Monthly Archives: June 2011

Rio: Visiting the Statue! Plus way too many pictures of monkeys.

(But can you ever have too many pictures of monkeys?)

Yesterday I posted the other pictures from my trip, but the Statue deserves its own post, not just because we took a bunch of pictures, but because Karl FINALLY got to go there with a view (yay for no clouds!).

(If you’re curious to see other Rio pictures, you can check out my other posts on it, which admittedly it’s mostly wedding pictures, since on previous trips to Brazil, I was way too much of a slacker blogging wise…)

We got up super early to be the first few in line for the train – luckily, April is not tourist season, so it wasn’t super-crazy like our last attempt there.

To have an idea, when Karl first went to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, it was a beautiful day, with only a tiny cloud in the sky.  That cloud happened to be RIGHT at the Corcovado Mountain, where the statue is located.  So this was our view:

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No, really, that white behind him is all clouds.  We waited and waited until the clouds cleared, but it only got worse.  When we left, this is all we could see…

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By contrast, this was our view this time:

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(Isn’t my city gorgeous?)

And let’s not forget the statue…

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We took our share of pictures while we were there, of course!

In the train, going up the mountain…

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The statue with all its splendor (on a clear day you can see it from most parts of the city).

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One of the many views while there – the Jockey Club.

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The Sugarloaf Mountain…  Though the Christ Statue is a famous landmark around the world, a visit to the Sugarloaf Mountain using the cable car is a lot more fun than just the Statue.  But you can’t beat this view!

And the day was so clear, you could see the beaches behind it, already outside of the city of Rio de Janeiro!

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The Lagoon Rodrigo de Freitas.  It’s one of the most expensive areas in the city to live in.  They have a jogging path that goes all around the lagoon.  In December, a HUGE lit Christmas tree goes up in the middle of it.  It’s the largest one in the world (it’s a fake tree made of steel and lights, that actually moves around to different spots on the water, so regardless of where you’re standing, you’ll eventually get a close up view).

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Ipanema neighborhood…  (You know, from the famous Girl from Ipanema song?)

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The Maracanã Stadium, the largest soccer stadium in the world…

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Lucky guy…

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Right before leaving, we decided to take advantage of the weather, and have a drink.  While I was sipping my graviola juice, I got to see these guys

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And if that wasn’t enough, we also spotted the monkey “Prego” (looks like it’s called Capuchin in English).  I love his Mister T thing going.

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And if that wasn’t enough, we just missed the train back.  So during our wait, we spotted some young ones, making a mess of the place!

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I can’t believe it’s been 2 months already since my visit!  And that I won’t get to go back for at least another 2 years…  Fingers crossed we get Brazil for our next post!

8 Comments

Filed under Brazil, Pictures, Rio!, Travel

Rio!

Remember how 2 months ago we went to Rio?  And I promised to post pictures? Then I never did?  I guess moving to Manila made me just a little too busy to talk about our trip. 

But, like any other trip I have ever taken to Rio, we had a wonderful time.  I mean, it’s Brazil after all.  And I get to hang out here daily…

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I recently heard from one of Karl’s coworkers that he has no interest in ever going to South America, because there’s nothing there that interests him (yes, and he said that in front of me, the Brazilian).  Whatever suits your boat.  But really?  Nothing to see?

So in Rio, we went to the beach a lot (I really AM happiest when I’m at the beach)…

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Since it was right before Easter, Karl got to experience for the first time the easter-egg craziness in Brazil.  Chocolate tunnels in the supermarkets!

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I ate my share of delicious tropical fruit…

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Including a suspicious looking papaya…

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Lots of my favorite chocolate easter eggs (it’s a hollow egg that opens in half, made of your favorite chocolate, with tiny chocolates inside)…

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A ton of delicious melt-in-your-mouth sushi…

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Way too much barbeque and all-you-can-eat pizza (including dessert pizzas…)

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Hung out with family and friends…

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Visited the area of Lapa (Karl’s first time!) for drinks…

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I had a few strawberry caipirinhas…

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And Karl finally got to see the Christ the Redeemer Statue on a non-cloudy day (it only took him 3 tries!  We always get the ONE cloud stuck right at the mountain…).  Tomorrow, I’ll post those pictures – they deserve a post of their own!

5 Comments

Filed under Brazil, Pictures, Rio!, Travel

Another great weekend in Asia!

Sure, my weekend also included some stomach troubles (welcome to Asia, right?), which meant some of my activities had to be cut short, but it was a great busy weekend nonetheless!

