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1 - The Road to Iguacu

2 - Iguassu Falls Nat'l Park

3 - Macuco Boat Safari

4 - Iguazu Falls Rest.

5 - Foz Tropicana Aviary

6 - Rafain Churrascaria

7 - The Road to Noronha

8 - Fernando de Noronha

9 - Sueste Bay Snorkeling

10 - Farewell to Fernando

11 - The Road to Rio

12 - The Hippie Market

13 - Sugar Loaf Mountain

14 - Copacabana Palace

15 - Too Much Gluten

16 - Botanical Gardens

17 - Buzios

18 - Copacabana

19 - Ipanema Beach

20 - Plataforma Show

21 - Corcovado Mountain

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Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens
At the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro.

By now, Bertil is feeling much like himself again, and Marcelo comes at 9:00AM to pick us up.  Today we'll see the biggest Botanical Gardens in Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Botanico.  These giant 1.41 square kilometer (over half a square mile) gardens were built in 1808 for Prince Regent Dom Joao.  Although botany isn't Marcelo's specialty, he gives it a good effort, and tells us some interesting things about the history of the park. 


Upon entry, we see dozens of turtles piled on top of each other, and many very tropical types of trees and fruits, including the rare Pau-Brasil tree that gave the country it's name. The Pau-Brasil tree, Marcelo explains to us, was known for it's red wood that was used to make dye.  The tree is now almost extinct.  There are a couple of nice gazebos, and many, many lovely birds.  We walk the pathways, lined with giant palms, and cross bridges back and forth over the creek.  We're lucky enough to spot a couple of Toucans, which is fun - the first we've seen outside of captivity.

We explore the Venus Flytraps, Orchids, and other plants, then stop for coffee at the coffee shop.  The gardens are a lovely place, though at this time, flowers are few and far between - mostly trees and other greenery.  After the gardens, we plan to visit the fruit market, but it starts to pour down rain, so we give it a pass.  Instead, Marcelo takes us down to Barra, in the south part of Rio.


Barra is a largely residential area with a sea of high-rise apartment buildings lining the seemingly endless beaches.  The road sees a lot of traffic during commuting hours, but is fairly empty on this rainy day.  Barra is also a major commercial shopping area, with several large shopping centers including Barra Shopping which is the largest shopping center in Latin America with a whopping 574 stores and 60 kiosks.  It is in Barra you'll find such gringo favorites as Shenanigan's Irish Pub and Hard Rock Cafe.  After touring the area, Marcelo drops us off at the apartment, where we take it easy until that evening.

Jardim Botanico Rio de Janeiro
Marcelo practices his bird calls while we look on..

At around 9:00PM that evening, Marcelo picks us up for our Rio by Night Tour. He takes us into Lapa, where it seems every building is a night club of some kind.  The club he's chosen for us this evening is Rio Scenarium.  It's a great mix of Caricoas and Gringos - three stories high with a dance floor on the main level where there is live music, a disco on the second level, plus a dining/seating area, with another on the third floor. 

Rio Scenarium
Live music and dancing at Rio Scenarium - a good time.

The music is very good and everyone is dancing.  All the music in Lapa is Brazilian, which we think is wonderful.  The first act is Manga de Colete, a local Samba band.  The main act for the evening is Olho D'agua & Luciana Marinho, who are very good.  We do some dancing, and Bertil leads us in the Samba rhythm.  We all have a wonderful time - we're all very happy we picked the Rio by Night Tour.  However, we do have to leave a little early, as tomorrow is our road trip to Buzios.


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