Our driver and guide, Cleiton, got us back to the airport in Iguaçu in plenty of time, and we flew back to Rio de Janeiro, arriving at Tim and Angelina's apartment around the time it was getting dark. Of course, we were very enthusiastically greeted by Nina. We are learning all sorts of great Portuguese terms, like baba de cachorro. Before you start thinking, "That sounds kind of nice," it means, "dog spit." Nina is determined to become the first dog to be able to destroy a KONG. I have become quite adept at snatching laptops out of the way of an incoming leaping animal.
Tim and Angelina were unfortunately asked by their landlord to move between the time we scheduled our trip and the time we arrived in Rio. They left the artsy hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa and moved to Flamengo, closer to the beach. The new apartment is on a main drag close to lots of shops, and practically right across the street from a metro station. Although Tim and Angelina have been in the middle of all of the chaos of moving, they have been very gracious. The man from the gas company has made a lot of trouble by being unreliable about showing up to turn on the gas, so, as much as Angelina wanted to make us a chicken and a delicious vegetable lasagna, cooking has been virtually impossible. She's made some great salads, though, and a fabulous breakfast of fresh bananas, melons, breads and cheeses every morning. In the absence of gas, though, we had pizza delivered for dinner. Fortunately, in spite of the problems with the gas man, we at least have hot showers. The apartment has maid's quarters (kind of a large laundry area, overlooking an interior courtyard, with a very small bedroom) with an electric shower.
Mano a Mano was very good, although not as full of excitement as Orquestra Voadora. They stayed on the stage for the entire performance. Tim is one of two trombonists in the band, which apparently is typical for salsa. The dancers were great to watch, very talented. The weather was perfect for the open-air bar. The atmosphere was fun and friendly. Since it was salsa music, the words were in Spanish rather than Portuguese. When we asked what country salsa came from, Tim told us that it actually came from New York. It was started by Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants, but technically it is American in origin.
I had brought a couple of sun hats to Brazil with me, but Tim thought they were both too silly-looking to wear in public. Angelina got me an adorable new hat. It is reversible, and inside, it has a little secret pocket for your keys and money. And, it has a drawstring along the outside, so you can make it into a purse instead of a hat! It's just awesome.
The water was amazing. Just the right temperature, not Florida warm but not even southern California cold. It was easy to get into and enjoy. There was a good surf in some parts of the beach if you wanted to play in it, but it was also fairly easy to avoid it if you didn't. I swam for a long time out beyond the breaking point of the waves, and then played in them as I came back in. I have loved playing in the waves since I was a teenager visiting Cape Cod in the summer, and I very much enjoyed Praia do Leme.
On to Pedra Bonita and Leblon Beach.