• Menu

These Rarely Mentioned and Much Less Glamorous Travel Moments

I’ve heard it was very cold in Ottawa this week. Winter weather plus the whole pandemic thing still going on and new restrictions are making life complicated and not exactly fun.

I get it, I’m annoying. I’m posting pictures of the three of us exploring amazing beaches, I seem to be living in my bikini, and I sound pretty relaxed.

But obviously, this is the “edited” version of life. I’m not Photoshopping pictures or trying to look cool, I’d just rather share happy moments. I’ll spare you the many pictures of Mark sulking (“Smiling isn’t cool,” apparently) or the many hours spent trying to figure out where to go and when because exploring the world requires tedious prep work.

Yes, I’m happy to be travelling. But it’s probably time to share a few of these less glamorous moments…

It does rain in Brazil and yes, it can get… colder

There’s a reason why Brazil is so green and why strange mini-trees grow on other giant, mysterious trees—it rains often and it can rain a lot.

Last Sunday, we drove to Balneário Camboriú because it was too chilly and too rainy for any of the beaches on Santa Catarina Island. Balneário Camboriú is a popular summer destination among South Americans, but we’ve always found it pretty weird because 1) nobody knows for sure what the city’s name means 2) the skyline and the many skyscrapers make me feel like I’m in Hong Kong 3) it’s a “replica” of Rio de Janeiro with a Cristo Redentor (the local version lit up at night!) and Avenida Atlântica like the avenue along Copacabana. It’s… both a somewhat tacky and picturesque place.

Anyway, it was raining harder in Balneário Camboriú than in Florianópolis, so bad idea. We ended up getting soaked and I was cold.

It rained the following day in Florianópolis as well and it was pouring when we arrived in São Paulo on Wednesday. Trust me, when it rains in Brazil, the 10 reais guarda chuva (umbrella) you’ll buy from a street vendor isn’t going to help much.

Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
Rainy day in Balneário Camboriú
... and more rain in  Barra da Lagoa, Florianópolis
… and more rain in Barra da Lagoa, Florianópolis
... and more rain in  Barra da Lagoa, Florianópolis
… and more rain in Barra da Lagoa, Florianópolis

COVID test, yes, even in Brazil…

“Aren’t you supposed to study for like 10 years before doing COVID tests?”

“I did graduate from university! Okay, I studied Chinese, not medicine… but look, these antigen tests are made in China, I’m sure my degree is going to help!”

In Ingleses, Mark got what we call a “stomach booboo” with the definitely not glamorous symptoms you can imagine. He was feeling fine the following day and we weren’t sick, but since Feng had brought the three rapid screening tests Mark’s school had handed out before Christmas, I decided to test him, just in case.

He was negative and he was feeling fine 24 hours later—I figured Canasvieras beach water quality wasn’t great and he was probably overtired at this stage of the trip.

COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by "I ain't a doctor!" mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
COVID antigen test by “I ain’t a doctor!” mommy, Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho

Ever heard of “cooking, the extreme edition”?

I open the bedroom door carefully because it squeaks.

Wait. It doesn’t squeak.

Oh, right, the squeaky hinge was at the other place—this door opens smoothly but it doesn’t close well. 

You know how each place has a few quirks? Like a special way to get the hot water running, to open the sleeper sofa, to turn appliances on and off, etc. “Oh, there’s a trick to it!” Well, when you travel, you have to learn fast and find the never-mentioned trick.

“Is the shower okay?” “How did you do for the stove?” “How did you manage to set the temperature?” These are common questions Feng and I ask each other—we’re not 18-year-old kids home alone for the first time, it’s just that we know every place will have something not working or puzzling. The shower flooded in Bombinhas, the upstairs apartment leaked water in Florianópolis, the “quick wash” cycle took hours in Ingleses… and the list goes on. No big deal, we can adapt.

Cooking can be tricky, though. Every few days, I’m making dinner in a completely different kitchen—different cookware (giant strainer in Inglese, great frying pan in Florianópolis, heavy-bottomed pots, etc.), different stoves, different layouts… It’s fun but I’m never quite sure how good my food will be because cooking time has to be adjusted.

This is the masochist part of travelling, bumming around, borrowing apartments, cars, cities for a day or a week and figuring them out.

Kitchen in our first Florianópolis Airbnb
Kitchen in our first Florianópolis Airbnb
Kitchen in Bombinhas
Kitchen in Bombinhas
Kitchen in second Florianópolis Airbnb
Kitchen in second Florianópolis Airbnb
Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
Kitchen in Ingleses do Rio Vermelho
Kitchen in our third Florianópolis Airbnb
Kitchen in our third Florianópolis Airbnb
Broccoli and pão de queijo in Florianópolis
Broccoli and pão de queijo in Florianópolis

See? It’s not just beaches and blue sky…

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

10 comments