Before We Have Company

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This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, February 18, 2004 was originally posted on February 19, 2004.

DAY 123:  Since both my roommate Lara and I had company coming from overseas to Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval, we were saving visits to the major tourist attractions for when they arrived.  Avoiding the famous Pâo de Açúcar rock formations and the towering Cristo Redentor statue overlooking the city, we simply decided to go on the walking tour of the central city as written in our Lonely Planet guide.

The tour started seven Metro subway stops away from ours near the Praça Mahatma Gandhi, graced with a huge statue of the Indian peace activist.  Lara questioned why Brazil would honor a hero from another country, but took a photo of it anyway.  Nearby was the Praça Floriano, a busy plaza full of people on the go flanked by the Teatro Municipal to the north and the national library to the east.  We continued to connect the dots used to designate the walking tour on the Lonely Planet map, through the street vendors of Avenida 13 de Maio and over to the Petrobras building.  Across the street from the Orwellian-looking office of the energy company was the ultra-modern Catedral Metropolitana de Sâo Sebastiâo, which looked like something that should be on the strip in Las Vegas rather than a place of worship (picture above).  Inside the dome, light shined through the stained glass, coloring and illuminating what would otherwise be a dreary looking cement tee-pee or beehive. 

Across the street from the sleek makeover of Catholicism was a more traditional building, the Convento de Santo Antonio.  Despite the fact that it was convent, it housed as statue where, according to Lonely Planet, women would go to pray for a husband.  Lara was welcoming this prospect until a woman outside stopped us to tell us [something, something] in Portuguese.  We stood there sort of clueless until the woman pointed at the camera in Lara’s hand.

“No photos?” Lara asked.

“[Something, something,]” the woman said concerning her camera.  First we thought she might be telling us that photos weren’t permitted on the grounds, but then thought maybe they were permitted, just without flash.  After the slightly frustrating session of foreign banter, we figured she was just trying to be nice to us by warning us of the people around that might steal the camera out of her hands.  Lara put it in her bag.


STRAYING OFF LONELY PLANET’S DOTTED LINE, we wandered around a nice little neighborhood full of restaurants and musical instrument stores.  We lunched at a por quilo place, a hot buffet cafeteria where you pay what your food weighs by the kilo.  Amongst the smorgasbord of Brazilian delicacies was a churrascuria, the traditional Brazilian barbecue where various meats are flame-grilled on big metal skewers that look like swords.  Even with juicy medium rare slices of filet mignon on my plate, my meal only weighed about three US dollars.


CONTINUING THE DOTTED LINE, we made our way passed a street performer dressed in drag to the Rua de Caroica, only to be hassled and followed by a fairly aggressive peddling woman who wouldn’t give up unless we said something other than “não obrigado” (“No thank you”).  We increased our walking pace, weaving through other pedestrians — including a woman with hairier legs than my own — until she was no where to be seen.  However, when we entered the Praça Tiradentes, a highlight in the Lonely Planet guide, we discovered it was a sketchy, fenced off area filled with really dubious-looking homeless people.  One look at us and one of them just got off his bench and started walking towards us really questionably. 

“I think we should get out of here,” Lara suggested.

“Uh, yeah.”

Three blocks away was the Campo de Santana, which felt a lot safer to walk through.  With trees, flowers and the occasional deer mouse, it was a much more picturesque place to sit for a while.  Playing tour guide, I pointed out the historical trivia that it was here that in 1822, Dom Pedro I declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal.  Lara added to the conversation of trivia by mentioning that a barnacle’s penis is five times bigger than its body and that more people die from coconuts falling on their heads than from shark attacks.

Walking through the street market on the Rua de Alfandega, we found ourselves back in an area we had been before.  Escaping the sun in an air-conditioned store for a while, I bought some new sandals since the soles of the ones I was wearing were flapping around all day with the poor glue job.

After an internet stop, we strayed off the dotted line and walked over to the waterfront where ferries linked Rio to the eastern suburbs.  Although the classic architecture of the boat station was impressive, the water wasn’t so much.  We left and just went to a sidewalk cafe across the street from the Palacio Tiradentes to chat and take some notes over a couple of drinks. 


OFF THE SUBWAY BACK IN OUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD IN COPACABANA, we went grocery shopping for ingredients for chili.  Brazilians don’t seem to import red kidney beans — we searched three different places — but Lara’s chili was still tasty without them.  The rest of the night, we just stayed in — saving nightlife activities for when our company arrived — and tried to learn the lyrics for our samba school’s theme song by playing it over and over and over from the CD we picked up from Luis that morning when we reserved our soccer final tickets.  Learning Portuguese and its crazy pronunciation was bad enough, let alone trying to sing it really fast.  We rested our brains and our tongues by taking breaks to work on our journals — I spent all night and some of the following morning determined to catch up before the arrival of her friends the next day and Blog readers markyt, wheat and Paul the following.  Lara and I knew that as soon as company arrived, things would finally start to get a little crazier.






