Brazil 2007 Adventure

I remember reading about Brazil in National Geographic magazine when I was a kid; Copacabana and Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, the Amazon.

Brazil is huge, larger than continental US. It stretches from 6° north latitude to 34° south, and from 35° to 74° west longitude. Brazil is mostly lowlands. The highest point is Pico da Neblina at 3,014 m. The summer temperature in Rio de Janeiro was hot, in the mid 90s F and humid.

The 2007 Brazil adventures were in February.
Trip 1 was an extension of the Antarctica adventure, from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls, February 3-6, 2007. My Antarctica expedition and cruise ended February 4th, and I did a 3 day extension into the jungle between the Misiones province of Argentina and Brazil, to see Iguazu Falls. At one point while crossing the border bridge, we could see Paraguay up the river. My return date was February 6th.

Trip 2 was for CARNIVAL (CAR-KNEE-VAAL) in Rio de Janeiro, February 15-22, 2007. WA-HOO! This was the 'Price Buster Rio' tour from General Tours, booked through AAA Travel. Because of the holiday opportunistic pricing, 'price-buster' was a misnomer.

I departed the US on February 15th. An overnight flight brought me to Rio de Janeiro, via Houston and Sao Paulo. My return date was February 22nd. My Continental flight landed first in Sao Paulo, and after an hour wait, flew almost another hour northeast to Rio de Janeiro. If the weather is good, and you are sitting on the left side, the view of the city is great. On the home trip, which is at night, if you are on the right side, the view of the city, including Christo Redentor is great.

Brazil is not for everyone. People were robbed at knife point. It is routine, and not just for tourists. It is very important to observe more serious security procedures in Brazil. Just follow the standard advice. I wore no watch or jewelry, did not dress flamboyantly, did not display money. I did not wander alone at night. My passport was always in the safe. I had no problems.

Money management is difficult in Brazil. I changed USD$200 at the airport. The largest bill I got was a R$50 (Real) note. I had difficulty cashing them. I had difficulty at one store spending a R$20 note. Others who got R$100 notes from ATMs had an extremely hard time spending them. The hotel and some stores take Visa cards without any problem.

Carnival is a 4 day holiday. I was in Rio on the eve and the 4 nights of the holiday. My city tour, which was scheduled for Saturday was rescheduled until Monday afternoon. It turned out to be a privately guided tour for me only. This was my good fortune for several reasons. People who went on the Saturday tour complained that they couldn't see anything from Sugar Loaf, because of the cloud layer. While it was hazy on my tour, there was no cloud layer. My tour guide was excellent, flexible, and knowledgeable.

I had a good time. Most of the people I met in Rio de Janeiro were warm and friendly and displayed characteristic Latin courtesy and hospitality.

I enjoyed walked the beaches every day. I walked Copacabana from end to end and back. Another day I walked Ipanema from end to end and back. A third day I walked around the lagoon. There are many other beaches, hikes and treks possible. It is possible to walk to the top of Sugar Loaf.

Seventy percent of the Portuguese speakers of the world live in Brazil. Portuguese has some similarities to Spanish. After learning my standard list of phrases (Yes, no, please, thank you, excuse me, red wine, numbers), my Spanish is probably shot forever. Si is Sim. No is Nao.

I liked Portuguese pizza. The Portuguese steak sandwich was ok. Some do not like the domestic red wine. I thought it was better than 2 buck chuck.

Carnival 2007!
"Reserve bons momentos."
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Luxor t-shirt
Luxor Regente in Copacabana beach.
Clean and comfortable rooms.
Good breakfast buffet.
Luxor
Air shaft view.
Always hoping for a room with an ocean view.
Air shaft view
Every room has a safe,
which costs $R3 per day.
Room safe
Twelfth floor pool and bar,
overlooking Copacabana beach.
12th floor pool
I enjoyed the street art in Rio.
This is one of many sand sculptures on Copacabana beach.
Sand art
More sand art. More sand art at night
Graffito. Graffito
Peace! Peace
Wooden people! Wooden people
Stylish telephones. Telephones
Swan boats on the lagoon. Swan boats on the Lagoon
Ipanema. Ipanema
Carnival float.
The Carnival parades are full of colorful and elaborate floats. The thousands of dancers and singers move in the heat to the samba rhythm in a wild, wild frenzy.
Carnival float
Traffic can be a problem!
Traffic is jammed up behind a neighborhood Banda parade.
Traffic can be a problem.
Banda speaker truck.
The music is loud and makes the street vibrate under your feet. Those black rectangles are large speakers. Dancers and drummers are out in front.
Banda speaker truck
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral.
Even in the heat of the day it is comfortable inside, because it's special design makes it self cooling.
Christo Redentor is in the background to the right.
Rio Cathedral
Christo Redentor looking out over the city, from the top of Corcovado. Brazil claims the largest Catholic population of any country. Christo Redentor

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