Brazil in Words Without Pictures

I like to commemorate experiences with words rather than pictures. A picture undoubtedly can be worth a thousand words, but what I think gets lost in modern-day Instagram La La Land is a thousand words can also be worth a thousand pictures. I’m aware this violates mathematical symmetry, but the point is, boys and girls, it’s OK to read more than 140 or 280 characters at a time. You might even like it.

That said, we took a ton of pictures during two weeks in Brazil. The best was actually a rapid series of pictures called a video. I’m not talking about the cliché hang gliding footage everybody gets in Rio de Janeiro, which I will watch precisely zero more times the rest of my life.

I’m talking about a spontaneous adult-themed one, filmed our last night in São Paulo. There is a sweet spot of inebriation for a female when aiming for this, slightly past a happy buzz but well before sexual assault territory. My wife reached this frame of mind, unbeknownst to me, after extended drinking at a brewery and samba joint. When she made us go back to the hotel room early, cinematic magic happened.

It was great. We looked great. The iPhone really is a marvel. I probably could have toned down my in-game commentary, and there was a disconcerting moment when she seductively suggested she put the condom on me, only to mischievously chuck it across the room. You’d better believe I retrieved that thing. I wasn’t trying to film a documentary on the miracle of life.

Overall I thought it was a keeper. Something we could wistfully pull from the archives when we’re older and fatter. But after letting me watch it once, she deleted it. And then deleted it from my deleted items.

This I found hurtful. Logically, assuming a comfort with each other and our sexuality, the only reason to delete this was fear of someone else seeing it. The only way that would happen (after transferring to a hard drive) is if our relationship ended and one of us posted it as revenge porn. I don’t think we’re ever going to break up. She apparently has less faith in us.

Let’s see, 10 more things about the trip…


On vacation, you shatter your body’s circadian rhythms and then proceed to eat unfamiliar foods to excess. You might need to blow up the bathroom at inopportune times — in the middle of a 9-hour tour, at a mom-and-pop restaurant with questionable facilities, during a rocky speedboat ride.

Thus, trading discreet digestive updates with your partner becomes useful while trying to plan out next steps. We quite organically came up with a system:

Code Green — It’s on the radar. I don’t need to go now, but let’s start thinking about a plan.

Code Blue — I have to go now.

Code Red — Emergency. Walk briskly but not so fast that I can’t clench. Have the room key in hand and immediately turn on the television for cover noise.

A few times I tossed out a Code Aqua to add a touch of urgency to a Code Green, but the three-tiered system worked well for the most part. It came in handy for a 24-hour stretch after crazy fruit consumption in Salvador, during which anything that went into my body was sure to exit as a Slurpee within a short time window.

(For the record, this does not contradict my stance on food poisoning. I blame neither the fruit nor the water it was rinsed with. It was just my body being sensitive.)

If I’m willing to share that, I don’t think it’s out of line to let you know about an incident in Salvador when my wife asked me to bring her toiletries and I opened the bathroom door… and almost lost consciousness.


I probably overthink the restrictions for carrying on liquids to flights. In Brazilian airports, it’s simple. They don’t give a flying f. An entire can of beer and multiple bottles of water made it through security for our intra-country flights without a second glance. Next time I’m going to lug through a gallon of milk, just to say I did.


The app worked beautifully in a country that speaks relatively little English and has a reputation for being dangerous to naive tourists. Uber rescued us from continuing to wander in the dark through an area of São Paulo that felt like Gary, Ind. and potentially missing our flight home.

Hate on Uber for being an evil empire all you want, but if the world just waited around for über-nice-people companies to make an impact, we would lose some progress too. Uber’s product has improved quality of life.


In the paradise of Morro de São Paulo, there are five beaches. To amortize the cost of getting to this postcard town where wheelbarrows take the place of cars, I made us walk all five beaches. Vacation is not about fun; it’s about squeezing so much fun out of it that it’s not fun anymore.

We frolicked in the refreshing water intermittently throughout the long trek. Walking distances in a wet suit with netting started irritating the skin in my groin area. It soon became an unsustainable mode of transport.

I took off the suit and waded in chest-high water along the shoreline. My wife got tired of plowing through the resistance and hopped on my back, which doubled as sun protection.

