The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow


Brazilian Pleasantville
August 8, 2008, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Brazil
Brazil.  Sweet, sweet Brasil.
 
We flew in from that death trap we know and love as Caracas on a more or less retarded flight path, with three flights to get to our destination.  However, we passed over the Amazon rainforest for many hours, which was really cool.  It basically looks like an ocean that’s full of trees.  Kind of like the moons of Endor from so many years ago…
 
Anywho, our travel group has diminshed, as Willy went home, so now we are two.  Pat and I felt the full force of Brazilian hospitality on our second flight when an elderly woman sat own next to us on the plane.  Almost immediately, a guy across the aisle asked her if she wanted to trade seats with him to be more comfortable, even though it was basically just the same seat on the other side of the plane.  Within about 14 seconds, I could tell this guy really wanted to ask me something, but was hesitant.  About 14 more seconds later, he turned to me and said “Um…where are you from?” in perfect English.  This began a 3 hour conversation about all things Brazilian.  Rodolfo was his name, and talking was his game.  This guy was really cool, and really knowledgeable about his country, and passed the time well.  Also, when we got to the airport, he asked us where we were going, and took us there in a cab, and paid for the whole thing.  It was the beginning of our experience with super friendly, Brazilians who are super curious about foreigners.  These people love approaching us and, even if they don’t speak English, they will chat away, all while I stare at them blankly not understand a word of their Portuguese. 
 
So, upon arriving in Belém, a major city on the mouth of the Amazon river, we wandered the town and tried to find how to get a trip into the jungle.  That is when we discovered Ilha do Marajó.  This island is about the size of Switzerland, with only three small towns, the largest having a whopping 19,000 people.  So we hopped on a ferry down river, and three hours later ended up in one of the towns, Brazilian Pleasantville, a.k.a Soure.
 
This place is amazing.  It has about 3 paved streets, all with grass-lined medians, and the rest are either dirt or grass roads.  But, this pleasant little town has a handful of cars, a few dozen motorcycles and everyone else either walks or rides a bike.  It is probably the most mellow place on Earth.  It’s kinda like taking a bunch of sleeping pills and watching “Leave It to Beaver.” 
 
However, this is not the best part of this utopia.  The best part is that I was able to finally knock off one of the more difficult tasks on my “Things to Do Before I Take an Eternal Dirt Nap” list.  The list goes something like this:
 
1. Go to a Super Bowl
2. Have a Glass-Knuckled Death brawl with an Orangutan
3. Threesome
4. Ride a Water Buffalo Through the Amazon Rainforest
 
It just so happened that I was in the right spot at the right time, and #4 is now checked off the list. 
 
About 200 years ago, a French boat coming from Africa sunk (surrendered to the river, more likely) on its way to French Guyana and its cargo was thrown overboard into the Amazon.  While this is not that interesting, what is interesting is that its cargo was water buffaloes, and they all swam to shore on the Ilha do Marajó.  Now, they are everywhere.  You walk down the street and there are giant water buffaloes grazing on the grass streets and dumping all over the place.  I was unfortunate enough to discover that water buffalo chips are not as delicious as they sound, and are not that cool to step in in sandals.
 
So, due to this awesome fact, we did what any smart tourist would do, and book a tour to ride these behemoths, and knock out #4.  My water buffalo was a monster that weighed 2200 pounds, had horns that were over 4 feet long from tip to tip, and had a serious need for an attitude adjustment.  I named him Walter.  Walter Buffalo. 
 
While riding Walter was no big problem, except that he loved walking into low-lying trees so that I would ride directly through the branches, it was when I got off and tried to get a picture with my new buddy that our friendship became complicated.  As I approached Walter to get a picture, he was staring at me nervously.  When I got close enough, he swung his horns at me in a protective manner, which kindly said “Back off bitch, no one rides this train for free.”  I didn’t get the hint, and tried again.  This time, he took a cut at me with his horns, and faked me out with a little half charge.  As I ran away, I got the gist of what he was saying:
 
1. Walter must be Amish, because he doesn’t like his picture being taken. 
2. And he’s a dick.
 
After this marvelous ride however, I was grinning like a simpleton at Legoland, and we headed back to town to celebrate our victory.  This is when we met yet another extra-friendly Brazilian from Sao Paolo, Leo.  He and his friends were sitting near us at a restaurant, when a couple Brazilian women rode by.  And, just like Rodolfo before, he really wanted to talk to us, so he yelled from a few tables over “You like Brazilian women?”  After affirming that we indeed do, he came over and proceeded to order beer after beer, while also affirming that his original question was his best English.  It mattered not.  He more or less understood Spanish, and with Pat’s Portuguese, we had big night ahead of us speaking Portugenglañol. 
 
