Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beth and Cece's wild and crazy adventure

You might think that visiting Brazil for a month gives you plenty of time to travel around and see the sights. But you would be wrong. Just ask our friend Beth and her daughter Cece. It was a whirlwind adventure with many plans left on the table.

Beth and Cece arrived in mid June with no plans to leave until mid July. Just fun and adventure. Here’s how it played out.

First few days: recover from jet lag and explore the immediate surroundings here in Niterói. The beach, the park, fresh fruit juices, back to the beach.

Late in the first week: off to Cabo Frio, Buzios and Arrail do Cabo. We put them in a cab to the bus station where Beth bought their tickets. They arrived in Cabo Frio after dark. Armed with a business card from the only hotel Luiz and I had a business card from, they took a cab to their hotel. The next several says were beaches, beaches and more beaches – across three towns.

Midway into their second week: we put them on a plane to the Pantanal for five glorious days of wildlife viewing and a taste of local food and culture. This adventure was made easier by local airport pick up and drop off by the eco-lodge they stayed at (two hours trip each way.)

Into their third week: No sooner did they get back from the Pantanal were they back in a bus to Ilha Grande and Paraty, just a few hours south of Rio. I joined them for this adventure. Four nights on Ilha Grande, then two in Paraty. Beaches, snorkeling, hiking and boat tours while visiting Ilha Grande. Then wandering the amazing historic district of Paraty, shopping and a little bit more shopping.

Finally into the fourth week: just enough time to actually spend a couple days exploring Rio, get their hair and nails done, pick up some last minute gifts for friends and buy a few remembrances for themselves.

Phew! A real quick-step marathon. And lots of things they had no time left to enjoy: samba lessons for mom, soccer lessons for Cece, eating at a Comida Minas restaurant, and just hanging out at the pool in Itaipu – to name a few.

Beth seemed to step easily over the cultural divide and settle in. Cece seemed a bit reluctant to try the different foods, adapt to the absence of many conveniences and even reported to be a bit “over” the constant kisses on both cheeks from strangers. I will say I think we hit a home run with Cece when it came to the açai, granola and banana breakfasts. And I think she enjoyed hanging out with monkeys.

All in all it was a great time – and they promise to start saving for their next visit.
[Sorry for the use of some stock photos - images of Beth and Cece are on Beth's camera and I'm betting I won't get them for months...]

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