Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…

Long ago, on a cold day in a slightly drab city council office in England, my lovely friend Nicola and I were discussing my upcoming tour of South America.  At the time Andy and I didn’t know what our exact travel schedule would be… but I did know that I’d be celebrating my 30th birthday down in South America.  On that long ago day I remember telling Nicola that I wanted to turn 30 “dancing on a beach in Rio de Janeiro with a cocktail in my hand!”

Caipirinha... a delicious and dangerous drink!

Well, that didn’t exactly happen (I turned 30 in Peru instead!)  But, after a three month delay, I finally got a chance to have a big night out in Rio de Janeiro.  And I wasn’t alone…

We met up with our friend Rob in Rio!!  How lucky are we??  Rob is a frequent flyer who travels all over the world for his job… and he happened to be in Brazil at the same time we were.  The stars were aligned!  We were so pleased to see our old friend and to share a few nights out in Rio with him!

I should apologise now for the minimal number of photos in this post.  After having our iPhone stolen in Buenos Aires and watching a man get his camera stolen on Copacabana Beach in Rio, we were wary of bring our camera out for the evening.  Just picture most of  this in your head, please.

The first night we met up with Rob we had caipirinhas on the beach, more caipirinhas in a local bar (are you sensing a pattern here?) and dinner at a churrascaria.  It was a great fun night, but we had to be in bed early as we all had plans for the next day.

Meaty goodness at the churrascaria with Rob!

The next night, which happened to be a Saturday night, we had no such issues.  We began our evening at a fully packed local bar / restaurant in a neighbourhood just north of Ipanema Beach.  The happy, loud, Portugese-speaking crowd spilled out of the bar and on to the sidewalk where they laughed and drank beer and ordered little plates of appetizers called salgadinhos… little bites of fried cheese, meat, salt cod and more.  Delicious with a cold beer or a caipirinha.  We managed to snag a table between a group of men doing a bar-crawl and a group of women with their tiny dogs and we ordered bites and drinks and joined right in!

Then, we walked a few blocks to another excellent and crowded bar and ordered more drinks and more bites.  Then we went to a final bar and stopped ordering bites and kept ordering drinks.  We talked and laughed and drank and spent all night catching up, calling Rob’s lovely wife (Hi, Kelly!) on the phone and congratulating ourselves on being out in Rio for an amazing Saturday night.

Grainy iPhone pic of the Three Rio Amigos!

So, no.  I did not achieve my goal of turning 30 by drinking and dancing on the sand.  But, I can’t imagine that would have been any more fun than the nights we had out with Rob!

POTD: Jesus

This set of pictures is dedicated to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.  It was an amazing journey to see the large statue, and I’m not sure these do it justice.  However, I’ve tried to encompass several different angles of Cristo Redentor.

The tourist versions:

Cheesy Tourist Stuff

The statue and all its glory:

The big man himself!

Finally, a view from above where the statue stands.  This picture gives you a feel for how high you are at the base of the statue:

Cristo Redentor!

POTD: Pao de Acucar

While visiting the sites in Rio, I got this shot from on top of the tallest humpback mountains in the city, Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf).  The monocular really pulls your eye into the photo, and I got enough of the view off in the distane to give you a feel for what it is like up there.  It was a most amazing view of the city, beaches, and water.

View from Sugar Loaf!