Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pão de Meio

Back in Atlanta. Alexa smuggled a chocolate honey cake, home made by
Arthur's grandmother. Right past the little beagle.

On a related questionable legal note, we didn't get the Batman theater
schedule to work so we bought a pirate DVD from a street vendor,
thinking we might all be able to watch it at Carl's. But we got what
we paid for: a copy fron handheld camera in the theater version,
dubbed in Portuguese. Ha ha ha, I can hear Coringha and his evil laugh.

This blog sure has a lot of photos of Alexa eating. She says it's one
of her favorite parts of any vacation.

One more plane and we're home.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Last Morning

Hello Everyone,

Since Grandma said last night that she liked my last post, I decided
that I'd do another one on our last day in Brazil. I was halfway
through typing it, though, and the iPhone erased it. Ugh. No problem
though. Lots of tidbits to share with you--first, some updates on Pop.
1. He hasn't been taking his malaria medicine because he says it
tastes weird and gives him bad dreams. Anthony (hi, Anthony) told me
yesterday about a good friend of his that got Malaria this summer
while visiting Tanzania. Maybe that will make Pop want to take his
2. Pop enjoyed his last caffeine of 2008 in a coffee shop yesterday.
Why no caffeine, Pop? He feels better without it, he says.
Now on to other updates. Arthur is making an awesome podcast about São
Paulo Soccer to practice his English and bring coverage to his fans in
America (namely, us...until he becomes a superstar, anyway). Make sure
to subscribe:

Updates about me? Today, the US women's Olympic gymnastics team is
training at the gym where I work while on its way to Beijing.. So so
SO sad I'm missing it. Things I miss from home: Mom, Ryan, Anthony,
family, friends, frozen yogurt (particularly of the graham cracker
cheesecake variety), working out at Courtside, snail mail.

We have met a lot of cool people here. We met newlyweds Carla and
Fernando in the Amazon, Barbara from Madrid, another Arthur from
Noronha, Luis and Andrea from Rio...I wonder if you guys have found
your way to the blog.

The best part of our trip has been spending time with Suzy, Carl, Art,
and Aline. Thank you thank you thank you for making this trip such a

To all of you reading this: you are probably on the list of '26 people
I need to make lunch dates with before I leave for college on
September 20th'. Call me up after August 11th so we can start making

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cavalheiro das Trevas

Guess what we're going to do this afternoon, after we go for a bike
ride in the park.

She's Glad it's not Permanent

The Fire Breathing Dragon

...but, it's a gekko, she says.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Drove Back

The skinny gas station attendant is filling Carl and Suzy's car with
natural gas. Like virtually every other auto engine in Brazil, their
car runs on both gasoline and ethanol (produced very efficiently and
sustainably from sugar cane--makes corn based ethonol look stupid).
Just drive up to the gas station and put in whatever ia cheaper Carl
and Suzy added the LNG option because it's even cheaper still.

I drove home, 4 hours?, out of the mountains and into São Paulo. An
adventure by itself!

Campos do Jordão

Carl and Suzy drove us up to a European style resort village on top of
a mountain. Funny to see the Brazilian tourists sporting their Dior
jackets, scarves, and boots. As if they were in Vail, Colorado. It was
about 80 degrees.

Good chocolate, cashmire, and people watching.

Liquid Chocolate

"...revel in the glorious caloric intake that is vacation. And then,
take a nap" Alexa

Which way to Geneva, Pop?

Ready to Zorb

Video coming soon

Carl and Alexa

Karl's Red Car

Valet parked in front of our hotel, this car got a lot of attention.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Corcovado Hill, Cristo Redentor

The statue of Christ the Redeemer, from the taxi on the way to Rio
airport. Of course it's a silly picture of a dramatic and famous
statue of Christ with out strecthed arms over looking Rio, but it's as
close as Alexa and I got, and the iPhone camera continues to impress me.

Last night we went to a club in Lapa (recommended by our newlywed
friends Carla and Fernando, who we met in the Amazon) and shaked and
wiggled to a 10 piece samba band, listening and watching 3 stories of
locals sing along.

Tatoos on the beach. We're wondering if we should post those photos.

Went for a very fun run along the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches this
morning. I've never been on such a people watching run--really needed
a camera in my hat. Many many sexy beautiful women in litttle
Brazilian bikinis. But there were also quite a few not so attractive
women in relatively (much) smaller bikinis. And even more who made me
wonder and shake my imaginary camera hat.

