Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is a modern bustling city--quite a contrast to the Brazilian resort town of Búzios. Of course, we were typical tourists and visited the Christ the Redeemer statue (one of the seven wonders of the world) and Sugar Loaf Mountain--two iconic images of Rio de Janeiro.
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
Like our trip to Italy last year, there were throngs of people.
However, the views from the top of Corcovado Mountain were gorgeous.
Rio de Janeiro and Sugar Loaf from Cristo Redentor
The lagoon (with Ipanema Beach beyond) from Cristo Redentor
Me at Cristo Redentor
A cable car was required to ascend Sugar Loaf  Mountain. Sunset approached as we arrived at the top.
Copacabana Beach from Sugar Loaf
Rio from Sugar Loaf
Can you see the Christ the Redeemer statue in the distance?
Perhaps if I zoom in . . .
We stayed at the J.W. Marriott on Copacabana Beach. It was a welcome luxury. The cool ocean water was pretty rugged. The strong cross currents and under tow kept us from venturing too far out.
Brian with our beach set-up
Copacabana Beach looking south
Copacabana Beach looking north

Vendors like these were omnipresent on the beach selling everything from jewelry and henna tattoos to hats, sunscreen, and bikinis.
Here are a few other images of Rio that caught my eye:
After I took this picture, the artist insisted I drop some money in his cup.
A pet pig on the sidewalk in Rio
These seemed to be the snack of choice in Brazil.
A fairly nice favela on the slope of Corcovado Mountain
I smiled at these birds resting in the trees, but then I noticed the dam of trash.
My dad was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in Brazil in the 1950s and traveled there a couple more times during his career with the Organization of American States. In fact, I have a beautiful Brazilian doll he brought back for me when I was a very little girl. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to visit this country myself one day.

Brian caught me humming "The Girl from Ipanema" over and over again while we strolled up and down the streets of Rio. My dad often played that song on the piano when I was growing up. Its catchy tune always made me sing along.

As with any place, there is great beauty and there is great sorrow. The favelas (shanty towns or slums) were difficult for me to comprehend, and they were everywhere around Rio. I came away grateful for my simple abundant life.
Copacabana Beach
This is my "happy place"--my picture of tranquility. I'm so glad I was able to experience the Brazilian version.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Búzios, Brazil

My last adventure of the summer took me to Brazil with Brian while he attended the International Conference of Chemical Thermodynamics (ICCT). On August 4 we arrived in Rio de Janeiro after flying almost 4 hours to Atlanta (where we were able to meet up with Rachel and David briefly in the airport) and nine plus hours to Rio. We then boarded a bus and traveled three more hours north to the resort town of Búzios. I was exhausted, to say the least, but the sunsets in Brazil helped calmed my weary soul.
Tres Pescadores, Búzios, Brazil
Below is the view of Búzios from the porch of our hotel room.
Once known only to pirates and slave traders Búzios is now a popular vacation destination for Latins and international visitors alike. It is a quaint fishing village complete with cobblestone streets, numerous restaurants, and plenty of souvenir shops.
Since Búzios lies on a peninsula there were many different beaches for us to explore.
Brian at Praia Azeda (Azeda Beach)
A schooner at Praia Azeda
Me at Praia João Fernandes
The view of Praia João Fernandes from my beach chair
I wonder what type of Brazilian "duck" this is.
It was a new experience to be in the Southern Hemisphere and have the sun rise and set to the north. There was no Orion or Big Dipper, but the sky was just as beautiful.
Very few people spoke English in Búzios and that was a real challenge. We managed to survive with our limited Spanish and online Portuguese dictionary, however. At times we weren't exactly sure what we had ordered for our meals, but our taste buds were satisfied with the traditional cheese bread,  empanadas, fish stew, black beans, and dulce de leche of Brazil. 

After almost a week of relaxing to the point of laziness in Búzios we returned to Rio de Janeiro for the weekend before flying home.
 The brand new Ponte do Saber bridge in Rio de Janeiro
More photos of our adventure in Rio are next.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Make Way for Ducklings

The place I was most looking forward to visiting in Boston was the Public Garden and the statue honoring Robert McCloskey's famous "Make Way For Ducklings". I am certain I have read that book to my children hundreds of times.
The story has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Not only did my parents read it to me, but with fondness I remember following along as I listened on our record player. The narrator knew just how to pronounce all the ducklings names: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oack, Pack, and Quack.
I was so excited to see that there really are swan boats in the Public Garden. . .
and ducklings . . .
 and mama ducks doing their thing.
The sign reads, "Mallard Duck Nest--Please Do Not Disturb."
I was happy to find the "little island" where "when night falls [the ducks] swim to . . . and go to sleep."
I think, perhaps, it is a rare occasion when a fantasy of childhood and the reality of adulthood greet each other in such a peaceful and satisfying way.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The High Uintas

Betsy Lake
Brian took these photos on his iPhone last week while camping with our church group in the High Unitas. The boys (including Travis) were all 14-18 year olds--ten boys and five leaders total. They spent five nights and six days exploring the Granddaddy Basin while hiking, fishing, swimming, and relaxing.
Travis with Pine Island Lake in the background
The beauty of this place speaks for itself.
Pine Island Lake
Grandaddy Basin near Pine Island Lake
Travis (middle) had a great time with his friends.
I'm glad Brian thought to take a few pictures for me. I left them as they came--no editing whatsoever. I especially love that he thought to take this shot (below). He said he knew I would like it. I do believe he is starting to "get me" as far as photography goes.
There is so much of this remarkable world to explore. Some day I will see this part of it for myself.