So we made it to Rio after a very trying flight! Due to weather in Atlanta, we were delayed about 2 more hours than we were supposed to be, and ended up making our connection in Houston, just in time! The flight was at night, so we soon started dozing off, yet never seemed to completely fall asleep. Before we knew it, our tries became moot and we were landing in Sao Paulo. Coming into Sao Paulo, we couldn´t believe the spanse of buildings! This was on par with Tokyo–I really was surprised. After we landed in Sao Paulo, about half the plane emptied out and we departed again for Rio de Janeiro. After a quick 35 minute plane ride, we were descending into the beautiful scenery of Rio protected by Corcavado–the Christ statue. It was really cool. He really does look down upon the city.
Once out of customs, we saw our driver holding the sign with our name and we got some cash and headed into the city with our new friend Claudio. He himself had just moved to Sao Paulo and was learning about the city, and several of the touristy things that we are planning to do, he seemed interested in joining.
After about 30 minutes drive, we arrived at our flat which is just a block and a half away from the beach of the south end of Copacabana. A short walk down from there we reach Ipanema easily. After we unpacked and got freshened up, we headed out to the beach to walk in the sand and get our bearings of the city. A short walk turned into an all day event with us having a lunch at a typical brazilian churresca, full buffet with fresh meats and salads. Everyone we have met so far has been extremely enthusiastic and helpful. I have also been doing my best at learning Portugese, but it seems like Spanish is the only thing coming out!
During our walk on Ipanema, we came across an artist with an amazing painting of Rio. Joe wanted one created specifically for him, so we left him a deposit, and hopefully tomorrow and the next day, we will see him painting it!
We then met Scott, a Canadian who has lived here for almost a year now. He told us about the tours he works for and he sounds like he is working out a pretty good deal. We have been keeping tabs on how much things that we are wanting to do costs, so we can benchmark everyone else.. hang gliding, city tours, sailing trips..etc
Now we are off to dinner and planning out tomorrow for a nice day on the beach!