A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: JMKCK

Day 12-Sadly Leaving

Unfortunately, our Brazilian trip has come to an end. We packed up all of our wonderful souvenirs and took a taxi to the Rio de Janeiro airport. We flew from Rio to Miami, then to Raleigh and landed at 11:30am. It was a great and fantastic experience but everyone is having sad feelings since we are leaving. All we know is we can’t wait to go back again next time, which won't be long!

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Posted by JMKCK 07:11 Comments (0)

Day 11-Carnaval

Today was the most exciting day of our Brazil trip. We participated in the holiday of Carnaval, and we also learned how to dance samba, which is a popular dance here.
We began our day with samba classes. For this we went to a school of samba called Mangueira. Here we learned a routine to a dance by Max Lopes. Samba developed as a distinctive kind of music at the beginning of the 20th century in Rio de Janeiro (then the capital of Brazil) under the strong influence of immigrant black people. We noticed that samba was a fast paced and energetic dance. People in Brazil have samba running through their blood. Every time a rhythmic song comes up, Brazilians are bound to stop what their doing to dance a couple steps. They dance samba mainly at Carnaval and parties, get-togethers, etc. We definitely got some exercise and had lots of fun dancing the samba. In total, it cost R$20 per person.
After lunch, we put on some colorful clothes for the Carnaval parade. We went to a street in Rio de Janeiro called Marquês de Sapucaí. The parade consists of schools of dance showing off what they have learned and practiced in the past year. The schools are separated into different sections. Each section dances to the same music, but with different routines and different types of samba. Each section had their own unique and colorful costume. People who weren’t in the parade could watch from stands and bleachers, others could watch from closer and more private seats. We sat in the bleachers with the rest of the celebrating Brazilians. We had fun dancing, celebrating, and showing off some of our dance moves in the bleachers. It was a lot of fun and we partied late into the night. We were amazed at how energetic, exciting, fun, and wild Brazilians could be when they got together. The cost for the seats was R$350.00.
Everything was very joyful, happy, and energetic with bright and glittering colors. Once you started the Brazilians with dancing and music, there was no way to stop them.

Posted by JMKCK 07:11 Comments (0)

Day 10-Soccer

It is our seventh day in Brazil and we were visiting the magnificent city of Rio de Janiero. There was a club soccer match that we watched in the Maracanã. Vasco da Gama was playing Santos. About half the fans were for one team and the other half rooted for the other. All the fans were chanting in Portuguese and none of us could understand why Americans don’t watch soccer. The ending score of the game was 3-2, Santos won. The game was so much fun and it really seemed to represent the way of life for all Brazilians. The only difference in a sporting event in Brazil is that instead of eating hotdogs and cheeseburgers, Brazilians eat tacos and burritos. After the game, the players were signing autographs and we got a few signatures from a couple of players. We don’t know for sure who they were but we know most of the names started in an R and ended in an O. The ticket prices were $40 per person, which was well worth it. The total food and beverages cost would have been $10 per person. All in all, we spent $250 dollars as a whole, which is a great bargain for a memory like this.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:07 Comments (0)

Day 9-Art and Architecture

After waking up and eating breakfast we went to the Petropolis, Brazil to see some summerhouses of wealthy Brazilians. We specifically drove by and looked at the Casa da Princesa Isabel. Princess Isabel, who came into history when she signed a law saying all slaves were free in Brazil, owned this house. This summerhouse was where Isabel and her husband lived up until 1889. Now the building is a real estate firm that belongs to the descendents of imperial family. Once we toured the summerhouse, we went to a local ferry dock where we got on a ferry to Niteroi, Brazil. It took us 45 minutes to get to Niteroi but we finally reached our destination, the coast. We had a fruit picnic on the beach and were able to see Oscar Niemeyer’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which was very scientific and obscure. After cleaning up we went inside the museum to find over 1,000 interesting art pieces, and sculptures. An interesting fact about this museum that we fount out was that it took 5 years and $5.5 million to build. We went to Sugar Loaf Mountain, after the art museum, to go up the mountain in a lift, which took us about 20 minutes to get there. The view was beautiful; we were able to see out into the ocean and into the city. After going up the mountain, we took a taxi back to the ferry. Once we arrived back in Rio de Janeiro, we all went back to our hotel and rested for the night.

