FC: BRAZIL Including Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, Sao Paulo, Iguazu Falls, Salvador, & the Amazon Rainforest
4: 10 June 2009... Sitting in first class on board American Airlines, where coffee is served in a mug and not in a foam cup =) Don't worry...sitting here only happened by chance and was short-lived for the 30 minute connecting flight from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro.
5: At Casa 579 in Santa Teresa
6: In Rio de Janeiro... | Funny story...at the train station, we made so many attempts to translate the signs written in Portuguese so we'd know which ticket to buy, only to find out that right below there were signs in English!
7: Copacabana, RJ
8: Enjoying Brazil's national cocktail, the caipirinha and national dish, feijoada.
9: Elementary school in Copacabana
10: One thing to consider when visiting Brazil is to bring cash, at least enough to get you from the airport to downtown or your place of stay. | Surprisingly, ATM's like inside this Bradesco bank were few and far between, which meant getting local currency, the Brazilian reals, was not always easy.
11: But if you think about it, ATM's are a symbol of wealth since the purpose is usually for putting in or taking out your own money. With wages in most of Brazil being so low, people earn just enough to pay for food and housing. The luxury of having extra money in the bank is not a common thing for most people, which explains why although you'll find several cash machines in tourist areas, generally you won't find ATM's on every corner like you do in the United States.
12: Corcovado Cristo Redentor
13: Jardin Botanico
15: Brazilian story teller's exhibit
16: Time for another caipirinha break at the Everest Rio Rooftop lounge- Ipanema
17: Rio de Janeiro is the birthplace of world famous style of music, Bossa Nova.
18: An impromptu lesson in Brazilian dance :-) | Waiter writing the bill on a napkin
19: Next...to Santa Teresa, a suburb in Rio
20: Nice thing about these trolleys is if there are no seats available and you have to hang off the side, your ride is free! Bad thing is, the trolley may or may not make it to your destination. | During our ride in Santa Teresa, the trolley breaks down while in route! But we just did what the other Brazilians did; just hop off and walk the rest of the way...no problem ;-)
21: The driver of this car stopped to ask me for directions in Portuguese! Thankully, the other gentleman came to my rescue and helped him find his way. | Rio's dogs...they're everywhere! | Valentine's Day in Brazil is June 12
22: People of Rio de Janeiro known as "cariocas" are overwhelmingly friendly, as are the rest of people throughout Brazil! | Lunch in Santa Teresa's downtonwn district
23: The not-so-pretty side of Rio, the favelas (dating back to the 1830's)... | Favelas, which are basically projects are known to be dangerous, even for the locals. As usual, its residents are the poor who cannot afford to live elsewhere. Sadly these projects are infested with drugs, gangs, prostitution, and violence.
25: sddd | Downtown Rio de Janeiro | Candelaria Church | Mosteiro de Sao Bento
26: One of Rio's most famous landmarks... | SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN | Friends we met during our stay in Rio
27: Next, to the small coastal town called Paraty...
33: Paraty's Historic Town
36: Paraty's nightlife
38: On our way to Caminho do Ouro (gold hike)
41: Local fisherman shares some of his fresh catch-of-the-day with our guide, Paulo, for him to take home to his family. | Kayaking Adventures!
43: Kayaking on the Bay of Paraty is a great way to work up an appetite... and thirst!
45: Island Fortress in Paraty
46: Leaving Paraty....next, to Sao Paulo, Brazil
47: With close to 20 million residents, Sao Paulo, a leading business center in Brazil is one of the largest cities in the world.
48: The city is so crowded that residents are required to drive their cars only on certain days of the week! Next stop...Igauassu Falls!
49: Going from Brazil to Argentina, we cross the border..green side of the wall above is Brazil and the other is Argentina.
51: View from the Brazilian Side
52: View from Argentinean side
53: Salvador de Bahia...
56: The Amazon
58: Manaus...often referred to as the "gateway" to the Amazon is an industrial city of more than 2 million people, and lies about 110 miles from the heart of the rainforest. | Getting to the Amazon involves at least a 4-hr plane ride to Manaus (from cities such as Rio or SP), a 30 minute ride by ferry, and another 3 hours ride by van.
60: The region has only 2 seasons of the year: the dry from June to November and the rain season from December to May. | During this visit, the rain season had just ended causing record high flooding of the forests.
61: While most of the area remains undeveloped, the Amazon is home to more than 400 indigenous groups speaking hundreds of different dialects.
62: Nicknamed the "lungs of our planet", the Amazon produces 20% of our oxygen, 25% of the world's fresh water, and over 3,000 varieties of fruits. Deep inside the jungle, you'll find over 20,000 species of plants, that serve as cleansing agents, perfumes, and natural medicines to treat everything from arthritis to urinary tract infections.
63: An Amazonian Sunrise
65: And next, the best for last, Rio's beaches...