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26 February 2012
The sun sets on another epic trip

sunset at Pão de Açúcar
sunset at Pão de Açúcar

Say it with me, kids: WOW! Couldn't have asked for a sweeter ending to our epic trip. This is one of many incredible views of the sun setting over Rio, as seen from Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar), where we spent a good chunk of our last afternoon/evening. Yum!

RELATED POSTS:
* Photo Friday:
Sambódromo favorites
* Dois Gringos em Dois Irmãos
* Samba till you drop
* browse
all Brazil posts


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment


24 February 2012
Photo Friday: Sambódromo favorites

the Portela crew, workin' it
the Portela crew, workin' it

shiny objects
shiny objects


Our Sunday evening trip to the Sambodromo to watch over seven hours of samba parades was epic, to say the least. We had incredible seats, right on the ground level in the sector next to the judges.


this little dude had charazzzzzzma
this little dude had charazzzzzzma

confetti canon!
confetti cannon!

Mocidade's batteria was definitely tops
Mocidade's batteria was definitely tops


As you can imagine, there are myriad photos to curate. These are just a scant few of my first-run faves.


love the energy
love the energy

colored pencil float! ('nuff said)
colored pencil float! ('nuff said)

zombierific
zombierific

even the cleanup crews got down with their badselves
even the cleanup crews got down with their badselves

one of Beija Flor's incredible floats
one of Beija Flor's incredible floats

I gotta get me one of these hats!
I gotta get me one of these hats!


One of the best parts of being right down in the action was the opportunity to interact with the paraders. Despite marching for 90 minutes straight, in some cases in a parade that didn't even start till the wee hours of the morning, these folks had amazing energy.


still cheerful at 5am
still cheerful at 5am

front row seats to the sambaliciousness
front row seats to the sambaliciousness

partying till the sun comes up
partying till the sun comes up


Watch for more Carnaval and parade pics to come in the next days and weeks! And check out the other great travel snaps at Delicious Baby's Photo Friday.


RELATED POSTS:
*
Dois Gringos em Dois Irmãos
* Samba till you drop
* browse
all Brazil posts

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


20 February 2012
Dois gringos em Dois Irmãos

We're still recovering from seven straight hours of parades in the Sambódromo on Sunday night (and well into Monday morning). I haven't even looked through all the photos yet. In the meantime, here's a nice quiet shot of us on Leblon beach in front of the iconic Dois Irmãos mountains. From this neighborhood we picked up the shuttle to the parades.

the calm before the storm
the calm before the storm

 

RELATED POSTS:
* Samba till you drop
* In a Rio state of mind
* browse all Brazil posts


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


18 February 2012
Samba till you drop

Today was a big day. Somehow we managed to go from this:

wall-to-wall crazies in the street at Cinelândia
wall-to-wall crazies in the street at Cinelândia
wall-to-wall crazies in the street at Cinelândia


to this:

chilling out at a neighborhood lanchonete
chilling out at a neighborhood lanchonete


to this:

chilling out at a neighborhood lanchonete
Mangueira Samba School performs at Rio Scala Ball

high-voltage old-school samba, into the wee hours
high-voltage old-school samba, into the wee hours

this dude loves his job
this dude loves his job


We made some new friends along the way...

new friends from Sri Lanka
...like this delightful couple from Sri Lanka
(seated next to The Guy Who Had a Bit Too Much Day)

saucy cariocas
...and these saucy cariocas who taught us to samba till the sun came up


Not bad for a day that began by sleeping well past noon. Tomorrow, the Sambodromo parades!


RELATED POSTS:
* In a Rio state of mind
* The caipirinha countdown continues!
* browse all Brazil posts


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments
17 February 2012
In a Rio state of mind

oktapodi and friend at the Carnival Tourism Office
oktapodi and friend at the Rio Carnival Tourism Office

The last two days have been pretty stressful, but, as always, oktapodi has managed to make new friends and maintain a cheerful disposition. Mark and I are just happy we haven't yet killed ourselves (or anyone else) after driving around Rio for two days. Operating a motorized vehicle here is a psychotic experience on a good day, but during Carnival, fugetaboutit. (Surprisingly, my daily Beltway training seems to be paying off! We've decided me driving + Mark navigating is the best way to preserve what little sanity we have left.) Nonetheless, samba ball & parade tickets are now in hand, the car is back in the garage where it belongs, and once we get a nice shower and a nap we'll be ready to explore the city the right way: on foot and via public transport!

