Ouro Preto & Rio

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October 31st 2011
Published: October 31st 2011
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Right now I´m sitting in an internet cafe in Rio watching the rain poor down outside and I´m thinking, perhaps time for a blog update!

So let me back-up a little. After Porto Seguro I headed inland to Belo Horizonte. People don´t usually stay there since there isn´t too much to do, except take the bus another 2 hours down to Ouro Preto. I, however, did stay an additional day and a half to stay with family of Gabriella and Lucinea. I arrived and got picked up by Renata and Amanda who took me to family to meet everybody and eat a delicious Moqueca de Peixe! (Almost like a fish curry, but Brazilian style). The day after I explored the city, though there wasn´t a whole lot to see as most guidebooks indicate. Still, it was an interesting experience. That night I went to the theatre to see a play that Renata´s brother Leo, together with Amanda and her boyfriend. Sure, it was in portuguese, but even though I just zoned out from the dialogue at some point I managed to follow the general storyline. The last night my hostess, Adriana brought me up to the hill to get a beautiful view of the city.

Next on the list was Ouro Preto (Black Gold), which is a beautiful mountain town, well known for the gold that used to be mined there. The city is very picturesque with cobblestone streets and many little shops and restaurants all over the place. As with most Brazilian cities, this one is packed with churches. Most, of course, contain artwork made of gold mined locally. Not my cup of tea, but interesting nonetheless. Some churches contain carvings and sculptures by Antônio Francisco Lisboa, who is more commonly known as Aleijadinho, who lost his hands and feet sometime between the age of 30 and 40 (one place said 30, another said 40), so he continued his work by attaching a chisel to one arm, and a hammer to the other. Now that´s dedication to one´s work. On my last day there I met a German guy with whom I toured the city for a few hours until he left, after which I went over to the next city, Mariana, a place similar in style. I also went into one of the old goldmines which was really interesting. It didn´t go all that deep, but it did get to a point where you couldn´t hear anything but occasionally dripping water.

That night I took the bus to Rio de Janeiro, arriving at 4:45 after a bumpy and almost sleepless night. It was still dark out when I arrived so I decided to stay in the station until it got light out. After some coffee and some food I took a taxi to Ipanema, and when I found out the hostel was fully booked took a bus to Copacabana where I´ve been staying in a hostel for the last few days. My first day here I walked all along Copacabana and Ipanema (you know, from the song 'the girl from Ipanema´ or originally ´garota de Ipanema´) beach, the two most famous beaches in Rio, taking in the view of the city, the ocean, and the Brazilian girls who tend to wear bikinis so small that you cannot help but wonder why they even bother wearing anything. Not that I´m complaining. I went to the Lagoon and the Botanical Gardens which were beautiful and very peaceful, unlike the rest of Rio. I made it an early night because I was tired from the lack of sleep and the long walk.

The next day I walked all around Centro, the center of Rio, which has some nice architecture, markets and little streets filled with shops filled with people. I forgot my camera at the hostel that day, so don´t have any pictures to share unfortunately. I met a French guy, Jean, that day who invited me to go to a club with a bunch of other people, so I met 2 Spanish guys, a French girl, and 3 brazilian girls who joined us. Once we got inside it was huge! 3 different floors with Live music (and non-live) ranging from Samba, to Forro, to drum & bass, and more. Interestingly you had to pay for everything on the way out. You had a card that they wrote on every time you ordered something, and just had to make sure not to lose it throughout the night, otherwise you end up paying a LOT. Also you have to make sure that you bring enough money to cover all the costs for the entire night.

The next day some of us went to Santa Theresa, a quiet neighbourhood in Rio, where we had a Feijoada, which is a typical meal of beans, meat, rice and farofa. Delicious!! Afterwards we went to Lapa to see the steps created by Selaron, who took tiles from many, many different countries to create a type of mosaic from these tiles. Afterwards the girls took us to Ipanema for some typical chocolates of brazil. yum yum!

Today, even though it´s been raining, I´ve been to Pão de Açucar, the sugar-loaf, which is a large rock in the shape of a... well... sugar-loaf, that gives a beautiful view of the city and it´s surroundings. The rest of the day I haven´t been up to much, since the rain doesn´t allow for much activity. I think I´ll stay around one more day and then head to Bonito in the Pantanal, which according to forecasts is no better weather wise. awwww...

But I´ll keep you all posted on my next adventures!! Oh, and still working on camera issue. Sorry 😞


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