Tourist Time

Wednesday was our first full day in Brazil, and we wanted to make the most of it.  We woke up at 7:30 AM (4:30 AM D.C. time) in preparation for our touristy adventures.

Tuna’s parents had a Brazilian breakfast all ready for us once we got our bleary-eyed selves out of bed.

We devoured handmade breads with the thinnest sliced cheese and turkey ever. Thinly sliced = fancy. Though bread with cheese and cold cuts would usually be something Americans eat for lunch, it was actually really delish to have in the morning. I might have to start having this on the reg.

We also had fresh squeezed orange juice every morning thanks to Tuna’s mom. Brazilian orange peels are green – makes you feel kind of funny calling them oranges!

After b-fast, Tuna, his mom, and I all hopped in to his dad’s typ taxi driver’s car. Claudio drove us around a lot of the week and he is now our BFFL. Though we couldn’t really say much to each other since he only speaks Portuguese, so I don’t think he knows he’s our BFFL, but it’s okay.

Surprisingly, it takes a long time to get around in Rio, since there are a trillion little Fiats and only so many teeny winding city streets. Tuna’s mom told us this little anecdote, which I found hilarious and seems to sum up the Brazilian laid-back attitude: when there’s rush hour traffic, and you turn to the news radio channel to see why there’s congestion on a specific road, they always say the reason is – too many cars. Thanks, I think I could have figured that one out for myself!

Claudio drove us up the side of a mountain that legit shot us up vertically on cobblestone streets surrounded by a small country town. I don’t usually get carsick, but the those streets combined with – in quotes – “air conditioning” made me regret demolishing my seven pieces of bread and cold cuts for breakfast.

We arrived at our first tourist destination, Corcovado, the famous giant Jesus statue a.k.a. Christ the Redeemer. Though after I called the statue Corcovado all day I finally realized that Corcovado is actually the mountain that Christo Redentor is on, not the statue itself. Whoops.

We were up in the clouds!

Though I think the sign was confused too, so that made me feel better.

Christo Redentor is the largest Art Deco statue in the world (thanks, Wikipedia) and was built in the 1930’s.

The statue is HUGE and really breathtaking up close. I spend the morning wondering how they got that much concrete and soapstone up the big ol’ mountain with roads that make you slightly carsick.

Apparently, MONKEYS hang out on Corcovado too!

We headed partway down the mountain and stopped to take embarrassing pictures from a lookout point where there was a great view of the statue.

Then it was on to our next tourist destination: Pão de Açúcar, or Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf is a set of two mountains with cable cars that have been bringing tourists to a spectacular view for exactly 100 years.

We got a great view of Rio from above – including Copacabana Beach.

Though we were exhausted after our day of tourism, Tuna and I decided to be ballsy and venture out to a local wine bar in Leblon.

We were really nervous since neither of us speak Portuguese. What if we got lost, or couldn’t figure out how many real we needed to pay? We debated not going out at all, but we thought we should be brave and experience all that we could of Rio, including a little bit of the nightlife.

I’m sure glad we did, because when I attempted to order our Chilean wine in Portuguese, the waitress smiled at me and said, “we can speak in English, if that’s easier.”

Perhaps the first time I’ve ever finished a glass of wine before Tuna.

Do you love or hate doing touristy things when traveling? Love!

Have you ever ventured out in a foreign country where you don’t know the language? 

One thought on “Tourist Time

  1. Love doing touristy things–that’s why I’m there–but also like going behind the obvious tourist traps. Yes, I’ve wandered alone (a little bit) in Spain, where I hardly knew the language, and in Rome and Florence, where I knew no Italian! But had maps (and found, as you did, that most people spoke some English).

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