Brazilian Delight

Trip Start Jan 23, 2005
Trip End Dec 2005

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Friday, February 11, 2005

So, we finally made it to Brazil after a full 24 hours in transit. We flew into Rio de Janiero and called Nanda, one of our foreign exchange students who lived with Erinīs family a few years back, who said we had to RUN to catch a plane to Belo Horizonte, where she lives. It was 8:15pm at this point and the plane was scheduled to leave at 9, we had no idea how to get to the airline (GOL) ticket counter but somehow managed to find it in another terminal. We bought 2 tickets for about 475.00 Reihs (about $250 USD) 20 minutes before the plane left, can you believe that!! We wouldīve never been able to do that in the States. We were a bit worried about our luggage making it on the same flight, but figured that if it got to Rio with 3 stops over a 24 hr time period, we had a pretty good chance. We were right, when we arrived in Belo Horizonte our luggage was waiting for us, what a relief. We waited around for 10 mins and finally ran into Nanda and her long-time boyfriend, Bruno. She hardly recognized Paul with the beard, but welcomed us with open arms. She looked great, her hair has grown alot and she is very skinny, she dropped the weight she gained in the US without any problems. Bruno looks different than in the pictures she brought with her to Tulsa, he was a model for along time and so she showed us his head shots and the ads he had been in. Erin thinks hes better looking in person. But they both speak great English, which was such a relief for us.

We arrived at Nandaīs house about 11pm, her mom and younger sister were there to greet us, they are so great. At first I thought her mom was her sister because she looks so young, but then I saw Duda (her sisīs nickname) and knew it wasnīt. We had dinner waiting for us, Paul was in heaven, they had different kinds of meat, bread, and cheese for us to make sandwiches with and cold Brazilian beer (Brahama). We sat around and talked and shared pictures for a few hours then off to bed. They had their study/computer room all set up for us, its been really great so far. We crashed in soft, comfy beds after such a long day of traveling and sleeping in the airport which was a first for both of us. .

The next day we woke up late, Nanda was already down at the swimming pool, she slipped a sweet note under our door so we didn't freak out. We had lunch that her housekeeper had prepared (fish, rice, fruit and bread and chicken for Paul) after picking up Bruno from his work.. Bruno works at the same university where Nanda is studying to become a lawyer. After lunch she took us to the mall so we could get a SIM card for our cell phone and to find a Brazil Flag for Paul. Paul also got a book, The Da Vinci Code, which I had been bugging him to read for along time. She then took us to the top of Belvedere and Paraįa Do Papa to see the city, it was amazing. There are so many tall buildings, she said they are mostly apartments, not offices. Afterwards we came back to her house and got ready to go over to her Dadīs house for dinner. Erin got to wear some of Nandaīs fun clothes and her stilleto heels (I know, its hard to imagine how she could walk, but she managed all night). When we got to her fathers building and into the elevator we knew his place was going to kick ass, it was on the top floor (penthouse), and we were right. He kept telling us it was a small apartment but we kept telling him it was huge. Really it was huge! Three bedrooms on the bottom floor along with the usual dining room, office, and kitchen. But the upstairs was unbelievable, a huge deck with glass walls so you could view the entire city. He has an UNBELIEVEABLE setup with a bar, a Brazilian barbecue pit, and jacuzzi. We sat around, talked, laughed and drank beer until it was time for dinner. His wife, Abbey (who is one of the funniest women we've ever met, even though she speaks very little english you can just tell, she giggles all the time (like Courtney Shuckman)) brought out a huge dish filled with a cheesy chicken topped with teeny tiny crunchy french fries on top, delicious. It was served with rice and more beer (their favorite is Skol). We ate and ate and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. Even Paul was full. And now for the kicker... nanda's dad was keeping a secret the entire time we were there until we finished dinner. He said
"Ok everyone follow me!" To the elevators we went and down we go! He opened the door to the garage for us to see his little secret. IT WAS A MOTORCYCLE!!! Harley Davidson to be exact. Paul almost wet his pants when he took off the dust cover. He just bought it that morning and hadn't even put 10 miles on it yet. He fired it up and cranked the throttle, just about blew out our ear drums. We left around 1am and by that time it too late to go to the fun clubs, and the ones that had room were all having gay night, so we settled down in a little, quiet bar and had a few more cerveja's (that's Brazilian for beer). We went back to Nanda's house and crashed. zzzzzzz....

On Saturday we left early to go see her mothers country house in Canto Das Aguas w/ her cousin Ana, Bruno and Nanda. We didn't actually get to go inside because they were renting it out to some friends of theirs for Carnaval, so we just passed by. They really wanted to take us to see the waterfalls, there are 36 in their gated community but only 3 are accessible by car, and since it was a little rainy we only went to 2 of them, but they were incredible. The first was a two minute walk away from where we parked and it was definatley worth getting wet. They said that the water is usually blue, but since the rains had come it had churned up the bottom and looked like typical lake water (Grand or Cedar Creek). Then we passed by some dinosaurs and found ourselves at the top of the hill to have lunch at the clubhouse. We saw another enormous waterfall before heading back to Belo Horizonte. Nanda took us to her favorite sweets shop: Boca Do Forno, then we rented movies (all in English by the way) and had a quiet night in.
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