Monday, April 14, 2014

Rio de Janeiro Part 1

The famous Copacabana Beach.
I always heard it was really crowded here...
Semana Santa, or Easter Week, just represented an opportunity to get one more passport stamp. My friend and coworker Beau and I decided to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Getting there takes a lot of planning, because we have to get a Brazilian visa to enter the country-which requires a minimum of 3 separate visits to the Brazilian consulate. However, we got all of our paperwork in order. Then there was the matter of getting there physically. We had to fly through the Sao Paulo airport, which in my book earns the title of Worst Airport in the World. We had to take a bus from the tarmac tot he airport, it took well over an hour to get through customs, and we only had a 2-hour layover. We missed our flight. Fortunately, there are so many flights going between Sao Paulo and Rio that they rebooked us on the next flight--which we ALSO almost missed. We were those guys in the check your bags line that had to be called to the front so we'd make it in time. It was a pretty stressful experience, so we were super happy to get on that 2nd flight and make it to our destination!The first couple days we were in Rio, the weather was pretty terrible. It rained and rained and rained! We got through it and it did clear up later on. One night we went to a place that made their own beer (!!!!) which I was very excited about.

I've always imagined drinking a beer on the Copacabana beach...but something was a little different than I imagined...

"They can't pour beer here!

"But at least it's not clear!"

Queen Elizabeth's bum sat in this chair in 1968!
The next day we saw a stadium, Estadio Mario Filho Maracano, that has been rebuilt/renovated to be used in the upcoming World Cup and then the Olympics. The place was massive. Inside was like a museum with tons of exhibits. Soccer is the #1 religion in South America, so these are important places! 
Pele's 1000th Goal Ball

There was a ton of construction going on throughout the city to prepare for these two events.  Unfortunately we weren't able to go to a game while we were there. 

On the way back to our hotel, we took the subway halfway and did some other sightseeing in the rain. One place we saw was the Sao Sebastiao Cathedral. From the outside, it is a really strange-looking church. But inside, the stained-glass walls are beautiful. There are four different walls that go all the way up to the top. After awhile we got tired of wandering around in the rain so we decided to head back to our hotel to rest up for going out later that evening. 

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