Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Steinborn Edition

Last week my friend Jenny came to visit!

Here we are on top of Corcovado - in the background is the mountains called Dos Irmaos (Two Brothers). A random french men said he would take a picture of us and it pretty much turned into an ANTM photo shoot with us sitting and posing on a ledge. This is our best fierce.

Jenny is my friend from Chicago (we met in college, she is a DG too) and it was SO nice to have her here. She is fun to hang out with, she is easy to please (all she wanted was a tan), and - most importantly - she brought me things. Things like some clothes that I bought online and had shipped to her house, a new iPod, and - again, most importantly - some peanut butter!

We did a lot and also made a lot of time for relaxing :) She arrived on a Thursday, and Paulo and Claudia were so amazing to take me to the airport to get her - yay no cab fare! They took us home the long way so Jenny got an impromptu tour of the city - we even went into the city center and stopped at a beautiful monastery. After getting checked into our hotel we went to the beach! And then the next day, we went to the beach!

Us at Ipanema beach. With caipirinhas. We might have had more than one. And we might have ended up pretty sunburnt. But we for sure had a really great time!

It did rain a bit on Saturday, so we ended up spending the day shopping! Sunday was spent by the pool on our hotel's roof, and Monday we did all of our sightseeing.

We saw Christ the Redeemer at the top of Corcovado -- he is getting a facelift, thus the scaffolding. Don't worry though, they put a picture of Christ's face over his actual face so it is pretty much the same thing, haha (and yes, I took a picture of myself being the Christ statue in front of the Christ statue, but it is on Jenny's camera - I might post it later!)

We saw the tiled steps of Lapa - they really are very cool. The artist - Selaron - has collected tiles from all over the world and created this beautiful work of art. But it is probably best known for being featured in the Snoop Dogg and Pharell video - Beautiful.

And we saw other things that day - the cathedral, a small waterfall, the Tijuca forest, among others - but pictures of everything would make this post even longer than I know it will be! It was a fun day but really long! And our tour guide was basically the craziest driver in the world - Jenny had at least 1 heart attack and I think I still feel nauseous!

On Tuesday we got up early and flew to Foz do Iguassu - home of the Iguassu Falls. The falls, or cataratas (a fun word to say in Portuguese), are located on the river that serves as the border of Brazil and Argentina (Paraguay is right there, too, and we actually saw (but forgot to photograph) the place where 2 rivers and 3 countries all meet - pretty neat! The falls are massive - I have never been to Niagra, so I can't compare, but I ended up pretty impressed. Actually, the falls are a series of 275 individual waterfalls spread out over 2.7 Km. Normally, the river is about 25 meters deep - but because it had rained SO much the week before we were there, the river was up to 60 meters deep (I know, I know, I don't get the metric system either...but you can appreciate, at least, that the river was over double what it normally is). Because of this the falls were VERY full and VERY powerful - I think that was the most impressive part.

But, because the falls were so full, a lot of the normal walkways were closed off because the falls had overtaken them! Although it meant a slightly limited viewing (normally you can walk a bridge out to the middle of the river and be nearly surrounded by the falls) it gave us the opportunity to make it through the parks quicker - which meant we had time see both sides! We saw the Brazilian side on Tuesday afternoon, and on Thursday morning we headed over (with a lovely driver named Pablo who helped us with all of our immigration procedures!) to Argentina to see the falls from that side! I can't say that I have a favorite side, they were equally impressive but in very different ways. Brazil offers a more panoramic look, while Argentina puts you right in the middle of the falls - up close and personal!

A view from Brazil

Again, Brazil

Us in Brazil

One trail in Argentina - we were walking over to those falls and I saw this rainbow

So it was a fantastic trip - but I only have a week to recover and rest up because my mom arrives on Thursday! We have a fantastic vacation planned, plus I am really excited to see her and spend time with her!

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