Thursday, December 03, 2009

UPDATED! Best Really This First Day Should Be Two Posts if Not Three

Important Update at Bottom of Post!

So, after falling asleep in a pile of teddy bears the night before at 1am or so I found myself waking up at 6'ish. With the sunlight shining I began to understand (better) that I had been sleeping in the lobby of our hostel and that this wasn't normal, that there must have been some reason the lobby was full of people (still) sleeping on mattresses and the other couches. Oh! And behind the building on its patio there was a guy just sleeping on the ground and another guy sleeping in an unfinished bathroom. Something was up. I took a shower in a finished bathroom. And brushed my teeth, too.

I knew Karen and Bryndee had also arrived in Brazil on Saturday, so that meant they had to be somewhere. And Chateau, Trish, and Noelle were to be arriving that early afternoon, so they'd be showing up eventually. The mystery was When would I find any of these people and where would I find them. I spent a good while, like from 6:30 to 8:00, sitting in front of the hostel, admiring the little alley where it lived.

The neighbor had cats.

And oh great, there were pterodactyls circling overhead. That's normal.

Around 8 the English-speaking staff began showing up at the hostel. From them I learned that our hostel was made up of several buildings in this alley where I was and that indeed in one of these buildings somewhere Bryndee and Karen were sleeping. I also learned that there had been some booking mixups for the night before and that's why I and so many others found ourselves sleeping in the lobby like animals.

I went into the building with the kitchen to drink a dozen glasses of water and to admire the decorations.

At about 9 I got daring and went for a walk up and down the street where I lived.

Mailboxes with hummingbirds.

Restaurants with pigs...somehow I knew I'd wind up there before I had left Rio.

And at about 10 I got real daring and walked down to the beach, which was very close by.

This is Ipanema Beach.

Post 9 is where all the beautiful people are said to go, but at 10am on a Sunday morning it isn't exactly hopping yet.

Each beach has its own sidewalk pattern. This would be the Ipanema pattern.

Made my way back towards the hostel...

Came upon this park (on my left)

Commenced light explorations

Saw a gigantic turtle


Almost home, I observed this rounded building, this Akira or Deathstar looking thing. It made me so curious!

Back at the hostel there was no sign of anyone I knew, so I walked to the lagoon just north of our hostel. I can't believe this is my only picture of it. It is 7km in circumference. That is a factoid that I learned and now share with you.

A better view of the mystery building

And oh great! A new, bigger mystery: A mountain with teeth!

Makeshift playground, apparently it was associated with a coconut salesman?

When I returned to the hostel, a breakthrough! Karen and Bryndee were about and very soon after we decided to head to the beach Chateau, Trish, and Noelle showed up.

Here Bryndee reads of neighborhood activities

And while we wait for the others to make themselves beach-ready Karen tries to teach me chess. And I try to learn. And it was a miracle that she didn't throw the board at me in frustration. I certainly would have.

By the way, here's some of my bedmates I keep talking about and the couch in the above photo would be my bed from the night before.

Trish and Chateau. You'll see Noelle later. Later, but soon.

Okay, there on the left is the back of Noelle's head. Before the beach we went to Ipanema's famous hippie market where they sold lots of curios, desserts, "art", and nonsense.

Oh, and there were puppies.

Visited a local grocer for some deals on bottled water. How many bottles of water did I buy on this trip? Infinite. Infinite bottles of water.

And also there was a trip to the juice stand. Juice is so big in Rio. So big!

And then, at last, as a team and as a band of friends we set foot on the Ipanema Beach together for the first time.

So much beauty, just everywhere there was so much beauty.

There were these guys, famous comedians no doubt, recording some nonsense for tv.

They mainly harrassed the aged beachgoers. This gent wasn't the only one.

But forget that noise, check out this little beach barbecue.

Fresh from the ocean, the sun is setting.

What? Where do you buy your beach treats from? Do you know a better place?

We headed to the eastern end of Ipanema, where it borders Copacabana, to watch the sunset from a famous giant rock with a name that made me think of "equator."

That way: Copacabana.

And there goes the sun of our first day.

Walking back to the hostel, a major football match was on TV. The streets were filled with people hoping to steal a glance at the action and whenever something of note occurred a roar would echo through the city far and wide.

Back at the hostel, we cleaned ourselves up for our first night on the town. Our destination was to be a sushi hotspot in the nearby Leblon neighborhood. Because, you know, Rio means sushi.

Even at 10something at night it was a mighty wait for a table at Sushi Leblon so we dipped into a grocery store for Brazilian treats.

Brazilian Ruffles, "cebolla e salsa" means "sour cream and onion." There was nothing salsa-y about these.
And then it was dinner time. Sushi Leblon is a celebrity hotspot, Madonna ate there earlier in the week and we were seated right by a Brazilian soapstar and Chateau said there were two other famous people at the restaurant while we were there. (If you hadn't figured it out or didn't already know, Chateau is from Brazil so that's why he knows that sort of stuff)

Bryndee dropped her chopsticks, when we asked for a new set, they brought her the kiddie kind with a rubber band wrapped around the end to make it easier.

And then a minute later I dropped MY chopsticks on the ground and was given a pair of the
little kid chopsticks, too. That's what happens if you can't take care of your disposable wooden utensils. You get insulted.

Oh, this was our dinner. It sounded like more on the menu.

And finally, this is us, a family for a week at the end of our first day, so full of youth, newness, excitement, so clueless about the adventures and misadventures just ahead of us.

UPDATE: Inside Joke of the Day - "On a scale from one to sushi, how would you rate this meal?" "Cheeseburger."

Come back tomorrow for the stories of two weird/crazy things that happened to me that Sunday that I didn't tell you about in this post and, who knows, maybe I big post of everything that happened Monday? Perhaps.


Side of Jeffrey said...

Wow are my words. (or word)

nerak said...

SUCH GREAT PICTURES. I need all of them. Somehow. Let's work this out.

Loving the Brazil posts. Almost as much as I loved Brazil! :)

And the scale from one to sushi... Yeah, that one made me laugh right out loud.