If you're only going to be in Brasil once in your life, you really have to make sure you visit Rio! So before we sent our guests back home to Iowa, we spent their final weekend in Rio de Janeiro. Eric, his parents, and his youngest sister all drove down Friday, August 14 after Eric got off work. They got in around 10:00 pm and, after checking into the Ipanema apartment we rented for the weekend, Eric came out to the airport to pick up Gabs and me.
The following morning, we got up early and headed down to the beach after having a salgado and açaí breakfast at a juice bar.
The beach was pretty empty when we got there, so we rented chairs and umbrellas and got set up right at the edge of the water. It was a beautiful day, so it wasn't long before the beach got much busier!
We spent the day taking in the scenery, working on our tans, and playing in the water.
That afternoon, we thought we'd let Gabriela dip her feet in the water. She was totally not digging the cold Rio water though! She was much happier playing in her beach tent or on a kanga in the sand (and working on her poses for the Sports Illustrated Baby Swimsuit Edition, apparently?)
That evening, Eric took his family up to Pão de Açúcar to watch the sunset.
It was a beautiful night and they got some great views as the sun set over Corcovado and the city began to light up.
Meanwhile, I threw Gabriela in her BabyBjörn and the two of us went for a nice long walk. We walked down the beachfront along Ipanema, hopped a city bus through the back streets of Arporador (to be safer, since those streets were pretty deserted), and then got off and walked almost the entire length of the Copacabana beachfront. It was a real testament to my comfort level in Brasil/Rio and with my Portuguese. I remember a time when I would not go out by myself at all after dark! And I am still plenty cautious, but the beachfront was very busy and I was not the least bit uneasy.
Gabs and I met up with everyone in Copacabana at Deck for a delicious pizza rodízio (all you can eat pizza, except instead of a buffet, they bring the pizzas around to your table) and sangria (YUM!).
The next morning we were greeted with more gorgeous weather! I stayed at the apartment and let Gabriela sleep while Eric took everyone else up to the Cristo.
And then, when they got back, I was completely jealous. They got to see a sloth on their way back down the mountain!!! Eric and I have been dying to see a sloth. I have no idea why, but we both really wanted to see a sloth in the wild before we left Brasil. And they saw one. Right there on the edge of the road! Thank goodness they at least brought me back a picture!
They made it back to the apartment a little after 10:00 am and we headed back down to the beach for the rest of the day.
Besides drinking coconut water and eating Globo biscoitos, we also indulged in one of my other favorite Rio-Beach pastimes: shopping. Kelly and I each ended up buying a bikini from one of the guys wandering through the crowd with an umbrella displaying dozens of Brasilian bikinis. As the two of us looked at swimsuits and held them up to ourselves trying to decide which we wanted, the kind salesman (pictured with us below) kept making suggestions and pulling more options out of his duffel-bag. All the while he was grinning from ear to ear . . . I got the feeling he liked his job!
Later that Sunday afternoon, we headed back to the apartment, got cleaned up, packed up, and headed to the airport (in two shifts, darn little car - Eric took Gabs and me and then came back for his folks). We said our goodbyes to Eric's parents and sister, and then we made the 5-hour journey back to Belo Horizonte, where we immediately fell into bed and passed out.