Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rio day 3-: Sun's Out, Buns Out!

After our 1st full day where I fell in love with Rio, We started the day once again with a traditional breakfast of pao na chapa.
The rain had finally cleared, so we put on our bathing suits and went to Ipanema beach!
Looking towards the famous Pao de Acucar (SugarLoaf Mountain)

We went to Pedra do Arpoador to get a bird's eye view of Ipanema beach. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
We could see the beaches, The Christ statue and Pao de Acucar... It was amazing.BUT, it was also a place to be on guard. I could not keep my phone out long to take photos because it would draw attention to us and we did not want to be robbed.  I've mentioned previously how Brasil "invented crime" and how crime does not just stay in the bad areas- it finds you. I was warned (with good reason) that Rio is not a very safe place. The favelas (slums) are on the hill sides, and the beaches are easily accessible from those parts.

To get an idea of how unsafe Rio (or Brasil in general)  is, just watch any movie about Brasil- "City of God," "Captains of the Sand," or "Elite Squad" to get an idea of life for the folks who live in the favelas. (And then watch my favorite Brasilian movie,  "Bossa Nova" to counteract all the sad movies mentioned previously!)
We took our photos and moved along. When I saw large groups of teens, I did not take my phone out or speak English. You can call me paranoid, but even after living in Mexico for 2 years (in a relatively safe place), I especially knew not to tempt fate in Brasil.  L and I had extensive discussions about this before we left. Of course, I was slightly skeptical, but then I realized he was not full of shit with the warnings.

While walking along the beach I suggested we sit in an area that wasn't as crowded as a place 100 meters away- he said NO WAY. Why I asked?? He said that large groups of folks come down from the favelas and rob everyone on the beach sometimes. The reason there were some more densely packed areas on the beach was because the beach goers could see the chaos coming and leave the beach quickly.(L started to bring up Youtube videos of this to show me later on, and I was all NO NO NO dont want to see this...) THANK GOD we did not experience this. But it is just unimaginable to even think stuff like this could happen. Our other Brasilian friends confirmed that crime in Rio is the real deal and these robberies on the beach do in fact happen.
So scary stuff aside, We took turns going into the water. One of us stayed with our stuff on the beach because if you leave anything unattended, it will disappear. It is advisable to only bring your absolute essentials to the beach and nothing more.

I had really wanted to go stand up paddle boarding in Rio. BUT, while the weather was good, the ocean was still churning up 4-10' high waves. We called the SUP place I had found and had been following on instagram in the weeks before our trip, and they confirmed they were closed until the sea calmed down more. (sad face) By the time the ocean was calm, we would be back in Sao Paulo.
I was happy to wear my Brasilian bikini once during our time in Rio. Sun's out, buns out! I'll never wear an "American" cut bikini ever again. Once you see how bundas (butts) look in even a modest Brasilian cut, the American style of bikini bottom just looks like a diaper and are very unflattering. I'm not saying wear a thong, but a little cheek goes a long way LOL. Let's just say I would have stuck out like a sore thumb if I had on anything more covered than what I had on....
The people of Rio, the Cariocas, are a sexy bunch. They walk around with confidence unmatched by our American counterparts. Whether they are in a bikini, Speedo, or normal casual dress, it is very clear they take care of themselves and their outward appearance.
Post walk around the beach we walked to Venga! A Spanish Tapas bar in Ipanema. The beer was cold and refreshing, and the food was delicious. We had bacalhau with tomatoes and olives, a delicious fried thing I cannot remember the name of, cured meats and cheese, and a salted chocolate mousse for dessert,
After our amazing lunch, we walked over to the Nike Ipanema store to see if I could find a shirt I saw online. I originally discovered the Ipanema Running Club shirt accidentally when looking to see if there was a running group or running event we could potentially participate in. We walked around the store and didnt see the shirt I wanted- so I brought up a photo of it on my iphone and asked a sales guy about it- to my surprise, he went straight to the rack and showed it to us! I was over the moon excited that I was able to get this shirt.
My new Ipanema running shirt, and cool artwork in the Nike store. The Nike store was also like a shrine to Neymar, not a surprise...