Back to Sao Paulo to see everybody for a few more days before we fly

Friday, July 25, 2008

First FroYo in 2 Wks

Pretty much happiness

Alexa Talks Tatoo on Ipanema Beach

Significant language barrier. She looks at drawings, he writes prices
in the sand. Hand drawn, hers is about 10 USD. A hummingbird.

Scuba Duba Do

This photo was taken at about 22 meters. People travel from all over to dive Fernando de Noronha. Amazing things to see, great visibility, warm. Night diving, a wreck at 40 meters, sharks, turtles, rays, life everywhere.

We were walking by the dive shop and Alexa encouraged me to go. What a sweetheart.

Click the photo and you get all the pixels. The photographer had a pretty nice setup.

I´m waving hello to you, J, T, S, and D!

Praia de Sancho

No Subject

Pretty good little iPhone camera

Golfinhos Rotadores

They come here in the morning (usually before Xa woke up) to play,
mate, rest, care for their young. The last morning we hiked out there
but had just missed over 500 of them. Well, they had come and gone
before we made it out there. But we got to see our favorite dolphin
PhD candidate, who is strikingly similar to Jade, who some of you will
remember as the trapeze instructor from Cancun. She told us lots about
the dolphins, about how she's had the chance to dive with them, why
they jump. About the time they surrounded her boss when a shark
entered the bay, and then escorted him to shore, protecting him.

It made Alexa want to study dolphins, too, but instead we went to the
turtle store and bought a couple of expensive T-shirts to support
Projecto Tumar. Eu Taturunga es mi Amigo.

Island from way up

How did we get this view?

A. Used the photo self timer feature and launched the iPhone up using
a slingshot made with a long pieces of surgical tubing stretched
between 2 coconut trees,

B. From the turbo prop as we flew in (the pilot likes to give people a
comprehensive view before landing)

C. GoogleEarth. How did we all live before Google started indexing all
of the world's information?

D. A quite popular tourist attraction is towed snorkeling-they toss
you in the water with mask, snorkel and a ski rope, then pull you
around behind the boat. We found a place that bundled towed snorkeling
with a U2 spyplane ride

E. In the shark museum, while Alexa was in the bathroom. The beach top
left is Praia de Santos. Bottom left is Praia de Leon.

Pousada Mabuya

Buggy Driving

And then I learned to drive the driving definitely wasn't
the smoothest, but I managed to get us through the mud without getting
(too) stuck. Some guy (a Varig employee just off work at the airport)
even asked me for a ride, so he jumped on the back and I drove him
though the mud to his house.

Secret Beach

We had to do a muddy hike and then squeeze down a tunnel with a ladder
to get to this one. Pretty, huh?

Nap Time

Took a nap in the hammock on the rainy afternoon...


The island has a bank. But the ATMs at the bank only accept Banco Real
cards. And the bank closes everyday at 1:00. We learned of another ATM
at the airport which would accept international cards--here it is.

It read my card, accepted my PIN. And after some deliberation the
machine confessed to having only a single ten Real bill. First it told
me it could only dispense $R10 bills (instead of $R50). Finally, when
we reached the dispense-cash phase of the transaction, it told me,
sorry I only can give you $R10. My bank was gonna charge half of that
for the international ATM use. Sorry.

Which way, Pop?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Preview post - Ryan

We´re crafting a post for Ryan. Goes like this.

Things we´ve seen or done and our estimations of Ryan´s hypothetical enjoyment.

Stay tuned.

Hi Ry!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Hello Everyone,

I hope you are enjoying the blog. Today, I write to you from an internet cafe in Fernando de Noronha. Yesterday we started the journey over here at three in the morning; we stopped at seven airports to finally arrive at this place--the prettiest place I have ever seen. This morning, we drove our buggy (more about that later) to watch the wild dolphins. This island is the best dolphin-watching spot in the world. Every day, an average of 300 of them come to play in the bay for seven hours. They were jumping and twirling around just like my favorite computer game: dolphin olympics 2. Our buggy is pretty funny windows or doors, and the speedometer is broken. After watching the golfinos, as they call them in Portugese, we hiked down to a gorgeous beach. Pop and I were the only ones on the whole beach (kind of). To get down to the beach, we had to squeeze down a cave on a ladder. It was pretty muddy, but of course well worth it. We saw colorful fish, crabs, and sting rays just...well, being. We swam in the clear, warm water and floated around for a long time. Oh yeah, and the turtle. Six feet in diameter--not kidding. Now, we are going to eat fish wrapped in banana leaf with rice and other delicious items. No pictures today because the internet is the slowest I have ever used. It takes about seven minutes for each page change.

