Since we were visiting friends in São Paulo, Ryan and I decided to take a quick trip up to Rio de Janeiro during the week while our hosts were working and continuing their regular schedules. The plane tickets were extremely reasonable. The forty-five minute flight cost $93 for the two of us on the way down and $85 dollars for the two of us on the way back!
Once we got to Rio, we were greeted but gorgeous beaches as expected. Rather unexpected however, was the rainy weather which lingered until our last day in Rio. We had packed very light for the quick and unexpected adventure and we found that it’s harder to entertain ourselves without our computers and rain gear. In addition, without our hosts, we struggled a little more with the Portuguese language barrier.
All of this did not stop us from visiting Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), which turned out to be the absolute perfect thing to do in the rain. We spent most of our day there, ducking in and out of beautiful gazebos. Among many other delights, they had a gorgeous orchid collection.
We also discovered an amazing little deli-style restaurant called Delírio Tropical that had an incredible (and ever changing) variety of delicious freshly made salads and plenty of home-made dessert! We liked the restaurant so much (the price especially) that we ate most of our meals there. With a piece of cake and entirely new menu every day, we couldn’t go wrong.
On one of the rainy nights we also wandered into a movie. The Avengers II had just opened and happened to be in English with Portuguese subtitles. We sat in wet clothes enjoying international popcorn and soda. I must say that in my humble opinion, Chris Hemsworth is hot on every continent.
Ipanema Beach at night
On our last day in Rio, the weather miraculously cleared and we were able to check some of the more touristy things off of our list. This included visiting Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), spending some time at the beach, and watching a beautiful sunset. Even in less than ideal weather, Rio de Janeiro was a sight to behold.
About two hours drive from São Paulo lies the lovely and quiet beach town of Juquehy (Juqueí). It was to this magical paradise that our generous hosts decided to take us for their four day holiday. Juquehy was our first experience with Brazilian beaches and let me tell you, I didn’t know sand could be so soft and white!
Can you guess which leg is mine?
My good friend Erica and her family rent a condo just about two blocks from the beach. It was perfect with a little patio and an area for barbecue. When we weren’t basking by the beach, Erica’s fiance Guilherme was wowing us with his mean grilling skills.
Head Chef Guilherme
In addition to the amazingly juicy meat, there was always plenty of Açaí, which is sort of like a frozen blended berry snack with fresh bananas and granola. Don’t forget the coconut water, which we sipped with straws straight from the coconut. It was pretty neat to watch them hack the tops off with their machetes.
Yummy coconut water!
To sum up Juquehy: wonderful friends, beautiful sunsets, soft and fluffy sand and plenty of good food…yep, definitely my version of paradise.
Ryan and I have visited some beautiful places on our travels through South America, but it seems to me that everything seemed to be especially beautiful in Brazil. After my Brazilian Beauty Intervention, this was even the case with me. It had been six months since I had done anything with myself and then miraculously, on one fine Saturday afternoon, I found myself in São Paulo, Brazil in the company of one of my closest and most exotic friends, Erica Nunes.
Erica and fiance Gui
Erica is from São Paulo and had come to Wyoming via an exchange program our senior year of high school. She had stayed with my husband’s family. It was because of Erica that I had met my future husband and his wonderful family so I already felt like I owed her the world. It had been thirteen years since we’d seen each other and I was still racking up dept as the two of us sat surrounded by friendly Brazilian Beauty Professionals giving us the works.
I was splayed out like a starfish. One technician was tackling my abominable toes which had recently returned from the beach, while another was shaping up my nails. From behind, my hair was taking on an entirely new shape. It was absolutely wonderful and it was long overdue. Across from me, my beautiful friend smiled and let the nice ladies know what color I wanted my nails painted and explained to the hair stylist how I was hoping to have my hair styled. Portuguese truly is a beautiful language, I realized, especially when spoken by such beautiful people.
Also overdue was that horrible ritual woman endlessly endure known as waxing (or plucking). When I was polished and trimmed, the technicians next turned their attention to hair removal. I know what you are probably thinking right now so I’m going to tell you that I did not opt for the traditional Brazilian bikini wax. I’ve had my share of bikini waxes and they hurt and after all, I was on vacation. So no thank you! But my face did deserve a little attention and I could easily endure this slight discomfort and so I was led into a back room where an entirely new technician took out…a string. I felt particular interest when I discovered that the string was going to be used to remove the fuzzy blond hair from my upper lip. My curiosity grew as she wound the string around her fingers and came at me.
It was an odd sensation and I must admit that I struggled slightly to puff my lip up in just the right fashion, but after a few rounds of roll plucking, my upper lip was as smooth as silk. My eyebrows were tweezed with deft perfection and then I was done, newly trimmed, polished and plucked (to my hearts desire) and looking my Brazilian best. Thank you Brazil. Thank you.