Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Teresa and Beyond

Hard to believe I have been here for 2 weeks.  In some ways it feels like I just arrived, but at the same time this neighborhood has a way of making you feel like you have been here forever.

Santa Teresa lives up to its reputation of being a "can't miss" stop when visiting the city of Rio de Janeiro.  It's a very artsy neighborhood and I am enjoying soaking it all in.  Just down the street from the house there is live jazz every Tuesday night so a few of us headed over last week to check it out. Absolutely incredible.  It is definitely earns a spot on the list of favorite nights so far.  The place (where coincidentally I will be staying for my last few nights in Rio) is a huge colonial mansion that has been restored and converted to a small hotel.  It has a funky, eclectic vibe and is the perfect venue for a jazz night.  The house was built by the family of a Brazilian novelist/journalist/playwright and the aim of the current owners is to keep that spirit alive by having local musicians play there once a week and local artists display their work there as well.

Speaking of local artists, I stopped into an art gallery that I pass on the way to Portuguese class every day and ended up chatting with the artist whose paintings of favelas I had been admiring in the window.  The two pieces that I love were unfortunately too large but he had just started a small one so it was deemed mine upon completion.  So cool.

This place has a really great "small neighborhood" vibe as well.  The other day while a few of us were sitting at a small cafe on our street - the jazz singer from Tuesday night walked in, one of the managers of my guesthouse was at the restaurant across the street, and a former volunteer who has now moved to Brazil walked by.  It's a really nice to be able to enjoy a small town feeling in a city as large as Rio de Janeiro.

So as far as touristy stuff goes, I've been up to Corcovado and the statue of Christ the Reedemer (the opening picture of this post is the view of the city from the statue), and I finally went to the beach at Ipanema yesterday for a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon.  Planning to head to Sugarloaf Mountain for sunset one day this weekend and then I will get some pictures up on the blog.

So sorry to hear about the snowstorm disasters last week. Hope everyone's power and downed trees are all sorted and things are back to normal now.

~ N

Editor's note: It was brought to my attention that the list of countries in the last blog post was incomplete.  To my two great friends from the UK and Israel - my deepest apologies for the erronous omission. (Leigh, does this earn me a gengibre...?)