First important point, I was sooooo sad that Alexandre couldn't come. I pouted and whined. I begged. I suggested that he wasn't as sick as he said he was. But when I said, "well, I'm going anyway. I'll be an American in Rio ALL BY MYSELF," he winced, but said OK. So I knew he really was sick.
Second important point: a HUGE FYI in the Brazilian land of lawlessness: technically, there is a law that, to board a Brazilian bus, you must show your ID. If you don't have an RG, it must be an original passport (or a copy of your passport that has been certified at a cartório). My Brazilian CPF, my California ID, and a copy of my passport were not enough. It was irrelevant that I've taken literally hundreds of buses around this country in the last 3 years and that I've never had to show my original passport. (When Elena and I came back to Sao Paulo on a bus from Foz do Iguaçu, the guy said a passport was necessary, but only because we were at a bus station at an international border, not because it was, you know, Brazilian law that everyone else ignores. I happened to have my original because we'd gone into Argentina, so I'm not sure if a copy would've been accepted at that time.)
The bus driver this weekend did not appreciate my argument that acquiring a fake certified copy of my passport would be MUCH easier than acquiring a fake CPF. He did not appreciate my swearing and declaration that nothing works correctly in his country. I had to change my bus time and instead get a bus from Santos to Sao Paulo, and then take the SP metro and get ANOTHER bus from Sao Paulo to Niteroi. Poor Jim waited for me until 4am!
But yes. I share this story as a warning to you all, in case you get a stickler of a bus driver like I did. I'm not mad at him for following the law-- I was mad that no one else had, ever. I told Lindsey and Alexandre that maybe it meant I got all of my traveling drama out of the way at the beginning, which it turns out I did, because the rest of my vacation was smooth sailing!
After an hour of gabbing and another hour or so of sleep, Jim, Luiz, and I took the ferry to the blogger meetup! It was so great to talk to all of you, to see you in the flesh, to hear your stories in greater detail, to make jokes and have people laugh at them (I AM NEVER FUNNY IN PORTUGUESE). I was too busy chatting to take many pictures, but here are a couple that I got:
After the meetup, Lindsey and I went back to Jim's apartment on the ferry. Ferries are fun and never get old. Oh, but apparently, Cariocas call ferries barcas. I had a bus driver stare at me blankly when I said I needed to get to the balsa. Come on! An older woman sitting in the front of the bus sensed the confusion and called to the bus driver that I meant to say barca, not balsa. Maybe we can just stick to the English "ferry boat," which is used here in Santos (though I think some people use "ferry boat" to refer to the mall next to the ferry). What a mess! OK. Focus Danielle, focus.
While on the ferry, one of us (not gonna say which) requested a picture of an attractive boy. We pretended to take a picture of Lindsey in order to get his picture. Then he turned around. And Lindsey laughed. And you clearly missed out on all the fun of the balsa -- I mean barca.
Once we were back at Jim's, we gabbed gabbed gabbed some more, shared stories about teaching English, drank wine, ate Jim's delicious tomato and ricotta pie, went for a walk and drank coconut juice (I REFUSE TO CALL IT WATER IN ENGLISH), and eventually made our way to a bar in Jim's neighborhood. More gabbing and drinking ensued, followed by my slumber party with Lindsey (defined as even more gabbing gabbing gabbing until like 3am). As you can see, there was not much sleeping on this trip! And there was so, so, so much talking. I mentioned to Lindsey at one point that it felt like I had this huge ball of yarn in my brain that was unraveling everywhere, with threads that everyone's conversations were just pulling out and all over the place.
Sunday was the sort of second, last-minute blogger meetup. Lindsey, Jim, and I went to Ipanema to meet up with Rachel. On the way there, I sang the song in my head like 100 times (except I only know that one line -- the girl from Ipanema goes walking... -- so it started to make me a little crazy).
|the cool kids!!!!|
We drank caipirinhas and coconut juice, watched the passersby, and chatted some more at a million miles an hour. Oh, and the bartender waiter guy from the beach kiosk complimented Rachel on her impeccable Carioca Portuguese. :D
At one point we briefly met up with Sandy, a friend of Rachel's. She and I didn't get to talk much, mostly because I was too busy admiring her fabulous apartment and the views from it:
That mountain in the picture may or may not be Pão de Açucar. Can I just say one thing that may be sacreligious to Brazilians reading this but that perhaps is not common knowledge? So Pão de Açucar (I REFUSE TO CALL IT 'SUGAR LOAF') is the famous rock formation mountain thing in Rio. But it turns out there are a ton of rock formation mountain things around the bay!! No one told me that! How the heck am I supposed to know which one is Pão de Açucar, especially from far away?! Is that something everyone else knows easily, which would mean that I'm just like, silly and uncultured? Or is it some big secret everyone keeps? I mean, I saw quite a few of these rock formations, and they all looked the same to me from a distance.
I know I was totally lame and didn't do the typical tourist things while in Rio (Pão de Açucar and the Christ statue, which I prefer to refer to as 'the Big Jesus'), but that wasn't really the point of this trip.
Ok I'm gonna stop here. Tomorrow will be Part 2: the rest of the trip!
Read Part 2 here.