Next entry: Incoming!

Previous entry: The Girl From Ipanema




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Comments for “Before We Have Company”

  • METRO NEW YORKERS:  Can’t go to Rio Carnivale like markyt, wheat and Paul?  Do the next best thing:  Samba Saturdays at S.O.B.‘s on Varick St.  If they are running their big Carnivale party, it’s a must—I’ve gone the past two years and it’s great.  Make sure you stay late enough for the spontaneous striptease!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  02:25 PM


  • GO!!!  They have good ass caipirinhias there too!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  02:27 PM


  • HEY GANG, I’m all caught up now… bear with me during Carnivale time!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  02:29 PM


  • ching-ching is the brazilian way of sayin “toast”.  me, markyt paul and rik r gonna be sayin that a lot the next coupla days!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  02:31 PM


  • ok .. I’m jealous now ... Have fun though. Looking forward to the next few episodes !

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  02:57 PM


  • this is all very exciting… being in the middle of it all, cannot wait to see how it goes! sure wish i was in NYC to see the striptease! —- are there MEN involved? n smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  06:07 PM


  • NIKKIJ:  The men just watch.  As it should be.  raspberry

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  06:10 PM


  • HEY ALL - Time to join the cast!  See ya guys!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  06:32 PM


  • ERIK: I accidentally saw your costume on a carnical page!!!! (sorry) its so freaking awesome, wish I was there, anyway, I am relying on your brother to take MANY pictures of you in it!

    ALL VISTING E: Have a great time!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  06:54 PM


  • watch out for those coconuts!! what’s the statistic on people dying from metal signs slicing heads?

    SOB’s = BIG FUN!

    how many of lara’s friends are visiting? you guys are gonna have a house full! your new neighbors are really gonna love that!

    ENJOY!

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/20  at  12:25 AM


  • Its the 20th! Congratulations on 4 months of great travel and even better writing!

    The first quarter of the Global Trip is complete. The the next quarter is sure to start with a bang! Guest starts, and the sexiest Latin event of the year!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/20  at  03:04 AM


  • Ok ... I think someone here is having a little too much fun .. leaving us out of all the action ..What to do think Td0t?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/22  at  12:14 PM


  • hey yall…

    erik is in the parade tonite!

    be back this weekend with pics for all to see,,,

    later yall!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/22  at  05:45 PM


  • HEY GANG…  Its monday, 7:08 pm… in less than an hour, I?m off to party in CARNAVAL 2004!!!

    Pictures to come… including those from hand gliding!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/22  at  08:13 PM


  • Okay, now I’m jealous! Have a great time shakin’ yo’ booties! I’ll be watching TV, looking for you in the highlight reels!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/22  at  09:21 PM


  • HEY ERIK : I’m planning a trip around the world and I’m just compiling a list of stuff to pack, and was wondering…

    ...what did you nearly pack, but then left behind, that you wish you took?

    ..also, what one not-so-obvious peice of equipment do you think is essential for every traveller to pack?

    Posted by www.super8.co.uk  on  02/23  at  12:07 AM


  • oooooooooh!! HANG GLIDING:) ...onto pepino beach?? wasn’t that so much fun!!!!!

    it’s 9:12! you’re partying up right now….lucky, lucky. can’t wait to hear about it & see pics!!!

    (i’m SUPER jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  12:18 AM


  • SIMf2p: I concure! If I wasn’t saving for Asia… I would be in Rio this week.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  02:27 AM


  • Super8,

    I’ve found my most beloved piece of travel gear is my LED headlamp.  It’s an obvious take-along for some (especially when an itinerary includes outdoor activities), but most overlook it and/or its value in other situations - especially in places where electricity is hard to come by.  The LEDs pretty much never go out and the batteries last forever.  Tikka makes the best ones I’ve used.

    If it came down to it, I think I could get by pretty much anywhere with just a Nalgene, digital camera, silk sleep sack, and the headlamp…  and maybe some Oreos!

    Posted by Tony  on  02/23  at  05:19 AM


  • MARKYT:  Tues. morning after Carnaval…  Did you get me in the jumbotron?  I think I was right in front of the cameraman’s lens for a good 8-10 seconds.

