Thursday, January 28, 2010

Petropolis, Jardim Botanico, Bureaucracy, and Futebol

This Saturday we went to historic Petropolis, the city where the Portuguese emperor stayed for some time. It is in the mountains so was very beautiful and we saw some great museums and old churches. On Sunday my friend Lauren and I explored the gorgeous Jardim Botanico near where I live. It's a huge urban park and inside you almost feel like you aren't in such a huge city. It will definitely take a couple of visits to completely explore.

Large, Catholic Church in Petropolis. Long live colonialism!

Jardim Botanico, absolutely gorgeous.

I have now officially registered with the Brazilian Federal Police! As many of you know, last semester I learned to strongly dislike and distrust bureaucracy, but I have now realized that Pacific's bureaucracy is NOTHING compared to what it is here. I should have known because of my visa craziness, but oh well. Another cultural experience. To cut it short, it took 2 days and 10 hours to finally have my passport looked at for 10 min and approved. And I will have to leave Brazil in July to get a new visa for my second semester. Fun times.

On to more exciting things... The insane thunderstorms have calmed down and the sun is out again. Which means lots of beach time and exhausting games of sandy soccer, consequently why my foot is now swollen and purple, but it's worth it! I'm one of the only girls that plays, even in our group of foreigners, and that definitely gets some laughs and catcalls out of the Brazilians (not that really white gringos trying to play soccer isn't funny enough already!)!! This Sunday is the classic game between two Brazilian teams, Flamengo and Fluminense, in Maracana stadium. Maracana stadium is the huge soccer stadium in Rio that will be the centerpiece of the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. This is THE GAME TO SEE!! And we got tickets for $20 Reais (about $13 USD)!!!!!! I am so so SO excited.

Samba jam session on Ipanema Beach with instruments, singers, and dancers.

Portuguese classes are over next Thursday and then begins the craziness of Carnaval and real vacation. Plans are being formed to try and go to Argentina, but we will see how that goes. My friend Melissa and I found an adorable little cafe and bookstore today that made me think of school and Olympia. Too bad books here are crazy expensive! Oh yes, and I tried cashew juice...a very strange and bitter experience. Also, there are these evil little ants here that get in EVERYTHING! No food or glass is safe. You have been warned.

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