Buzios

August 2, 2009

We’ve just returned from Buzios, Rio’s version of the Hamptons, or St. Tropez (Brigette Bardot gets credit for ‘discovering’ this amorphous peninsula), and there is quite a bit to write about–each thing could be a post in itself, but in the interest of keeping you engaged, dear reader, I’ll try to be concise.

We took the bus from Rodoviaria, Rio’s main bus station, on Friday afternoon after school.  It’s on the north side of the Centro, and super easy to navigate.  There were big halls, and vendors all around the outside selling grilled meats and cheap backpacks and flip flops.  Inside there were counters selling tickets to go anywhere, and the whole thing was sort a dismal yellowish tile.  It worked extremely well.  We got our tickets in no time, Scott bought a Brazilian soccer magazine.  The bus set off out of the city, past massive lots of colorful shipping containers from China and Germany stacked like Legos for maybe a mile at least.  It’s hard to remember that we live by a gigantic port.  We went over the Niteroi bridge–impossibly long and with no railings to speak of– and then set off through what was mostly country side, once we cleared the outskirts of the city. It was all green hills, cattle, small churches set into cliffs.

We drove for about three hours, the darkness gathering, until we got to Buzios.  Walking from the bus stop to our hotel, we strolled past the more typically Brazilian part of it–florescently lit juice bars, lanchenettes, drogarias, and then we hit the more glamourous beach part, and  took in the fashionable tourist town–cobbled streets, brightly lit shops with small esplanades, bustling restaurants skirting a bay filled with colorful wooden boats and bigger fishing boats, bobbing.  There’s a pier, and pousadas everywhere.

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We explored the small coves of beaches, not really so impressed, but intrigued by the beautiful houses and the view from our own hotel.  Today we went running around the jutting lobes of the peninsula and got to explore, up and down cobbled hills that had spectacular Atlantic views, white capping waves stretching for forever.  The sunshine was perfect after all the rain we’ve had and after our run, we stretched out the white chaise lounges until it was time to come back.

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Last night there was an early evening Botafogo game.  We made our way to a Botafogo bar (the first we’ve seen) to watch soccer, and while I was prepared for another jaunt through Cincinnati, the atmosphere at the bar was pretty incredible.  Older men sat at plastic tables, transfixed on the television, pouring beer into small glasses from big bottles of Bohemia sheathed in styrofoam cozies.  A group of overweight women sat in front of us. Families filled some of the tables, the benches, parents with small kids, sleepy from the beach and still in swimsuits, groups of brothers in Havianas.  The crowd grew and shifted, people bought popped corn, everyone yelled or hushed at the same time.  IMG_0095

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Our team was tied for most of the hour and half, until the last two minutes, when they scored a winning goal and everyone went crazy.  The camaraderie was amazing–sometimes, on the right nights, even Cincinnati can be fun, full of stars and fireworks.

While in Buzios, I also managed to buy a tiny Brazilian bikini.  We’ll see if I’m able to adjust my existing tan lines for it to work out okay.  It seems impossibly small, but there’s no real down side when I don’t know anyone.  It will be quite some time before a picture of that ever makes it to Menina na Rio.

Last night, after the Botafogo game, we went to dinner, hung out around town and then went to the bar we decided was our favorite.  It stretched the length of about 20 liquor bottles and then led out to a deck that had steps to the beach.  Wooden boats listed on their sides on that stretch of sand, and many of the shops and restaurants sent their glow onto the waves.  Last night there was a guy with a guitar singing, and another with a drum and a cymbal, playing mellow Brazilian music.  We sat and sipped cold beers, and walked along the beach a little bit.  We spent a long time talking about what to do with our lives, how this will all work, how we put it all together (with no real answers yet, but every time we have this conversation it becomes more articulate.)
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We capped off the night at a ridiculous mini-golf course.  With ten holes fit along a steep slope, every one was near impossible to actually play.  The pitch got the better of Scott’s new Havianas, three times.  He’s in the picture below, trying to fix them.

We got back to Rio tonight hanging onto the sunshine.  We’re a little browner, a little more relaxed.  The city woke up again and was out and about after all of the rain.

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