Sunday, February 12, 2012

Checking Things Off Our Bucket List!

As you may or may not know, the police in Rio are on strike. They get paid incredibly low wages each month and are sick and tired of it. So they're striking for higher wages and using the upcoming Carnaval as leverage. I'm not good at summarzing details, but you can easily Google it and find out the information for yourself.

[By suggestion of the wonderful Mrs. Kasych, I would like to add that there ARE national police here in Rio to keep the peace and keep up with general police duties. There are just less national police than there are local police. The local police have also worked out some sort of agreement where some of them are still going in to work to protect the city. I think that's how it's working out. So the city isn't completely police-less.]

Due to the strike, many people in Rio think that it is too dangerous to go outside and way too dangerous for us to go outside. We stayed in Friday night, but then decided that we absolutely could not sit in the house any longer. We've played it very safe the past couple of days while going out to explore the city. [Again, the city has police here. We aren't going out into the snarling teeth of hoodlums. We're sticking to safe, well-policed areas and avoiding sketchy areas. If anything ever felt unsafe, we'd hightail it back to our little apartment, pronto.]

Saturday afternoon-ish Amanda, Brittany, and I hopped in a cab down to Hotel Sofitel in Copacabana. Melania had mentioned that there was an antique fair there every Saturday and that it might be something to check out. We wanted something safe and something cheap, so it seemed like a good bet. It was interesting enough to look at, but antiques aren't really my thing, so it wasn't necessarily something that I would be dying to do again.

The antique fair-- so many floors!
The best part was when we stopped at the souvenir shop right outside the antique fair. We said hello to the person working in Portuguese and then continued talking to each other in English. After a few minutes, the man asks us where we are from. We said Ohio, of course, and he goes "Really?! I'm from Ohio, too! A little town called Painesville, you've probably never heard of it." As a matter of fact, sir,  I HAVE heard of it. Such a small world.

After going to the antique fair, we crossed the street to go to Forte de Copacabana, or the military fort at Copacabana. We paid R$4 to get in and spent a couple of HOURS walking around. The views were gorgeous and the whole place was very educational. There was a little cafe and a restaurant inside the fort that overlooks the Sugarloaf and Copacabana, so we're hoping to go back soon.

Forte de Copacabana.
Notice the flowers made out of bullets.
Later that night, Amanda, Brittany, and I went to this little store called "Americano Express" that sells DVDs for cheap. I know, I know, why spend my money on American DVDs? But we were cooped up inside and Claire didn't feel well, so we had to get something. I ended up buying 'Transformers 3' for only $7.50. Which is a huge steal, if you ask me. Sure, the menu screen is all in Portuguese, but I can figure out how to change the language, no problem.

We had a lazy morning this morning, just hanging around the house working on lesson plans. I was flipping through one of the thousand travel books that we have sitting around the house when I landed on the page about the Jardim Botânico. It was 2:30pm when I was reading the book and the garden closed at 5pm. I gave everyone half an hour and told them to hurry up and get ready because we were leaving at 3pm. And we did.

Claire and I by the incredible trees.
The gardens were breath-taking! We could see the Christ Statue every time we turned around, the plants were incredible, and the weather turned out to be fantastic. We left before seeing the whole thing, but agreed that we will definitely be coming back!

Christ Statue.

No comments:

Post a Comment