A Travellerspoint blog

How Can You Not Love Per Kilo Restaurants in Brazil

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Most people that know me know that I LOVE food, or at least most of it. Fortunately, Rio has a lot of really great options when it comes to food, from small little snack counters with empadas (which are similar, but different from empanadas), to acaì with granola, bananas, and honey, to the sucos (fresh juices), to the rodìzio of pizza, the list goes on and on!!

Every Sunday in Ipanema there's a hippie market where you can buy jewelry, paintings, clothing, hand bags, etc. After leaving the hippie market with Nora, my Finnish friend who also has a rather healthy appetite, we stumbled upon a per kilo restaurant called Aipo & Aipim. Per kilo restaurants are very common in Brazil. They are a self-service, buffet type place where they charge you per kilo, usually ranging from 2.50 to 4.50 Realis (or $1-$2.00) per 100g. So, if you were to really pile on the food, one plate would cost you roughly $5-$10.00!! Talk about a bargain! Nora and I loved this place so much we went back the next day!

Posted by ReneeL 06:06 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Samba Dancing in Lapa

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Renee_102.jpgArgentina and Brazil are all about the dancing and not just any type of dancing, but incredibly sexy dancing. Whether it's Tango, Samba, or Forro you can expect to be surrounded by a lot of hot, sweaty bodies twirling around.

In an attempt to learn how to Samba and have some fun I went out in Lapa, a highly recommended part of Rio where there are several Samba bars and night clubs, with several people I 'd met at the hostel I had been staying at in Leblon. We ended up at a place called Rio Scenarium which happened to be a very popular spot in Lapa and great for Samba dancing.

Samba was a little more difficult to pick up than I expected (lots of extremely fast foot work), but there was a great band and I enjoyed trying anyways!!

Posted by ReneeL 15:08 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Maracanã Stadium

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Renee_277.jpgYou have not been to a sporting event until you´ve been to a fútbol game in Brazil. The Cariocas, as they are called in Rio, go literally insane over the sport. Think Wrigley Field times 100 with non-stop singing, chanting, fist pounding, flag whirling, and then top that off with a confetti cannon!! Oh, and they only serve non-alcholic beer....you´d understand why if you saw the crowd at Maracanã Stadium.

There are 4 major teams in Rio- Vasco, Flamengo, Botofogo, and Fluminense. While I was in Rio I went to 2 games so I had a chance to see all 4 teams play. After being nearly trampled on during the Vasco vs. Flamengo game I was hesitant to attend another game, but was convinced by a sweet Finnish gal, Nora, and a crazy guy from San Francisco. The 3 of us along with a gay guy from New York attended the Botofogo vs. Fluminense game which ended up being a spectacular game. The underdog, Fluminense, who we cheered for, won 2-1. I was told that they haven´t won a game against any of the major teams in a year and they had lost the last 3 games against Botofogo. Congratulations Fluminense, great game!!

Posted by ReneeL 13:32 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

The Reality of Rio

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DSC00768.jpgInitially I wasn´t that impressed with Rio. The beaches weren´t that nice, the city was somewhat dirty and according to most people it was considered to be infested with drugs, prostitutes, and theft. Also, unlike the many rumors about the overall attractiveness of Brazilians I thought, and many others agreed, that the people were much better looking in Buenos Aires. Overall I think Rio is a bit over-rated and perhaps 40 or 50 years ago it was the vacation spot in Brazil but now I think there are so many other destinations in Brazil that are much more exotic, but are often overlooked.

My initial couple days were spent in Copacobana with my brother and his friend in a mediocre apartment, at best, next to the local strip club and minutes away from Copacobana Beach. Despite how romantic the idea of being in Copacobana may be it wasn´t very nice at all and later I was informed that there was a very big drug war going on in Rio between the 2 largest drug favelas (basically the poorest areas of Brazil where the majority of the people live). Shortly after my brother and his friend left there was a major shooting in Copacobana where 8 or so people were shot and killed and after which the police raided one of the favelas and several big drug lords were killed and several others arrested.

All that being said, I do have to say that after spending almost a week and a half in Rio I did have a very nice time and after my brother and his friend left I stayed in a simple hostel in another part of Rio close to Ipanema called Leblon which is a very rich part of Rio and much nicer than both Copacobana and Ipanema. I think the people I was with and had met in Rio made all the difference and had I not been surrounded by such good people I don´t think the experience would have been as enjoyable and I would have left Rio much earlier than I did.
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---My intention here is not to speak poorly of Rio but to address the current situation. In another entry you will hear about some of the more positive aspects of Rio and from the pictures I´ve posted you can see I had a wonderful time.

Posted by ReneeL 15:49 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Iguazú

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DSC00397.jpgIguazú was absolutely amazing!!! I love waterfalls anyways but to see a massive wall of waterfalls, supposedly 275 altogether, was just amazing!! Iguazú is a must if you ever go to South America!!

My brother, his friend, and I stayed on the Argentinean side at the Sheraton which was very expensive, but in the end it was worth it. It was the only hotel in the Parque National Iguazú (which is where the falls are located and where some of the trails to the park begin) and the breakfast buffet was awesome.

We took a combination truck/boat excursion from the Argentinean side, which lasted about an hour, then hiked around the rest of the park along the various trails. It was really, really beautiful, we must have taken a couple hundred pictures in a matter of hours.

After hiking around the Argentinean side of the falls I couldn´t imagine that there would be that much more to see on the Brazilian side, but the following day I hiked around the Brazilian side (Jeff and Crystal left that morning for Rio) and the view was absolutely breathtaking!! The 9 language speaking guide from Belgium that we signed up for the excursion with was right when he said-- "We have the falls (referring to Argentina), but they have the view (referring to Brazil)."

Posted by ReneeL 16:37 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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