Brazil – The Low Down Adventure
Fucking Brazil. Like the ex that you always fall for and haven’t been able to let go. The mad chemistry draws you in… There’s so much to love about him and then there’s a whole lot more that’s wrong. It always seems to end bad but your selective memory only remembers the good – until it’s too late. I’m twisted for Brazil.
Every trip to Brazil has been full of so much crazy and bad. Like the entire shipment not arriving from our first Brazil sourcing trip! This time I was determined to kill the run of bad luck. I headed to a city new to me – Rio. But the stream of crazy started before I even landed! Delays and a diverted flight led to a missed connection and an unplanned 24 hours in Dallas. Two days into the trip and I still hadn’t stepped foot in Rio.
And the crazy in Brazil? It found me. A beggar-being-chased-by-a-drunk kind of crazy. The beggar pulled me close to protect himself. But shield I am not. I pulled free and jumped outta the way. It was the 2nd night in a row where I was the beeline for crazy. WHY??
Why do I always wanna head back to Brazil? ‘Cause so much magic happens despite each trip leavin’ me a bit broken. This trip a chance meeting led to a full day of awesome. A new friend, Romã, and I went from museum to museum with detours along the way. We discovered art, we stumbled across a group of elders jammin’ to samba in a park. The night ended so right. We went to Urca, grabbed beers from the corner bar, and sat on the stone wall discussin’ everything and anything. So totally Carioca.
And then there’s Ewa. A new friend turned-instant-BFF. We’ve already begun planning for her to visit me in Seattle! I met Ewa and her husband because I booked a room at their posada. It didn’t take long for us to connect – I was chattin’ them up about design before I even dropped all my bags. We spent most days together hittin’ every papelaria in Rio and snapping photos. Our nights always ended with beers – sometimes on her stoop, sometimes sittin’ on the street across from the corner bar (so many countries do public drinkin’ right!).
I also made instant friends with a family that own the first papelaria we hit. Snatched up their entire inventory of limited-edition Brazil World Cup BIC pens and worked with them to secure the super rad stencil sets.
We could of ordered from a large shop, where everyone had matching shirts rockin’ the company logo. One quick call and they were able to confirm the inventory we needed, in the time required. Did we choose the easier option? No. We worked with the small mom-and-pop shop with signage so old, you can’t even make out the business name. It took three days and daily visits, sometimes more than one, going out of our way to check-in. The odds never felt good but I was bankin’ on them. I wanted them to pull through. Not just because I wanted to bring home the rad goods for RAHstrs. We’re a small biz and our community of RAHstrs support us – we wanna help the small mom-and-pop shops that become part of our community. Once the deal was closed, the grandmother brought out a celebratory shot of strong, sweet coffee. BOOM!
Rio is a clash of intense passion and super chill. One moment you’re locked in a heated conversation and the next you’re relaxin’ on the beach. It’s this mix that continues to have a hold on me. I’m headed back to Rio. I’ll swing through even if it’s only for a night whenever I’m down in South America. It seems foolish, really, given all the crazy. But I guess I’m a sucker for punishment. I may be pushin’ my luck, but I can’t help it. I’ll always be bankin’ on Brazil.