10. The crazy cab drivers. I thought NYC cab drivers were bad. My first cab ride in Brazil was to a birthday party for someone I had never met at a Mexican dive bar in Botafogo. If that wasn’t exciting enough, the cab driver’s car seemed to shut off whenever he made a stop. So, he tried not to stop. At all. Which, though thrilling, scared everyone. Thankfully we arrived at the party unharmed and enjoyed wonderful dulde de leche flavored cake.
9. The swift samba dancing style. I wish I tried to learn in Lapa (a party town), but the rhythm was pretty difficult to pick up.
8. McDonald’s french fries. Oh fine! I went to a foreign country, just to have American food. Don’t judge me! The batatas fritas there were more delicious (and I don’t want to know why).
7. The beautiful landscape. Coming from Atlanta, it was amazing to see the mountains, islands, forests and ocean all at the same time on a regular basis. I’m not a nature girl in any way, shape or form, but it’s so easy to enjoy the elements in a place like Rio.
6. Watching TV. Who goes to a foreign country to watch tv? Well I figured I could work on my Portuguese by watching Two and a Half Men with Portuguese subtitles in the hotel. It actually helped me pick up some more casual words since guidebooks make you sound like a school teacher.
5. “Acai, Acai, Acaiiiii!” The acai vendors’ cry everyday anyone was on the beach.
4. Caipirinhas! I like mine with honey and lime. Strong!
3. 7:30am runs along the boardwalk. Ok so I only went on 3, and my bf out ran me each time, but each run was fantastic. People in Ipanema seem to work out very early or very late in the day. I guess this makes sense since they have day jobs!
2. Afternoon Siestas. Waking up at 7:30am after staying up late takes a lot of energy. These were compulsory!
1. The people I met there. I spoke German with some tourists on top of Cristo Redentor. That same afternoon, I met a world traveler from Key West (who also knew a bit of German and was dating a guy from Sao Paulo). I met three amazing siblings and their parents who were working on their English. I met a jeweler and his wife on separate occasions, at separate locations of the same chain. The concierge at my hotel was also awesome and had great style. Also, one of the bus boys (bus man, I guess) was very friendly and helpful. I had a funny encounter with our housekeeping lady who laughed it off and helped me formulate the most basic sentence ever “I don’t speak Portuguese”. Everyone was so diverse (duh), but also really kind in Rio.
I’ll be back someday.