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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Walking around Rio

There are so many cool things that I see on a daily basis that I thought might be interesting to blog about, so here they are in no particular order...

Popcorn, coconut water and lots of other random things
People here LOVE popcorn!  There are carts on almost every block with both regular popcorn and carmel corn.  Apparently, it's the snack of choice here. You can also get fresh coconut water everywhere. You can get it in bottles or drink it right out of the coconut (with a straw of course).  These guys will chop open the top of the coconut with a huge machete (ok, maybe it's just a large knife) and I'm sure they pray not to lose a finger with each chop.  I should really get a video of this. You can also see people with carts selling other random things like clothes, pots and pans, and books.  It takes impulse buying to a whole new level.

There are also tons of juice shops here.  You can get fresh-sqeezed juice of almost any fruit you can think of.  They have great mixes (one of my favorites is pineapple and mint) that you can have just with ice or with frozen yogurt or ice cream.  Delicious on a hot afternoon! This is my juice shop of choice...a few seconds walk from my hotel.

The benches here are so much more laid back than in the U.S.  They are definitely more comfortable to hang out on.  I've seen several people who look like they just sat down for a quick break and have fallen asleep in the nice shade of tree.

Speaking of trees, there are big shade trees everywhere here!  It is so nice when it's 90+ out and you are walking downtown in the shade of these big beautiful trees. It's really great to be in a downtown area and still have lots of trees and plants around.

One of the things that really amazed me is how clean things are here.  Maybe it's because I lived in Naples, Italy before but this was a big (pleasant) surprise.  Every morning, as I walk my daughter to school, I pass people along the route, sweeping up leaves and other debris.  Not only that, but during Carnaval when the street parties/parades were passing, at the end of it were street sweepers, cleaning up as they went.  At the Sambradrome, it was the same thing - as the samba school finished up there were big cleaning crews that came out and cleaned up before the next school started.  I LOVE this!! Oh, check out the pretty designs in the sidewalks.  It's like that just about everywhere here.

The people here are just wonderful!  They really love kids.  Reagan can't walk further than a block without someone trying to speak to her or pat her head.  After we first got here, she tried walking around with her arms covering her head so no one would pat it, but I put a stop to that. I'm also really surprised by how active people are here.  I don't just mean that people walk and bike everywhere to get around but the running and biking trails are full of people running/biking solely for exercise.  There are also parks everywhere with exercise equipment for people to work out.  It's such a nice thing to see and helps keep me motivated - especially on those 90 degree/90% humidity days.

This picture wasn't taken for my blog or I would have made sure to pose and look like I was hard at work.  Instead it was just me and Reagan playing around on the equipment.

Here is a (bad) picture of a monkey that you can see hanging out in the trees.  I don't see them all the time but when I do, I just want to stop what I'm doing and stare.  So cute!  I've heard about a family of toucan's that live in a tree close to my hotel and plan to stop by and try to see/photograph them but I forgot their address.  As soon as I get it, I'll be there - looking like a tourist! Oh well, it can't be helped sometimes.

One other thing I have to mention but didn't get to get a picture of - two guys with a jack hammer getting ready to blast a sidewalk.  Their footwear of choice?  One had on a nice flimsy set of flip flops and the other was bare foot.

Love this place!

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