Friday I went out for lunch with Christine, then walked around Greenbelt and SM Mall for a bit.  Of course, it was a beautiful sunny day, until  I got out of the mall and had to face the rain, with no umbrella in hand.  I had this great jacket from Columbia, that’s supposed to be 50% air and super cool, and thought it was a great chance to try it out…  (kindly ignore the multiple chins)

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The verdict?  Cool my ass.  I was sweating – SWEATING! – under that jacket for my 15 minute walk home (and it wasn’t even zipped up).  I think I would have been better off facing the rain, as I got soaked nonetheless, except with sweat.  Gross.

At home, I had to take care of Lily, who developed some sort of skin allergy…  So twice a week I need to put her through this.  Poor thing looks like a rat when she’s wet.

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At night, we hung out with Dustin and Hiva, our new favorite couple here in Manila, as well as Joe (the new guy in our building) and Jason.  We had dinner at Café Havana in Greenbelt, where I had the most delicious steak since arriving in Asia…  The place gets, uh, interesting after a while, and the “working girls” (I’m trying to be diplomatic here) hang out there and have no qualms of approaching the men, even those who are obviously out with their wives.

We started the weekend with the market on Saturday morning and loaded up on some DELICIOUS bagels (tomato and basil bagel, hmmmm) and more popsicles from Picole (I’m addicted!).  In case you’re curious, my favorite flavor is the Pistachio, followed in no particular order by the Corn Supreme (weird but yummy), the avocado, the melon and the lychee.

Then, Michelle and I headed over to Greenhills, where she bought a HUGE painting for her place (I should have taken a picture), and we both loaded up on pearls for gifts (though some of them were for ourselves).  I got this necklace for my sister, with coin pearls and tiger eye, for a whopping $28!

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At night, we went out for a super-late dinner with Joe over at the Bowler Restaurant, the food was surprisingly yummy.

A sunny Sunday morning, meant that Karl and I finally went out for a run outside in Makati.  Again, we left at the worst time (noon…) so after a mile in, we decided to walk the rest.  We still got three miles, and were sweating until the very end.  So that counts, right?

We ran over to Rockwell Power Plant Mall, around the mall, then back.  I was tempted to go in and bask on the AC, but we were strong, and remained outside in the heat.  When will I be able to run outside non-stop again?  Maybe when I stop going out at noon?

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Yes I only took two pictures of the run (FAIL!), the other one being this random one, when we were almost home.

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After spending the afternoon at the pool (soooo nice!), we went out with Joe (again!), and with Bill and Cath, who will soon be moving to our building as well.  We had awesome sushi, followed by amazing gelato.  All in all, a great weekend!

4 Comments

Filed under Foreign Service, Manila, Philippines, Pictures

I miss it.

I miss the runs.  I miss the Wednesday night and Saturday mornings appointments.  And sure, some days I didn’t feel like going, I hoped for rain, I wanted to sleep longer, or I even had a terrible run.  Now that I’m in a place where I have no one to run with, I ache for those days.  The days I had a choice to run with friends.

Remember how I ran not one but TWO marathons last year?  Within 3 weeks of each other?  And I promised myself I wouldn’t lose the endurance.

And sure, injury got in the way, but I still could run double digits – and that was only a couple of months ago.

Where has that person gone?  I struggled on the one 5k I ran here in Manila getting a personal worst.  I ran two half marathons earlier this year, and though they weren’t my best times, I was still capable of running them. 

Now?  I don’t think I could run 13.1 miles non-stop again. 

How does one get out of a rut?  Going out and running on my own is not working:  it’s too easy to make up excuses.  Plus, it’s not like I’m training for anything (and it’s not like here you sign up for races months ahead of time so you have a goal to work for – nope, here is at most a month before).

My attempts to find a running group near me have failed.  Even the big running forum here, where I was hoping to post and find someone to run with, doesn’t approve my registration, weeks after registering, so I can’t even try to post. 

Every day that passes I’m in worse shape than I was the week before.

And it’s not solely the run that I’ve been missing, it’s never all about that is it?  It’s the camaraderie.  The chit-chat.  The conversations.  The gossip.  The way of getting updates on my friends’ lives.  The laughs.  All during our runs.

Running on my own is not nearly as exciting or as interesting.

I’m left to run on my own and I don’t like it.  So I don’t do it.

Those who run solely by yourselves, now HOW do you do it?  How do you get out there and just run?  It was one thing to do it during my commute home, when I knew that it was only one day, I would have company for the other runs, but everyday?  How do you even keep motivated?

19 Comments

Filed under Manila, Runs