We found out a lot of information about one of the most famous Brazilian architects, Oscar Niemeyer. Oscar is 100 years old and is known for his famous architecture. He was born in Rio de Janeiro on December 15, 1907. Oscar graduated from Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio. He has created many buildings in countries such as Italy, Milan, Turin, and Algiers. Later in his life, Oscar taught at the University of Rio de Janeiro. In honor of all the achievements Oscar designed, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize and is still designing many buildings today.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:03 Comments (0)

Day 8-The Amazon

We woke up at 5:30 in the morning to admire the concert of birds in the Amazon. All the birds were coming out of the sleeping places that made it an extremely beautiful site. It looked like magnificent flashes of color that were all flying in different directions. It was such a great experience that couldn’t be seen anywhere except the Amazon. We returned to the boat at 7:30 and started our trip back to Manaus. I am really sad to see this trip end. The Amazon is such a beautiful place filled with wild life and magnificent experiences. When we got back to Manaus we drove back to the hotel we are staying at to drop of our bags. Then we went out to the beach near the hotel and enjoyed the scenery in Brazil. After our relaxation on the beach we decided to take the rest of the day to go shopping. We explored some of the shops around Brazil and saw some really interesting pieces that were unique to its culture.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:03 Comments (0)

Day 7-The Amazon

In the morning we headed away from the Anavilhanas Archipelago towards the Santa Maria village. This is a “Caboclo village where we even had the opportunity observe the Ribeirinho way of living. The Ribeirinho people live by the river and make decks for their homes from the sticks sticking up from the river. Then these people build their houses on top of the decks. Next we got to go Piranha fishing which sounds unusual but was actually a really exciting experience. Because these fish are so aggressive they usually grab on to the bate pretty easily. The hard part is reeling them in because they put up such a fight. We did end up catching one fish but once we got it into the boat one of the guides took over because the fish were dangerous. After this we returned to the boat and went to the beach to relax and swim. At night, after eating dinner, we went on a canoe trip to go alligator spotting. It took a little while for us to spot one of the alligators but when we saw one it was a surreal experience. The alligators were so still and that they almost looked like a big log floating on top of the water. It was pretty dark out so the only thing you could really see was the alligator’s bright yellow eyes. We were getting a little tired then so we returned to the boat to rest. Tomorrow morning we have to get up early to go bird watching.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:02 Comments (0)

Day 6-The Amazon

We woke up this morning and after breakfast started a trekking tour with the rest of the cruise. It is amazing to see all the beautiful flowers and vegetation in this region. There are so many species of animals, some that I have never even heard of. The guide on the tour really helped us learn more about the area by explaining the different species. After trekking we returned to the boat and went swimming for about an hour. It was relaxing to take a break from the outdoors but I was excited to get back off the boat to learn more about the nature of the Amazon. We traveled to the Samauma Island that is located in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, the largest river archipelago in the world. We went exploring on the Island and found many interesting animals like butterflies, birds, reptiles, and other animals. The islands were so beautiful and full of life. We even saw a monkey in the island trees and we were lucky enough to see a parrot fly by over our heads. Unfortunately we had to leave the island and now we are back on the boat. We’re going to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:01 Comments (0)

Day 5-The Amazon

Today we started our trip down the Amazon. At about 2:30 p.m. we boarded the Desafio boats by the Amazon River. We were traveled along the Rio Negro, which is the largest black water river in the world. The first site on our trip was the area where the Rio Negro meets the Rio Solimoes. This meeting is called this called the "meeting of the waters". The Rio Negro is a black water river and the Rio Solimoes is a mud water river so it was really amazing to see these two different colored rivers meet and not mix. The rivers actually run down the Amazon River for about 4 km without mixing. The next place we headed was Lake January, a natural wildlife reserve, where we saw magnificent plant life. We even had the opportunity to see the famous Victoria Regia water plant. This is a huge water lily that floats on top of the water. We then took a canoe trip into the Igarapes. These are small streams that run into the middle of the Amazon rainforest. These streams are very narrow and often lead to beautiful lakes and magnificent waterfalls. The stream that we traveled along did not lead to either of these places but we did experience the colorful scenery of the Amazon Rainforest. The only sounds that we could hear in the dense forest were rushing water, bird singing, monkeys howling, and other natural sounds. After our relaxing trip down the Igarapes we were lucky enough to stop at an indigenous house to see the Brazilian native’s way of living. The natives lived in houses that they built out of raw materials. The houses were built in a circle and the area in the middle was used for ceremonies and rituals. When we were done at the indigenous houses we travel to the Praia do Tatu, also known as the Armadillo Beach. We swam in the water for a while and observed some of the tropical fish swimming in the water around us. Then we went for a walk on the beach to take in one of the beautiful beaches in Brazil. We are sleeping here tonight with the rest of the cruise and tomorrow the adventures will start again. I am so excited for another day on the Amazon River.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:00 Comments (0)

