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Exploring Rio de Janerio

View 11 months around the world on geldere's travel map.

I have to admit, before arriving in Rio, I had some preconceived notions about the city, some good and some bad. I’d heard that Rio was a fun city, but I was also worried that we’d be robbed/stabbed from reading some of these guide books. Rio may have its fair share of problems, including crime, but by staying out of the favelas (the poorest parts of town) and keeping an eye out you really shouldn’t have any problems (and I realized my irrational fear was unfounded)
Rio is a visually spectacular city. Nestled between the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, dramatic mountains and lush forests, the landscape is jaw-dropping. We stayed at the Lemon Spirit, a funky hostel with a great backpacker infrastructure located in Ipanema, one of the nicest parts of Rio conveniently located one block from the beach.

We spent half-a-day walking along Atlantic Avenue - amazing people watching. On that day, a front passed through Rio and, as a result, there were some insane waves. The waves crashed into the seawall and pushed sand all the way onto Atlantic Avenue- even the surfers stayed out of the water. I found it amusing that along the beach there were areas of specific micro cultures. For instance, Posto 9 (lifeguard station number 9) was where the young and beautiful hang out, while there were similar sections where the gay population and families congregated.


For some down time, we decided to watch a movie while in Rio. The movie theater was conveniently located right around the corner from our hostel. We saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 3D- not a great movie, but entertaining. Watching a movie abroad provides an easy opportunity for a cultural comparison: the movie was in English with Portuguese subtitles, in Brazil you get assigned a seat (like G34), and everyone applauds at the end of the movie which were noted as differences from what we’re used to.

We spent one evening in Rio watching a professional football (i.e., soccer) match between two Brazilian teams (we rooted for the home team of course). Football is life in Brazil, if not in all of South America. You can’t find a green space or beach where someone isn’t playing. You can check out the home team, Velasco, scoring a penalty shot on the opposing team here. FYI – Rio is hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Aside from the beaches, Rio has several famous sites that we visited on a group tour. Probably the most famous is Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), an enormous statue of Christ which overlooks the city.
We also stopped at Escadaria de Selaron, which is Rio’s famous staircase. The staircase was designed by an eccentric Chilean artist who, since 1990, has been covering 215 steps with over 2,000 tiles from 120 countries (he personally purchased most of the tiles as souvenirs while traveling abroad – we need to find something smaller and lighter to collect). We managed to find two Florida tiles. The staircase was featured in a Snoop Dog video and apparently recently visited by Oprah.
Lastly, we made it to the top of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) for sunset. After my initial nausea wore off from the cable-car-hanging-from-a-mountain-by-a-cord transfer, we enjoyed a spectacular view of Rio and its surroundings.


Next stop, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil (a 22-hour bus ride from Rio)…

Posted by geldere 18:13 Archived in Brazil

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Hey Guys, Great to hear from you! Always remember to call home! All is well hee. Patty has graduated from Med school;TJ is busy with work; He and Patty have a new dog named Bully and he is adorable. Teresa is moving on to 2nd grade; Robert is headed to 1st grade and Dillon gets on the bus for Kindergarten next year! We begin camp for 3 days a week beginning @ June 20th! Uncle John is getting ready for another Graduation at his school and closing up shop for another school year. It is around this time of year that he begins to ask me to remind him why he left Retirement for this? Johny is now living in Bryn Mawr,PA! Has 2 room mates so all seems good. Me, I am getting ready to meet the bus and get my new family off and in the house to do homework! God must have a sense of humor!
We miss you and hope you are well and safe! You know me, be cautious and aware at all times and STICK TOGETHER!!! We love you! What a BEAUTIFUL WEDDING!!Remember to pray each day and be thankful for all of the blessings you have received! God Bless and Keep you!

by John M Walsh

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