6 days of fun and food in Rio
Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
We all arrived separately, so it was a happy reunion with my friends on the 22nd floor of Building G, in the Morado do Sol condominium complex. I'm not sure what the big deal was, but no one could believe I had made it in high heels. I was just in time, because Beto and Luis, our neighbors, came over to collect our "rent" for the week. We were more than happy to fork over the cash; this apartment was gorgeous. Mike, the only guy in our group, had found it for us on the internet, www.rentinrio.com. It was just as, if not more beautiful than the photos on their website, and everything was on the up and up...we even had our own private maid and high speed internet! Morado del Sol is a gated community with its own mini-mart where we bought supplies for breakfast and snacks, and also some gag gifts for each other.
Our first dinner was at Marius for a seafood buffet then to a little bar with live music where I had my first caipirhina (love it! Anyone know where I can find Cachaca stateside?). It goes down easy, like tequila! The more caipirhinas I had, the more confusing the Samba seemed.
We ate a late breakfast almost every day in our flat, on a beautiful glass table with an ocean view. One of the perks of staying in a high rise building: Corcovado Mountain and Cristo Redentor were visible from over our washing machine! We went out for coffee at Garota de Ipanema, a little cafe were the song "The girl from Ipanema" was composed. We then walked along Ipanema Beach and then cabbed it the rest of the way to the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain). Cabs are such a pleasure to ride in here...the drivers have interesting names, like Nelson, Washington, Wilson and Junior; Vanderlei is absolutely ubiquitous.
By the time we took our gondola ride to the top of the Sugar Loaf, it was too cloudy to see the sun set as we had hoped, but the city lights were enchanting. That night we dined at a touristy place called Porcao Rios, a Brazilian chain churrascuria, which is basically an all you can eat Brazilian food orgy, the main feature of the meal being various skewered meats that have been broiled over coals all day long and are continuously brought to your table if you keep your tokens out with the green pig side up...when you get full, just turn the token over to the picture of the red piggy, you little porker! I think the meal was about $25usd, which I would expect to pay in the U.
Next up for the night was a mammoth disco called Asa Branca near the aqueduct in an area called Lapa. Actually, the whole street was one big partyrama, and we felt like we must have looked really hot because all these 17-year-olds kept asking us to dance. Caipirhinas were dangerously inexpensive here, like 3 for a dollar or something? I don't remember how many I had, but I couldn't keep it going as long as the rest of the girls, and neither could Mike, so we went home "early," like at 3 or 4am.
Mike made us french toast the next day...dare I call it breakfast? It might have actually come in right under the wire of being before 12 noon.
On the suggestion of our next cabbie (I think his name was like Andrew Jackson or Horatio Nelson or something like that) we got dropped off at Bombar, which would have fit in really nicely in Scottsdale, Arizona. When you've had enough caipirhinas, it's always safe to switch to beer, and Bohemia is one of the national brands. One thing you have to do to get your Bohemia is have your drink card stamped. At the end of the night, they don't let you leave until you've reconciled your drink card at the cash wrap.
On Sunday when we woke up the sun was shining for the first time, and we could clearly see the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in the distance. On the way up Corcovado Mountain, I purchased a soccer t-shirt so I could be like all my buddies, supporting the national teams. The statue of Cristo is surprisingly enormous, quite breathtaking and completely crowded with other tourists who were taking advantage of the sunny day just like us. Now you might say, hey, it sounds like off season is not such a good time to visit if it is cloudy all the time.
Sunday afternoon was spent at the Hippie Fair in Ipanema. We all purchased posters by Fabio Sombra, and I particularly enjoyed the demonstration by a school performing Capoeira (a mix of dancing and martial arts) in the central plaza. We had an early dinner at a restaurant on the Ipanema strip called Barril 1800 where the roasted pork melted in my mouth. Disco naps were in order at that point, and then a late night meal at Garota de Ipanema again, and don't ask me how my friends picked it, but we ended up at Club Mutante.
Two of our members were leaving Brazil the next day, so we made the most of it by getting up early and getting some sun at Copacabana Beach before saying goodbye. Now that Mike was gone, we could finally let loose and go to the mall across the street! It's called Rio Sul, and it's pretty large. We were thrilled to find Zara, our favorite from when we all lived in Spain together a few years ago. We were lazy and ate dinner in the mall at the Tower Grill, and once again, we were not disappointed.
Our last day came all too quickly. The girls and I piled in another cab and this time headed for Barra da Tijuca, a precious beach just a little farther away. It was really beautiful and less touristy...and the other beachgoers seemed more relaxed; perhaps it was something they were smoking? We ate lunch at the Emporio di Camarao, where they acted like I was from Mars to pay with a bill worth $6usd. Why don't these people have change for a $6 bill?
Our last night on the town was rock star caliber.
Rio is the ideal vacation for me, with it's gorgeous beaches, fantastic food, and endless nightlife. Tchau, tchau Rio! Molto obrigada! I'll be back someday, hopefully before my Brazilian visa expires!