Jul 28 2009

Brazil (so far..)

Bodhi

We´ve been in Brazil now since Wed, Jul 22.  Our computing situation has not been so good and we have not made time to blog/computer until now.  That´s because Brazil is FUN!

Here is a quick bullet list of things we´ve done and seen since being in Brazil:

  • Flew into São Paolo to spend time with new friends. They offered us their family flat to stay in (saving us a boatload of cash), and they took us around the city to see all the sights.  We were not really tourists in this city because of this.  We enjoyed our first tastes of great Brazilian food specialties, local art, and some serious traffic!  Man, São Paolo is a huge city.  Without our friends Gabi and Gui there, we probably would not have enjoyed it at all.
  • Explored on our own in a part of São Paolo, checking out little hip stores and gallery spaces, and even getting Bodhi a much-needed haircut!  Moni had some pão de queijo and hasn´t been able to stop thinking about it since.
  • Had our first caipirinhas and fried mandioc out with Gabi and Gui
In Estaçao da Luz in São Paolo, a rather famous train station
In Estaçao da Luz in São Paolo, a rather famous train station

Beautiful array of fruits available in the Mercado Central in São Paolo

Beautiful array of fruits available in the Mercado Central in São Paolo

São Paolo is just city for as far as the eye can see (view from top of famous old bank building in downtown of São Paolo)

São Paolo is just city for as far as the eye can see (view from top of famous old bank building in downtown of São Paolo)

Lovely late afternoon sun at the top of the old bank building in São Paolo

Lovely late afternoon sun at the top of the old bank building in São Paolo

Bodhi and Monica rule São Paolo!
Bodhi and Monica rule São Paolo!
  • Rio:
  • Showed up very late on a Friday night with it pissing rain and all the hostels in Copacabana full…finally found a place to sleep in a stinky, tiny room in a Botafogo hostel.  Contrary to the name, it was not “Ace”
  • Met a nice Irishman fellow traveler, Tadrg, and shared a cab and room at Ace,  who we seem to see everywhere we go now
  • Moved to Ipanema area, Moni got a haircut, went out partying and drinking in Lapa, met the doorman friend of Shamar, who was just here a couple weeks ago, and enjoyed well-done covers of famous American and British songs by the Brazilian band in the Irish pub.
  • Saw a futbol game at the world famous Maracana stadium (Fluminense v. Cruzeiro, final 1-1) and enjoyed the crazy, loud, cursing fans and the incessant drumming and singing from the “rowdy” section
  • Visited the lovely, and huge, Jardim Botanico, a 200 yr old botanical gardens with a ridiculous variety of palm trees and beautifully landscaped grounds.  And monkeys!!!  And the street across from it is lined with fabulous graffiti (subject of another post to come)
  • Toured Rocinha favela, the largest in Rio, and got a feel for the diversity of social problems faced by Brazil0
  • Sat on Ipanema beach in the sunshine and felt the magic that makes Rio famous
  • Visited the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Teresa by cable car and foot, and also a bit of Centro (downtown) with its 400+ yr history and european feel
  • Met friends of friends and got lots of inside perspective on Rio and beyond
  • Decided to stay in South America for another month+?? :)

At a futbol match at Maracana stadium

At a futbol match at Maracana stadium

Looking out at Rocinha favela

Looking out at Rocinha favela

This picture typifies Rio..rock mountains next to high rises next to slums (favelas) in a sub-tropical climate

This picture typifies Rio..rock mountains next to high rises next to slums (favelas) in a sub-tropical beach climate

Ipanema beach in "winter"

Ipanema beach in "winter"

Strumming a little "samba-rock" this guy in the hostel taught me

Strumming a little "samba-rock" this guy in the hostel taught me..check out that farmer´s tan!

Hopefully it won´t be another week before our next post!  (Note: pics do exist for all bullets, just not included here for now)


Jul 20 2009

Lima for a day

Monica

We arrived in Lima this afternoon and will be here for about 36 hours before flying to Brazil tomorrow night.  Good food and new friends will be our focus for these few hours in Lima. We are going to hit the town tonight and tomorrow the BEST Peruvian ceviche awaits me at my favorite restaurant, La Mar.  Probably Beyond the Shoestring!

Below is a pic from last night (Mon, July 20).  Dinner was amazing too!  It was at a place called Tanta, and it’s actually another restaurant by Gastón Acurio, this famous chef who is a co-founder of La Mar as well!  (La Mar is the cebicheria we ate at today and that Monica was so looking forward to in Lima!)

A night out with our Perviuan friends. The bar was called La Noche in the barrio of Barranco.

A night out with our new Peruvian friends. Wendy is on the left, and Florivela is on the right. The bar was called La Noche in the barrio of Barranco and they had some good live latin jazz going.


Jun 18 2009

¡Nuevos amigos en Buenos Aires y en el mundo!

Bodhi

With new friends from Academia Buenos Aires at Cafe Tortoni

With new friends from Academia Buenos Aires at Cafe Tortoni

On the night of Friday June 12, we went out with new friends from spanish school at Academia Buenos Aires.  The picture is us in a famous old cafe in BA which is over 150 years old.  It is famous for tango, of course, and many greats have spent much time here.  Ironically, the two friends that motivated this as the meeting place never showed, but we had wine here anyway and enjoyed it before heading out to the next stop.

In the picture are Toby, from England, me and Moni, Alicia, from Australia, Gys, from Canada, and Anthony and Anna from US (Minnesota).  Of course there were many other cool folks we met at the school as well.  One of the greatest things me and Moni liked about the school was the feeling of community they have successfully fostered there.

After Cafe Tortoni, we cabbed over to San Telmo (our ‘hood) to look for food.  After a few attempts, we ended up in a Uruguayan chivito restaurant.  It had the feeling of a tourist college bar, and the food to match, i.e. terrible and you need beer to choke it down.  But whatever, we were there with some friends and just out to have fun.  We enjoyed getting to know each other some more, talked about how we might be able to visit each other again in various parts of the world, and wrapped up about 1 a.m.  For added excitement, the power in the restaurant went out randomly as did several others on the block, and they brought out candles.  At least it ended the annoyingly loud live music from inside which they charged us extra to “enjoy” with our meal.  I did enjoy the spanish version of Piano Man, though.

Down to 3, Moni, me, and Gys wandered to our favorite cafe (which are really more like bars here) El Federal and had porto and a bottle of wine to cap off the night.  Of course we end up in a philosophical conversation about life at 3 in the morning :)  This is what makes traveling so special!  Thanks Gys for the special times and sharing your culture with us!