Day 4-Food Tasting

Waking up late was great. In the morning we all took showers and ate breakfast at the hotel. The hotel served us up some pao de queijo, which is cheese bread, and coffee. After we ate breakfast everyone took a walk on the beach infront of the hotel and collected shells. For lunch we traveled to Santa Gula, a little restaurant in Sao Paulo that is located in an old house’s backyard. They serve Italian and Brazililan food; we just happened to eat Feijoada, which is beans and meat with rice. For desert we ate a sweet desert with condensed milk as the main ingredient. After lunch we drove around the city, looking at different buildings until dinner. We ate at the Souto Maoir, a resturaunt that only seats 20 people at a time. Along with the restauraunt is an art gallery that shows many different but random artifacts. The Souto Maoir serves South American spicy food. We ate churrasco, which is a type of beef that is somewhat spicy, with rice at this resturaunt. For desert we had brigadeiro which a chocolaty fudge candy. As soon as we ate dinner, we rode back to the hotel and rested.

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Posted by JMKCK 07:00 Comments (0)

Day 3-Music

Our third day in Brazil has been great. Today we visited the Theatro Municipal de Sao Paulo. The Theatro Municipal is known for the wonder and awe of art in theatre, music, and dance in their highest standards.

During our visit to the theatre, we observed famous Brazilian paintings on the walls. As the chorus, or Coral Paulistano, started to sing, it was clear how hard they must have trained. They sounded magnificent! Their goal was to sing pieces of music that would relate to Brazilian culture. They also sang some French songs and Italian operas that, in Brazil’s history, had a great effect on Brazilian composers.

All in all, we had a grand time listening and enjoying the breathtaking music that Coral Paulistano had to offer. In total, we spent R$15 per person for our tickets, creating a grand total of R$75 for this wonderful trip.

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Posted by JMKCK 06:58 Comments (0)

Day 2-Technology and Art

In Sao Paulo, we decided to go to the MASP museum. This stands for museum of Museu de Arte de São Paulo. The admission tickets were 15 BRL’s for each of us, 75 BRL’s in total. It also had a very nice restaurant downstairs where we each spent $15 (American dollars) worth for food. Surprisingly, the food was similar to American food, consisting of burgers, wraps, steaks, and salads.

Most of the works were from European Artist from the 1300’s. This included paintings by Van Gogh and Picasso. There were also beautiful sculptures of animals, people, and irregular shapes. Many of the paintings came from the Portuguese settlers that came to Brazil hundreds of years ago.
After we viewed the MASP museum we were glad to step away from the past and see the future. Embraer is a company that makes new planes with new technology. Today, they were testing a luxurious jet that has good aerodynamics. The plane had leather seats and had tables to play card games.
Most people don’t like flying, but flying on this plane is an exception. This was one of the many planes that we saw today. We got to witness planes being built and operated on and it was like going to an old car show, because all of the planes were polished and looked gorgeous. It was amazing to see what flying would be like in 10 years, or maybe even sooner depending on how much progress they make.

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Posted by JMKCK 06:57 Comments (0)

Day 1-Arriving

Today is the day of travel and rest. We flew from the Raleigh Durham Airport on January 21, 2008 at 12:10pm to the Miami airport, where we landed on the runway at 2:15pm. We waited in the Miami airport till 8:15pm before we took off for Sao Paulo. The next day for us, we landed in Sao Paulo at 7:15 am. Once we landed, we got our luggage and took a cab to the Emiliano Hotel. We will be staying in the Emiliano Hotel from January 21st till January 26th, in other words, for 4 nights. After checking into our 2 room suites, everyone went upstairs to our rooms to either sleep, watch TV, or look at the amazing view outside our window.

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Posted by JMKCK 06:56 Comments (0)

Just Starting Out

We are starting a new blog about our trip to Brazil. We are having an amazing time and we want to show people what it is like here. Brazil is such a Beautiful place full of magnificent history, sports, growing technology, beautiful surroundings, and interesting culture. We just got off our flight from North Carolina into Rio de Janerio and are now traveling to the Fasano Hotel e Restaurante Rio hotel.

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Posted by JMKCK 06:53 Comments (0)

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