Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 1 - Rio

We arrived after a very long flight to find a rainy day in Rio. We amused ourselves on the flight with learning some very useful Portuguese from our phrasebook. Stuff like "you're just using me for sex" and "I won't have sex without a condom". Here's a hint: if you can't communicate well enough that you need a phrasebook, you shouldn't be sleeping with someone.

After arriving at our hotel we went out long enough to hit up an ATM and a juice bar where we had a meat pie and a raspberry juice. Juice bars are everywhere in Rio and the fresh juice is amazing. Make sure you get it with sugar though or it's not sweet enough.

We're staying in Ipanema at the Praia Ipanema. Ipanema is one of the rich and trendy neighborhoods. We had debated a lot between staying in Copacabana, which some said is a little less safe, and Ipanema and finally choose Ipanema. There is nicer shopping in Ipanema but Copacabana looked safe enough at night for me. I don't go wandering around at night anywhere though.

The hotel is really nice. There's a pool and bar on the roof. There's another bar in the lobby that serves some light food where we grabbed lunch while waiting for our room to be ready. There's also a restaurant on the second floor that serves breakfast. Not sure if they have other meals though. We have an oceanfront room. The room is pretty big for a room not in the United States. I liked the large closet. Not sure if an oceanfront room is worth the extra money if you're on a budget. There's no furniture out on the small balcony plus you get a view of the huge road that runs along the beach instead of just the beach.

We had contacted Robert Shaw who runs tours to see football (soccer for all us Americans) games. Robert is originally from England but has lived in Rio for the last several years. And he is very knowledgeable about football. There were 3 other people on the tour. It was a great experience and luckily we were undercover as it was still raining. The two teams playing were Flamengo and Vasco de Gama, both teams based in Rio. Apparently Flamengo fans were mad because they'd lost the week before and were "punishing" the team by not showing up in full force. Vasco has less fans and also aren't doing well this season. They are in danger of being relegated. Relegated means the bottom 4 teams of the league are relegated down to a lower league for the next year. Plus the weather was crappy. So the stadium, Maracana, was less full than normal. Maracana used to be standing room only and at one point set an attendance record for 183,000 people. Now it is all seats and has a capacity of 95,000. The enthusiasm of the fans is amazing. The noise of the cheers deafening. They set off flares and fireworks when goals are scored and games are won. Each team has this group of drummers with huge drums. I highly recommend attending a game if you can. Robert can be reached at brzsocworld@hotmail.com. Plus as we were driving around to pick up the three other people on the tour we got a tour of Rio by Robert which was really nice way to get introduced to the city.

We had dinner at a fabulous restaurant in ipanema called Alessandro and Frederico. Ipanema is a swanky place so most of the restaurants are pretty upscale. We had a caprese salad to start on our mission to try every caprese salad in the world. Seriously I think we order it at every restaurant. Then I had pasta dumplings stuffed with brie and gorgonzola cheeses. Yummmm. The Husband had penne in a gorgonzola walnut sauce. Also delicious. The Husband had several caipirinhas while I stuck to caipiroskas which is with vodka instead of cachaca rum. I'm not a fan of caipirinhas because I think the cachaca rum tastes like tequila so I stuck with vodka the whole trip.

The Husband and I with the Flamengo mascot. The guy on the right is another guy who was on the tour and the I have no idea how the kid got in the picture.

Maracana Stadium


Flamengo Fans


Warm-ups


The Game


Flamengo fans after a goal

The Husband

Flamengo fans after winning the game

Caprese salad at dinner

1 comment:

WeezerMonkey said...

So cool that you went to a real soccer game!