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Thanksgiving in Rio

January 7, 2010

 I’m starting the year with the story of an earlier adventure…  

A couple of years ago we thought it was time to try something new… spend Thanksgiving in Rio.  Actually, we did not limit our trip to Rio, but Rio is where I will begin the story, a journey that took us to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires with a quick jaunt to Uruguay. 

Christo Redentor

It started on a Tuesday… we flew to Denver then Miami.  On Wednesday we continued from Miami to Sao Paulo then on to Rio de Janeiro, a sprawling city of 11 million.  This was a long day, up at 5am and got to bed at 2:30am the following day.  We flew TAM, a Brazilian airline, out of Miami.  The flights included three meals and the food was terrific.  We also got to see 3 movies on the flight.

Trolley up Corcovado

Needless to say, this was not your typical Thanksgiving day.  We took a  morning trip in a bright red trolley up Corcovado mountain to see Cristo Redentor.  The statue of Christ was inspiring, so immense, yet welcoming.  And the view of Rio, the mountains, beaches and ocean was fantastic!  When we turned and looked the other way, there it was, off in the distance was the huge, world-famous, Maracana soccer stadium.  While roaming on top of Corcavado, we also enjoyed visiting with a woman from London who originally was from Cyprus.

Rio de Janeiro

That afternoon we hit the beach.  Copacabana is a beautiful crescent about 3 miles long with attractive, high rise hotels bordering it.  It is near Ipanema Beach.  These famous beaches are two among many beaches in Rio.  Copacabana has a number of food stands and very few people understand English.  So, when ordering, it was mostly a sign-language, visual process.  The beach has several sections – some areas are more for families while others are for people of the arts who like to smoke pot, etc.  Also, there was no shortage of people trying to sell stuff.  The ocean had a constant roar as large waves rushed up onto the sand.  The water was still cool even though the air temperature was in the mid 80s.  We enjoyed watching a few surfers ride the big waves but not many went into the water.

Copacabana Beach

Thursday night it was time to clean up… we were going out to eat!  We visited one of the world famous churrascarias (a traditional Brazilian barbeque).  The dining experience started with an immense salad bar that included the typical fare of salad fixings and pasta salads.  In addition, there were many kinds of unusual vegetables made into mysterious salad concoctions…and very unfamiliar flavors.  Also, there was a nice selection of sushi.  I tried so many things I didn’t bother to count and was able to get most of it down.  Some of the selections challenged the old taste buds.

Next, out came the meats from the grill.  Servers roamed the floor with a big knife and steel spit 2-3 feet long.  They cut you what you wanted…steak with a delicious marinade, other cuts of beef, chicken with flavors I have never experienced before…and on and on.

Finally, it was time for dessert.  Out came wonderful looking chocolate items, ice cream with heavy fudge sauce… basically, about 20+ great looking desserts and one mysterious looking pie.  I asked the server what it was…no English. So what do we do?  Play it safe?  No!  Go for the pie!  It was wildly rich and decadent.  Layers of various rich custards – it may have been caramels and butterscotch and other flavors – and very thin layers of flaky pastry crust between layers.  And a dark crunchy layer of something delectable topped the pie.  The dessert experience will remain a mystery since we did not know Portuguese.  Delicious is insufficient to describe it. 

The most nimble dancer in the world!

Eventually, we got out of there and it was off to the Samba show… feathers, drums, heavy rhythms, lively music, a large troupe of dancers and more feathers.  The highlight was a man in a white suit.  He was strong, graceful and had great stage presence.  He had moves that seemed to draw from Gene Kelly, Shakira and the ballet.  His routine was so unusual…  The crowd gave great ovations and he would just keep going with even more amazing moves.  It was a great evening that eventually had to end around 1am.  Quite a Thanksgiving!

Feathers and Samba

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 8, 2010 3:59 pm

    You seem to be quite the world traveler. My dad used to go to Rio all the time for business! I love looking at all your pictures, it’s like getting to take a little mini-vacation, sans the air travel. LOL! Where all have you been able to go and see?

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