Saturday, December 29, 2012

Brazil Day 9: Rio has something for everyone!

Often when traveling, you don't end up doing the things you spent the morning planning. In our case, there's a museum Oi Futura dedicated to old telephones and futuristic technology. Unfortunately all the technology from the future couldn't keep this museum from being closed until the morning after we fly out. This just meant we had a chance to head to the Jardim Botânico instead!

A snack at the traditional 135-year-old Brazilian restaurant Lamas
The truffle was AMAZING and the other little guy looks like a snail

We alternated between confused and amused (let's call it confamused) by the map of the garden, which seemed to have no resemblance to time and space. It's a bit like the London Tube map which functions great as for pointing how to get from station to station underground, but when you're trying to walk around on the surface of the earth, you kind of really need to know distances and scale. After not finding much of anything we were looking for (breadfruit tree, chocolate tree, cacti) we decided maybe we could recognize something in the Amazon. When we finally found that section, it was closed because the bridge seemed to be wiped out due to high water. Such is tourism in Brazil :) One nice thing is that they keep the garden open well after closing time, so people can wander around for hours after that stop allowing new people in. Perhaps this is because visitors get so terribly lost, they need to be given a chance to find their way out :)

REALLY tall and straight palm trees at Jardim Botanico

To lift our spirits, we walked over to the wonderful cafe directly behind the garden, La Bicyclette. I'm not sure what my favorite part of this cafe was. The electric toasters on every table (and corresponding electric outlets embedded in the sidewalk)? The chocolate croissant? The ice coffee that is made with shaved frozen coffee? They were exactly what was needed so we could brave another museum...

Olga reaching for fruit
at Jardim Botanico

Dave still hasn't seen
any monkeys on this trip!

We know a handful of people in Rio de Janeiro. We probably know about 6 of the 6 million residents, and perhaps 8 of the 8 million living or visiting here. We ran into two people we know at the Instituto Moreira Salles which is a small but very interesting museum that Olga blogs about. What are the chances of running into them? Apparently about one in a million, give or take.

La Bicyclette has everything you could possibly want...

From the museum, we walked over to the Leblon and Ipanema neighborhoods. Olga tripped over a curb and blew out her flip-flops Jimmy Buffet style. Now for a segment we'll call "Purchased for Amazon Jungle, but used only in urban jungle": Bactine, Neosporin, Band-aids, Pepto, battery to charge USB devices. It turns out the jungle is safer than the city! The lodge where we stayed in the Amazon even had a "jungle doctor" (also known as the chef) on staff, with an expertise in bending back fingers and toes that are bent out of place. The only injuries we saw in the jungle were 1 girl who twisted her ankle playing soccer and a tour guide who had a urinary infection. There's probably a jungle herbal concoction could've helped him, but he seemed to greatly prefer antibiotics.

It seems The Blue Man Group is huge here!

Saturday night's festivities ended in Lapa, the district of music, dance, and drink. Vaca Atolada was the destination, known for the excellent samba bands who play there. The band was great, sitting in a circle around a table, riffing off each other. It just so happened that a club directly above had a Beatles cover band playing, so as long as we sat outside, we could hear Beatles Made Out
while the samba band was on break.

Samba band at Vaca Atolada

the Lapa hoards...

My only advice is to not order escura (dark) beer at Vaca Atolada. They don't have any, and instead brought Brahma Malzbier. It is super sweet and tastes like kvas with molasses and malt. Not cool. Walking back to our flat, we passed a ton of crazy drunk people hanging outside dance clubs. There was also a bit of a fun street music scene too. Lapa has something for everyone!

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