For our last night in Rio we met our friend and went to the famous Bar Urca to watch the sunset.
This bar has an upstairs dining area, but the floor level is solely for takeout- tasty fried things, and ICE COLD BEER. Once you get your foods/drinks you go find a spot on the sea wall and enjoy the company of your friends in a beautiful location.
The sea wall was packed with people enjoying the Sunday evening sunset!
I don't think there's a better place to drink a beer than on a seawall in Rio, with the Christ statue looking on, while the sun sets. Nope.
We wanted to go see the Christ statue up close and personal, but ran out of time. You have to book a tour in advance and with the weather being crappy, it was closed for a portion of the time. So, between this and not being able to SUP, and having amazing friends who live in Rio, we have plenty of reasons to make a return trip. Asides, we are not into touristy shit anyways. Going to bars and having a chill time is our jam.  For this Sunday night, our last night in Rio, seeing the sun set behind the Christ was more than enough.
After Bar Urca, we went to Cobal for drinks and more food. We also got a closer view of the Christ!
Cobal used to be an indoor market- now all the stalls are small restaurants selling a variety of foods. We went to a restaurant which served traditional Brasilian foods and only served Brasilian craft beer. It is safe to say the craft beer scene in Brasil is alive and kicking- i tried so many interesting delicious beers on this trip it was mind blowing.
Post Cobal, L and I got a taxi back to Ipanema. Another safety PSA: don't flag a taxi on the street in Rio. Kidnappings are quite lucrative in Rio (unlike Sao Paulo) so we looked for a taxi stand because those will be a bit more legit than a random cab on the street. I did not speak until we were out of the cab in Ipanema- you can never be too safe. L spoke to the cab driver with a Carioca accent to not draw attention to us. Again, you can never be too safe. I cannot reiterate that enough. By now, you must be thinking i'm overreacting... Well unfortunately all of our Brasilian friends who still live there (and in the USA) have plenty of stories to back up everything I am saying. The main difference between Chicago (a fairly crime ridden city) vs Rio or SP is that the crime stays in the "bad parts" of Chicago. If you dont go to the bad areas, you generally will not have a problem with safety in Chicago. Crime finds you in Brasil. You don't need to be in the bad part of town to get robbed.
We finished our night with a couple of drinks at the Delirium bar in Rio. It was a short walk from our place and had good foods and a great beer selection.

On Monday, we woke up early and headed to the lagoon for a quick run.
I made several new "friends" including the fake capybara above, and the gorgeous parrots below.
It was warm, and sunny and our sunburns from the previous day were super angry, but we enjoyed our lap around the Lagoa. Plus it was nice to burn off a few of those delicious fried pesticos (appetizer type things)
An outtake from making L take photos of me running

We had breakfast once again at the local cafe, pao na chapa and got ready to go to the airport.
We saw Pao de Acucar (Sugar loaf) on our way. Next time we are in Rio, we will take the tram to the top. 3 days just wasn't enough time.
We flew through security and took a short bus ride to get on our plane. There seems to be not enough gates, so some planes park on the pavement.
Sad our Rio adventure was over, but excited for Sao Paulo.
During the short 40 minute flight we were offered ham sandwiches.
Rio was amazing, and I cannot wait to return again to see the Christ, the Sugarloaf and to go SUP. Or just chill on the beach with a cold beer or caiprinha in hand...
Tchau, Rio!

Next up: Sao Paulo


  1. I had no idea about the crime, so glad you had fun and were safe

  2. I remember hearing about the Rio beach crime during the World Cup this summer. Sounds like you guys played it smart and thus had no adverse "encounters" (well, except for your sunburns)! However the entire city looks gorgeous from your pics. Funny about the bathing suits (Brasil vs. US). That's why I don't wear board shorts if I swim/spa in Europe. Instead I bring a Speedo along. I don't want to look like a tourist! Anyway, the Europeans are sometimes wearing less than that! :)

  3. Man, if you had to be that careful with someone with you who is a native, it makes me wonder... how most tourists do there. LOL. That is good you knew all of that! Makes me wonder what I need to look in to for Mexico. I am pretty good with keeping track of my things and only taking what I need, but, I am also pretty adventurous, lol.

    Ha ha. So you are going to be bringing the brazilian bikini style to the states? I am sure a little ass hanging out looks great, but I know personally, no one needs to see mine. I will be good with a diaper (and, I love my body - it's just not my best feature, ha!).

    I am sorry you didn't get to SUP or see CTR (ha, like my abbreviation). Get that next trip booked!

  4. When I did my last burlesque performance, I was a little disappointed that I was the only woman in our number (other than our teacher) who opted for panties that weren't the full coverage traditional bikini cut. I wore a pair that was a little cheekie like your bottoms. If I had worn a thong, I would have really stood out! But I think a little cheek is sexy. (OK, so it a lot of cheek.) Especially after many weeks of PT to strengthen my glutes, haha.

  5. Your pictures look beautiful! I had no idea about the crime in Rio. It's good that you have knowledgeable friends and L to help you guys stay safe. I wonder how many tourists visit!