Saturday, May 8, 2010

Business at the US Consulate then hitting the beach

Our good friend Carlinhos from Belo Horizontes spent a couple days with us this week. He had to visit the US Consulate in Rio to get his US passport renewed before its expiration later this month. Lucky for us that meant we could host his stay and enjoy his company.

Taking care of business at the US Consulate in Rio is always a trip. Without fail there is a line of several hundred Brazilians snaking down the sidewalk outside the entrance to the building. We American citizens, on the other hand, simply walk to the front of the line, present our passport, and get ushered through the door. Membership has its privileges, I suppose.

Passing through the crowded waiting area filled with locals seeking a visa to visit the United States, one scoots up a quick flight of stairs and enters a much smaller room for a much more comfortable (and brief) wait for “citizen services.”

Carlos was in and out in well under an hour. Then it was off for some sightseeing and a walk along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Carlos has rarely been to Rio’s famous beaches and has seen even less of the city at large. We tried to chip away at that.
Following a few beers and some great people watching at the “gay kiosk” in Ipanema we went to Leme for a terrific seafood lunch. Then it was back to the ferry to take us home.

The next day we went to Piratininga beach. Beautiful day. Quiet beach. Fresh fish for lunch on the sand. Sun and surf. Ahhh… qualidade de vida!

Then all too soon it was time for Carlos’ late-night bus back to Belo Horizontes. Bye Carlos – see you next time!  Three days go so quickly!

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