Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"I Don't Eat Ugly Food"

I cannot believe that I have been living in Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL for a whole week already! It's already been full of ups and downs, but overall, it's been incredible. Before coming down here, I was bummed about all the things at Ashland that I would miss while I was here in Brazil, but after being here for awhile, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Our Internet was down this weekend, which was a bummer, but forced us to get out and do things and become more immersed in the culture. Don't get me wrong, we don't spend all our time on the computers, but it is nice to be disconnected for awhile. Although it's a little disgusting to see how dependent we are on our phones.

Friday afternoon, we went to the mall in Botafogo with one of Brittany's teachers named Viviane. Apparently it's one of the smaller malls in Rio, but had eight stories and the top two were strictly food. My kind of mall! The view from the top was incredible! We could see the bay and the Sugarloaf-- it was amazing. I really cannot wait to go visit the Sugarloaf and see it up close.
Bad panoramic of the view from the top of the mall
After walking back from the mall, we went to Drink Cafe with Viviane and Mónica for their friend's birthday party. Two of Vivi's friends, Carol and another Mónica, were there and they were a riot! Carol is in the catering business and tries out her food on her friends before offering it as something she would cater. She's working on barbeques right now and invited us over to hangout and eat some of the food. You don't have to ask me twice! They had also ordered a cheese and vegetable platter type thing and Claire was the only brave soul who would try the food. One type of food was capers and cream cheese wrapped in eggplant. Mónica said she wouldn't eat it because it tastes like a wet dog and Vivi didn't want it because she doesn't eat ugly food. Good thing we were all in agreement, it looked pretty nasty. It was nice to go out with some locals and hang out with them and get accustomed to the culture here in Brazil. Even if they were adults and our mentor teachers.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early to go to Copacabana. We got there around 10am and Vivi met us around 11am. We stayed until about 3pm until we decided that we absolutely could not hang out there anymore. The heat and warmth was fantastic, but they aren't kidding when they say that the Brazilian sun is brutal. All four of us left with some sort of color, whether it be brown or red or a combination of both. To esape the sun we really tried to get in the water, but it is so cold! Seriously, after standing in it for a minute or two, my ankles get that sore feeling like I've been icing them for awhile.
Flat Stanely goes to Copacabana
The sun must have wiped us out because we came back to the apartment that afternoon and crashed. Showers and naps all around. We woke up that evening and just hung out in the living room chatting with each other about the weirdest things-- weddings and suicides were just two of the topics we touched upon.
Nomming on some watermelon at Copacabana
Sunday morning we kind of slept in a little bit before waking up and going to the Hippie Fair in Ipanema. We braved public transportation and took a taxi to Siqueria Campos Station where we hopped on the metro which took us straight into Ipanema. We're still trying to figure out the most efficient time and manner in which to travel-- I'm sure we'll figure it out sometime.

The Hippie Fair is a giant, glorified, not junky flea market. There were vendors EVERYWHERE selling anything that you could imagine. It was a great place to buy souvenirs, I've made quite a dent in my shopping and gift list. I think we're hoping to go back sometime while we're here because we didn't even make it all of the way through the fair.

Typical Carnaval headpieces
Later that night Claire and I went to the indoor/ outdoor market and went to Rota 66 for dinner. The waiter didn't speak English, which we're finding to be pretty typical here. We both ordered grilled chicken sandwiches with french fries-- true Americans. The food was delicious; we both blinked and our food was gone.
Each time we go out we feel more and more comfortable talking to people and conversing with people. And it always feels good when you taxi drops you off in the right location or the food place in front of you is the same food you thought that you had ordered. It's definitely A LOT tougher living in country that speaks Portuguese than I had expected, but we're surviving quite well.

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