Saturday, January 01, 2011

Rio in the Rain

We left sunny Salvador on Monday evening and were welcomed in Rio de Janeiro that night by a heavy rainstorm and suffocating humidity. After an animated discussion with a few cabbies about outrageously priced taxi rides, we were able to split a more reasonable taxi with a local headed in our same direction. On the way to our Bed & Breakfast the taxi broke down with a clutch problem. Did I mention it was pouring? We waited until another taxi would stop and take us the rest of the way to our destination perched high among the steep hills of Santa Teresa. It was late and had been a long travel day and we found our accommodations less than desirable, which added to the exhaustion. I teased Gina that she has lost her dare-devil backpacking spirit. She didn't argue. The next morning after a shower and breakfast we were determined to put Rio to the test. 

Our first outing in Rio was to take the trolley car or bonde (pronounced BON-jee) to the Centro. In all seriousness, it felt like a Disneyland ride complete with all the sharp jerks and squeaks and bumps (excluding the warning to keep your hands inside the ride). Good times.

It rained on and off during the 4 days we spent in Rio which thankfully helped to keep temperatures down. We purchased a cheap R$5 umbrella off the street and didn't let the rain stop us from doing everything on our must-see list. The umbrella lasted exactly 4 days and broke just before we left.
We headed first to the beach to walk along the Ipanema boardwalk and get our feet wet. Even on an overcast day the beaches here draw huge crowds. I love being in Brazil as a non-missionary with my sweetheart.
@ "The Girl from Ipanema" Park, Ipanema Beach
That afternoon we went to the Confeiteria Colombo for tea and scrumpets. Seriously, we had tea and scrumpets. And the more times I can say tea and scrumpets, the better. I think this was a highlight for both of us, but in particular Gina. It's basically a giant specialty bakery with glass cases filled with every kind of yummy thing imaginable. It's in a beautiful old building with huge framed mirrors and a stained glass ceiling. Gina loved everything from the design of the menu to the black and white gingham aprons the waiters wear, and of course the scrumpets.

Later in the afternoon it began to rain again and didn't let up the rest of the night. We mostly stayed in the Centro and hopped from store to store in the shopping district. Eventually we found ourselves at a McDonalds where we could sit for a while and plan out the next few days over a shared McFlurry (pronounced McFlu-hee). Seriously, anywhere in the world McDonalds is often the saving grace for simply a clean place to sit and use a bathroom. That night we took the bus back to Santa Teresa, another adventure. Everything is an adventure here. Sometimes the busses stop, sometimes they don't, and the drivers in Rio are absolutely no help with directions. 


Lisa P. said...

What an awesome vacation. I am so glad that you guys decided to go on this adventure. Happy New Year!!

Marriott said...

Thanks for the pics and posts ... I'm stoked you guys went downt there, and glad I could just mentally "check-out" and enjoy a virutal vacation!

Natlee Lloyd said...

How exciting! I am so happy you guys did this adventure, and I too took a virtual vaction. Where are we off to next?