When it comes to the spirit of adventure, some people have it and others don’t. Looking at his Amazon trip, Paul Staehle clearly doesn’t.
Recently visited by the cast of both 90 Day Fiancé and The Amazing Race, the state of Amazonas in northwest Brazil is the largest Brazilian state, with an estimated population of 4.1 million people. While the state is largely tropical jungle with many of the smaller cities only accessible via river and waterways, the capital city, Manaus, is a bustling, modern town and the seventh largest city in all of Brazil. Manaus and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer, but when it comes to reality TV, different shows depict very different experiences.
Paul Staehle came into the spotlight when he and his Brazilian girlfriend, Karine, joined the cast of 90 Day Fiancé. When fans were first introduced to this couple, Paul and Karine had never met in person and lived thousands of miles apart in separate countries. Paul didn’t speak a word of Portuguese, and Karine didn’t speak a word of English. Yet, their apparent love prevailed.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Paul planned a trip to meet his future bride in her hometown of Tonantins, Brazil. Tonantins is a smaller city of roughly 17,000 people outside Manaus. But when Paul “planned” his trip, he over-prepared in a nearly hysterical way. Getting to Tonantins required Paul to fly to Manaus and travel down the Amazon river “for several days” by boat. In actuality, the ferry ride is less than one full day. Regardless, Paul could not wrap his head around the lurking dangers he might face on his journey. He bought four standard military footlockers, one standard military duffle bag, and a carry-on, and jam-packed them with all kinds of medicines and gear. He had a heat vest to “help deal with the temperature down there” and a head wrap to “help deal with heatstroke or heat exhaustion.” He also brought many various water filters and full body nets to protect from mosquitoes. In his words, it was “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
But there was one thing Paul took with him that got everyone’s attention – he packed a bunch of condoms in one of those military footlockers, but not for the reason fans might expect. No, those condoms were not intended to be used as prophylactics, but rather to protect him from the possibility of parasitic fish swimming up his urethra. When Paul finally arrived in Tonantins, his nerves did not subside. He continued to worry and fret over every little cultural difference. When Karine, who as a local knows where it’s safe to swim, wanted Paul to go swimming with her, he put on a condom, life vest, and supposedly water-tight pants first. Unfortunately for him, those pants filled up like water balloons. Paul hated the Amazon, but what’s worse than hating it was his inability to even appreciate it. Yes, it made for some very funny content, but it was a sad display of fear from a seriously sheltered young man.
Flash forward a couple of years and reality TV goes to the Amazon again, this time on The Amazing Race season 32, and what a difference was made this time around! Teams raced into Manaus, Brazil excited to see the markets and meet the people. They boarded boats and zoomed down the river, letting the spray and wind slap them in the face as they marveled at what a gift they were receiving in getting to experience this venture into the Amazon. When they were tasked with either building a shelter or making a traditional dish for a local tribe, they gushed again at what an honor it was to be welcomed into the local scene. Each and every team on the Race was beyond excited to be there. They weren’t dressed in net suits, nor were they dragging military footlockers full of gear in their wake.
Though Paul has since returned to Brazil several times, it’s pretty clear that the spirit of adventure moves through some and not others.
Next: How 90 Day Fiancé’s Germaphobe Paul Staehle is Handling the Coronavirus
Bachelorette: Allegations Clare Crawley Kicked Off By Producers Appear False