    Meet me at La Maison on the beach at noon…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  11:16 AM


  • SUPER8:  I can’t think of anything that I don’t regret not bringing… remember, most of the world nowadays isn’t “in the middle of nowhere”...  most things you can just on the way if you forgot it.

    Not so obvious item?  Lots and lots of ziploc bags, of varied sizes…  its just easy to organize things in see-through bags and stuff them all in your big bag.  Also comes in handy if and when any of your toiletries start leaking.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  11:21 AM


  • Hey ya’ll from Rio !!! I have a task for you. I heard about the censored float there involving Adam & Eve(use your imagination [Karma Sutra] come to mind). How about some pics of that!..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  11:49 AM


  • SIMf2P:  “Censorado” pictures of that float coming soon….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  01:14 PM


  • Erik: cooo, looking forward to those pics .. then again how bad can it be right? ... They once had a former adult actress (XuXa) remember her? ..That does kids shows? .. makes you say ...Hmmmmmmmm?!?..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  01:52 PM


  • Erik I just received your postcard from Iguacu falls, thanks!  I feel like an “official” blog hog now.  Just got back from Costa Rica and your copacabana pictures make me miss the beach.  I’m really looking forward to the carnivale report.

    I’m also big on the ziploc bags.  they really do come in handy.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  03:16 PM


  • SUPER8: Ziplocs are very handy for all above reasons. Also, now that airport security feels like they need to rummage through your bags at the slightest beep from a metal detector. I always put my frilly-under-things in bags now, so if they have to see, they can do so without TOUCHING! Who knows when they wash their hands. Its also a great way to stash the metal items you carry in your daypack (glases, keys, cell phone, film) in/out of airports, so you don’t loose anything in the little trays as they go through the x-ray machines. Other item I can’t live without, a length of rope—nothing heavy-weight, but it should be strong and will tie-off. It’s good for bundling over-stuffed bags, hanging up clothes to dry, a makeshift curtain rod, and if Golumn happens along, a good substitute for Elvish rope.

    Erik… can’t wait to see your Carnivale pics! I’m looking forward to your “fantasy”, and Lara’s as well.  BTW, what’s Lara’s travel agenda? Is she also going around the world, or what? How long is her trip planning to be?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  04:17 PM


  • cannot wait to see the pictures!  post them post them! post them!! woohoo!!!  N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  04:39 PM


  • CHRISTY:  Rope a great idea… I have an elastic clothesline too that is twisted in a way so you can just put your clothes in the twist—no clothespins needed.

    Lara and I will split ways this weekend… she’s off to the Pantanal or wherever (nothing definite yet) for three more weeks, before going to NYC and then London for a couple of days before heading home to Guernsey.  I’m headed south to Argentina for a week to catch my flight to Africa.

    First Navid, then Lara… who will the next recurring character be?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  05:07 PM


  • ALL:  Hang on tight for the photos… when company leaves, I’ll lock myself in my apartment for a day and just catch up…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  05:11 PM


  • ERIK - it was raining so i didnt get too much footage so i could keep the camera out of the rain….

    lets meet at 2 at la maison,...oh wait…i sitting next to you right now…

    hahah…... agua…....

    Td0T - no more singing copacbana…much better songs to sing now!!!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  05:13 PM


  • when??!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/23  at  05:14 PM


  • Hi Erik, moving on soon huh? You sad to be leaving Brazil and the bossa vibe? Sad to be parting with the (here, aloof) Lara? You two made quite a partnership. Are you excited about Africa? If you go to Guinea Ecuatorial in Africa they speak Spanish there, could be handy now that you’re well versed in the language.

    Thanks dudes for the packing advice! Hence why Boy Scouts always have some string, a match and a pen knife in their pockets!

    Posted by www.super8.co.uk  on  02/23  at  11:40 PM


  • Can’t wait for the new pics, and the NEW SONGS! I hope they have a booty-shakin’ latin beat!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/24  at  02:32 AM


  • yeh ... & more boobies!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/24  at  11:53 AM


  • hi, I’m a friend of Shea’s…
    just wanted to ask you a few questions b/c i am going to peru in the end of april…
    which company did you go with on the inca trail, i know most are somewhat expensive but there must be some not too outrageously expensive, yet good??
    also, do you think it’s a good idea to spend a few days in cuzco before going on the trek?  also, if you have any good recommendations for hostels in lima, cuzco, nazca, arequipa, please let me know.
    thanks, Emily

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/24  at  04:31 PM


  • Fuzz-E… just got my postcard of the falls—Foz do Iguacu.  Very cool… I’m already showing it off at the office. Some folks are scratching their heads in awe and wonder. They say “hey, he used to work here, and he got out. now look at him! That could be ME!”.

