Sugar Loaf – Moqueca – Forro – Caipirinha – Mangada – Fort Copacabana – Favela – Two Brothers
The next four days where busy ones. As a result this post is a long one and there are many photos. Both Derek and Luisinha where leaving on the 15th, so we wanted to make the most of it. On the morning of the 12th, we all headed to the bottom of “Pão de Açúcar” or Sugar Loaf mountain. This is in the region of Urca. We originally wanted to take a tour bus from this location that was supposed to include a tour around the Rio waterfront as the bus is amphibious. We found out that because of the upcoming Olympics, the tour in the bay was not available. We decided to check out the beach which was pretty. After a coconut water drink we walked along the trail around the base of Urca hill, (the smaller of the two Sugar Loaf mountains). Derek and I were in a hiking mood, so we decided to hike up to the top of the Urca mountain. This heavily rooted trail had many marmoset monkeys, which are featured in Disney’s Rio movie. The views were fantastic and brought back memories of when I was here back in ’76 with Derek and cousins Christina and Liana. The cable car that goes from the bottom to the top of sugar loaf was built in 1912 and then renovated in 1973 and 2008.
For lunch we headed to Christina’s condo where she and Miguel served us a fantastic fish dish called “moqueca”. This fish and coconut dish was excellent. The rest of the meal, which included desert was also great. After lunch, Christina showed us Luis Paulo’s place that Miguel has done a wonderful job of renovating.
For dinner we were invited to Ana Maria and Basilio’s place. Ana had visited us with Aunts Luisa and Solange in 2002. That year Brasil won the World Cup which was hosted by South Korea and Japan. Along with Derek, Luisina, Ma and Pa, were Solange and her two daughters (Taissa and Tatiana) families. It should be noted that during this evening I loaned my camera to Tatiana’s eleven year old daughter, Anais, who took some fantastic photos. Tatiana runs a media school and has taught her daughter well. Dessert featured mangada with a Brazilian cream cheese which was yummy. Both Basilio and Ana Maria were perfect hosts.
On the 13th, Silvina was going to take us to a Forro. After a morning walk with Silvina and Liana it was decided to do some shopping. I headed out with Ana Carolina and Liana to a local mall to pick up items for Audrey, Pat, Kyle and myself! Before shopping, Liana showed me how to make brigadeiro. This is a doce de leite with chocolate creme (Audrey now wants instruction). That evening we headed to a the club “Lapa 40 degrees” in the region of Lapa. Forro (pronouced Fau Haw) is Brasil’s version of country music. Some information on Forro is here. We all danced (and some drinking) and both Silvina and Liana showed me how to dance Forro. It is basically a version of bump and grind mixed with polka.
On the morning of the 14th, Liana, Derek, Luisinha and I headed to the open market in Ipanema, (Feira de Ianema). We got to try some of the many local fruits which are the tastiest in the world. Then a quick stop at the local Zona Sul (supermarket) to stock up on bottles of cachacas and goiabada to take back home. Luisa gave us a lunch that featured many Brasilian favorites. Miguel and Christina joined us for lunch and Miguel made some great caipirinhas. Having practiced Forro the previous night we headed to “Feira de Sao Cristouao”. This venue reminds me of a fair. There are many different restaurants and kiosks (which sell many tourist items). There are many stage areas which have bands playing a variety of Brasilian and international music. We had some dinner at one of the restaurants and then off to the dance floor. If you are a woman, there is a chance that a “local” will ask you to dance. Should that happen, you are required to accept. Liana ended up dancing with a local. A fun night all around and we went to four separate bands.
Saturday the 15th, both Derek and Luisina were heading back home. We all decided to meet at the Rio Fort, (Fort Copacabana) for breakfast. Because it was a Saturday, the line-up at this very popular site was very long. Derek, Luisa, Tonico, Miguel and I decided to check out the fort. This fort was set-up during the first world war to protect the Rio port. Breakfast was great.
Derek and Luisa headed out to get ready to head back to home while Miguel, Ana Carolina and I headed towards the “two brothers”(Dois Irmãos). This hike has a spectacular view, but starts its hike in a “favela” ( Brasilian slum). In order to get through this potentially dangerous region, you need to hire a motorcycle driver to shuttle you up to the start of the trail. For me this was one of the highlight of the trip. I planned to video the ride through the favelas, but I quickly realized that I had to hold on for dear life. The drivers are very aggressive as they wind there way up the hill. Quite the ride! The three of us then headed up the back side of the tallest of the two brothers. The hike features many great views and the weather was perfect. When we eventually headed back, the sun was starting to set and we found that motorcycles were not arriving at the drop off point. With the sun setting and a risk of being left stranded, we decided to take a VW van down through the favelas, which gave me an opportunity to video the descent. Once we got to Ipanema beach, Ana Carolina headed to an appointment and Miguel and I headed to a local bar for a beer.
But the day was not done yet… Silvinia, Liana and I headed to Rota 66 along the Copacabana beach for margarita’s with entertainment by our male and female servers singing classic rock & roll songs. A great way to end a great day.