Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cidade Maravilhosa!

Thank you Derek 
for suggesting that we end our beloved South America Journey
 with the "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City),
more commonly known as
Rio De Janiero

Here we are...
somehow, on the last leg of our trip. 
It's always so unbelievably devastating 
how fast these sort of trips fly by.
You plan, and save, and build all of this enthusiasm for years...
and then, POOF! 
You're on the flight home wondering what day it is 
and how in the hell it's all over already. 
But that's time for ya. 
Always too much when you don't want it,
and never enough when you do. 
She can be a real bitch sometimes.

For now I will just quit whining and pretend like we are still there....

In the lobby of the place where we stayed. 
Bedroom # 2
Aka the dining/living room. It was sort of petite. :) 
Bedroom #1

View from the bedroom window
Indoor patio area

First night we just had some drinks and dinner on the beach.
Copacabana Beach, that is!! 
Caipirinha's (Brazil's national cocktail)
Basically 90% sugar, 10% lime juice.
Esfihas! They are one of my fave things there. And those little custard cups you see... Best Thing Ever!
So funny that the first place we ate in Rio was a middle Eastern place. Habib's is really popular in Rio. 

Witness Derek's first time touching the sand of Copacabana beach. 
He lived in Rio for 2 whole years and never stepped foot on the sand.
So sad....
I had to document it. 

Day one in Rio...

First morning, we woke, had some coffee, cereal, and sweet bread( I adore!). 
Headed out to the boardwalk toward the Jetty,
and what we thought was the correct direction for Sugarloaf. 

They wet the sand so you don't burn your feet. Genius!

Ha ha!! This is just me fawning over a shirtless Derek... he he.  

Oh, Hey look, it's Sugarloaf... 
But guess what, it's still about a 10 minute drive away... 
Yep, we completely went the wrong direction. 
That's alright though... it was worth it to get a far end view of Copacabana. 
Yes, those are a couple of  crazies climbing the side of this giant wall!
Could be fun! :) 
Pictures of Jamie taking pictures... 
Props to Jamie for his mad photo skills catching this dude eat it... 

We hopped in a taxi and finally made it to...
Sugarloaf Mountain

The view from the tram was amazing.

You can see Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)  Statue in the background
We wandered around the first level for a bit. 
Mostly trying to spot a monkey
We had heard that you will see them every once in a while. 
It was really like a beautiful rain forest up there. 

HA!! Look at the concentration and anticipation in our faces.....
Here monkey, monkey.... Come out, come out where ever you are....
LOOK!! There he is!!!

After spotting the monkey we had some lunch and took lots of photos of the lovely view

Here is the original tram. 

Next stop.... the very top of Sugarloaf Mountain!

Tram ride #2
You're welcome for those faces! 
Believe it or not, the view was even better from up there!

Rio really is extraordinary!!

Lizard likes the view too

Just us being dorks....

Carl is a tiny bit afraid of heights...
Farewell great Sugarloaf.
For the record, the guys didn't want to take this photo.... I forced them :) 

Leaving Sugar loaf, 
we took another short taxi over to train station
where you ride up to the Christ Statue

We saw this cool graffiti along the way. 
Then we waited in line....

The ride was through a jungle.
You should be able to get an idea of the height of this statue by the extent of Carl's next. 


 Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) Statue

Don't even worry... 
With all the angles you are about to see of this statue,
 you are going to feel like you were right by my side the whole way. 

View from the Christ Statue mountain

Okay, now about the series of photos below...
I just had to put it in here.
I find it pretty hilarious how well the moment was captured. 

Wow! That is bright!!!...
Derek wins!! I give up! Just please no more...

Ha ha! This is a strange picture...
It's like I am the photo bomber in my own picture.
Yes, we did do this... it happened..
Ooh lala... brace yourselves!!!....
For more Carl model shots!! 

Jamie candids!!

On the way back.... 
we tried so hard to get good seats on the train
But of course, 
we ended up being stuck will millions of school children.

Ha ha!! Jamie looks so happy! :) 
Of course, they loved Derek. They were chatting with him the whole time.
And they were asking if he was with me.. "The pretty blonde" he he. They were so funny! 
These two were our fave!! So cute!

We took buses back to downtown Rio where we were staying
and had some traditional beans and rice meals. 
They usually come with your choice of meat. 
Sounds like something I would not like, 
but I actually love it. The beans there are so yummy
Nothing like boring beans in America.

Acai bowl!! Derek's fave thing in the world! Not really, but kind of.
I, in fact, don't like it at all.
Weird, I know. It's too strong.