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments
13 February 2012
The caipirinha countdown continues!
less than 48 hours to go

oktapodi is ready to samba
oktapodi is ready to samba

It's official. We're in that pre-trip zone of chaos where piles of random items litter the living room and to-do lists rule the day. On Wednesday we're heading down to Brazil for 11 days of samba, sun, and carnivaliciousness.

We'll spend the bulk of our time in Rio, soaking up the Carnival vibe. Number one question so far: are you staying at a Marriott? Hah, no. It's notoriously hard to get the associate rate at the JW (the only Marriott hotel in town) and even moreso during the most popular week of the year. So we have a room at one of Brazil's "motels," which seem somewhat akin to Japan's love hotels, normally booked by the hour but surprisingly affordable if you stay overnight or for a week at a time. And of course we love the cheese factor... mirrors on the ceilings? Bring it! The location can't be beat, there's free parking and free wifi, and the price was right. We don't intend to spend much time in the hotel anyway.


Mangueira Samba School, photo by RCS Travel & Tourism
Mangueira Samba School, photo by RCS Travel & Tourism

We decided to get tickets to one of the more traditional Carnival balls, the Mangueira Ball at Rio Scala. Mangueira is one of the oldest samba schools in Rio, and this ball is a chance to party the night away with its drummers, principal samba dancers and the flag bearer and her escort. As the CVB site says, "It is a true and real samba night; you can dance all night or just watch and enjoy the crowd." Count me in!

Sunday night we have tickets to watch some of the main parades in the Sambodromo. Figuring out which seats to book was by far the most complicated part of our itinerary! Ticket prices range from very affordable grandstand free seating to luxury VIP box seats. We opted for something in the middle, reserved seats on the floor. But even that was a complicated choice, as some sectors are more desirable than others because the judges are in a certain area and that's where the dancers do their best to impress. We made what we thought was a reasonable choice, but really it was more like a best guess. I have a feeling we're going to have fun no matter what.


diving in Arraial do Cabo, photo by Keidy Beranger
diving in Arraial do Cabo, photo by Keidy Beranger

Besides the Carnival festivities, the other highlight of the trip will be a scuba excursion to Arraial do Cabo, a site that boasts the best diving on the southern coast of Brazil. This part is a gift from my siblings, who were in cahoots with Mark on the whole birthday surprise. (Have I mentioned lately that I have the best family in the world?) They found us a really cool hotel and an awesome dive shop. The beachy goodness should be a nice respite from the insanity of the city.

There are plenty of other options in the mix -- I'm dying to go tandem hang gliding! -- that we'll figure out when we're there. We're renting a car, which gives us some flexibility on day trips. But the main idea is to live it up carioca-style in one of the most beautiful cities in the world during one of the biggest parties on the planet. Follow along with our posts in the "Brazil" category! 


RELATED POSTS:
* WanderFood Wednesday:
Brazilian Füdism
*
We're going to Rio!

Posted by sonia at 9:30 PM | Link | 1 comment
01 February 2012
WanderFood Wednesday: Brazilian Füdism

In honor of the two-week countdown to our Brazilian junket (can I get a woot-woot?) I decided to post a recap of our last Füdism, a monthly foodie gathering where we throw down the food-geek gauntlet with a group of friends. In January the theme was Brazilian food, and as usual everyone brought their A-game.


"just" a potato salad
"just" a potato salad

feijoada!
feijoada!


Our contribution, besides hosting, was two dishes: codfish balls, and pork empanadas. Om-nom-nom, if I do say so myself.

codfish balls
codfish balls... easy to make and fun to say!

balls in the oven
balls in the oven

mmmm, crispy balls!
mmmm, crispy balls!

Mark chops the meat
Mark chops the meat

empanada filling
empanada filling

empanada-rific
empanada-rific


Part of the fun of these events is poring over cookbooks and internet recipes for just the right dish. It's even better to get an authentic recipe from an expat friend.

arrumadinho
arrumadinho

authentic recipe
authentic recipe, quaintly quoted straight from the source


These photos capture only about half of the total feast, but at some point I stopped snapping and started chowing down. The caipirinhas flowed, the gorgeous dishes kept coming, and we had plenty of meaty goodness.

meaty goodness
no Brazilian meal would be complete without a big hunk of meat


I'm a bit chagrined to note that I focused solely on the "food porn" shots, and neglected to take a single picture of the delightful people who not only prepped these dishes but also made the gathering extra-festive. My bad! Brazilians are legendary for their hospitality... I think this group of gringos made a good run at it. Saúde, fudistas!


Be sure to check out Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering travel foodie posts.


RELATED LINKS:
* We're going to Rio!
* browse all WanderFood Wednesday posts


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments