I always love the first car ride in a foreign country going from the airport to wherever it is that we are staying that first night. I stare wide-eyed out the car's windows taking in all the sights—vegetation, signs, buildings, people, cars, differences, similarities—it fascinates me! Driving to the Moreira's house last night from the airport didn't give us much of a chance to see Brazil since it was so late at night. Early this morning, we could hardly believe that we were waking up in Rio de Janeiro, about to step out into Brazil for the first time. Our children live in Brazil. We are IN Brazil.
It really is beautiful here. Every time I come to South America, I feel like I'm at home. It helps to have such sweet and generous friends to take us by the hand and show us the city that is their home. Today, Ester took us around her city. We went to the Tijuca National Park, which contains the World's largest urban forest. Fresh air, green canopy, waterfalls, crisp water pools, colorful plants and twisty, windy roads up to the Vista Chinesa at the top. From Vista Chinesa you can see the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon as well as the famous Cristo Redentor statue (who was hiding behind the only cloud in the sky today) and the Pão de Açucar. We also drove by the Maracanã stadium which will be the venue for the 2014 World Cup and the location of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.Ester's sweet mother made us an AMAZING feijoada for lunch when we got home. We're resting now for a little while before we go out to spend the afternoon walking on the beach at Copacabana and Ipanema. I'm still hoping for a massage. Maybe early tomorrow.