My Rio experiences

Mar 29th, 2004, 10:08 AM
  #1  
DCK
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My Rio experiences

Much thanks for previous posters to this board. Enjoyed Rio from March 6-11 and putting another trip next year onto the calendar already. Reasonable prices, great weather and food, and nice people. I stayed at Hotel Debret as a result of a poster to this board - in the suite with a balcony (there is only one!) for about 390 reals (a tad expensive). Wonderful view of the beach, nice to walk in and out. Suite is alittle tired, bed seems to be a double, but could be a queen) but it grows on you over the course of the week. Scaping chairs upstairs for breakfast might wake up light sleepers - but over all, an okay place to stay. Would probably stay in Ipenema next time though in an apartment.

Excellent eats, my favourite was Marius on Atlantica in Leme (end of Copa) is a cannot miss spot, those juice bars (everywhere) and Casa de Fejoida (sp?) in Ipanema had a great local food, while the Cafe de Ipanema was worthy of a visit. Most churascos all had tasty meat.

Tourist stuff was worthwhile, Sugarloaf was fun, Corcovado a must. Went to St Theresa via tram, rather unorganized in terms of administration, village did not seem terribly safe to me, but still interesting. I greatly enjoyed joggling along the beach with the bike/running lanes there.

Beaches were best in Ipanema, found a guy with nice equipment (chairs and umbrellas and a great fresh shower) for $4 reals/day (marked #31 between beach stands 11 and 10. Bought a good cotton blanket for $20reals from beach vendor and all set. Fun body surfing, I would suggest wiring your backpack to the umbrella and chaires though to prevent theft. Those beach stations are great - for $1 real you get a decent washroom and a shower.

Security should be in the back of your mind always - but dont let it consume you. Ipanema seems safe, as does most of Copa - but minimize your tourist look. Most crime seems to be economic - so keep a stash of cash that is easy to hand over, while your mainload is safely tucked away. For the most part - everyone seemed very friendly, and not out to gouge you like most tourist places in the world. Watch the cab drivers, a few of them know how to juice the fares, but work off the meter and it should be okay.
I did find bank machines frustrating, they worked for me very erraticly - and if you land in Terminal 2 you may need to go to Terminal 1 to get cash.

Compared to travelling the French/Italian Riviera, or the US - this place (once you get there) is a bargain. Going again in 9 months and cannot wait!
DCK is offline  
Mar 29th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for your trip report. I'm going to Brazil in May and I'm wondering how much Portuguese you know and how much you used it while in Brazil. Any particular words or phrases that are necessary in getting around? Thanks!
carm198 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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As someone whose ex-husband was born and raised in Lisbon, you should know that Brazilian Portugeuse is completely different from European Portugeuse. The reason I tell you this is to make sure when you buy language material to learn it is Brazilian Portuguese. My ex-husband, Rogerio, went to Rio years ago and said he had a terrible time with the Brazilian accent.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 10:21 AM
  #4  
DCK
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Portugese would definately help, but some spanish/french would be an asset also.

Main travel locations/tourist zones would be easy to navigate even with no portugese (like me) - but some would definately help. At very least the tourist conversational like ordering food, directions etc - but I just wrote my locations down for cabbies - and we all made do with broken phrases and gestures - great people - you wont have too hard a time in Rio at all. I hope the beach is still warm!
DCK
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Apr 11th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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As Thihgorjus stated if you purchase any books or tapes make sure it is for Brazilian Portuguese. But I know many people from Portugal who go to Rio and they understand each other fine and vice versa. But if I was you at this point I would try to learn some basics in Portuguese, like how to operate in a restaurant, not many waiters speak english. How to tell a taxi where to go, make a left or right etc. On my last trip I asked a taxi driver to take me to a particular well known place and he didn't know how to get there, I asked him how long he had been on the job, he said 3 days, I told him then I would teach him how to get around and we got to where we had to go. Taxi drivers don't speak that much English either. On my last trip I just left Rio Sul shopping mall and got in a taxi and in Portuguese told the taxi driver where I wanted to go, he was a young kid and had American music blasting (Kurt Cobain) he asked me if I speak English, I said yes, he asked me if I could translate the words of the music for him, I listened and even in English I couldn't understand it (not my style of music exactly but its ok) I did catch some words and told him I hope it helped but we had a nice conversation about the singer and how he died 10 years ago.

