we spent the first 3 days in sao paulo just getting used to the time difference and the exhaustion that comes with traveling...aka jet lag. i haven't had the best of luck with jet lag this trip. i seem to experience the symptoms harder and longer than jay does. a two hour time difference and a few hours of flying can make me grumpy for at least a day after the journey. so imagine what jay had to deal with after flying for 25 hours and a time change of 12 hours. hehehe... we did manage to fit in a visit to the museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (masp) which is housed in a modern building designed by lina bo bardi. the modern art collection inside wasn't very impressive but once you've been to moma in nyc can anything compare?

sophia and flavia

the next couple of days we couchsurfed with flavia, luis and their gorgeous daughter, sophia. we had a great time with them over dinners often waiting for luis to translate flavia's enthusiasic questions from portuguese. the weather was not cooperating with us though which added to my jetlag grumpiness, so we didn't venture very far. we toured the downtown area which would have been much more fun on any other day...like a day that wasn't sunday so the shops are closed or a day that is sunny...or even just a day when it isn't raining in the torrential sort of way that it was on that day...

our first few days in rio didn't get much better weatherwise. we were staying at a hostel in copacabana that my brother, mark, recommended which i will not repeat the recommendation by naming it. we stayed in a 14 bed dorm with only one toilet/shower to share and, with the week of rain preceding our visit, the whole place was rank. i think we had been spoiled with our private double rooms with aircon and cable tv while we were in vietnam. we were a bit bummed but decided to hit the beach each morning before the rain inevitably started again. we lucked out one morning when the clouds broke and the sun shone its radiant rays upon us. our southeast asia tans were fading fast so this hit of sun was a welcome surprise...until we got back to the hostel and realized we managed to get a burn in 30 minutes of sun.

view of sugar loaf and copacabana from corcovado hill

we found a couple of cs hosts in rio for the rest of our stay. we stayed with naira and her family in the northern part of the city. she was a girl that mark had met at a party last year and she offered to put us up. i think we stayed in her room and she moved in with her sister for the three days we were there. every morning her mom would have breakfast laid out for us and generally kept us well fed. on the night we arrived naira took us to a forro (pronounced foh-ho) party with some other local csers and their guests. a forro takes place in a big room similar to a social hall you would find in manitoba. the forro band plays loudly as couples swing around the dance floor, the moves similar to a two step but with more hips swaying and with a bit more flair. the next day we decided to visit christo redentor up on corcovado hill which we didn't realize was under construction until we were climbing the final stairs up to the statue. the ticket attendant had warned us about the cloud cover but said nothing about the scaffolding. with less than favourable conditions the top of the hill was still packed with people and we still managed to get some nice views of the sprawling city below.

christ the redeemer

naira and her boyfriend took us to tijuca forest one afternoon and we marvelled at the lush greenery that surrounded us. the park was definitely the most jungle-like that we've experienced on our trip...even more jungley than our old front yard ;p it was sprinkling rain for most of the day but as we were descending the hill a downpour started. we were rescued by a nice man in a station wagon who took pity on us and drove us to the nearest metro station about 15 minutes away.

tijuca forest

andre and pilar

we moved to andre's place to an area called santa theresa near lapa. lapa is the happening center for all things fun...like forro parties, restaurants and bars. andre's place was the penthouse apartment of a block that climbed a hill. we had a great view of the neighbourhood, peeks into neighbour's windows and 4 different options for outdoor space. he had a friend, fabien, from italy crashing for a few months on his hammock out on the terrace. andre's girlfriend, pilar, plus me and jay made five of us in a one bedroom...sounds crowded but we made it work. jason didn't get a chance to flex his chef muscle at all during our stay. fabien took the role as head chef making us 4 cheese pasta, eggplant and tomato pizza and bbq fish. our excursion with andre et al. was to a popular fish market. the beer didn't stop flowing even after the bill was tallied...one more bottle ordered...always just one more...one more...

ipanema beach and 'two brothers' peaks

our last day in rio fabien took us to ipanema beach. we had an acai (pronounced a-say-ee) drink which is everywhere in brazil and is reported to have many health benefits. the variation we had was super sweet so perhaps the health benefits were outweighed by the sugar content. we enjoyed our day at the beach and found it really handy to have a translator with us. fabien knew what all the hawkers were selling and got us some yummy arabic pastry treats.

view of praia do meio, trindade

so brazil is huge! did you know that? we had hoped to see more than we did but 15 hour bus rides did not sound appealing and with our budget almost tapped out we couldn't afford to fly. we found a memorable place to visit anyway...on budget and with a beach nearby. trindade is a small community about 25km outside of paraty...which is between rio and sao paulo. we had heard alot about paraty but happened upon trindade while looking for a hostel online. the smallness of it appealed to us and so did the description of a forest meeting the beach. we spent our five days in trindade exploring a waterfall with a 'rock that swallows', getting pushed around by the ocean waves and reading on the beach.

praia da figueira, trindade

jay's photo - cat with tongue hanging out

historic centre, paraty

we headed back to sao paulo via the coastal highway bus to stay with luis and family again before catching our flight to santiago, chile.



Emms said...

It looks like a nice place - despite the downpours!

gayle said...

How nice all of your couch surfers sound and look like. You have been very lucky