Brazil anyone?

Enough mystery… in case you didn’t guess it (or I haven’t already told you), I will be traveling around Brazil for the first several months of 2013.  I’ve been obsessed with Brazil for years and almost visited in 2006, but it fell through and then I got sidetracked with other travels.

 I’m glad it didn’t work out then since the trip was only going to be for a week or so.  Now I will get to spend at least a couple of months in Brazil to explore and learn how to live like a local.  

The current plan is to live in Rio de Janiero for a while and then Sao Paulo and travel around to all of the other awesome places in Brazil.  I’ve already gotten a few good recommendations from a SoCal skater transplant from Brazil, but I am always open to suggestions.

Has anyone been to Brazil lately?  I typically avoid the over-hyped touristy sights and prefer to get to know the culture and way of life.  Anything I must see or do (besides surf as much as possible)?  

I will be there from mid January to mid April or May.  I prefer warm weather and warm water surf, so please help if you have any inside info or if you know any Brazilian soap operas I can watch to try to pick up Portuguese in the next 2 months.

Passa o açúcar, por favor?