5000 miles to get from one place to another, you really just see the inside of a big tube with wings… i made sure that i reminded myself that we were far from the US… it was a good feeling…

upon arriving in Rio with minor jet-lag, my eyes were wide open… as a skateboarder and a tourist… this was my first time in South America and i had no idea what to expect… my expectations were that we were going to see a skewed view of the city… a safer, more touristy perspective… Rio is known for being a little unsafe in places and at times… so i was eager to know why/what/where/when…

the drive from the airport to the hotel was very memorable… although i didn’t have my bearings on our location, it was crazy… tons of cars, buildings, homes, historic churches, tunnels, mountains, oceans, etc… it was a scene… i have to admit that i didn’t feel that far removed from the US…

the one thing that stood out to me were the homes that were built up on the mountains… house upon house upon house just marbled into the side of a mountain… i have never seen or imagined anything like that… it cannot be safe… later on in the trip, i got to be up in one of these mountain neighborhoods… i still believe these homes to be unsafe and inconvenient… this was when and where i knew i was in another country… another continent… another America…

the trip was for my friend getting married to his Brazilian wife in Brazil… meeting her family and celebrating their relationship and love in a different culture was awesome… not only do we get to be with the happy couple, but we get to explore another part of the world… killer combo!

throughout the trip, we did the tourist tours and did “the must-do’s” of Rio… but the most eye-opening part of the trip was our adventure to Lapa… my sister, my wife, and myself headed to Escadaria Selaron. it is a stairway in an alley that an artist took over and tiled… it is quite a site… but the real knowledge i gained was getting to it… we were dropped off by a non-English speaking cab driver in the middle of outskirts of downtown… downtown Rio is ok, but not where we were… not speaking Portuguese was painful at this point… while we wandered through the real part of Rio, i couldn’t help but notice how much the three of us stuck out… with the girls takeing picture after picture and asking person after person how to get to where we wanted, let’s just say i found myself extremely uncomfortable… i felt like a target… i had never felt that way before… and let’s just say i was not enjoying it… once we found the stairs in the alley, i calmed down… but man… this was a disjointed/gnarly part of town…

as i always say, it is good to get out of your comfort zone… even when you do not see it coming… i was on vacation, and with the snap of my fingers i felt lost and insecure… although the girls were care-free and enjoying the adventure, it showed how different people perceive situations differently… it was a very memorable part of my trip…

the last day of the trip came sudden as always and i had been on my board once… i was disappointed to find that the area i was staying in (Leblon) was not ideal at all for street shredding… the sidewalks are made of stones and not smooth enough for pushing on… it was time to find the skate park… i headed out to Lagoa via cab with some friends that were on the trip as well… we found the park and it was legit! not big, but fun and perfect… i was not gonna travel 5000 miles to not skateboard! came out of there with a clip and some photos… good times…

it is always good to get out of the country… if you ever have the opportunity to get out, do it… you will not forget/regret it…

peace and noLove…

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Leblon Beach Boardwalk

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View of Lagoa from Christ the Redeemer Statue

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Storm Rolling in Over Rio

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Escadaria Selaron

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Lagoa Skate Park

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