The worldwide Augustana College experience

October 7th-October 12th in Brazil!

I haven’t had much time on my laptop to write blogs and I guess that’s a good thing since it means I’m staying busy here=]

Tuesday October 7th

We started our morning off getting complimentary breakfast at the Mengo Palace hotel. The juices and fresh fruit that they serve is fantastic to have especially right in the morning when the last thing I want to do is make food. Afterwards, we had art class where we talked about Oscar Niemeyer who is a famous architect before visiting his beautifully crafted Museu Arte Contemporanea. We had a tour guide that had participated in the June 2013 protests in Rio. He was sometimes hard to hear in the museum while explaining the modern art around the gallery. He emphasized the connection that we have with art and how it is a continuation of the area around the artwork. This was seen in the architect of the museum that was made in a shape that does not block the nature around it but instead compliments the landscapes. After the museum we got dinner, had seminar, and had a quiet night in to rest up for the next early morning.

Contemporary Art Mueseum

Wednesday October 8th

We woke up early to see a Carnavalesco Aulu from the Samba de Pe Almoco. This job requires making all the parts of the Carnival celebration including the costumes and the floats. We learned more history about how Carnival has come to be how it is today. A big influence came from the European immigrants as well as the African slaves. We learned another samba move that even Mariano tried out. After the lecture, they made us rice and beans. By far some of the nicest women who made all 30 of us food in their kitchen smaller than the Andreen dorms. =] But really, there were only 2 burners and they could barely squeeze by each other in the tiny room. A few of us stayed back to help clean up the studio and walked back to the hotel. We had some free time so of course we went to the beach. Surprisingly, I am actually getting a tan here! If anybody is wondering, there is minimal clothing at these beaches. Women are mostly in thong bikinis and the men are in speedos. We played beach volleyball until we had class from 6-10PM. We had switched around class so that we could soak up the sun as much as possible.  We worked on our coiling more, learned about LAPA and discussed some of the soccer stars of Brazil  such as Pele and Garrincha. To have more program bonding we decided to check out some of Copacabana’s night life and were pleasantly surprised to hear music in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

Flamengo Beach


Thursday October 9th

The Museu do Indio was our first stop of the day when we left at 9. We learned about the beauty of the Ashaninka people from our tour guide that left the tribe to inform others of their lifestyles. They use paint to cover their body and faces. There are certain symbols that are meant for certain ages,gender, celebrations, etc. We also learned about the clothing that they wore. I really enjoyed being at this museum to hear about a tribe from somebody who has actually lived the life. When we arrived back at the hotel, we had class from 130-430 where we continued to learn about LAPA and the hip hop scene in Rio in music class.In art class we started to make a hammock and continued our coiling. We ran upstairs to change for the game right after class. We got to see the Fluminese club soccer game play Athletico. Even though the game was a tie 0-0, everyone there was super into the game! I can’t even imagine how crazy the Maracana stadium must have been with the national team during the World Cup!

Museu do Indio


Maracana Soccer Stadium

Friday October 10th

We started our day with a music class and finished our movie on LAPA and hip hop to prepare ourselves for our trip to LAPA that night. We learned about the rappers in the area and how it isn’t just a lifestyle that they have like the rappers here in the US. The rappers there even though they are popular, are not rich and driving Bentleys drinking expensive champagne. They are working as electricians at a college for instance. Before going to to LAPA we visited the poorest area of Rio. They are called Favelas. They are not shanty towns or slums. They are poorer communities and in Rio happen to be in the hills. I know I will never complain about walking up the Olin stairs ever again after seeing the HUGE amount of stairs that they climb anytime they walk out of the favela. Their whole community was built from people bringing supplies up the stairs,every single brick, couch, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that is apart of the favela was brought up those stairs.  These communities do not have a lot of money but have a great sense of community and look out for each other. There was NEVER a time during the visit to the favela that I felt like I was in danger. The adults, children, and even the animals were all friendly. The conditions are not ideal but they do have homes to live in and lookout for each other. I was trying to talk to some of the little boys when they asked for water and started to fight over my water bottle. It made me smile seeing the boys doing the same sort of things that boys in the QCA and at home still do which is just to goof around. Mauricio from catalyst community explained to us all the work they are trying to accomplish by making sure that the people of the favela do not get kicked out of their homes by the government. He took pictures of people who were threatened to get evicted and plastered them all over the favela so that the government would see the people whose lives they were ruining. It was an eye opening experience to see how these people live and just how wrong so many stereotypes I had had were especially from media about how “dangerous” the favelas are. Movies like “City of God” portray a horrible stereotype of violence in the favelas that I never felt at all there. After a long shower from being in the favela all day, we were getting ready for LAPA. At LAPA we went as a program to two different establishments and got to dance out any stress we might have had. I loved being able to have the whole group out and just let go!

Morro da Providencia

Portrait on Stairs

Saturday October 11th

As much as I wanted to sleep in on our morning off, I knew that I could sleep when I was back in the cold QCA! A group of us decided to venture on the bus and go to Sugarloaf aka Pão de Acúcar. It is a peak in Rio at the mouth of the Guanabara Bay that is 1,299 feet above the harbor! It got its name because it resembles the traditional shape concentrated refined loafsugar. To get all the way to the top to see the GORGEOUS panoramic views, we took a cable car. I was thinking of the tiny cable car that holds about 4 people in Des Moines, Iowa…it was nothing even close to that! The first stage goes from Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) to Morro da Urca (Urca Hill), at an altitude of 220 meters. The second stage goes from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf Mountain, at an altitude of 528 meters. The cable car speed is about 20 miles per hour. These breathtaking views were definitely worth waking up for. We had lunch at the summit of the mountain and signed the wall to show that Augie Brazil Term 2014 had made it to the peak. Afterwards, we went to the beach to get some more sun! Of course. We had a brief ISS session to tell us about the Quadra Salgueiro that we were going back to at 9PM from the previous Saturday. This time it was a competition between two different themes as to what would be the theme for the Samba School in the 2015 Carnival Celebration. I have never seen hips or legs in general move so fast. EVER. We stayed until 2AM and they were not even close to being done. 


The high peak is Sugarloaf Mountain

Sunday October 12th

Another free day and another early morning still! We decided to take the metro and the bus again and visit the Botanical Gardens. Some of the plants there just seemed to be never-ending and made me think about the plants when dinosaurs were around. We saw  gorgeous foliage for miles of peaceful serenity until we decided to hit the beach of Ipanema. Sadly, it was a little cloudy, but of course we still got some color and made the most of it by going to the market to spend loads of cash! I got gifts for friends and family there. After numerous days of getting up early and going to bed late, catching up on homework, this blog, and sleep were the only thing on our minds!

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Only 4.5 More days in Rio =[

One Response to “October 7th-October 12th in Brazil!”

  1. Hi Astin,
    I very much enjoyed your stories about your trip. It sounds like all is well. It is wonderful to hear that your adventure is exciting as well as educational. Stay safe and enjoy. Salem, Luna, and Sheldon all say hi. Love Dad

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