Monday, September 1, 2014

The Rest of August

After writing up some of my August travels, things got hectic fast.

After Lençois, we all headed back to Salvador. The day we were there, we decided to go to some beach on some island with a group of American students studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro.  We took a rickety boat across the ocean for about 30-45 minutes, and then the students decided to take a taxi ride to this “tourist” beach. Once the car stopped, down some hidden path, we found out we had to cross a river in a boat (short trip, like 2 minutes rowing). We ended up on some beach with hammocks, seashore, etc., but were told we needed to eat the R$30 lunch. It also looked like a storm was coming in, and the wind was so strong we had trouble enjoying it. A few of us were really uncomfortable with the situation, because we felt trapped. We ended up making our way in the rain, walking across the river (which came up to my waist), and getting on a ferry (those that carry people and cars). Starving, cold, irritated, we walked back to the hotel, which was about an hour walk away. (We had decided to walk because we were told it was about 20 min away. It also started raining on the walk.)
Us getting in the boat to cross the river

Us on the boat heading back to Salvador

The storm we were caught in

Anyway, fast forward to the next leg of the trip: Rio de Janeiro. We explored Santa Teresea, Lapa, Copacabana, and Ipanema. Here is the story through pictures:
Overlooking Rio de Janeiro from the ruins in Santa Teresa

The Selarón Steps in Lapa

A waterfall in the Tijuca Forest. The Tijuca Forest is a forest in the center of Rio,
 and the forest that houses Christ the Reedemer. 

One of our friends
And here He is.

Another friend
Christ the Redeemer as seen from Pão de Açúcar

We ate "squeaky beach cheese," as someone called it, on Ipanema Beach.
They grill the cheese on coals they carry around in a pot.
Another view of the Selarón Steps.
We ate at Colombo, a ridiculously fancy bakery in Rio.
The mirrors are imported from Belgium, and Queen Elizabeth ate there when she was in Rio.

Next, we hopped on a bus and headed south to Paraty. We were couchsurfing once again, and found out we were staying about a 10 min drive out of town. We ended up staying in this house, with our own room, over looking a waterfall. Here is the story through pictures:
The cachaça distillery 10 min walk through the woods and over the river from the house we were staying at.
Cachaça is a liquor made from sugar cane. We tried all sorts of artisan cachaça.
The best was Gabriela: cachaça with nutmeg and cinnamon.

A rickety plank bridge that can only hold 2 people at a time.

Some type of fruit that know one remembers the name of.

At one point, Jake and I went on a walk through the woods around the house. This little puppy decided to follow us, and became our guide. We made our way to a rock, near the mouth of the river. We thought we were at the top, but then the puppy disappeared and we followed him through this small, barely visible path. Then, Jake and I weren't sure how to get back. Next thing we know, the puppy has run off in another direction. We end up at a path going two different directions: one going to a road and one leading into the woods. As Jake and I are discussing where to go, we head towards the road. The puppy sat down, and refused to follow us. So, we turned around and followed him. We ended up right in front of the house. Such a great guide!

First thing day 2, Jake and I headed to town. When we started walking around, we ran into a group of Americans. They invited us over for dinner that night. Jake and I decided to go to another distillery that seemed close. It ended up being a kilometer walk  uphill in the rain. Suffice it to say, the walk wasn't great. However, that night we ended up at their house and taught them how to do churrasco, make quentão, squeaky beach cheese, and they made a great pasta. 

The one not rainy day, we ended up going on a snorkeling trip. Here is Paraty from the boat.

At the first location, we both went snorkeling. All of a sudden, I end up getting called over to the boat and screamed. I forgot how much I am scared of fish. Let's just say that I didn't swim the rest of the time.

Jake snorkeling

One of the islands we visited

Our lookout with the Brazilian flag.

Most of the time, we just relaxed at the house, mostly in the hammock. 

The natural slide in Paraty was a giant smooth rock.
Some of the guys were doing crazy stunts over the slippery rocks.

This is one of the tanagers that were found in the area.
This one was found outside of the house.

I ended up getting fairly sick at the end of this trip. So, we stayed an extra two days before heading to São Paulo for my mid-year seminar. São Paulo ended up being a great time to see and talk to other ETAs, hear their experiences and connect with the ETAs in Uruguay and Argentina. All of our experiences have been quite different. Additionally, as important people are talking to us, those of us from Rio Grand do Sul start tomando chimarrão. Afterwards, not knowing if it was rude or not in São Paulo, one of the Fulbright guys from Rio Grande do Sul tells us next time, we have to let him know. He just wanted some too. Nevertheless, I was excited to get back to Rio Grande, and start the next semester.

However, only a few short, uncharacteristically warm days later, we headed back to Porto Alegre for a Linguistics conference. The thing no one realized was that it was more of students presenting their doctorate level research, assuming everyone in the audience understood very specific terminology and processes. Suffice it to say, it was not what we expected. But being that far north, we decided to take a weekend trip up to Gramado, a very European style town. It is also known for chocolate adn wine. The best part: the food! 
Here is the waterfall in Canela

We went to a crystal factory and watched them make a crystal vase. 

Here is the mascot of Gramado

Jake became a witch of chocolate.

We even found an Iphone.
Gramado is well known for their sequence of fondue. First, we were given a plate of hors d'oeurves of pickled things and bread. Then, we got cheese fondue with potatoes, and other yummy food. Next came this lovely thing. A stone, raw meat, and 10+ different types of sauces. Here we are grilling our meat. The last was chocolate fondue with a bunch of fruit.
Besides the Fondue Sequence, Gramado is known for their café colonial. Here is a picture of eating it. What isn't shone is the dessert buffet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment