Rio: Part Two

By Kate Romero

Okay, so where did I leave off?   Joyfully nurturing my bread baby and touring Rio and Niteroi, I think.  Anyway, the rest of our day with our tour guide, Rafa, was crazy busy.  We did about as much sightseeing in ten hours as I like to do in a decade (example: I went up in the Space Needle for the first time about 10 years after moving to Seattle), and I hadn’t really worn the most comfortable shoes (shhhh-don’t tell my husband, he’s always going on about my shoes being a detriment to our everyday living), so I was completely wiped out by the end of the day.  Here are just a few pics of some of the places we went and things we saw during our tour:

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MAC Museum in Niteroi, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

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The view from Parque da Cidade. Not too hideous.

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Fishing Village of Jurujuba. Adorbs.

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The Selarón Steps. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”.

We hadn’t done anything major, like see the Christ the Redeemer statue or Pão de Açúcar yet, but I was really tired and getting twitchy.  Also, I don’t enjoy being in crowds and after a day of being out and about I really did not want to go to either of those places.  Plus, Christ the Redeemer had been wisely hiding  in the clouds all day. So, naturally we went to Pão de Açúcar. Because the only thing I hate more than crowds? Being trapped in a box full of people a zillion feet above the ground.  And it came as no surprise that the sardine can full of people got kind of stuck and didn’t move for a really long time (maybe it was 15 seconds, but I think I blacked out during that time period, so I can’t be sure), and did anyone give a lady with a real-pretend bun in the oven a little extra space? Não.  We finally got to the top alive and it took me a little while to get up the courage to get back in the box.  Here is where I mention that I am an uh-mazing travelling companion, but you may have already guessed that. Anyway, while I was waiting for my breathing to come naturally again, guess who showed up?

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Cristo above the clouds, Rio below. I have to admit, even a cynic like me was moved by the sight.

And thus concludes our first full day in Rio  (I left out a fair amount of seafood eating that may or may not have occurred, but I was eating for two, you know?).  The next morning, my feet were killing me. I admired the cute sandals I had picked out for day two, but forsook them for Havaianas, and we set out for Ipanema and the Hippie Fair.  But first, as I stepped out onto my balcony, I saw a convention-goer enjoying the beautiful morning on his balcony. It was 8:00am, and it was so adorable, I snapped a photo:

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The look on his face made ME want to have Skol for breakfast, and I don’t even drink beer.

Soon we were on our way out of the hotel.  I was really grumpy, because here is how I like to go sightseeing:

  1. Hire a guide with good references. Double check said references on Tripadvisor.com.
  2. Have a backup plan and emergency numbers programmed into my cell phone.
  3.  Map out my itinerary on Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, and cross reference them to make sure they are the same.
  4.  Ask the concierge at the hotel for directions, too, because there might be unforeseen circumstances only he would know about.
  5. Waterbottle, sunblock, bug spray, fully charged camera, ponytail holder, lip balm, plenty of cash stashed in various pockets, ID.

Now, here is how my husband likes to go sightseeing:

  1. Walk out the front door of the hotel with nothing in his pockets but a little cash  and see where we end up.
  2. There is no number 2.

Now, since my husband goes to Rio a fair amount for work, I assumed we would go directly to Ipanema and the Hippie Fair, so I didn’t even ask the concierge how to get there, because Mitch must have done this before, right?  Wrong.  He just kind of said, “Oh, I think it’s this way.” Anyway, I was really complaining about the heat, his poor planning, etc.  Mostly I was just sad about my feet hurting and I was worried all the “good” stuff would be gone by the time we got to the fair, because I love buying things, you guys.  We asked (well, I asked, my husband doesn’t really “ask” for anything) around, and made it to both Ipanema and the Hippie Fair without dying, although the thought of killing me possibly crossed my husband’s mind.  Once I started buying stuff at the Hippie Fair and had a cold drink, though, I cheered up immensely.  Here are some pics from the  Fair (none of Ipanema, though, because if you’ve seen one butt, you’ve seen them all, am I right?).

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The Hippie Fair is a great place to buy colorful, reasonably priced paintings.

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Hmmm, which hat will I wear today?

After we hauled our loot back to the hotel, we sat on the balcony for the rest of the day, drinking hydrating beverages (wink!) and snacking on seafood and, well, you know what (pão francês!).

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The road in front of Copacabana was packed with people. This guy was talented enough to balance a toddler and a board on his bike. The people watching was the best!

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How I Spent My Last Day in Rio

Then, the clouds rolled in and a huge storm hit, so we went downstairs to another balcony for some more beverages and seafood while we watched the storm beat down on Copacabana.  It was pretty awesome, but at around 10pm, I broke out in hideous hives and my eyes started burning. I mention that the time was 10pm because the exact same thing happened to me the night before at a different restaurant, at exactly the same time.  Weird, right?  And don’t say it was from the seafood, because I’m from Seattle, and I’ve had it all, and often.  Anyway, this second attack was worse, because my lungs were all tight and I couldn’t get a breath. I left Mitch to pay the bill and I went back to the room blindly and downed a couple of antihistamines. After a caipirinha, two antihistamines was a lot, you guys.   Anyway, the next thing I knew, it was the next morning. Did I mention what a wonderful and romantic wife I am?    Anyway, you guys don’t think I’m actually allergic to Rio, do you?  Because that would be sad.  I think I will have to go again soon and see if I break out in hives again. For the sake of medical research.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Parque da Cidade

Selaron Steps

Pão de Açúcar

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