Bye bye Brazil ... sigh ... but the funny thing?  For the first time that I can <i>ever </i>remember, I'm finishing up a trip without wanting more - strangely, I'm actually looking <i>forward </i>to going home, rather than <i>dreading </i>it.  What's happening to me?!??!?!?!  Where did the vagabond backpacker go, the one who always wanted to keep on traveling until his feet turned into giant football-sized blisters?  Could this mark some turning point in my life?  Has the wandering hobo finally had that epiphany, finally seen that sign from the Universe telling him that it's time to stop this silliness?  Bah!  That's just stupid talk!
Brazil kicked my ass.  Of the +45 other countries I have visited, none of them can make such a bold claim.  And not only did Brazil kick my ass, it stomped it into little bits.  Dancing to the tune of the samba.  While wearing soccer cleats.  And fio dental.  Then it lit the remains of my ass on fire and barbecued some good ol' churrasco over it.  And tried to extinguish the flames with some caipirinhas and caipiroscas, but those things are pure alcohol, so the fire grew even bigger.  So they ate some more picanha and danced some more samba, just because it's Brazil, and that's what Brazilians do.  Then they finally put out the fire with some guava and passion fruit juice, when they were exhausted from all the partying and ass-kicking.  But somebody brought out some energizing acai and Brazil said "Let's kick his ass again!  Because we are Brazilian!!!  And because we can!!!  Now we samba some more!!!"
I leave Brazil completely exhausted ... truth be told, the first ten days of the trip were pretty crazy and hectic, and I never recovered.  The heat, the sun, the long travel distances, the late nights, the lack of sleep, the recovery from the Yellow Fever symptoms and food poisoning ... it all caught up to me so quickly and came crashing down on my head in an instant, leaving me with the biggest Brazilian hangover.  I'm getting too old for this shit!  Can somebody tell me where to buy a time machine so that I can go back to a time where I could still handle all this???
I want to go home.  I want to sleep in my big, beautiful bed.  Under a thick goose down duvet, because it's nice and cool in my condo, and not 28 degrees and humid.  I want to have a nice hot shower because it's cold out, not a cold shower that is necessary to cool down my body temperature before it reaches heat stroke levels.  I want to sit on my sofa and do absolutely nothing.  I want to stare at the TV until my eyes glaze over and look like donuts!
Brazil, you've won!  You've broken me down like no other country has ever done before!  But I definitely need to admit that Brazil is an awesome country - it's not all pretty like the Caribbean, but it's a great backpacker destination for that very reason.  It's beautiful, but a little rough around the edges.  And though I've already said this many times, it needs to be repeated - I've never been to another country where music is so intertwined with daily life.  If you take the pulse of Brazilian culture, it's not the sound of a beating heart you will hear but rather, the sound of a beating drum!  Nightclubs, dance clubs, clubs devoted to every type of Brazilian music, clubs devoted to every type of music in existence, all kinds of live music venues ... if you love music, Brazil is the place to be.
Brazil isn't meant for the fast-paced traveler like myself - it's meant to be savoured, so quickly bouncing from place to place really doesn't allow you to fully appreciate what this country has to offer.  The month I spent here was nothing in a country so vast, a country with so much to see.  Chupada da Diamantina, Pipa, Jericoacoara ... so many great out-of-the-way places that I missed, so many places that weren't possible to visit given such limited time.  This first trip was a good introduction to the country - planning an itinerary for my next time in Brazil will be a breeze!  The Amazon, the World Cup, some beautiful little beach towns ... it'll be killer!
So, the final verdict on Brazil?  It's definitely worth a return visit and is one of the top countries I have visited, but sorry Patricia - as good as Brazil is, it's still not quite as good as the greatest country in the world and my favourite, Spain!  While the beautiful sound of samba makes you want to get up and dance, the beautiful sound of Spanish senoritas and their rolled double 'R's makes you drop to your news and cry tears of joy.  It's OK Brazil ... how could you compete with that?  But no worries - you'll still always hold a special place in my heart as Spain's wilder, Portuguese-speaking cousin!
Now it's time to pick a song for the trip - typically for these wintertime getaways, it's not a song with any deep meaning.  Usually, it's a song I heard and liked during the trip.  A suitable choice would have been Stomae's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHoT4N43jK8">Alors On Danse</a>, a catchy but bland and repetitive dance tune that a few of us laughed about, because it was being played everywhere despite being so bad, and because it's sung in French, which probably nobody understood.  Instead, I'm going with Coheed and Cambria's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLFtM4GIRA4">Here We Are Juggernaut</a>, which was chosen despite having absolutely nothing to do with Brazil, because simply put, it's a killer song and I love listening to it!  And if there's anything I learned after traveling through beautiful Brazil for a month, it's that life is all about enjoying yourself and doing what feels good - it's the Brazilian way!     <b>Here We Are Juggernaut</b>
<i>Coheed And Cambria</i>
Keep your secrets in the dark Nothing matters anymore Body's breaking, drive me crazy This is not your place No, this is not your playground it's my heart
We were stupid, we got caught But nothing matters anymore So what? Here we are Juggernaut
Courage broken lashed to scars Can this love be what I want? Body's breaking, driving me crazy It's your fault!
We were stupid we got caught But nothing matters anymore So what, here we are Juggernaut
So let's hang us a hangman We'll bury our burdens in blood So hang us a hangman We'll bury our burdens in blood Become stronger Juggernaut
Answer me "Did we take this too far?" You've given all I could need "Did we take this too far?" Oh, but your kiss won't leave me be "Did we take this too far?" Cause your teeth just won't stop Chewing out my heart!
We were stupid we got caught Nothing matters anymore So what? Here we are Juggernaut! Here we are Juggernaut! We are Juggernaut!
Why, why, why?