Category Archives: Rio!

Last week in Rio

After we left the honeymoon we had one more week left in Rio.  It started with bad news — the next morning I went in for my MRI appointment and found out that my plantar fascia was highly inflamed and I shouldn’t be running at all for a month.  Fun.

We got back to the condo in Barra beach, and I took a picture of the contents of our out of town bags (we had two bags left, one from the groomsman that got stuck in Idaho, one from a friend who never made it for reasons still unknown).  I made sure the contents were very Brazilian, the only non-Brazilian thing in it was the sunscreen (which we bought at Target before leaving).  We stuffed the reusable bags with chocolate, candy, peanut candy, a can of beer, some postcards, Brazilian coffee, snacks (“biscoito de polvilho” — that red bag, it’s salty, delicious and melts in your mouth), sunscreen (a necessity for those in Rio), a welcome letter and a little tour booklet with sightseeing spots and tips I created on those slow days at work.

We were still exhausted the next day, but we had a jeep tour booked (through the Brazilian version of Groupon).  We started in Leblon, and passed the Botanical Gardens…

And made our way into Tijuca Forest — the largest urban forest in the world (yep, while NYC has Central Park, Rio has a freaking forest right in the middle of the city).  As it seems to be the theme where Karl is involved, the day was cloudy, so he didn’t even see the gorgeous view, and again there was a cloud cover blocking the city of Rio…

We were hoping to see wildlife, like sloths or wild cats, but we didn’t even see monkeys (though we had already seen monkeys a couple of times on this trip, you can never see too many of them!).  We did get to spot small toucans up in a tree, and that was exciting!

We stopped to take a walk at one of the trails.  There are many signed trails on the forest — it’s a national park and protected area, so you’re not allowed to go outside of the trail, specially because, at the end of the day, it’s still a forest.  Once in a while someone decides to explore, gets lost and can’t find their way out and by the time the rescue team finds them, it’s too late…

The picture below also clearly shows how much Karl and I ate during our honeymoon.  It looks like we’re both three months pregnant…  *sigh*

At least it didn’t rain!  But the weather was super-gloomy…

The jeep dropped us off at Sao Conrado beach, since neither of us had been there yet, and we could catch a cab from there to Barra.

That night, we stuffed our faces with all-you-can-eat Japanese food.  Have I mentioned that it’s made to order (and you can order as many times as you like!) and not a buffet?  And that sushi in Brazil is spectacular?  The fish is not fishy and it melts in your mouth.  I should have taken a picture of the sashimi plate Karl consumed…

The picture below is not flattering at all, but it sums up our vacation pretty well.  I love hand rolls and ate my fair share of them at each outing (to the point I was made fun of…).

And this is pretty much an accurate representation of how Karl reacts around raw fish.

The next night, we stayed over my brother’s place, since we were going to explore downtown Rio the next morning (Karl hadn’t been there yet, aside from the wedding day).

We went out for beers…

Then out to eat.  Yep, Karl gained weight in Brazil too, why do you ask?

Should I add that the burger he’s eating is called x-tudo, which basically means cheese-everything.  Burger, fried egg, ham, bacon, cheese (and probably other things I’m forgetting).  If that wasn’t enough, we completed the night with fresh fruit juices (of exotic Brazilian fruits) and bowls of Acai (it’s delicious).

The next day, we went to explore downtown Rio!

Rio was the capital of Brazil until the 50’s when Brasilia was created as a replacement (no, really, there was nothing in the middle of Brazil, and a city was then built to be a capital).  Rio was even the capital of the kingdom of Portugal, when the king of Portugal ran away from his country to escape Napoleon (his son stayed behind in Brazil upon the royal family’s return to Portugal a few years later, and eventually declared our independence becoming our first emperor — we are a democratic country now though).

That said, downtown Rio is covered with buildings dating back to imperial times.

And of course, like any old city, we have our share of statues…

Then we went on a mission to find the church we got married at.  You have seen all the details and how incredible it was.  I didn’t remember one bit of the church from that day!  We went through a few old cobblestones streets to get there.

But found it!

We also went on a quest to find Candelaria church, the most famous in Rio.  I had driven by many times, but had never been inside of it.  It’s gorgeous!  (It also is about 5 times bigger than the church we got married in, so this was never an option since we only had about 150 guests.)

We wrapped up the day by eating all-you-can-eat pizza again.  This white chocolate pizza we had for dessert was so good I almost forgot to take a picture! (And don’t be fooled by the clean plate — you get a clean plate when you switch from salty to the sweet pizzas.)

