This was just one of those weekends, where everything I did in a day made me seriously take a look and my life and left me in disbelief that it’s real! Friday night we had another “Girls’ Night” at Amanda and Luciana’s apartment. Amanda made an absolutely delicious stroganoff and we all sat around eating and drinking and talking for a couple of hours before meeting the gang in Lapa. It was a relatively early night (a.k.a we got back to the house by about 330am), since we knew we wanted to hike Trilha Dois Irmãos (“Two Brothers Trail” which leads to the twin peaks of the mountains at the end of Ipanema) in the morning. My roommate, Silvana, and I woke up and went to meet the group in front of the ponto policial at the entrance to the pacified favela named Vidigal. The trail starts at the very top of the favela, so we took “moto-taxis” (which are pretty much exactly what they sound like- little taxi motorbikes- and a LOT of fun) all the way up and started the hike. There were about 10-15 people in our group, most of them from CS and unfamiliar to me. There were a couple of really great vistas before we reached the top, and the hike was a fairly quick one- maybe an hour to summit. When we finished there was an amazing 360 degree view of Rio. It’s not the highest point from which to see everything, but I think it was my favorite view so far. On one side was the coast and the city, where the density of people is so obvious and you can pick out all of the familiar sites; on the other side just the great expansive ocean with boats and beautiful little islands dotting the water. Without stopping to take pictures all the way down, it probably took half the tip to get back to the beginning of the trail. I was on a tight schedule to meet up with John (the UVA grad now working for Google in São Paulo), so I took a wild taxi ride to Lagoa to meet him. I have never heard music quite like that in my life.. and I’m not sure I want to again.
John and the group all arrived at the lake within about 10 minutes of each other, and Marquinhos with his boat was ready and waiting to take us out wakeboarding. I used to wakeboard every summer at camp, but it’s been about 5 years so I was fairly nervous. It took me about 3 starts to get up and back into it, and man! It is a workout like I did not remember. After about 5 minutes of being toted around behind the boat I was exhausted, but it was still as insanely fun as I remember. John and his friends were all getting some insane height by the time we left and the sun was setting. It was pretty neat to see Rio from the inside of Lagoa, which is pretty surrounded by all of the biggest mountains in the area. We walked to Ipanema and sat on the beach with a caipirinha afterwards, before going home to get washed up and head to Joe’s new apartment for a “house-warming party.” We left Joe’s early to go to a “boate” in Barra da Tijuca- yes, that place that’s pretty and has some cool stuff but is really far away- which was fun but not quite enough for it to be more than just a one-time thing.
There were a lot of festivities going on this morning: fairs, and markets, and performances, and musicians, but I just spent the day my favorite way to pass Sundays- relaxing on the beach with friends. Afterward we ate the first pizza I have had here with tomato sauce on it! It was at… get ready this is anti-climactic: Dominoes! I was happy anyway, plus Keia and I split a delightful and doce (sweet) tapioca on the way home for dessert. I hear the pizza in São Paulo is wonderful and inexpensive, and I can’t wait to try it next week! John invited us to come and stay at his place making it the perfect opportunity to see the city, which we really should do at least once while we’re here. We’ll leave by bus on Friday, and it’s about a 6-7 hour drive. I still want to do a lot of traveling here, but transportation gets expensive and there is some schoolwork to be done, so I’m not sure where else we’ll go before December comes.
We’ve gotten into a rhythm with classes, so I haven’t written much about school, but our Capstone project is moving along, we have a lot of reading to do, and the next two weeks will be much more intense. We have a project due and our first official exam the first week of October. Since we’re learning queueing theory, I collected data at a little (and very busy) French bakery in Copacabana. It’s tough, collecting my own data and not knowing exactly how I’m going to use it yet, but I’m going back in the morning to collect some more. Also, I just realized I left this out for the last couple of weeks: *NEWS FLASH* THE STRIKE HAS ENDED! Not that it really matters or applies to us anymore, and because it still wasn’t on the exact terms the professors want, but a technicality, there will likely be another strike next year. Anyway, Friday I spent the entire day at Fundão (in the now open library), finally really sitting down and studying. Being in a library felt really nice. Tomorrow too I’ll head to ENCE before our night class to study some more. Yesssss, I am still a giant nerd. I also started the job search (at least on CAVlink- UVA’s main job posting board), and although I still don’t know what I want to do after graduation or where I want to live, everyone at UVA will be interviewing soon and it is exciting to think about. As is the fact that Charles officially booked a ticket to come see me! He’ll be here just before my mom gets here in October, during the Fall Break at UVA. We booked a place for the week in Ipanema and another in Santa Teresa for a couple of days, and I’m so excited to see him! For now, I’m going to turn in for the night 🙂