Tuesday, December 16, 2008

At the Copa, Copacabana...

When I say "Rio de Janeiro," what comes to your mind?

The famous Christ the Redeemer statue? The almost equally-as-famous Sugarloaf mountain? Copacabana beach? Favelas? Danger?
(Much to just about everyone's suprise, I felt very safe in Rio and did not see a single dangerous situation...other than the insane Carioca drivers, of course! But there is no photo documentation. Rio is a safe place. Don't believe the media. And don't go to favelas. I'm sure that helped.)

When Mark and Kelly bought their tickets to come visit, they scheduled a two day stop in Rio on their way back to the States. They invited me to come along with them and partake in the adventures any gigantic city is sure to provide, and perhaps act as their default Portuguese-speaker. Since we had planned their visit to coincide with Thanksgiving, a selfish move on my part (hey, my sister is a good cook, and I didn't know how much help I was going to have with the LST Thanksgiving feast!) this put the stay in Rio at the beginning of December. I took advantage of the expected s-l-o-w-n-e-s-s that December brings in Brazil and accepted their offer. Oh man…am I sure glad I did!

We got into Rio on Sunday evening and woke up slightly early Monday morning to get out and be as touristy as possible, as fast as possible. We stayed with good friends of our family, Carlos and Elaine Castilho, who are serving as missionaries in Rio, and were honored that Carlos took two days off in order to drive us around and accompany us to all the traditional Rio tourist attractions.

The Castilho family

First stop was the Christ statue. It gave us (Mark the Photographer in particular) quite a scare as we approached Corcovado, the mountain, as there was one, singular, lingering cloud covering everything but the base of the statue.

When we finally got up there, I was freezing because we were literally inside of a cloud. I thought Mark was going to cry. But the cloud did not keep the tourists away, no it did not. I heard more English spoken in public that day than Portuguese, and people were not shy to imitate the pose in front of the statue for photo ops, even if it was covered by a cloud. After we had a few juices and snacks the clouds finally cleared and we went up to take pictures…and OH MY GOODNESS. It was beautiful. We had a panoramic view of the city, and after spending the rest of the rainy, gloomy week in Rio, I realized how LUCKY we were to have been there on such a clear, beautiful day. (Yes Mom, I finally realized.)

Please look at all the people who imitated his pose for pictures. It was really weird.

Overlooking Copacabana beach

While Mark ran around taking pictures, we got creative with how to get ourselves in pictures with the full statue. This was my favorite. That's Carlos.

Another, single, lingering cloud over Sugarloaf.

After Corcovado we drove around for a while and took some fun, but perhaps disrespectful? pictures from a lookout point.

Holding his hand, thanks to Mark's photography brilliance.

We then had lunch along Copacabana beach in order to make it to Sugarloaf by sunset. Carlos had done this before and said it was the best way to see Sugarloaf. So we took his word for it and were not disappointed. The sunset was incredible and we had another incredible view of the city. The cable car ride was NOT my favorite, and I will now show you a picture to prove that. (Sorry Kelly.)

All in all it was an amazing, unforgettable day, and I am so happy I was able to share it with Mark and Kelly.

Mark and Kelly left on Tuesday night, but I stayed through the week in order to spend more time with the Castilhos, see how missionary life in Rio differs from missionary life in Natal (quite a bit, actually), and visit another friend in a nearby city. Oh yeah, and to get my money's worth for making a trip I had previously attempted to plan four different times in the last four years.

Life is back to normal now in Natal. We've had an eventful last couple of weeks, which I will also be blogging about soon, but I'm guessing it will slow down a bit next week with Christmas. I'm excited to spend my second Christmas in Natal, and even more excited for the possibility that it might involve a pool. Natal is so absolutely, unbearably hot. All I want for Christmas is a pool.

Until next time...happy shopping!

(Note: About half of the pictures above were taken by my brother-in-law, Mark. The ones that are good are his, the ones that are not are mine. Thanks Mark!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We loved the pictures. Rachel and I laughed at you holding Jesus' hand. Not disrespectful, just true. I just sent your Christmas card. The pool's on the way.
I love you.