Shopping in Leblon and Meeting a TravBuddy
Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 4 of 9 › view all entries
January 14th, 2010 – by: Eric
We knew Leblon was expensive, but it didn't prepare us for the prices we saw at the "Shopping Leblon" mall. Simple graphic t-shirts at "Diesel" were 300 reais ($179!).
One nice part about shopping in Brazil, though, is that everything you find in the supermarket is very clearly marked as "nao contem gluten" or "contem gluten" (contains gluten or doesn't contain gluten). It's in giant bold letters, right under the ingredient list of any product. I think it's required by law. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and I get terrible acid reflux/heartburn (probably from a condition called Celiac disease) whenever I eat anything with gluten in it.
After shopping we relaxed at the hotel a bit and then met up with TravBuddy member BR-UNO (www.travbuddy.com/BR-UNO). A few months ago I had commented on a few of Bruno's reviews on TravBuddy, and he gave us a lot of advice about Rio. He was actually the one who recommended the hotel that we are staying at in Leblon. I must admit I was slightly nervous because Bruno didn't have a profile photo up on TB, so I didn't know what to expect when we met him, but he turned out to be a really awesome, friendly and helpful guy.
He took us out to a restaurant with in the Lapa area of downtown (Rio Scenarium) that had live samba music. One cool thing about Rio is that everyone dances to the music - young people, old people, and even cool looking dudes who wouldn't be caught dead even slightly swaying their hips in a nightclub in LA. And people seem to be dancing to have a good time, not just to hit on girls in a creepy and awkward manner.
We walked around in Lapa for a bit, but it was raining, so we decided to just grab one more drink back in Leblon and call it a night. It was great talking to Bruno and we learned a lot of interesting things about Rio that we otherwise would have never learned about: how the sewers go straight into the ocean, but they don't tell the tourists ;) ; how even though tourists pay premium prices to stay at the Copacabana Palace, most of them never venture outside the hotel because the surrounding streets are quite dangerous; how the rich in Rio keep moving further and further south and west (From Copacabana to Ipanema and now to Leblon); how the borders between favelas and other parts of the city are more fluid and dynamic than guidebooks would have you believe; how people commute 3 hours each way from favelas to work in downtown (we saw dozens of people lining up and waiting in the rain outside bus stops near Lapa even after 10PM); and many other fascinating things.
He was a great host - always making sure we were having a good time, answering all of our questions, telling us about life in Rio, insisting on paying for all the taxi fees despite my continual protestation - and we were very grateful and happy that we had the opportunity to meet him. It truly made our experience in Rio much more memorable!
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