Rio de Janiero Archives

December 30, 2005

Welcome to Brazil


I checked into my hotel, the Orla, which is right on Copacabana Beach. (The picture above shows the rooftop pool overlooking the beach.)

Brazil has a more Latin feel than did Buenos Aires, which struck me as European in many ways. This city is clearly a beach town, too, or at least the Copacabana and Ipanema sections I explored upon arrival.

December 31, 2005

Life In The Southern Hemisphere

I activated the Weather widgets on Dashboard to check the temperatures here and at home. At just after 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it was 97 degrees Farenheit in Rio and 27 in Wallingford--a differential of 70 degrees! I'll confess there is a certain perverse pleasure one experiences in a warm place knowing how cold those he left behind must be!



Apparently New Year's Eve is a BIG deal down here in Rio de Janiero. There will be about 2 million people gathered on the beach right in front of my hotel. There has been a heavy police presence in the area all day long and Avenida Atlantica--the main drag abutting the beach--has been closed to all traffic since late last night. A number of barges just off Copacabana Beach are poised to launch a humongous fireworks display. There are already four enormous cruise ships anchored not far offshore to watch the evening's festivities. There are bands playing music and groups of families and friends with their spots on the beach staked out all day. I am planning on taking a "Polar Bear" dip once midnight strikes, but with the evening air temperature over 80 degrees tonight, it shouldn't be a hardship!

January 1, 2006

Happy New Year!


The beach was packed for the countdown and the fireworks display (supposedly 24 tons worth) over the water was spectacular. It is traditional to wear entirely white on New Year's Eve here in Rio. At midnight, the locals throw flowers into the Atlantic as offerings to Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea and fertility.

Walking Man

I find that when I spend time in cities, I do a LOT of walking. I have blisters on my feet to prove it this week. And I nearly turned my ankle twice two days ago. I remember thinking I had broken a bone in my foot after one long trek in Rome last June. And in Melbourne in 1998, I really did my ankle in after a misstep getting off a tram. But I guess it's a healthier way to get around.

Cables, Wires, and Plugs

I finally have figured out how to deal with differences in voltage, electrical plugs, and the like when traveling internationally. That said, I tend to carry far too many redundant cables and rechargers with me. I need to look into finding one solution that takes care of my Palm, my portable speakers, my cell phone, etc.

January 2, 2006

On The Comeback Trail


Former world #1 Martina Hingis won her first match back on tour after three years of retirement. I watched her practice quite a bit at Saddlebrook in Florida last March and she looked pretty good then.

Recent Reads

I polished off two books while in South America:


My sister gave me a copy of Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia, a 1977 travel book--though the author apparently disputed that categorization--about the barren but beautiful area in southern Argentina and Chile and the people who lived (and still live) there. Interestingly, Chatwin is the most famous proponent of the Moleskin notebooks I like to use.


In Brazil the past few days, I tackled a book my mom picked out for me for Christmas: The River of Doubt, an account of Teddy Roosevelt's perilous exploration of the upper reaches of the Amazon basin after he lost his 1912 comeback bid for the White House. Candice Miller wrote a gripping treatment of this journey, grounding it in such diverse disciplines as history, politics, geology, and biology, without ever losing the human dimension of this fascinating story.

An Entertaining Diversion


The funniest podcast I listen to comes from Ricky Gervais--he of The Office and Extras fame--and friends. Gervais and producing partner Steve Merchant host, along with the (I think) unintentionally hilarious Karl Pilkington. What makes the weekly podcast so enjoyable is the interplay, especially between the often off-the-wall Pilkington and the often incredulous Gervais. You can access the podcast here.

About Rio de Janiero

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