Hiring a guide
All of the reports about the dangers of Rio encouraged me to spend a little extra money and hire a guide for one of the days we were in Rio. I saw the company we used, Brazil Expeditions, recommended in Lonely Planet (listed as South America Experience in there but I was redirected to this website). Our guide, Wilson, was affable, knowledgable and delivered the tour just as stated on the website.
We opted for the Carioca tour which included a hike in Tijuca Park to the top of Pedro Bonita, followed by the option of going hang gliding (we didn't do this), after which we voted to go have lunch in Santa Teresa and then to the top of Corcovado, the statue of Christ.
Beach Life in Brazil
There are several activites tha I love about Brazil. They are the hospitality and culture of the Brazilian people, the beaches, the beautiful women, the wonderful beaches, the restaurants and the fantastic Plataforma Shows. One of my most fondest memories of Rio is going hang gliding for the first time, and traveling on the cable car to Sugar Loaf.
GOATS IN NITEROI
I usually take my friends to visit the Island of Boa Viagem where they can visit the Modern Art Museum, a very famous building projected by the famous brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the same which designed and constructed Brasilia during the Juscelino Kubitschek goverment in the late 50's.
There is a street where I always park my car, and it is very common to find a lovely family of goats, one day if you go there, just say hallo for me!
This picture were taken in September 2005
Carnaval: When, where and what happens
When: The Carnaval lasts for four days from the Saturday to the Tuesday immediately preceeding Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. This means that the dates of each Carnaval each year change so here's the Carnaval dates for the next few years:
2006: February 25,26,27,28
2007: February 17,18,19,20
2008: February 2,3,4,5
2009: February 21,22,23,24
2010: February 13,14,15,16
Where: The main Samba Parade takes place at the Sambodromo (Sambadrome) which can be reached by taking the Metro to either Central or Praca Onze. The metro runs around the clock during Carnaval so you don't have to worry about leaving early. It's quite fun going on the Metro as you see the paraders commuting in their costumes which is quite funny to see as they struggle to get through the doors as their costumes are so big!
What happens: The Samba Parade takes place on the Sunday and Monday (the middle two days of Carnaval) from 9pm till sunlight the following day, around 6-7am. It's a long show if you want to stay for the whole show. I only managed to stay till about 2.30am before I had enough. You get what I call Carnaval overload after a while as the parade gets a little samey. The locals love it, of course, and they must have great stamina to stay for the whole parade. Make sure you get there about an hour or so before the start. There should be seats available. There are about 7 samba schools in each nights parade. Each school takes about 60-75 minutes to make their way down the street. Then there's a 15 minute gap before the next school enters. During this time there's a fleet of cleaners and dust carts that clean the street (it's like their own mini-parade and is quite funny to watch!).
Pão de Queijo (cheese bread)
Brazilians do sure enough love their cheese bread. It usually comes in the form of little bite sized rolls. There are special mixes for it in the grocery stores (like Hungry Jack has for biscuits in the U.S.). I order this cheese bread mix online. The cooking method is in Portuguese, but the translation is:
Add all the contents of the package into a medium-sized bowl and add 1/2 cup of cold water and 2 eggs.
Mix well until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth.
Make little balls and leave enough space between them so they won’t stick.
Put into pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until the rolls are brown.