Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Post 1 - Handmade in the Heartland

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Post 1

We are BACK! It was such a fun trip and it's been so hard to sift though the 500+ photos that we took while were there to pick which ones to show you here. As always there were traveling blunders and hilarious stories that i will hopefully be able to get out in a timely manner before i forget the details, and i will also be using these Brazil posts as a traveling outline of what i recommend in Rio, should you ever decide to go.

But lets start from the beginning shall we...

Day 1 of Travel: Monday November 16th
Since i had to do some serious finagling to get our tickets for such a great price we decided the best way to get to LAX on Tuesday morning would be to fly to Vegas the day before and see Matt's dad, spend the night and then get an early flight from Vegas to LA. (We had delta vouchers for 400$ each and i found tickets to Rio for $415 each round trip! so great right?! Well the only catch was we had to fly out of Los Angeles.) The other catch about this whole travel scheme was that since we were flying on southwest flights (free rapid rewards tickets ill have you know :) to LA and then transferring to Delta with only a few hours we decided it would be best to only take carry-on luggage. i know your thinking WHAT?! only a carry on for almost 2 weeks?! oh yes ladies i did it. and here is the pic to prove it:

Thank you VERY MUCH!

We arrived in Vegas in the late afternoon and since a few nights before we had been at some friends playing games and we had played blackjack i decided that i wanted to try my luck for the first time and play a game of blackjack. I was only planning on playing with $20 ( famous last words right?) but Matt's dad said i couldn't play with that little so he gave me $40 more- which i responded "i don't know if you're going to get this back". Well the table i played it was fun, some really nice people who were all super surprised it was my absolute first time. I was up to $80 and then lost it all, sad but i think that cured me from playing again :)
After killing time we met up with Kristy and Jess (Matt's step-mother and step-sister) and had a wonderful dinner at the Cut. It's a Wolfgang Puck Steak House and it was more than fabulous! I had Indian braised short ribs and Matt and his dad had a $75 steak, both were delicious. Although it was a short trip to Vegas it was really nice to see Bill and Kristy and we are so grateful that Bill got up the next morning and took us to the airport at 5:30a.m, i know it was painful.
Day 2 of Travel: Tuesday, November 17
The next 24 hours were a little miserable. Our flight left Vegas at 6:50 and arrived in LA at 8:00 am. We then had to get checked in at Delta but still had a few hours to wait until our 11:00 am -4 hour flight to Atlanta, which then once arriving in Atlanta at 6pm we had to wait until 10pm to board our final 9hour- through the night- flight to Rio. i realized now that probably one of the reasons we slept so well on the night flight coming home and didn't sleep at ALL on the flight going down is because we had been sitting for the previous 12 hours and we weren't tired at all. The flight to Rio was a lot of tossing and turning and finally i gave up and watched a few movies, My sister's keeper and the time traveler's wife. At least they had good movies. Oh i almost forgot- the first blunder of the trip happened in Atlanta. I in all my wisdom saw a money exchange place in the airport that several people were in line for and exchanging money at. I thought lets get it done now and then we won't have to worry about it when we get there. BAD MOVE #1. i exchanged HALF of our money at a 1.4 exchange rate and realized half way through the sleepless flight that the exchange rate in Rio is 1.7. Sufficient to say we lost a little bit of money. UG.

Sunrise in Vegas Airport
Day 3: Wednesday, November 18th
Arriving in Brazil was actually a very nice experience thanks to Rinaldo. He was waiting with a sign that had my name on it. Rinaldo is a friend of a friend that lives here in Kansas City, she served her mission in Rio and gave me his email, we then corresponded through email and he came to pick us up. It was really nice to not have to worry about how to get to our apartment. On the drive from the airport he told us some things about Brazil and mentioned that there was a soccer game at the maracana stadium that evening and offered to take us.

A few photos from the plane

A few photos from the car on the ride from the airport.
Our first sighting of Christo the Redentor

Once we got to our apartment and got settled we decided to go to the beach for a few hours. Well first we bought a local sim card for our phone which we never ended up using because A. it was the most difficult buying experience since no one at "Claro" the store spoke English and B. once we finally got the sim card home the activation instructions were also in Portuguese. OH how fun language barriers are :). Since our apt was in Copacabana we decided to head for the beach nearest us which we learned later that Ipanema and Leblon beaches are much nicer, but we still had fun in the sun. The biggest shock of the beaches is that EVERYONE is wearing a thong. seriously. it doesn't matter how big or small you are, and every male is in a speedo. Lets just say we say a lot of butts on our trip.
Copacabana Beach

We also learned on our first day that Sucous means juice, and it's good! We had a juice bar right on our corner and we ate there everyday. At the juice bars that are literally on EVERY corner they also sell bakery items which are filled with ham and cheese or all kinds of yummy surprises. The cheapest thing to eat in Rio is for sure these items. My favorite juice was Tangerina ou Limao, tangerine with a little bit of lime- so tasty!

After Beaching it, taking a nap and eating a WAY overpriced sushi dinner- i'll relay that story in a later post, we were picked up by Rinaldo for the soccer game. The game didn't even start until 10pm, and let me tell you i have never in my life been to an event with so much energy. It was SO AMAZING. probably one of our favorite things that we did in Brazil. The game was between Uruguay and a local Brazilian team called Fluminese, and the stands weren't even all the way full and the crowd was like a NFL game on steriods. You can actually see a 7 minute clip of the game we went to on You tube just click HERE. The game was really intense because the brazilian team didn't score until the last 2 minutes of the game to tie the score and then they scored a second goal in the last minute of the game. It was really insane, and then the Uruguay team started a fight! Here are some photos and a few videos we took of the crowd.

At the beginning of the game the stands were lighting off fireworks.

These people love their soccer!!

video video

There will be more posts soon to come!

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