Of course, I wasn’t the only one eating…

The next day was our last full day in Brazil.  We spent the day at the beach, then met up with my brother, his wife Lara, and my friend (and bridesmaid) Gabi with her brother and his wife.

And yep, we had all-you-can-eat sushi again…  Despite vasts amounts of sunscreen, I was super tanned by then, and you can tell the locals don’t get to go to the beach nearly as much as I do, huh?

It was finally our last day in Rio.  We woke up super-early, and by 8am we were on our way to the beach.  We left around 1pm, showered and made our way to my parents place (they only use the beach condo on weekends), where my brother joined us for lunch.  I stopped by my grandmother’s place for a hug, and got to see my old pets — yep, I had turtles growing up and when my parents moved to an apartment they left them at my grandmother’s house.  One of them is about 30 years old!

And they might not look too big, but they’re at least a foot long by now.

Back when I was a kid, you could buy turtles at the street fairs, now it’s illegal to sell them, so you don’t see them anymore, but I’ve had them all my life….  They’re not very cuddly, so I’m still working on Karl to let me have a puppy instead…

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The day after

After the biggest party of my life was over, Karl and I got in the car to go back to the hotel — for the first time that night, we finally got a chance to catch up, and there was a lot of “oh, remember when this happened?”  “And wasn’t it funny when this happened?”

When I was getting ready that day, the hotel’s front desk had called me to ask what time I planned to be back.  I had no idea, but they wanted a guess.  I told them “I don’t know, one or two o’clock?” (we were back at 3:30am).  I had a feeling they would have a bottle of champagne or something waiting for us.  I wasn’t wrong…

We walked into the room to champagne, a fruit platter and flowers, and mood lighting.   The table that was used for makeup earlier that day, had been cleaned and was now topped with linens (oh, and the whole room had been cleaned and organized as well).

We took one picture of us (super super tired but super super happy)…

Then I got excited and show Karl the view of the room — he hadn’t seen the room yet (one of the joys of planning the wedding from outside of the country, is that EVERYTHING is a surprise!).  At night, you could make out the Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar), at the edge of Copacabana beach, but the picture doesn’t show it…

We still attempted to take pictures of each other with the view — but I only had my point & shoot with me  as I had decided not to take my fancy camera to the honeymoon for fear of getting sand on it and I didn’t know how safe the honeymoon location would be (turns out it was super-safe, and I could have walked around the beach with it hanging on my neck, alone, in the middle of the night, and no one would have bothered me).  So we couldn’t get the lighting to adjust on these pictures — our faces were either too dark with no flash on…

Or bright enough with the flash, but without the view.

We finally made our way back in, ate the fruit platter and the shrimp dish we had brought with us from the wedding (since we never got to try it!).  Turns out we were STARVING.  We finally opened the door of the suite to our room, and we encountered this (which would be a theme for the next week!):

Yes!  Flower petals on our bed, chocolate and robes!  And they had changed the bedsheets to a lacy one — much nicer than the one that was in the room when the photographers were there while I was getting ready!

We finally went to bed around 5:30am, after I took a loooong shower — my feet looked like I was dancing in charcoal all night.  Disgusting.  Plus, I had been sweating all night too (I was dancing hard core!).  I also covered my hair with a conditioning mask, as it was too late to wash my hair, but I didn’t want to sleep with all the gunk by itself on it (I should mention that I NEVER use any hair product, so the feeling of it was really weird), so I tried to counteract by soaking it up with conditioner so it would be back to its regular softness the next day (it worked!).

I gave a quick call to the front desk asking for a wake-up call of 8am, as we were meeting up with folks in the morning for breakfast.  One of those things that were a great idea at the time, but knowing we had to wake up 3 hours later, definitely made us go “WTF were we thinking?” (and I bet all our friends who agreed to this also were thinking the same thing!).

But we don’t regret it one bit!  It was hard to wake up (OMG, so hard!), but I jumped in the shower, washed my hair, and went down to the breakfast room at 9 (the hotel everyone was staying, the Windsor Miramar in Copacabana, had full breakfast included — a very nice breakfast buffet, with all sorts of food, including amazing fresh fruit and juices.  Not bad for $135/night, right?  Though of course, our suite was a bit more expensive than that).

Everyone was super tired but still talking about how great the whole wedding was!

Can you tell our eyes are red from the lack of sleep?  We’re showing off our rings while Karena, Karl’s sister, laughs at us!  Her husband?  Never made it out of bed that morning — he was very hungover (again, a sign of a good party!).

We stuffed our faces (no really, we did), and headed back to the room to pack, as my parents were coming by around 1pm to pick us up for the airport.