At one point, she gave up trying to find my wiener with her foot and reached around and grabbed it with her hand. We both kind of caught our breath at the same time with a dazed Einstein look, as things got real.

She also exercised her underwater camera and snapped a blurry yet still unflattering pic. In all honesty — this is not like saying you have something in your eye when you’re crying — there were seriously very cold patches of the water. It was winter over there, after all. And just from an evolutionary perspective, my frank and beans had no idea what might be swimming around them so naturally they contracted and tensed a bit.

In any case, I requested that photograph be deleted from all memory sticks, clouds and conversations. Of course the wife decided she wanted to keep it, yet apparently it’s not OK to have video evidence of the other side of the story. What a crock.


For the first half of the trip, we met up with another couple at an all-inclusive resort in Itaparica that I anticipated would have nothing to do with experiencing Brazil or its culture. However, given the language barrier and pace of big cities, this turned out to be the easiest way to actually talk to Brazilians and make friends.

The staff at Club Meds are basically adult camp counselors who eat, dance, sing, play and party with you. One of them looked like a Brazilian King Leonidas from 300, and when my wife had a mini-orgasm watching him dance samba, I thought I would lose her forever.

But I was the one who got the last laugh. I strategically positioned myself next to him during his water aerobics class and got to massage his back and hold his hand in the floating ring formation. Snooze you lose, wife.


I was ridiculed by peers for failing to execute a basic backflip maneuver on the trapeze. An Egyptian counselor built like Dwight Howard reportedly observed, “He just needs to… relax.”

Well Egyptian Dwight, maybe at age 33 it’s difficult for me to relax while attempting flips in the sky on a swing built for children and midgets. Spoiler alert, this is how Robin’s entire family died in Batman Forever.

Just relax. That’s like when my aristocratic white buddy kept annihilating me in tennis and had the gall to tell me, “I figured it out, dude. You just need to relax and win.”

Brilliant advice bro, but don’t waste your time on me. You should go solve healthcare with that level of analytical ability. I hate people.


The resort was expansive and nowhere near capacity during offseason. Naturally we had to take the opportunity to make sweet love in a strange spot.

I am not supposed to talk about it, so I will be intentionally vague here. If you’re envisioning a bridge, basketball court and bats, you’re on the right track.


2014 was fun, but now I can definitively say we will never win the World Cup. Everyone plays soccer in Brazil everywhere, from grass to concrete to sand. Instead of volleyball, they kick the ball over the net back and forth. I pulled a hammy just watching.

However, Brazil will never beat us in basketball. The one pickup game I saw featured a young man who unleashed a primal scream every time he missed a shot, which was every time.

I’m not a fan of the charade. If you’re having an off-game, fine. But if you clearly are a bad player, stop reacting as if each miss were an anomaly. You can’t possibly be that mad if it happens every time. I don’t see blind guys throwing a tantrum when they guess wrong in Pictionary.


Standing on top of a mountain in Rio, Christ the Redeemer is a giant statue of Jesus offering a hug. Somehow it slipped my mind to drop a Tebow pose that actually made sense for once.

Alas, I redeemed a second chance when an Argentine woman went missing from our tour group. I went back up the elevator with the tour guide to find her, so concerned about her safety that I made him stop and snap a pic of what I captioned on Instagram as the most contextually relevant Tebow kneel ever.

The woman was fine by the way, waiting at the exit already. She basically was the decoy who set up Tebow’s touchdown pass in overtime to beat the Steelers.


The wifey got me a neon-yellow, semi-transparent-when-wet, Speedo-ish bathing suit to fit in better on Copacabana Beach. I felt pretty sexy in the glorified underwear, although not as special as I would have wearing it in Hermosa Beach.

But still sexy enough to request a photo shoot in it while draining jumpers on an empty basketball court at the resort. I looked pretty good with the overhead lighting and muscle definition yet to be eroded by the rest of the vacation.

Of course I had to try a few full-nude shots. It’s not every day you get to play your favorite sport naked. You have to ask yourself how much you love the game and how close you want to be to it. If only Leonidas had been there to back me down in the post.

That would have merited a thousand pictures, and a thousand words wouldn’t hurt either.



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