One of Leo’s best comments in this newly discovered language was his description of his red, puffy eye, which was from one of the multitude of strange Amazonian afflictions.  He called it “Fuck Eye.”  Later on, when Pat’s leg swelled up for a day, we understood that it was nothing more than a slight case of “Fuck Leg.”  So we proceeded to drink many, many lovely, ice cold Cerpa Gold beers, which Leo insisted on paying for.  Brazilians tend to come over, talk to you as much as possible, then pay for everything.  I love this country.
After a big night out, we discovered we were the only tourists in Pleasantville and probably therefore the most famous people.  The next day we decided to rent motorcycles to check the island out.  This was fun.  While cruising around on our speedy little bikes, all the while keeping an eye out for water buffaloes, we hit up a couple of nice Amazon river beaches, and caught many, many looks from confused locals wondering what those two bright white blurs were that just zoomed past their buffaloes.
 
The next day, we discovered our fame.  At the very least 10 people came up to us and told us they saw us drinking beer here, having a caipirihna there, walking down this street, or taunting a water buffalo in front of the post office.  We were celebrities.  That afternoon we met back up with Leo, and headed out to the beach for some pre-game ice cold beer, and got ready for the big blow out party that night.  One of Leo’s friends, who we called the Mayor because he knew everyone in Soure, was sponsoring a massive party with a hip new band known as “Megafox.”  Now, I’m not positive, but I think that Alvin split up from the Chipmunks after a particularly ugly peanut-eating binge, moved to Brazil to learn Portuguese, and started a band called “Megafox.”  They’re so hot right now.  Their music was blaring forth from every single radio and stereo in town, over and over and over and over again.  And I mean everywhere — the beach, houses, cars, buses, water buffalo-mounted MP3 players — everywhere.
 
After the beach, we cleaned up, and Leo headed over with the Mayor to pick us up on motorcycles.  The Mayor is probably the most helpful guy in Soure.  Althought he only spoke two sentences of English (“Let’s go!” and “We can go now!”) I think he might have a keen Spideysense for trouble, because when our motorcycles broke down, he happened to be there; when we needed a ride, he picked us up; when we needed a serious Megafox fix, he threw a Megaparty with them headlining.  So, he dropped us off for some real Italian pizza, and left us with one of his motorcycles for transportation later that night.  This was weird because there were three grown men with one motorcycle.  But, after unsuccessfully attempting to lasso a water buffalo for transportation, we all piled on and rolled.  Three dudes, one bike…sounds like a gay porno.  But it was hilarious, and totally ungay.
 
This is how we rolled to the Megaparty.  Upon arrival, the Mayor popped out and handed us our free VIP tickets, and headed in.  There were probably 500 people at the show, and Megafox was about ready to blow the place up.  Since we were gringotastic celebrities, the Mayor took the three of us backstage to meet Megafox in person.  We entered and Pat immediately fainted, and I couldn’t stop screaming “OHMYGAAAAWWDDD MEGAFOOOOOXXXX!”  When we gathered our composure, we met then band, who are about 10 people, one who sings, I think one who plays the drums, and the rest were male dancers and really hot female dancers.  One happened to be stretching her leg on a band member’s shoulder, in a rather suggestive position.  This was kinda embarrasing, because she turned to look at us, and Leo, Pat and I were all in a trance, staring at her suggestiveness.  When we realized that all three of us were creepily staringat her, we all reacted the same by dumbly grinning and giving the thumbs up.  She stopped stretching after that.
 
So, we headed back out and Megafox got on stage and rocked the fucking house.  People were dancing like crazy, unless of course we walked by, which then they would stop and stare.  I think we were a bigger attraction than Megafox, if there is even such a thing.  So after a few god-awful Skol beers (think watered-down MGD with a little water buffalo urine for flavor) we wandered up to the stage, when the lead singer yelled to the crowd “Come on, get on stage!”  No one complied, so Leo told me to go.  For most people who know me, a suggestion of doing something stupid in front of people is my forté, so I accepted.
 
I hopped up on stage to 500 dumbfounded Brazilians staring confusedly, and started grinding with the booty dancing ladies.  It was wonderful.  In two days, I checked off two things from the “Things to Do Before I Take an Eternal Dirt Nap” list.  Number #11 was complete:
 
11.  Booty dance on stage with Megafox
 
What a night.  What a country.
 
The next day we left Marajo, with tears in our eyes, and Megafox in our ears.  Lucky for us, they were on our ferry back to Belem, so we hung out with their lovely, lovely dancers for the whole ride.  They were taking pictures of us like it was we who were the celebrities.  Oh Megafox, no one can be more famous than you.
 
So that was our first Brazilian experience.  So far, it’s water buffaloriffic and Megafoxtastic.
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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thank you.. This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read.
Enjoy the your travels and keep the stories coming…

Comment by Jana

Glad to hear brokeback backpacking is off to a good start
p.s. Walter Buffalo, best name ever

Comment by Alba

I’m not sure if I laughed harder at “Threesome” or “Fuck Leg.” Nice job, Gf.

Comment by Chris

Wow, trying to read this at work while keeping my professional face on was quite the challenge. To keep from laughing out load I had to make some quite unusual facial contortions, and now everyone probably thinks I’m watching porno.

By the way Jeff, I think you should figure out how to have Megafox play at the IRPS reunion.

Comment by Eric

Haha, you and Walter sitting in a tree, literally

Comment by J Graham

omg Jeff, you’re hilarious.

Comment by Jen Lee




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