Karl’s friends and dad stopped by to say goodbye and take pictures with the view from our balcony (sugarloaf is in full view under daylight!).

After everyone left, I took pictures of the view myself!  The beach was already getting full — it was the perfect beach weather!  The running group folks (who we saw at breakfast, despite of my lack of pictures) and Nikki were off to the sugarloaf that morning.  Perfect day for it.

See those square roofs along the boardwalk?  They’re outdoor bars and cafes.  The lack of cars on the road closest to the beach is due to road closure every Sunday for walkers, runners and bikers.  Even though you can see the paved running trail between the boardwalk and the road (you can see the small lane divider), there’s just so many people exercising on Sundays, that the city encourages it by closing down some of the main roads along the water.  Nice, huh?

Of course I couldn’t help but take a picture of our new bling with the view!  (Yes, I got old lady hands.)

I also took a shot of the other side of the beach, with Copacabana Fort in view — we almost had our reception there, since my dad gets a 50% military discount (it has spectacular views, but no nearby churches were available, and we didn’t want people to have to drive from the church to the reception).

Karl took a picture with the view as well…  (Sorry, I took one of myself too, but the lack of sleep made it too horrible for posting.  I’m vain, what can I say?)

And lastly I got one showing what I REALLY feel about Rio de Janeiro, my hometown…

We finished packing and headed down to the lobby — for more goodbyes to the people we bumped into, and to wait for my parents, who ended up being there super early.  My mom had some of the sweets for us, and we munched in them in the car on the way to the airport.

Next?  Honeymoon!

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And the party goes on…

I’m so glad we didn’t have a whole cake cutting shindig, and instead we did it right at the beginning at the reception.  Because the party never stopped for it, and it was finally time for cake (with the dulce de leche filling, remember?), but we didn’t take seats, we ate right by the dance floor and went back to dancing.

And yes, the party did go on!  The running group folks definitely know how to party!

And so do my volleyball peeps!

And we danced!

And kissed…

And kept on dancing…

And posed for pictures…

Hung out with the DJ…

And played DJ…

And danced some more…

I took pictures…

And kept on dancing…

I showed off my new ring… (And no, I didn’t bring my engagement ring to Rio for fear of getting robbed…  Rio is an amazing place, but leave your sparkly jewelry at home!)


Posed for more pictures…

And danced…

There were some awkward moments…

And more dancing!

Some WTF moments…

And more dancing…

Finally, it was well after 2am, and the lights turned on.  The DJ ended the night with “New York, New York” and OF COURSE some of us lined up for it!

While the shuttles returned the American guests to Copacabana, a few of us locals (plus Karl!) stayed behind, snacking on chocolates and chit-chatting.  We got kicked out by the cleaning crew at 3am, and we made our way back to the car…  Our wedding night was officially over, after 9 months of engagement, and a night of celebration.

Our driver took one last picture of us, before we headed back to the hotel.  We were still blissfully happy!

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And the party continues…

On non-wedding news, tomorrow will be my return to running.  Eeeek!  I’m excited but nervous, I’m afraid that even running 3 miles won’t be easy after over a month off.

Back to wedding recaps, the samba school left the building, the DJ took over and the party continued…

Karl showed off some, uh, new dance moves…

People took picture of their feet to show off the havaianas we gave out…  (*cough*margaret*cough*)

Karl danced with some of his groomsmen…

I danced with Karl…

And it was finally time to throw off the bouquet.  I saw my brother’s wedding video (I missed his wedding last year), and his wife took AGES to throw it out.  I had already warned the DJ, mine would be quick and easy, none of that “here it go!  Just kidding!  I’m throwing it now!  Kidding again!”  I got up on the chair…

The single girls were gracious enough to participate and given mini-veils to put on…

And I threw the bouquet back!

And this picture below?  Priceless!

Then it was Karl’s turn to then throw a box of whiskey to the single men (following Brazilian tradition — way more exciting than that whole garter thing!).  Yes, the bottle was removed before throwing it back — but promptly put back in to the winner.

Karl threw the box with the same force as someone would if the box was full.  Needless to say, it skipped all the single guys, and landed on the foot of a married guy (my dad’s friend) a couple of tables back.  Well, that made him the winner!

The party kept going after this…  Ken was slightly drunk (weren’t we all?)

My cousins (and their cousin) played around with the veils (I love this picture!)

My (also drunk) brother posed with his wife…  And don’t let this picture fool you, my brother is 6’1″ (maybe 6’2″?), his wife is way taller than me.  Meanwhile they’re posing next to the giant of the party (the sweaty guy in blue), so they both look so short!

The party didn’t end there, of course not!  Time for cake!

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