Carnaval in Rio!
Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
18Trip End Mar 23, 2010
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We landed in Sao Paulo with 3 hours before our next flight. Plenty of time...except we were instructed numerous times by different people to get into a long line-up for security and into the wrong terminal
We finally arrived in Rio and jumped onto the bright blue bus as instructed by Mike and Renata, our gracious hosts in Rio. We arrived a little later than expected (12:30am) but thankfully our friends were still awake but probably just barely (they had been out the night before participating in a Carnaval parade). A big thanks to Mike and Renata for making our Rio experience very memorable!!!
Our first Carnaval party started the next morning, when we heard the sound of music from our apartment. The neighborhood we were staying in (Leblon - amazing location right on the beach) was having one of the many street parties/parades that pop-up all over the city during Carnaval
On day three in Brazil we decided to take a four hour bus to a town south of Rio called Paraty, sandwiched between the jungle and the ocean, known for its colonial town established in the fifteenth century by the Portuguese. Our time in Paraty was short (one and a half days) but we definitely enjoyed ourselves despite some rain (luckily the temperature was still about 30 degrees). The highlight was a trip on a schooner where we visited secluded beaches and islands, took in the jungle, and swam off the boat. We spent our two nights at a very nice hotel called Pousada Paseigm where we caught the 11:30pm to 1:30am Brazilian Olympic coverage, which was entertaining because it was the same person covering all events and you know he doesn't know the first thing about winter sports
On a quick side note, while in Rio we discovered a fruit called Açai, which when blended with banana and granola makes one of the most amazing smoothies. For any health nut out there you may be familiar with Açai thanks to you local organic health store who markets this as a super-fruit and sells its anti-oxidant rich juice to you at a ridiculous premium. Well I would like to inform you that this fruit is everywhere in Rio and it is the same price as any other fruit drink. Conclusion - we are being scammed.
Anyway, we arrived back in Rio mid-afternoon to conclude our final day in Rio and in Brazil. While Mike and Renata finished up work we went to the beach for a swim and watched the surfers who were enjoying a particularly big wave. One our way back to the apartment we ran into Mike who had forgotten about his volleyball match. Knowing that I love volleyball he invited me (Mike) to join. After almost two years without touching a ball I was a little rusty but had an amazing time. I even got to meet a Brazilian beach v-ball olympic champion who just happened to be hanging out around our court. Unfortunately, after witnessing the mad skills of the two Mike's he was afraid to set foot on the court for fear of losing and ruining his reputation.
Well, an amazing time in Rio with great hosts! Wish us luck as we have to leave the apartment at 3:45am to catch a 6:00am flight to Bogotá...don't anticipate much sleep!