Rio de Janeiro–Day 2

Okay, so from here on out, I’ll likely be including more than one picture from each day during my travels.  It just not worth picking ONE picture to share an experience that is not “everyday” for either me or anyone else reading this.

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The view from Hannah’s apartment, which is on the 9th floor of a building overlooking Praça General Osorio, one of the busier squares of the Ipanema neighborhood. 

I went downstairs to one of the juice bars on the corners, to order a Pão com Queijo Minas (soft kind of cheese, in French roll) for breakfast, which was amazing.  My first lesson in ordering in Portuguese by myself…. was NOT amazing… but I’m working on it.  For the record, “…to go” in Portuguese is “para viagem.”  Now I know…

Anyway, then I went on a walk around town.  Walked past the beach, then walked up to the park/reservoir that serves as the division between the Ipanema and Leblon (two wealthiest Rio) neighborhoods.

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Here is a view as you enter the park.  Good shading, good benches, and a view of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) in the background.

On the left is the reservoir.  I was amused to see not only people, but also a white crane (Tai Chi, anyone?) watching the leisurely fishermen with their nets.

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Then I strolled northward to the lake (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas), which is a good 3 or 4 miles in circumference.  I didn’t walk the whole thing today, just enough to get a taste, and to feel my mouth salivate from the Agua de Coco (coconut water… from a freshly sliced-open coconut) stands.  I have yet to indulge; will tell you  how that goes in the future.

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Anyhow, here are some views from the south side of the lake.  Rio is a very active community – lots of runners, walkers, bikers, even roller bladers – and the lake gives them a great place to practice their activity of choice.  Rio has a lot of individual hills (morros), which is also where the individual favelas (shanty towns) are.  Rio is one of the only places I have ever heard of, where the poor live up on the hill.  Of course, it’s because no public services (police, fire department, waste management, utilities) will go up there…  The story would be a lot different if Rio didn’t have miles and miles of beautiful beaches.

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I really think these hills are amazing.  Again, you can see Christ the Redeemer on Morro do Corcovado in the background.  There’s another morro on the left, and another two on the right. 

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On my stroll back to the apartment to meet Hannah for lunch, I noticed that a lot of the trees have flowers and other plants grafted to them.  This one’s for my mom!

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Lunch with Hannah at a local restaurant/brewery Devasse (Rio’s equivalent of “Gordon Biersch”… it also has PARIS HILTON as its spokesperson).  We ordered off the menu of almoços, or the menu executivo, which has set lunch specials for a cheaper price than most entrees.  Hannah got beef with an egg, rice, beans, and farofa (toasted manioc flour).  I got a shrimp escondidinho (a kind casserole made with manioc flour and a soft creamy cheese) with herbed rice and salad.  And a tiny Devassa Ruiva (red ale) for kicks.  Mmm!

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After lunch and a short break, I walked down to the beach, which is 2 BLOCKS from Hannah’s apartment.  You can see more random hills/islands out in the middle of the ocean, which is beautiful.  I went later in the afternoon, so it wasn’t too hot.  I just read my book and enjoyed a tiny bit of sun.

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I stayed til sunset (still loving the hills!), then had dinner with Hannah at a Brazilian chain restaurant called Koni, which has sit-down but quick-service Japanese hand rolls, plus sushi and yakisoba.  Yet again, another great meal.

After dinner, met Hannah’s friend Kaylena, so we could discuss the David Guetta concert that I supposedly agreed to attend with them on Friday.  And somehow it’s now almost 1AM…. 

Tomorrow will involve my first adventure using Brazilian metro, and I will get to see the Centro of the city!

Ate logo,
-S