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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

July 13, 2014

Finals - Argentina v Germany

Finals – Argentina v Germany

FINALS DAY!!!

The day has finally arrived. Today is day 33 for us here in Brazil and the main reason we’re here has finally arrived. Today is FINALS DAY!!! Today we finally get to attend our first and perhaps even last World Cup Finals game. I’m so excited right now. I look at these tickets and they are like gold bars in my hands.

My beloved Germany takes on the boring Argentina team today. Hopefully Argentina will show up and decide to actually score goals today. If not, I hope they are suitably punished by Germany for not trying. I desparately want just a wee bit of excitement in my finals match today. Go Germany!

I’m finally decked out in my Germany jersey this morning. I even brought along my club team Bayern Munich hat to compliment the ensemble. Hopefully it will bring the German team a little good luck and a win for the cup.

Germany Uber Alles

Germany Uber Alles

Early rise today followed by an early breakfast and early preparations for a trip to the world famous and historic Maracana Stadium! Kick off is at 4PM local time but the closing ceremonies start closer to 2PM local time. Gates usually open 3 hours beforehand and it is roughly a 35 minute train ride with no hiccups so we’ll be out of here by 11AM this morning. This will be a full day commitment! I’m posting now in case I can’t make it back later this evening. If I can I’ll update this post later. In the meantime enjoy the glory that is World Cup!

Maracana

Maracana

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 12, 2014

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas

Today is day 32 for us here in Brazil.

It is Pity Game Day! Yes, Brazil and Holland get to duke it out for third place today. Poor guys. Why not just let them go home and get a few days holiday in before having to report back to league camp? Oh yeah, Sepp Blatter can’t sell more Budweiser tax free if he let them go home a few days early.

Still sick by the way. Well at least it isn’t raining. Yet.

Spent the day, mostly all of the afternoon, taking a long walk down the beach, up to and across the lake and then back down to the rental. We threw in a lunch at D.R.I. at the corner of Rua Vinícius de Moraes and Rua Barão da Torre. It was good. I’ll try to post a note later.

Quick beer stop on the way back to the rental then a couple of hours front of the boob tube to watch the pity game between Brazil and Holland.

Dinner was some simple pasta and soup here in the apartment. We’re both fully spent after four hours of walking today. Onto the morrow. That’s when the real fun starts.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 11, 2014

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

Today is day 31 for us here in Brazil.

…and I’m still sick…

…and it is still raining…

Today started slow enough. Roll over. Roll over again. Think about it. Roll over again. Finally sit up. Think about it. Think about it. Finally stand. Think about it. Walk. Start hacking up lung parts. Make coffee. You get the idea.

After hacking up lung parts and making coffee (priorities, right?) there was email to check, laundry to do, etc… So things continued at a slow leisurely pace throughout the morning.

So what do you do after a lazy start? Of course! Go to the beach!

The internet crapped out right after breakfast so it was time to head to the beach and work on the tan. I think we spent almost 3 hours on Ipanema Beach this morning/afternoon. Got back to the apartment a little after 3PM local time. It was cool. Nice and relaxing catching some sun, walking around a bit, people watching, etc…

Lunch was light and casual leftovers in the room.

Finished up the laundry, surfed the net a bit (I think Cindy was working) before heading out for an early dinner.

Dinner tonight was at Restaurante Fazendola. Simple pizza and empanadas on the plaza alfresco around the corner from the apartment. It worked. Hit the spot. Quick swing by the market on the way back to the apartment and a little more internet and TV and such and it is off to see sand man.

Hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 30, 2014

Corinthians Stadium

Corinthians Stadium

Today is our 30th day here in Brazil. WOW. Thirty days for one trip. That’s a lot of days to be on the road non-stop.

Time for a recap of yesterday since we were traveling all day and away from the computers. Yesterday we flew to and from Sao Paulo in the same day to attend the Netherlands v Argentina game here at the World Cup. Needless to say it consumed the entire day and it was a whirlwind trip at that. We were pretty much spent by the time our heads hit the pillows late last night.

Getting to and from Sao Paulo and then to and from the airports to the Arena Corinthians is actually pretty easy once you figure things out. Flights are plentiful to both airports. From there you can catch a bus or taxi to the Metro. In our case we flew into the older Congonhas Airport and took a special bus to Sao Judas Metro station where we picked up the number 1 Azul line. The trick to getting to the correct side of the stadium depends on where you are sitting. If you’re “Leste” like we were you go to the Luz station and transfer to the Express Train Corinthians line. If you’re “Oeste” you go to the Se metro station and transfer to the red Corinthians line. I guess they do all of this in some feign attempt at crowd control to keep opposing teams on separate rail lines.

