19th stop: Brazil

1798415_10152210220101397_2009640845_nCouple of weeks ago, I put up my first tent in Bondi beach.
Just to add perfection, I went to get some food and came across a new Aussie crave: “Açaí na tigela”; a Brazilian delicacy made of frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit from the Amazonian region.

Back to my tent with a bowl of açaí, I started to dig in the layer of fruits and nuts covering another layer of a purple mud of palm fruit. Thinking of Rio, I recalled an old article featured in the National Geographic Traveller, that I like to share with you:
 “Rio is a city where people live within their own limits, afraid of street violence, but not afraid of singing in the streets. Where the smooth sea pats the rugged mountain to show that life, like nature, is full of contrasts. A city where the sidewalks on its main beach are made of black and white stones, of darkness and light. A city where men and women come in all colors and in all creeds, and never argue because of that—but are constantly killing each other for worthless things, like the best samba song or the best soccer team. A city where 11.5 million people can dwell on top of each other, and the extreme poverty exists side by side with the most ostentatious wealth, and it is all part of daily life. A city able to teach each of its citizens the importance of one of William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell: “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” A city where midway points do not exist, where forests are found downtown, and high rises are in the suburbs. A city with love and hatred. Where mayors come and go and are not able to destroy the city, no matter how hard they try. A city where the glory of the past is today’s madness and also the hope for the future.

Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho

A city where the real quality of life lies in the fact that it is difficult, tense, harsh, funny, crazy, unbearable, unforgettable. A city that can be called a city, politically incorrect and deliciously treacherous. A city where sea waves create one of its limits, and the mountains take charge of spreading its structures along the coast as a line, because it simply refuses to grow in the boring circular way of all other cities.
If you find another city with all of this, please let me know. But I know only the city of Rio de Janeiro, and that’s the reason why, for the moment, I will stay here.
Rio. The real thing.” – By Brazilian author and journalist “Paulo Coelho”

1898270_10152227585091397_1832715899_nBrazilian cuisine has European and African influences that varies greatly by region, reflecting the country’s blend of natives and immigrants. Acarajé; an African dish of deep fried black eyed pea bun filled with salted dried shrimp and a creamy combination of coconut milk, palm oil and cashew nuts; rocks the busy streets of Brazil along with Pão de queijo; a chewy and moist cheese buns made of cassava starch or corn flour, loved for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After my first encounter with Açaí on the beach, the trend has spread all over Sydney to reach the majority of juice bars, served in a bowl of fruit and nuts for $12, or a smoothie for $10.

On the contrary, Acarajé was hard to find and I quit looking with my discovery of Pão de queijo at Braza Churrascaria in Darling Harbour for $6, listed in their bar menu.

The Rio carnival is coming up next week ; mark your calendar on Friday 28th of February and preheat your oven to 180°C, you’ve got some baking and Brazilian waxing to do:

1907586_10152232202066397_969210157_nPlace 3 cups of tapioca flour (available in supermarkets otherwise substitute with corn flour), 1 cup milk, 1 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 1 tsp salt and 1½ cups grated parmesan in a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill 15 holes of 2 greased 12-hole muffin pans (80 ml/⅓ cup capacity) with mixture until each hole is three-quarters full.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

The Carnival is celebrated every year, 46 days before Easter. In the old days, People would indulge in extreme dancing, fun, alcohol and sex just before the start of Lent, which is a period of abstinence from meat, alcohol and other sins in the Roman Catholic church.

The Carnival in Brazil is so major that people shut their businesses and come out on the streets in colourful costumes and masks, to dance to the beats of samba and celebrate the joy of life.

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