Rio de Janeiro

Trip Start Sep 20, 2004
1
37
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Trip End Mar 30, 2005


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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Rio!

Nov 14 - 18

Wow. This city is amazing. We flew from Porto Seguro, changed in Sao Paulo for Rio. We arrived in the airport that is actually in the city center. It was a pretty overcast day, but once we slipped below the clouds, we were in for quite the view. It was very clear and sunny actually. The jungle covered mountain peaks came right out of the sand and water, and the stunning modern city is between the mountains and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The plane flew in this strange corkscrew pattern as we descended and we had several minutes of these amazing views.

We checked into the hotel in Ipanema and promptly made a run for the beaches. I was certainly on the lookout for a itsy-bitsy, tinee-weenie yellow poka dot bikini. We walked all the way up and down the beach. It is a very large beach, especially compared to the smaller beaches that we have been staying at, but very clean and pristine. It was a bit cool that day so we managed to walk along the beach and watch other walkers and runners. Stopped at one of the zillion huts that sells coconuts, beer, and caipirinas right on the beach. Several caipirinas later, we stumbled to the end of the beach to watch the surfers ride these huge waves...trying not to slide into the water from our rocky vantage point.

We walked home from the beach and discovered what is quite possibly the best place to eat and have a chopp (draft beer) ever. We mostly just wanted use of the toilets, but got tempted into having this shrimp cake that was so good it makes my mouth water even now! After several of those, and a steak sandwich to die for, we made it back to the hotel and tumbled into bed.

Nov 15

Today was a holiday in Brazil. But according to the Nigerian guy who sold us sandwiches on the beach, the Brazilians have a holiday every week! The weather was perfect. Sunny and clear with a nice cool breeze off of the ocean.

We rented chairs and tucked right into people watching, sampling the various foods that the roving vendors sell and deciding if we could pick up surfing ... if we really wanted to. The beaches were packed! But somehow we didnīt feel crowded at all. More like right in the thick of things

The best purchase of the day were the chairs...so comfortable and relaxing. The second was Hallumi-type cheese with oregano on a stick and grilled on a mini grill right in front of us. Perfect!

Our books werenīt even touched and it seemed like the 4 hours or so we were on the beach flew by in a whirl of colors and tastes. We didnīt even really swim! The tides and waves were tremendous and we went in shifts down for a cool off. You basically stand right on the edge and then wait for a big wave to come and take you away. It was quite funny to see Lisa standing there on the beach one second and then feet up in the air tossed around like a rag doll the next and then recover with a big laugh and a grin to all of the other people who had the exact same tumble.

We turned our chairs back in and then walked to Copacobana. Not as nice a beach but a lovely walk never the less. When we finally reached the end (4.5km), we decided that it would be amazing to watch the sunset from Sugarloaf -- the mountain that has the cable car and the stunning views of Rio.

Since we walked the 8km or so to where we were, and on the map it wasn't that far, we decided we could walk (thatīs right save the $2 cab fare...) to where you get the cable cars up. 50 minutes later and (damnit) there is a mountain in the way and (damnit) we are going to miss sunset and (damnit) we need to run to make it, we finally got there.

The views are stunning from up there. It was a bit cloudy, so the sunset could have been better, but wow. And then the lights started to twinkle on...

(check out the views: http://www.bondinho.com.br/passeio/passeious.html)


Dinner at Grill 360 at the top of a fancy hotel...nice views, but average food!

Nov 15

Up at the crack of 10:00 ... better than the usual 6:00! And, whew, who got sun yesterday?? We could be locals!

Rainy today so a tour of the town center and lunch and amazing desserts at Confeitaria Colombo. (Check it out: http://www.confeitariacolombo.com.br/) Stunningly beautiful place where the intellegencia used to meet and solve the worldīs problems over coffee and pastry...now pretty much an expensive snapshot of the past, but pretty anyway!

-B
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