Second Day in Rio
Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 31 of 35 › view all entries
November 13th, 2006 – by: worldcitizen
After the tour, another H. Stern rep took us to a cubicle to sit us down and show us jewelry... and of course, they wanted us to buy something! That definitely explained the free caipirinhas in the lobby. Maybe with a little cachaca in your system, you'll be more willing to drop ridiculous amounts of cash on jewelry. I love jewelry, but I prefer unique inexpensive jewelry from street markets and festivals. I'm just not into big diamonds and things... I'd rather spend that money on travel! I think the rep could see how bored I was and she didn't push too hard.
After dropping off our stuff, we decided to check out the Botanical Gardens. On the way, my mom questioned our cab driver's sobriety. Sure enough, he soon rear-ended a van in front of us. Instead of stopping to exchange information, they stuck their heads out of the windows to yell at each other for a bit and then kept on driving.
As far as I know, Jardim Botanico doesn't offer tours, so you just roam around and look at the descriptions posted by the plants. Jardim Botanico is huge and they have plants, flowers, and trees from Brazil and all over the world. They also have several ponds, fountains, bridges, greenhouses and other cool structures. We wandered through for a long time, and then had lunch at the very cute Cafe Botanica. I highly recommend taking a stroll through the Botanical Gardens for a relaxing time in Rio.
After the Gardens, I wanted to check out the famous beaches and also find the intricate sand castles and sculptures we had driven by on our tour the day before. I didn't remember if it was on Ipanema or Copacabana, so we had the cab driver drop us off in Ipanema. We walked along Ipanema until we reached a huge rock which was the end of the beach. We made our way back to the road and continued to Copacabana where we found the sand castles. When we got there, we paid 1 or 2 reais for pictures. Very cheesy, but I guess it's how they make their living. You really have to admire the detail and the work that went into making the castles and sculptures. After this, we wandered back into town to check out the shops and boutiques. Some parts of the city reminded me of the nice parts of Los Angeles.
When we got back to the hotel, we got ready for dinner and a show at Plataforma. This was another activity arranged by the concierge who obviously didn't have any off the beaten path suggestions for us. I was curious to see the show at Platforma because he called it a "folklore show" and I wanted to see how it would compare the folklore ballet I had seen twice in Salvador. From the pictures, I knew it would be pretty different. A bus came to pick us up from the hotel. Everytime I got on a bus in Rio, I always thought in the back of my mind that it would get hijacked or we would get robbed at knifepoint or something.
When we got there, we were subjected to yet another churrascaria/buffet meal! The pao de queijo was really good there. The waiter brought us salad and then a few seconds later, he plopped a huge sausage on our plates before we could say no. ??? I don't know why you would do that without asking. These people were going crazy with the food so we finished eating and got out of there quickly. We went to the theater to find some good seats. We were some of the first people in there, but a big portion of the front and center area was reserved for large tour groups. We found some good seats on the side and waited for the show to begin. As you're waiting, the people in the show try to get you to take pictures with them which they will try to sell you later.
Finally, the real show began. They did dances and performances from all of the different parts of Brazil. Sure enough, they had capoeira and the candomble circle dance from Bahia. It was all so gaudy, from the costumes to the actual routine. At some point, the samba drumming champions from last year's Rio carnaval came on stage in some crazy costumes. I was totally biased and ready to be unimpressed, but you can't blame me. After spending all that time in Bahia, nothing can compare to capoeira on the beach, a huge group of drummers pounding away in the streets on a warm night, and an actual authentic candomble ceremony.
My favorite part of the show was a guy who did a dance with ropes with balls attached to the end that he swung around and hit on the ground. It's hard to explain it, but it was cool to watch. My second favorite part of the show was when they called people up from different countries to sing folk songs from where they were from- very funny. They never called the United States for some reason, so we were saved from that. At the end, a bunch of girls came back on the stage in the huge elaborate costumes they wear for carnaval and did the final dance.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!