    Still waiting—but not so patiently—for the carnivale pics! Hurry Hurry!!! 

    Lara, we’ll all miss you. But once you’re off on your own, can you be a vocal Blog reader?!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/24  at  05:09 PM


  • i wanna see footage of you all in the streeeets!

    Posted by hanalei  on  02/24  at  05:31 PM


  • EMILY:  Hello and welcome to The Fellowship of The Blog!  Hope you?re passing the word around…

    As per Peru… I’ve been twice now, once as a “tourist” and once as a “traveller”...  and I can tell you that when I went before as a tourist (2001), I spent WAY too much than I had too…  If you are the type to go on vacation to sort of live it up for a week or two, then go with who I did the Inca Trail with, Amazonas Explorer.  http://www.amazonas-explorer.com/  I spent a couple of grand for the trek with transport, hotels, food and even a helicopter ride from Machu Picchu back to Cusco.

    BUT, if you don’t mind being a “backpacker” for a bit, I’ve learned that on this trip, you can pretty much do anything without a plan and join a group for whatever you want to do—that is, if you even want to do it with a group.  It’s much cheaper this way too.  It’s very easy to just get a flight to Cusco via Lima and then figure everything out when you get there…  There are so many tourists that it is almost unavoidable to find a place or a group that will go to Machu Picchu.  Put it this way, I stayed in a nice hostel (Royal Qosco) with a room to myself for about $5/night.  My friend Lara did the 4-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu with a group, food included, for just $160.  And yes, it is VERY advantageous to stay in Cusco for at least two days before going on the trail.

    As for places in Lima, Nazca and Arequipa…  Lima I stayed at the Hotel Espana, which was GREAT for just $3/night for a bed in a dorm.  Nazca, I stayed in an okay place that I don’t remember the name of…  There are others though… I remember the Hotel Canada being really nice.  Arequipa… I stayed at a decent place—the name I forget—but people raved about a place called Casa de Abuela (Grandma’s House)... an inexpensive hotel with pool and clean rooms…

    Hope this helps!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/24  at  09:31 PM


  • Hey man…
    if you wanna visit S?o Paulo too, you can stay in my house a couple of days for free…

    If you need, just email me!

    cya.

    Rafael

    Posted by Rafael  on  02/25  at  03:05 AM


  • hey erik… are the visitors gone??? can we PA-LEEZE see some pictures??? n smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  11:27 AM


  • yeh dude !! .. we’re dying over here !!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  11:35 AM


  • I with nikkiJ! When are they leaving? I’m going through withdrawl!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  11:36 AM


  • ERIK: everyone and their mother shipped their fantasias in garbage bags too!

    ALL: i will post pics from wheat, paul, and myself tonite….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  12:10 PM


  • Erik
    Thanks so much for your suggestions…I probably will go with the “backpacking” route for the inca trail and just find a trip when I arrive. I have about 2 and a half wks to make my way down to Arequipa (i think) then Lake Titicaca and up to Cuzco for a few days there before the trek….then flying back to Lima. If you think of any other helpful suggestions (getting around, places to stay, etc) let me know, i’m not leaving until the end of April. thanks again!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  12:22 PM


  • Emily I did the Inca trail over Thanksgiving and used SAS travel in Cusco for the 4 day hike - it was fantastic.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  02:32 PM


  • ERIK, T, MARKYT: rio was unreal…murtinho nobre
    ALL: i think the rio pics you’re looking for are two blocks that way, weird.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  04:26 PM


  • The waiting is killing me, and I’ll be away until Monday, so I’ll be like 87th person to log on when you FINALLY show your carnivale pics. HURRY!!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  05:29 PM


  • I’ll be here!!!!.... I’d be interested to know how many hits you’ve received from my IP.  It’s A LOT!

    Hotel Canada?! Does that mean only Canadians can stay, just like the Israeli hostel in Rio? Cuz, it be funny if it did… Imagine a Canadian hotel turning other nationalities away… I can’t think of anything more Ironic.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  07:07 PM


  • RAFAEL:  My visa only lasts until Sunday, and I am flying to Buenos Aires on Saturday night… Sorry!  Thanks for the offer though!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  08:34 PM


  • EMILY:  Buses don’t exactly run on time in Peru… keep that in mind when you figure out a tight itinerary.  Night buses are advantageous if you can sleep on buses… they take care of a night accomodations and transport in one—just lock and watch your stuff!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  08:39 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Incoming!

Previous entry:
The Girl From Ipanema




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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