And I am telling you, I'm not going...

Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog

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My dreaded last day in Brazil had finally come. I was very sad to leave such a fantastic and beautiful country. As we were eating breakfast, a sarong vendor walked by on the sidewalk below. I accidentally made eye contact and he took this as a sign that I wanted to buy a sarong. So he kept holding up various sarongs for me to look at. He waved them around and smiled at me through the window. I couldn't hold in my laughter because I don't know why he would think I would put down my fork and run down a few flights of stairs to buy a sarong I could find in many other places. I think my laughing was encouraging him instead of discouraging him. He was quite the optimistic salesman.

We wouldn't be leaving until the evening, so we had almost a full day to see more things in Rio. Once again, it was raining. We decided to check out Rio's Museu de Arte Moderna and one of the city's cultural centers. We first went to the Modern Art Museum. On the first two levels, there was a bunch of art that I didn't quite get. I wasn't sure if it was the language/cultural barrier, or if there really was nothing to get. The highlight of the museum was an exhibition of photography by Pierre Verger on the top floor. The large room was full of his black and white photographs of people and places from all over Brazil. I loved that there were also a few pictures of people from West Africa placed next to people from Bahia so you could see the similarities. I was so happy to be introduced to Pierre Verger. His life and research are an inspiration to me and he captures the essence of Brazil so well in his photos.

Afterwards, we took a cab to the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center. It is located in the business district of Centro and we got caught up in a ton of traffic. When we arrived, we stepped into a huge building. Very nice architecture. It wasn't very clear where to begin or where to start, but we eventually found our way to numerous museum-like exhibitions.

We took a cab back to Copacabana and we still had some time. We wandered through town for some last minute gifts and things and then we decided to get an early dinner at a restaurant overlooking the beach. The rain had finally let up and we had a nice view. We sat down and over the soundsystem we heard "And I am teeelling you, I'm not gooiiing!..." It was Jennifer Holiday's version of the Dreamgirls song. Those last fighting words were very appropriate for the moment. I definitely wanted to stay. But we had to go. We had our last meal and whatever my mom ordered was yet again, very similar to a Ghanaian dish. After eating, we walked back to our hotel to grab our stuff and get a cab to the airport.

It was pouring again as we headed to the airport and we got stuck in a bunch of traffic. There was still some light so on this drive, I could see what I couldn't see on the day we arrived. On the outskirts of the city, there were favelas for as a far as I could see. Wow. Rio is such a beautiful city and even the favelas in the center of the city didn't seem that bad to me. So the view was like a hit of reality as I was leaving. It sounds strange, but discovering this reality made me want to stay even more.

At the airport, they conveniently had luggage wrappers near the check-in counters. This is very helpful for  the odd shaped breakable souvenirs many people buy in Brazil. The guy wrapped up the berimbau, a basket and some other odd things together for us so we could check them in and recieve them in one piece at the other end of our trip home. The price you pay corresponds with how big the item(s) are. Of course, we had to fly south to Sao Paulo before heading back to the US. Even being on the plane was wierd because the flight was full of Americans and it was operated by American Airlines whereas other in country flights had been TAM Airlines. I was more used to TAM's disorganization at that point. We headed off to Sao Paulo, the last stop before returning to reality!
HuBison says:
Wow-great blog! I have written ONE and it was EXHAUSTING! I will be visiting a few places in the upcoming weeks and am considering writing up another one, but doubt it. We'll see.
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012
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