Rio de Janeiro, Take Two

You know how after you visit a place, you still have a list in your head of all the things you’d either like to do again, or would like to do but didn’t have time for? Or maybe didn’t realize you’d even like to do until it was too late because you’d run out of time?

We kind of got a Rio do-over on this last trip. Our last flight home connected out of Rio. And it came complete with a layover. Two weeks later, we were BACK IN TOWN.

One thing I had wanted to do, was ensure Andrew had a proper chance to browse Livaria de Musica Toca do Vinicius. It’s a small music shop in Ipanema dedicated to Bossa Nova. We had seen it on our walking tour the first day, and our tour guide had even stopped in front of the store and urged the elderly shop owner to come out and say hello. He clearly loved Bossa Nova and wanted to share this love with everyone, but he was also very shy, very endearing. I’d always meant to revisit the store when it was just Andrew and I (no walking tour group) but we never had. So now we went directly to the shop.

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I later found out there’s even a small museum upstairs. WE DID NOT KNOW THAT THEN. So now I have even more regrets, that we didn’t inquire more. But anyway, the love of music, and music history, in that place is palpable. So worth a visit!

The next thing we wanted to revisit was the beach. One more walk along the beach, followed by a light lunch and our final caipirinhas (cachaça sugarcane liquor & lime).

It was about 21 degrees on this day, which was MUCH cooler than when we’d been there a few weeks earlier, the wind was strong, and the waves seemed violent. There were danger signs posted all over the beach. It was quite alarming, especially to this prairie girl. I did go in  the water a bit… but probably took my life into my hands even just going in past my ankles, because the waves rushed in up to my thighs very quickly and strongly and the sand was sucked out from under my feet. I rushed back to shore, my heart pounding, realizing I’d just done something pretty stupid. The beach had not been like that at all when we’d been there previously. I’m glad we got a chance to see the other mood of the beach.

That having been said… this is actually what the beach looked like on this day:

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Not quite as alarming as I described, eh? Other people are out there just fine. But… not crowds of people, it’s probably worth noting.

So. We were in Copacabana, which was kind of home base for the Olympics. Including the Olympic Megastore, which was an immense curiosity unto itself. I kept calling it “the VISA store” because VISA was such a major sponsor that you couldn’t pay if you didn’t have a VISA and everything said VISA all over the massive tent. More VISA was seen than Olympic stuff (almost, or at least that’s what it felt like). We had only been there once previously, and that was after Andrew’s sunglasses had disappeared beneath the waves so he hadn’t been able to really see that time. So, now that he had glasses again, we figured we’d revisit the store. This time, feeling like we had time to kill, we also decided to join this line:

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Sort of like a demo for their new 4D technology. They put us in chairs and we were wearing the 4D glasses and we had to buckle in, lest we fall out of the chairs that were jolting us around, simulating riding a bike down the side of a mountain. It was fun, but since we had just been biking along bumpy hills on Easter Island, it did seem kind of tame to us. At the end of the experience we felt like posing for this cheesy photo with the Samsung Galaxy and Olympic mascots:

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Then we took a photo of a magnificent sandcastle a gentleman artist had made, leaving some money in the tin nearby.

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Then we figured we might have enough time for a drink at Delirium Cafe, which is all about fine Belgian and craft beer… hence our desire to go here. Actually we had been to this Delirium Cafe two weeks prior, and had a really lovely experience. That’s why we wanted to go back for a quick drink before the airport.

But sometimes when you revisit a place that you had loved… you run the risk of tarnishing that memory. The door was opened, but when we stepped inside, they told us they were not open yet, we’d have to wait 30 minutes or so. Weird because I mean the doors were open and the staff was there… everything seemed good to go. But, a different culture I guess. I felt pretty disappointed, partly because now this kind of tarnished my impression of the place… like, now in my memory, the Rio Delirium Cafe lives on in a bit of an unwelcoming light.

Which is unfair. It’s likely that if we did go in and have beers, we may have missed our flight! Traffic was truly at a standstill and getting to the airport took a lot longer than we had anticipated.

Before we disappeared into the mountain tunnel, I took this picture out of the window of the taxi:

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Farewell, Rio!

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