October 27, 2022

RGB Tour: Sao Paulo

For anyone interested in the backstory, the planning that led to me seeing Hanson in Brazil went something like this:

"So flights to Brazil are cheap right now. What if we went there?"
"Haha yeah, that would be wild."

And then, just out of curiosity (traveling fan famous last words right there), I looked up how much a flight to Brazil would cost me since it was relatively cheap for my friend. The answer was too much, but then I looked up rewards travel, and I had over double the amount of air miles needed for a RT ticket. Instead of paying $2,000, I could use miles and pay just $40 in taxes. Honestly, how could I not

After we had our concert tickets and our main flights to Brazil, we started researching things to do and places to sightsee. One place that kept jumping out to me on every list was a place called IguaƧu Falls, which is the largest waterfall system in the world with 275 drops spanning 1.7 miles around the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Unfortunately, it wasn't near any of the cities we were planning to visit, and while we did have two days off between shows, the flights were too expensive and too time consuming to really justify the extra trip. I let that dream die and decided to make the most of each city instead.

Then, just a few weeks before we left, I stumbled onto a comment that said the falls were only a 1.5 hr flight from Sao Paulo. We were only coming in one day ahead of the concert, and I didn't really want to sacrifice seeing the city and rolling up just in time for the show, but my travel partner introduced an important question that had never occurred to me: Could we fly to Iguacu falls and back in one day and still have the entire day of the concert to see Sao Paulo? 

So we did a super crazy thing that had about dozen different ways it could have gone wrong and ruined all of our plans, but magically it did not. Our 10 hour flight into Sao Paulo landed at 5:15am on the 14th. We then caught a taxi to our hotel, dropped off our luggage, caught an Uber right back to the same airport, boarded a 9:30am flight with a different airline, spent about seven hours seeing the Brazil half of the falls, then flew right back to Sao Paulo on a third airline to a different airport around 7:30pm. I don't actually know how I got off of a 5:15 am flight after around 22 hours of travel/layovers and then got on another flight and hiked an elevated mile or two, but I have zero regrets. The views of those falls were worth every ounce of stress and exhaustion.

In addition to the hike, we booked a boat ride that took us out into the river surrounded by lush green rainforest and falls on every side. I could practically hear the Jurassic Park theme song in my head and felt like we were floating right into a different world. No amount of rain gear or planning could have kept us from getting fully drenched, but not only did I get to see Iguacu falls, I got to go straight into them. I'd do it again a thousand times over.

We used up every moment before doors the day of the show wandering Sao Paulo and trying to make the most of our limited time in the city. We walked around Avenida Paulista, got a few pairs of Havaianas from the flagship store, and left behind some of the cutest swimsuits I've ever seen because I hardly expected to see the best options of the trip in the first store I walked into. Lesson learned.

Our last stop was Ibirapuera Park, where I attempted to order a Coke, and our waiter repeated back something that sounded like "Cocoa?" I nodded, because honestly I'd drink whatever they bring me, so with a 50% chance I'm about to be served hot chocolate, I just went along with it. We get our food, my friend gets her drink, and a lot of time passes without me getting a beverage. I decided to give up and find a drink elsewhere later when it finally came. We died laughing.

Not-so-pro-tip: Apparently "Coco" is Portuguese for "Coconut." A fact I now know.

We showed up at the venue just before doors to the largest line I have ever seen at a Hanson show. It took us several blocks of walking to even find the end of it, and every inch we walked was covered in semi-aggressive bootleg merch vendors. I have never seen anything like it and wish I could have taken a photo or video to capture the scene. They REALLY wanted me to have a light up flashing RGB cup on a lanyard, okay? In the end we bought RGB ribbons to tie around our heads because it felt wrong not to join in the festivities, and the lady that sold them to us only raised the price by R$5 when she realized we were American. I'm in no way fluent, but I know what's happening when you say "cinco" in one sentence and then hold up ten fingers when you realize I speak English. I'll consider it a foreign transaction fee.

We entered the venue to the widest front row I have ever seen in my life and managed to get on a corner of it on Taylor's side way past the piano. If I only have one takeaway from doing the Brazilian shows, it's that going to a show in Brazil is like attending a Sing-a-long version of a Hanson concert. Everyone was singing loudly almost the entire time, and I actually loved it. You could feel the passion and the love in the room, and it was exciting to be part of it. There's also something really unique and special about standing in a crowd of people you can't easily communicate with, but the moment the music starts, that all falls away and is replaced with a connection that transcends any language barrier. Music really is a universal language.

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