Day 1 in Rio de Janeiro

So a little bit about yesterday (Sunday). In the afternoon visited MASP (Museum de Arte de Sao Paulo) with this really cool exhibit by Yang Shaboin (China). He explores the society and media of 21st century through art and has some very interesting paintings. Catch a glimpse.  Later in the day I checked out China Town and Centro in Sao Paulo, which supposedly is very dangerous so tried spending minimal amount of time wandering in.

In the early evening I was super hungry and treated myself with some good lasagna dinner and headed back to the hostel to pick up my backpack and head to the train station for the midnight ride to Rio de Janeiro. At the hostel I was told that Priscila called me couple times. I called her in the morning from the hostel but didn’t reach her. So I called her back and she said she’s nearby! We met at this bar near Paulista Ave (main street in SP, also a financial hub of south america) and chilled for a while with her and her friend. Pri and her friend both worked in the US a couple of years ago. While at the bar, randomly, a woman walking by asked where I’m from, since i had my huge backpack next to me. Long story short, she just got back from a bicycle trip with her husband. Their itinerary was almost identical to ours (map of our itinerary), but they went a little further than Recife. So she called her husband to join us at the table and we all chatted for about an hour, getting tips from them about the trip Thomas and I are about to embark on this Friday. A few good trips I got from them.

  1. It rains a lot during this time of the year – weatherproof my stuff.
  2. Enter bigger cities in the morning hours. Its safer that way, because in the wee hours people are sleeping.
  3. Use beach to bicycle! When the tide receedes, it leaves the beach hard packed and capable of holding the bicycle.
  4. Terrain from Fortaleza to Natal is pretty flat and nice for cycling, but from Natal to Recife the terrain changes and presents some challenges. Probably resulting in us being able to do less miles per day. So we should try to complete greater distances in the beginning of the trip and prepare for tougher ride approaching Recife.

Time flew by while we chatted and before I noticed Priscila and I were on the way to the bus station. She lives a few metro stops from the bus station. Got on the bus at midnight and made to Rio at 5am. Didn’t wanna sleep as the city was waking up so checked out the beach and people doing their morning runs/cycling/stretching. Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the skyline of Rio. Took an afternoon nap at a hostel and then headed to the center (away from the Copacabana beach area, where I’m staying). Center is like any other center – busy, tall buildings, many homeless people, etc. Wanted to stop by my professor’s office since he gave me his address. By the time i got there at around 4:30pm he has already left. So we would meet as planned at 6:30pm in his apartment, also in Copacabana area. Met up with him, went to get dinner and pleasantly chatted about stuff, including economics. Prof. Werner Baer is leaving Rio tomorrow and thus was saddened that he can’t show me around Rio and that I didn’t arrive earlier. We decided to grab breakfast tomorrow morning. Very nice guy with a passion for South America’s lifestyle and of course economics, albeit having German roots and being born in USA, has been covering s.america’s economy since his early twenties (his books)

Got back to hostel at 8pm and decided to rest but fell asleep. Other hosteliers were going out and invited me but decided to pass, since i plan to wake up early tomorrow. Then another person comes in and asks me to move to another room because my bed has been double booked!!! So had to get out of bed and go figure our the situation… thus got up and now don’t want to sleep – therefore im writing this.That’s all for now. Tchau!

(edited August 18th, 10am)

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