Sunday, September 7, 2008

South America Trip - Day 1

Day 1 – Wednesday 8/20 – Thursday 8/21

We left LAX this morning (Wednesday) at 10:00am and flew to Atlanta, Georgia. From there we had a 3-hour lay over. We then boarded a large plane to head to Brazil. About 9 ½ hours later, we arrived in Rio de Janeiro. As we were approaching the airport, I looked out the window and saw little black mountains poking out of the misty fog.

We landed at 7:00am local time (Thursday) in Brazil and then had to go through Customs/Immigration. By 8:00am we had gotten all of our luggage and met the driver who had a sign with our names on it.
It took about an hour to get from the airport to our hotel, about 15 miles away. Along the way, the driver was telling us about driving through the “slum” areas, or favelas, before getting to the ritzier and well-known downtown area.

We arrived too early to check in, so we dropped off our luggage at the hotel and headed off to eat breakfast. We ate at the restaurant right next door to our hotel, both of which were located across the street from the beach.

After breakfast, we walked around the town of Copacabana a little and then headed to the beach area. We probably walked about 3 miles before we reached the town of Ipanema. The beaches were packed! We were really surprised to see how many people were there. This time of the year is their winter, but it was still in the 80’s!

While in Ipanema we went to the bar called “Girl of Ipanema” named after the song. Cuong, Paul & Yolanda all tried the light and dark beers that they had there.
For dinner we went to an all-you-can-eat Brazillian BBQ restaurant that the hotel concierge recommended. It had some of the weirdest bathrooms we had ever seen! Rocks on the floor. Rocks in the sinks. Ice in the men’s urinals, keys on the door. Apparently the restroom is known as the Pipi Room! How fitting!

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