Then we had some drinks on the sand
and walked along the boardwalk by moonlight.
Perfect way to end the night

Day two in Rio...

As if it were some sort of South American tradition
 that we were unaware of,
Our second day in Rio greeted us with a market right outside our door,
just like in Sao Paulo.
Happy Kristen!!

Puppy shoes!! Hehe.
We spent the first half of the day at the beach. 
It's pretty much perfect! 
With the exception of the extremely noisy street vendors 
constantly walking up and down the beach
trying to sell anything and everything!
Although I do love buying random things from street markets,
it was super annoying to have them yelling back and fourth all day long. 

Jamie and his sand castle

After we had had enough of the sun for a while,
we went back to our place
and got cleaned up. 

On our way to the subway station
we grabbed some grub at a quaint, sidewalk restaurant. 

Moments before....
I experienced my "most embarrassing moment" of the trip. 
There is always one.... and this was mine. 
Granted it was not as bad as the "Euro Trip embarrassing moment", 
it certainly wasn't one of my more charming moments. 
Just walking along...
I jammed my whole foot into this low cement plant box,
flew face first into Carl's butt, while gasping in pain and surprise!
It was like I had my eyes closed or something. 
To top it off, I just started crying right there in the middle of the sidewalk,
in front of everyone. 
Don't get me wrong, it hurt like hell, but I think they were mostly tears of embarrassment
They throbbed for the rest of the day... and we had A LOT of walking ahead of us. 

Luckily, we were right in front of the place we planned to eat at.
So, I had a cerveza and one of my favorite meals of the trip, 
to take the pain and embarrassment away.
The most delicious and flavorful beans with various meats you have ever had!
On top of rice and collard greens. 
It's so much better than it looks. 
Plus I just adored the cute dishes they served it in. 

We hopped on the subway on our way to the city center. 


The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian
It looks a little strange from the outside, but it is all gorgeous stained glass on the inside.
It certainly is one of the more modern looking cathedrals that I have ever visited. 
Nice change of pace. 

Walking around the center of the city was really interesting.
We had a couple "Twilight Zone" moments,
where we all noticed that there was no one around. 
The city was often silent and empty. 
Derek said that it was usually buzzing with people,
so we are still not quite sure why it was abandoned.
But it was sort of fun to have it to ourselves. 

One of my favorite things about Brazil, and especially Rio,
were all the colorful buildings scattered about.
These bright, newly painted buildings 
would be right next to and sometimes attached to, old broken down buildings
It was really odd, but somehow fascinating
Almost like it was some far away land out of an imaginary fairy tale. 

This pink masterpiece below
was one of my absolute favorites!
It is such a magnificent building,
but is now covered in boarding, graffiti, weeds, and netting. 
She is a hot mess...
But you can tell that she was once the fairest on the block. 

Maybe they will fix her someday......
Just a cool red building. 
I could not stop staring at this building.
They are the SAME and the OPPOSITE at the same time.
Hopefully the sad guy on the right is next in line for a life upgrade. 

Now don't freak out...
but look at the terrifying amount of little Kanga-gopher-rats
I captured in this one photo!!!
And there were so many more!
It is a good thing they are behind bars...
because I think they plan to take over the world. 

Kind of cute... Kind of not. 

These poor kitties got locked in with them.
At least the Siamese guy knows whats up.
He is panicked! 

Caipirinha stop!!
In the "must see" town of Lapa.
We were heard of Lapa from one of our Couch Surfers, Luiza. 
She had stayed with us quite a few months back, 
and we were trying to meet up with her while in town. 
Unfortunately, communication is way too difficult there, 
and we never got to see her. 


Sleepy faces in the subway station.
We needed some dinner. 

And dinner is what we got!
In a dreamy little place called....
We had dinner at this awesome place called Devassa.
It was jammed packed inside and out,
but it was such a fun place to be with all the locals
We considered this our fancy dinner. 
So we went all out!

Jamie got the Famous Steak with a Hat. 
Derek got his favorite.... Stroganoff!!
It was soooo good!
Passion Fruit and Kiwi Mojitos! 

Ipanema Beach

uh.. I don't really know... Traveling together for weeks on end... gets difficult. 

Day three in Rio...

We sadly said farewell to our beloved Japanese friend, Jamie. 

Jamie decided to bust out this masterpiece on the last of day of his trip...
days after we left Peru.
Total fail. 
And then, 
we enjoyed some very classy, Bob's burgers and fries (South American version of Mcidies)
Don't judge us. 
We were getting a little homesick by then.
And Derek told us we had to try the Ovalmatine shake
Somebody please bring them to the states!! 
And while you're at it, bring Ovalmatine spread from Switzerland too. 
Derek and I are addicts. 