A lot of funny things happen to us because we have not met anyone on the whole island who can speak English. We almost spend 60 US dollars on beach towels at the grocery store because of a communication error. I went to ask the lady who works at our posada how to turn on the lights in our room, and after five minutes of pictionary she sent me back to the room with a candle and a wet box of matches. Luckily, the power came back on within the half hour.

Hope you all are doing well. See you when we get back!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Ferry Back to Manaus

After 2 hrs in the back seat of a 200 deg jungle-leaving pothole-
evading van, it looks like the ramp from the boat won't fit the
landing area. It didn't fit and nobody cared. With a 500 ton ship's
engine holding it pretty close, all the people just jumped across. No
problem. Then the boat tried again and got it closer so the big trucks
could make it. No thanks.

Is that Tarzan?

Yep. It's Dave, swinging around the jungle on a vine, across a river
(creek) (stream) (muddy dribble). Still, it was dangerous.

Too Much Lunch

Amazon Jungle Sunrise

Our last morning on the river

The Ear...

...between us, the one that looks just like Alexa's ear. That is the
ear of a genetically Japanese, Portuguese veterinarian who would like
to start work on sea animals.

Pink Dolphin

She didn't make it all up. This is proof.

Hammock on the Porch the monkey jungle.

Lodge Sign


Jungle Cruise

Most of our adventures start with a boat ride on the river

Gathering for the Adventures

Guides and guests assemble. What are you going ro do now, Piranha
fishing, dug out canoes, jungle hike?

Cappucino Bar

The coffee here is fantastic, so no latte bar was fine. The
Caipirinhas are the best. Maracuja. Delicious.

Notice the guide's knife? Makes you want to run into the jungle right
now and track a tapir, doesn't it?

Roughing it

Yeah yeah. Jungle lodge. Rain forest lean-to. Turned our to be very
nice--clean, warm shower, air conditioning, hammock on the porch.

High-Velocity Chomping

The food at the jungle lodge was excellent. We had fresh fish and rice
for lunch and dinner every day- seven different kinds of fish. Yum.

That's our sloth.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Soon, with great courage, we will leave behind the safety and comfort of the
city. The rainforest calls our names.

We might have no internet access and cell coverage for a few days. Or
maybe our "rustic" jungle hut will have Wi-Fi, a cappucino bar, and a
resourceful concierge. We shall see.


Pokemon Subway

The man on the right attacks with super-mean-grimace, Alexa counters
with nice-little-girl-smile. The man is defeated!

25 de Marco

Famous street in central Sao Paulo. Close to the Mercado Municipal

Was it Crowded?

Arthur asked that exact question when he looked at this photo.

Since it was Monday it wasn't crowded. They say it's really busy on
the weekends. So full of humans that it's impossible to walk-everyone
gets absorbed into the mass and snorfs around without control. I made
up that word just now, snorf.

Random Women on the Street

Don't even ask how I managed to take this photo on this Only-Women-
Allowed street. Simply trust that I took a great deal of risk.

You can imagine how surprised I was to see those two local Brazilian
women who look exactly like Suzy and Alexa. Bunjigungas.

A New Favorite Food: Alexa's Post

We are having such an amazing trip. After another excellent breakfast
(pao de quiejo--yum!), Suzy took us on the subway to Mercado municipal
to walk around at the market there. We saw gorgeous spreads of fresh
fruits, nuts, olives, fish, meat, and chocolate. There were so many
colorful fruits that I had never seen before. A guy on the street was
selling slices of fresh pineapple and watermelon for one Real each--so
so so good. This picture of me was at lunchtime; I tried a deliciously
cheesy pastel. It was excellent.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Self Portrait

That's us (on the right)


We made it

Busy already! Everyone picked us up at airport last night and then we
went our for soup. Soup and cheese and cheesebread. All you can eat.
For breakfast guess what? All you can eat pao de queijo (cheese
bread), lunch meat, rolls, coffee, fruit, yogurt.
This morning we all went outdoor kart racing-Carl quaified for the
pole, but after passing him on the first lap I didn't see him again
until I spun on lap 18 and he passed me to take the checkered flag.
Very very fun. Racers: Carl, Dave, Brent, Arthur, Suzy (slow poke).

Then shopping and lunch. Another all you can eat buffet, fejouada,
meats, fried everything. Alexa and I are wondering how everyone here
is not 280 lbs.

Big football game this afternoon between Sao Paulo and Palmeros. While
driving back near the stadium we saw 20 guys stirring up a fight,
yelling, but they were broken up by police in riot gear. They take
their football seriously here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breakfast in Atlanta

Frozen yogurt review: so-so to not so good. I miss graham cracker
cheesecake flavor from home...