We did though have a touch and go situation arriving at the stadium. Basically the way they had the crowd routed from the train to the stadium was piss poor. Not bad. PISS POUR. In short they took a huge funnel of people and tried to cram them all through the spout at the same time. It didn’t work. We literally ended up being crushed by everybody around us. It was to the point where many people around me, mostly women who were quite rightfully having panic attacks, were about to start passing out. Finally several of us big husbands and boyfriends had to start pushing people back. I was flat our pushing people yelling at the top of my lungs “STOP ASSHOLES!!! YOU’RE HURTING PEOPLE UP HERE!!!”. We finally got things broke lose enough that people got through without getting seriously hurt. No thanks to the many and I mean many inconsiderate, self serving, there is only me in this universe assholes that still pushed their way through to the front despite hurting others. Think ASSHOLE ARGENTINA FANS HERE. Yes, I’m talking to you assholes. You might be wild and fun but you guys can be world class assholes beyond comparison at times. Thus ends my commentary.

The game was fun to attend but not particularly exciting to watch. Argentina yet again played one of their lackluster games and still managed to squeak by with a win. Dang near everybody is picking them to win this tournament because they think they are that good but by god simply squeaking by winning isn’t everything. These guys are as exciting to watch as paint drying. Scratch that. Paint drying is more exciting. Plus now I get to see them yet again in the final on Sunday! Good lord I hope Germany sticks it to them. I’m tired of falling asleep during the game. That and their obnoxious fans. Sorry, fun, wild and crazy fans.

NOW ONTO TODAY…

Today was pretty easy going. We got up just a little late because of the late return last night. After a couple of hours of slowly getting ready, eating breakfast, checking emails and the like we finally headed out for the day.

Today we went to the Museo do Belles Artes. Well there was some art there but I can’t really say it was Belles. I enjoyed seeing several paintings from the 18th through 20th century history of Brazil but all of it was heavily oriented towards christianity, a view wars, tons of portraits, etc… Almost all of the sculptures were reproductions of famous works in the Louvre, Uffizi, Vatican, etc.. So to sum it up I’d say Brazil has some serious work ahead of them to curate and develop a vibrant art collection and scene in my humble opinion.

After the museum we headed over to a second metro station to grab lunch at a place we read about…

…then it happened…

…our first theft here in Brazil. We were right in front of the metro and literally right in front of us two guys grabbed some guy’s cell phone and took off running. Text book. Just like I’d read beforehand on several websites. By the time I turned my head from where I saw the theft to where they were running they were already over 10 yards away. That fast. No way I or anybody else would catch them even if they were watching for it. Poor guy didn’t know what hit him. He broke rule one about cell phones in Brazil: never use your cell phone outside in an open area. You always step inside someplace to make or take a call. This is why I always leave my cell phone in my rental here. It simply isn’t worth replacing a $650 cell phone. People can wait until I get back to return their calls or messages.

So lunch was at Confeitaria Colombo. This is a 120 year old Brazilian version of a Konditorei. Famous people, mostly artist, frequented this place over the decades since it originally opened. So naturally we had to eat a light lunch and a heavy dessert before heading back to our rental. It was good too. I’d recommend it.

So we head back to the rental and exit the subway stations and…it is pouring. Hard. Buckets. I get completely soaked on the short 1 block walk to my rental. Not good considering I’m still sick. Anyway, it is raining so hard we literally had an inch of standing water on our balcony on the 10th floor while it was still raining. Nuts.

Dinner tonight was at Terzetto. Easily in the top two restaurants we’ve eaten at here in Brazil. I say easily in the top two because PURPLE and I both agree which two are in the top two, we just don’t agree which one is first and which is second. They are that close and that good. We liked it so much we made a reservation for Tuesday night for our last official dinner here in Brazil.

Hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 9, 2014

Today is our 29th day in Brazil.

Semi-final - Argentina v Netherlands

Semi-final – Argentina v Netherlands

GAME DAY!!!