ThinGorjus I didn't realize you were a woman in all this time.
Dondiega is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 03:12 PM
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I am not a woman. What, a man can't have an ex-husband?? In Canada and the Netherlands he can.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Apr 12th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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^^^ touche!
ErinS is offline  
Apr 12th, 2004, 04:07 PM
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Thingorjus, I guess my original impression of you was correct, you just threw me off with the husband thing.
Dondiega is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 06:30 AM
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This is a great little website to get started with the language: http://www.sonia-portuguese.com/index.htm
Dondiega is offline  
Apr 15th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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just returned from Rio and got by fairly well without any Portuguese. We had a couple of phrase books but didn't really need to use them.
fiona is offline  
Apr 15th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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^^^ how often did you leave the touristy areas? You can get by with just English in the tourist areas, but if you like to explore off the beaten path, you need to know some language other than English.
ErinS is offline  
Apr 17th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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One more site for those of you looking to learn some basis language skills before you go to Brazil. Believe me a few words can go a long way:
http://www.sci.fi/~huuhilo/portuguese/
Dondiega is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 04:50 PM
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One day last week I was walking down Copacabana beach and saw many people standing up looking out on the water. I stopped and asked a pretty girl (of course) whats happenning? She told me that just now some guy in front of the Othon Palace went in for a swim and I guess people spotted him out their struggling as the undertoe and rip tide must have been strong that day. At this point nobody could find the body, I stayed there for a while and it turned out to be a big scene, with the firemen and life guards fishing for him and they had 2 helicopters hovering overhead to see if they can spot the body floating. I don't think they found him. I never go in past my ankles in that water as it can be very rough and strong undertoe. Especially if this guy was tired from the night before and may have been drinking 2 many caipirinihas on the beach that day. Also one time I almost got hit by a motorcycle, the buses are bad too, there are many things to watch out for in Rio besides the banditos.

Dondiega is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 04:55 AM
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We've been back from a Rio/Buenos Aires/the Falls, and then cruise around the Cape and up to Valparaiso trip for a week or two. We arranged all of the early part of the trip on our own via the web.
We stayed at the Hotel Ipanema which was very nice. Our Spanish and Portuguese were limited but a nice way to learn about the people as it engaged them in talk about their life.
No problems in Ipanema except, somewhere along the line, someone did lift our credit card number and tried charging $1,000 worth of lumber. The credit card company cancelled the card... it is wise to have a couple of credit cards and nearly impossible to follow your credit card everywhere.
I've posted some pictures at
http://home.ntelos.net/~gpbard1/miscella.htm
It was a great trip.
Pegngene is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:36 AM
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Dondiego's remarks about the undertow reminded me of an experience I had at the beach in front of the Sheraton Rio. The waves were quite strongl and I was standing in the water up to my knees, not intending to go swimming. All of a sudden, my feet were pulled out from under me, and I was taken away from shore. My body was tumbling in circles, as if I were in a clothes dryer. I could not break free. Just as suddenly, the ocean spit me out back to the beach, which has very small pebbles on it. I was thrown onto the sand headfirst, and when I got up I had long, bleeding wounds on my legs and arms from the force of being thrown against the pebbles. The hotel nurse treated me with mercurochrome, which left me stained purple for the rest of my trip. Be careful even of shallow water, as Dondiego says. I am always more afraid of the ocean now; maybe it's good that I have grown to respect its power. I was lucky that day.
marigold is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 06:58 AM
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We saw two sea rescues in one day. The second one the helicopter picked up someone and put him ashore then immediately went back and searched. No-one was picked up- I never found out the outcome, whether there HAD been someone out there or not.
That day there had been signs up saying no swimming but there are always people out there who know better.
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Apr 25th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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kdm
 
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Pegngene those were very nice pictures. I am planning a first time trip to Rio in a couple of months and wish I had an opportunity to visit the falls. That is a great suggestion to have 2 credit cards, I can't believe someone lifted your number and actually tried to used it. Also, glad we plan to stay at the same hotel so thank you for your report.

Were there long delays due to the finger printing?

Thx, Denise
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Apr 26th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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It is fairly common to have your Cr Cd numbers lifted in Brazil, use your card sparingly. The best way to do Brazil is with an ATM card, get cash from ATM and pay in local currency. If you do use a cr cd than only do it in big reputable places like your hotel. When I do use a cr cd I usually use one that I can see the charges online the next day, I check in an internet cafe and if anybody is abusing it then it will show up and I call the cr cd immediately and I always have copies of the card with me in case it is lost or stolen that way I know who to call.
Dondiega is offline  
Apr 26th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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Most reports from Rio lately are that no fingerprinting or photos are being taken.
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May 4th, 2004, 06:31 AM
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Hello - I am travelling to Rio this June and can't decide whether to stay in Ipananema or Copacabana. Seems like most people prefer Ipanema? I will be travelling with my boyfriend and we are late 20's, straight. What area and hotel would you recommend? So far I am considering Ipanema Plaza or Rio Internacional or Sol Ipanema (read some mediocre reviews on this one). This already seems like a friendly site and I appreciate any responses I might receive. Thanks!
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