Off to Rio!

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Jul 12, 2009

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Much to the relief of BCCS singers who had taken bus rides on our Romania/Hungary/Slovenia tour that took twice as long as expected, bus travel on this trip was minimal, except for our journey back to Rio after heading due north from the airport to Petropolis, Juiz de Fora, and Ouro Preto.  Other than wandering around a few road blocks in Juiz de Fora on our way to our post-concert dinner, all bus rides had been 2 hours or less and ending as scheduled.

The trip to Rio was no exception - much longer, but coming in two hours under the scheduled 10 hours.  And it truly was a scenic ride.  Mile after mile of rolling hills and steep cliffs of varied terrain with only occasional villages along the way, with the final steep descent from Petropolis to Rio finishing the day.  Night falls early in Brazil, at about 6 (it's winter there, though it doesn't feel much like winter).  So we arrived in Rio just before dark, in time to look out our hotel windows onto the lit-up beach, with a few people still running up and down. 

Even at night, despite warnings beginning long ago when we first started considering Brazil, that this was a considerably more dangerous country to travel in than most, families were dining at street corner restaurants well into the night, and people were out on the street and the beach.  After a day in the sun, strolling up and down the beaches, and visiting the favellas as well, we began to feel the affection for the city one of our guides, Gentile, himself a native "Carioca" (resident of Rio) expressed frequently by saying with a smile that "Rio is the BEST!"

In the end, after three days, we had one picked pocket to record (by one of our younger members who decided to walk alone with a friend on the beach later at night).  But with its high-end apartment buildings, restaurants, lights, and pristine beaches, the Ipanema neighborhood we stayed in was something like a cross between Rittenhouse Square and San Francisco - certainly not a place to take security for granted, but at least as safe as those cities and equally beautiful.  The rooftop pool with characteristic "Caiperinha" cocktails served at the bar certainly helped! ...more to come....TL
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