Today we fly to Sao Paulo for the semi-final game between Argentina and the Netherlands. That is pretty much it for today. I’ll post pictures and more writings later.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 8, 2014

My apologies to Brazilians everywhere

My apologies to Brazilians everywhere

Today is our 28th day in Brazil.

What can I say?

GERMANY!

Before I get to that. Today was a good day. I’m still sick. Cynthia is still dragging a little as well (she caught it first). But as I promised yesterday I was hell bent on getting out of this apartment today and doing something. For Christ the Redeemer’s sake, I’m in Rio! I need to do something.

We slowly started our day in the apartment. Cynthia did her work thing, made coffee, I tried to act like I was dead and being examined my the coroner, etc… One foot on the ground, two on the ground, bathroom, look around the premises, grunt, hack up a lung and have a cup of Sheepherders coffee and we’re ready to slowly but surely take on the day.

Finally about 10:30AM local time (yes, it took that long for both of to wake up, clean, dress, eat and actually get motivated) we looked at each other across the room and said “let’s go”.

So we walked to the Praca nearby with full intent to see Sugarloaf and voila! A Farmer’s Market setup in the Praca.

You have to stop for a Farmer’s Market. It’s a rule. Period. Anywhere in the world.

So we cruised the Farmer’s Market and I have to say it was pretty impressive. These guys had fruit and vegetables and fish and flowers and just about anything you need to supply your kitchen whether personal or a restaurant. Pretty impressive.

So after we cleared the Farmer’s Market we jumped in a taxi and headed to Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf is pretty cool. It’s not great but it is pretty cool. You take a funicular up to the first morra where you can walk around taking pictures of the surrounding areas and while you’re at it there are some pretty decent shops and amenities up there. After all, this is Brazil.

Then you take the second funicular up to the other morra. This is where it gets a bit more serious. Sure, when you get there you can find a lunch place and a souvenir shop. But you get a lot better views than the first morra, you can touch the morra itself (don’t ask), walk through some “jungle” for lack of a better word, etc… It was pretty cool.

Then the rain came. We had zero rain here in Rio since we arrived and now it came. Fortunately it was only light sprinkles in my book and we had just finished seeing the sights so we basically timed it perfectly totally by accident.

We slowly headed back down the morro stopping for a drink along the way before finally hitting the bottom when literally the bottom fell out. It started raining hard. We barely missed it so our visit to Sugarloaf was a success.

We took a taxi through the rain back to our apartment and ducked into a local restaurant for a bite of lunch. Right about the time we paid the bill the rain stopped. Once again fortune was looking on us today. That’s two hits.

So knowing that everything in Brazil closes for a national team game (it starts in about 2 hours) we walked to the local market (Zona Azul – 24 hours – cool!) and bought provisions for the game: cachaca, vodka, limes, beer and eggs. OK. The eggs are for breakfast. OK. We bought other stuff too like granola and healthy crap like that.

Back to the apartment and when we got there…RAIN! Again! HEAVY RAIN. Straight line. Thunder. Lightning. Pretty surprising. I haven’t seen rain like this since we got here. Pretty awesome to watch from our rooftop apartment.

Then the real storm started. Storm? More like WW3 until it actually started and proved itself otherwise. I don’t want to bemoan this, stress it, exploit it but the Germans handed the Brazilians their hat. There were times when you could literally hear a pin drop in this entire country. They love their team that much and when somebody scores against them it is like a little piece of them is ripped out. So in the end my team won, I’m happy, their team lost and I’m in fear of my life. Well, maybe not that dramatic but Brazilians are not happy people right now.

Dinner was simple in the apartment. PURPLE and I agreed before the match that if Brazil won we are eating in a local bar or restaurant. If Germany won we’re eating in our apartment. Trust me. This really does make sense.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Tchau!

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July 7, 2014

Today is day 27 for us here in Brazil.

I’ve been sick all day. Heck, I’ve been sick for 2-3 days. Last night during the middle of the night I think I was exorcised. I’ll spare you the gory details. So today was pretty quiet and close to the apartment all day. That isn’t fair to Cynthia but at least she got some work done today. I pretty much just walked around like a zombie moaning in pain, grunting my displeasure with things like breathing oxygen and such. We did manage to spruce it up a little with a decent to nice lunch and a nice to pleasant dinner followed by a walk around the plaza. Hopefully I’m on the downhill side of this. I hope so. Come tomorrow morning I’m going to see Sugarloaf if I have to cut off appendages to do so.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Tchau!

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