Kindness of strangers and other tales from Rio!

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Nov 09, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yesterday we arrived in Rio and as we were deboarding the plane I started chatting with a gentleman from Lafayette who travels to Rio quite often.  He was very worried about us and kept telling us how dangerous Rio was and how not to accept any offers for rides, go out after dark, etc--then I asked how we should get to the Marriott Copacabana and he says "that is where I am going, you can have a ride with me!" Not only did this save us ~$50US for a taxi, but it saved us any worries about getting an "official" taxi, getting hoodwinked or whatever other bad stuff could happen!  And as we were riding along, he gave me a laminated  "picture translator" that his company hands out to employees traveling (oil business in Rio is booming).  I´ve enclosed a photo of something I found hilarious-- on the types of food you could point to, there is a photo of a frog.  Is that really so popular around the world????  hahahahaha I guess it is!  Wonder if I´ve eaten one already?

As a Marriott Gold member (thank you, Chevron!) not only did we use our points to get free nights at the Marriott, we also get access to the VIP lounge, which offers complimentary breakfast, beer and wine at happy hour and all day waters, sodas, coffee and snacks!  But we did wander out to the beach yesterday and there are little stands set up with draught beer ("chopp" in Portuguese) and snacks.  We ate some empanada-like snacks called "saltados" that are basically fried dough with dried meat or cheese inside.  They were yummy and great with beer!  The beach is a hub-bub of activity, locals playing some sort of combination soccer/volleyball (kicking, heading the ball back and forth over the net - no hands), and all walks of life "hanging out" (unfortunately some hanging out of their swimsuits in unappetizing ways-heheheee!!!)  The waves are huge but no one venturing too far out as apparently the undercurrent is quite treacherous. 

Then, we returned to our hotel for happy hour, washed some clothes (and hung them with my McGyver-kit clothes line!) and then went to bed--- 15 hours later we awoke alive, healthy and ready for day 2 in Brazil!

We were planning to leave Rio on Tuesday, but a little snafu with our credit cards has required us to stay a few more days.  Our updated cards didn´t arrive to Houston before we left, so our neighbors and wonderful friends (hi Eric & Lisa!) were going to wait for their arrival and then FedEx them to us. Turns out that Wednesday is a holiday in Brazil so we won´t get them until EOB Thursday, so here we are until Friday!  Today´s mission was about finding a place to stay--lovely as the Marriott is, $315/night is overbudget!!  so, we found a place in our Rough Guide and trudged over to see if they had availability.  Bamboo Rio is about 3 blocks off the beach (the Copacabana Marriott is ON the beach btw) and they didn´t have anything until Wednesday.  So, we booked that for 2 nights and were able to cash in Jeff´s Marriott points (thank you, HP!) for Tuesday night!  This all puts us in a time crunch for getting to the farm in Argentina by Feb 1--so once we figure that out we´ll write about it!

Once we had places to sleep for the week, we were free to go find some food.  We ended up at a seafood place and ate some DELICIOUS shrimp and rice.  It was butterflied (head on) and panfried and the rice was mixed with broccoli and spinach.  We were having a lovely time, and then I got up to go to the ladies´room, and when I came back, I see the off-duty waiter who had served us sitting at our table talking to Jeff.  The first thing he says is something along the lines of how lucky Jeff is to have a youngster like me at his side ;)  Somehow between my Spanish and his rough English we are able to communicate and he asks if we would practice English with him and walk along the beach.  Well, of course I am skeptical but I figure it is still daylight and turns out he is a wonderful family man who really did just want to practice his English! So, we spend an hour or so talking to him and having a few beers and then we call it a night!

Tomorrow we´ll go see sugarloaf mountain and the giant Jesus statue and figure out how we are going to get to Iguazu Falls!
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Victoria on

Love reading your blogs Tam. So funny! Nice to be living vicariously through you and Jeff.

bakpaknbizclass on

Thanks, Vic! Fun to write!! I still can´t believe it!! :)

Julie Brunker on

Hi Guys
So exciting to hear the trip has commenced and is going so well.
While you are in Rio you should do a Favela tour, also keep an eye out for a French-Thai restaurant called Zaza at Ipanema.
Looking forward to hearing heaps more stories.
Have fun!!!!

Tracie Bobo on

It makes me smile every time I read one of your updates!

I just spent 10 minutes explaining to Grace & Jackson where exactly you were, how long it took to get there, theories on why you took a plane vs a car, why you were writing this blog, what a blog was, why I was reading it, what was up with the sand sculptures (hee hee) and how the food menu/board worked. Jackson wants the cow head, pancakes and waffles. I just want a drink. ;)

Love to you both! Can't wait for your next installment.

bakpaknbizclass on

Tracie, your comment made us laugh! Tell Grace and Jackson hola from Rio and if I could ship a cow head, pancakes and waffles, I would ;) Tonite I´m going to try a Caipirinha, which is a Brazilian rum drink with lime and send a toast to you!

allan on

Glad to hear all is well and going good so far. Personally I don't see a problem with staying in rio a few extra days......... You two have a year to go where ever and do whatever take your time and do all that you can. Before you know it you will be home.......Enjoy stay safe and keep on writing your blog was a good idea.

Ken & Mo on

Love the blog -- your adventure is part of our cocktail hour! Até a vista!

cclehew on

Love the blog! Jeff is a lucky man to have a hot, young babe with him to attract the kindness of strangers. I especially apreciate the luscious descriptions of food and drinks. Keep it up for us poor travel-deprived back home.

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