We spent the majority of our last day with Carl in 
Which is Derek's favorite city in Brazil. 
He has told me so much about it. 
It is so beautiful
Except for the super curvy bus ride it takes to get to it. 
I really thought I was going to lose it this time. 

Derek got me some dolce de leche Popcorn!!
I die!! It is so good! Molasses popcorn with sweetened condensed milk poured over it. 

Horses and carriages are all over the city

Catedral de Petrópolis

baby bananas

                                                         Museu Imperial (Imperial Palace)

This was a man's house....
Why? Why make a face like that?? Just smile... it's not that hard....

We did have our favorite spot to continually stop in
for cerveza and coffee throughout the day. 

This was the table we sat at.... I would count the VW bugs.. :)

 Here is Derek reading about the 
Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace)

It is quite gorgeous.
We performed on stage.... for each other... ha!

We sunbathed... not really... ha! We're dorks! 

Apparently, Derek has this same photo 
 taken when he was on his mission. 
He's sort of immature :) 

At the train station... a little early,
we tried something fun while we were waiting..
It was a little strange... but not bad. 

When we got back to Copacabana...
we were starving
and there was only one thing that we had been talking about the whole trip
that we hadn't had the chance to try yet. 
A Rodizio De Pizza!!
Basically a pizza buffet....
but they bring the different kinds around to your table,
like a churrascaria,
 and you can take as much as you want. 
There were some pretty cool toppings,
 and the dessert pizzas were so fun!! 
Below is picture of the cinnamon, caramelized banana one. 

Day four in Rio...

Continuing our "juice and smoothies for breakfast" tradition...
We walked to our favorite juice spot and had the three faves:
Passion Fruit, Avocado, and Banana Oatmeal. 

Today, Carl was leaving us...
So we decide to have one last beach day to end his trip. 


Cerveza at the bus stop...

Some Rio style Super Troopers to entertain... 

Off to Boston he goes...
These amazing sandcastles were everywhere... 
Der and I snuck in and wandered around the Copacabana Hotel... until they got suspicious of us...
and then we used the restrooms and ran out.. ha ha! We are so classy. 
I would see this green bug everywhere... 

Being the last two survivors of the South American Adventure...
we spent our last few hours just walking around Copacabana,
seeing a little more of the more local life. 
We came across this pretty big, indoor mall
that we walked around for a while. 

This was like a mini Anthropologie/antique shop...
So perfect!! 
I wanted to live there.

I fell in love with this shop!! 
So wacky and vintage
But I sort of pushed my boundaries and got scolded for taking this photo.
Apparently he was worried that I was going to go home
 and open up a shop with all of his ideas... 
I WISH! Ha ha!

We had lunch on the side walk, 
right next to a car and a trash can. 
Ha!! Still livin' the classy life. 
But I didn't mind at all...
Possibly because there was this really drunk man
insisting that I was some Brazilian actress the whole time. 
Flattering I guess. :)

Tight roping is a very common skill around there

So long Rio...
You will be missed!
Park across the street from our place.
Our last Brazilian sunset.
As we were traveling to the airport,
Derek began to complain about his foot/ankle itching and hurting.
I thought... Oh he's just being a baby. 

Well, he continued to mention it the whole flight back to the states. 
By the time we got to the Miami, Florida airport,
he could barely walk on it. 
Completely limping.

Look how swollen! 
Turns out it was just a pissed off bug bite, or 15 of them! 
Luckily, it went down the next day.
We almost headed to the emergency
because it elevated so quickly. 

Derek will get mad at me for saying this...
Don't scratch your damn bug bites until they bleed!!! 
They get infected! 
Tough it out!
It's called Mind over matter, you babies! :) 
Love you Der... hehe. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Getting home, was a bit of a journey in itself...

We flew out around 9:00 pm from Rio, 
took an overnight flight to Miami
got delayed,
 flew to Houston
missed our connection because of the delay in Miami, 
and therefore had to wait 6 hours for the next flight.
 We finally ate some food at a sports bar and caught a flight to SLC.  
We got home at around 11:00 pm the next day
 All told it was something like 32 hours of travel. 
All the while, Derek was limping with a giant backpack on!
Good times....

At least I got this pretty shot while waiting on the plane in Miami. 

As always, what started out to be a never ending journey,
has come to an inevitable finish. 
A sad as I am to close this chapter of our lives,
we will always have the experiences and memories to take with us,
and now we can focus on our next adventure!

Goodbye South America!!  
For now.....

April 25th