Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Girl from Ipanema...

Please Excuse my extreme tardiness in writing these posts....

I traveled to South America in September with 4 other girls from Vanderbilt- Hilary, Irene, Laney, and Brennan. We left Friday the 9th for an overnight flight to Rio, landing early Saturday morning.

Rio is incredibly green with many steep hills coming up around and in the water... it's breathtaking.

We were greeted by what we expected to be a car or van but instead go our own tour bus with guide!

Rio is a much bigger city than any of us expected. There is only about 7 million people but the square milage misleads you. However, since it is a city of beaches, bays, and hills, driving to the different areas of the city can take some time.

Here are some pictures we took along the way from the airport to our hotel in Leblon.

Christ the Redeemer

Once we arrived at our hotel, we checked in and enjoyed the view

Since it was still early and there was some sun, we decided to walk around, grab some lunch and hit the beach.

While the view was gorgeous, it was not as warm as we had hoped.

In Rio, everyone is outside and athletic. Even though it was chilly, people were playing beach volleyball in their swimsuits, surfing, walking or jogging... And everyone is in the latest Nike gear. I'm not sure why, but I expected the fashion there to be a little behind the times or for it not to be a focus and on the contrary I found the city and its people to be very modern and up to date.

Everyone was pretty exhausted so we went back to our rooms to get some sleep before our first night out in Rio.

That night we went to a delicious dinner on the opposite side of town from our hotel. The restaurant had very cool decor that was a mix between rustic & religious.

After dinner we walked down the street to the most authentic and fun samba club. It was huge and had lots of different rooms with fun decor like a wall of old clocks and then a room with chairs on the ceiling. It was two stories with a big balcony overlooking the street and then a huge stage against one wall where you could see the performers and band and dance. The music was amazing, a mixture of samba, bossa nova, and jazz, and everyone was dancing. A few men came up to dance with us but there was no way to keep up!

Day 2:
We started the day by going to the market and shopping around. Some of us got jewelry, trinkets, and art work.

The fattest cat I have ever seen! I believe this was the inspiration for Puss in Boots.

I had to try the fresh coconut water!

After we went to one of the biggest tourist sites in Rio, Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf is a rounded mountain on the beach that gives you a fantastic view of the city, however, you can see our weather wasn't great so our view was a bit limited.

Hilary in front of the cable trolly that took us up.

View from trolly

Our monkey friend met us at the top

View from first summit

Second trolly up to Sugarloaf, however once we got to the top the clouds were so thick the pictures didn't really turn out.

Tourist Laney

That night we went to a really good sushi restaurant and got some rest for our big tour the next day.

Day 3:
We had a full day Jeep tour planned to see the "rainforest" (turns out there are like 7 types of rain forests in Brazil and this was not the one with Toucan Sam) and Christ the Redeemer. Again, the weather wasn't ideal so the pics will be a bit cloudy.

Brennan, me, & Irene

Laney & Hilary

Christ the Redeemer:
We drove up into the mountains in the Jeep and had to hike a short distance up to the statue. Because it was so cloudy we literally did not see the 130 foot statue until we were about 40 feet away!

Because of the weather we were only able to see some of the scheduled rainforest tour, which translates to very scary drive back down the mountain in Jeep with brakes from the 70's and 1 waterfall, but it was a pretty waterfall.

In the meantime we took these...

That night we went to one of the best and most outrageous dinners in my life. We were warned that this would be a meal to remember and so it was! Not only did they come around with 10 different swords of various cuts of beef but there was the largest buffet I've ever seen. We were also the youngest in the restaurant by about 15 years and definitely the only table of 5 girls, so we had special attention.

Look at our faces!

By the end of the night the waiters were telling us their boss was a cow's ass by using various methods of sign language and the special diagram we were given... I think he was #5

They even invited us back into the kitchen!

I'm pretty sure this is a major health code violation

This night was a great way to end our time in Rio! It's an early flight for us the next morning to one of the seven natural wonders in the world!!!

Location:Rio de Janeiro

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