2.21.2013

Sao Paulo, Brazil Trip Wrap Up

View from our room at the Marriott Renaissance in Sao Paulo. Can you believe it?!

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Mango nectar juice that I am obsessed with! // Kevin and an amazing meal at the restaurant at the Marriott Renaissance

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Ryder wearing his Jordan outfit Aunt Anna got him for the trip! Love it. Doesn’t he look like a little baller? ;)

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Cute Ryder on the hotel bed. Our room was so modern! I felt like we were in an Ikea room!

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The rest of the time in Sao Paulo was great. We had breakfast at the concierge level once overlooking an incredible view which apparently we had access to the whole time we were there but didn’t know it until the last day. We ate dinner at a restaurant in the hotel, which had the most amazing food. Once, Kevin, Patrick, and I walked to a place called Habib’s and got pizza, salad, soda, and ice-cream for dinner. Kevin and I walked around looking at some shops and I found some very cute clothes I wanted to buy :). We had the most amazing Rodizio style dinner before we caught our red-eye flight from Sao Paulo to Houston. A Rodizio style dinner is basically what you might find at Rodizios or Tucanos, but actually authentic because you are in Brazil. The meat was incredible and the empoyees didn’t walk around with skewers of meat hehe. Our flights went great. We also got to the front of the passport line, cutting in front of a huge line of people, because we had a baby, little Ryder! Got to love the first class treatment because you have a baby! If you want tips for flying with a baby – international or not – I wrote a blog post about it, right here. All in all, the trip to Brazil was a lot of fun. It was great to see the areas where Kelsi served her mission and experience a new different culture. I really enjoyed Brazil and hope to one day return!

Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo

December 31, 2012 – After we left the market we made our way to a the Ibarapuera Park. Ibarapuera Park is a huge park in the middle of Sao Paulo. It is kind of like New York’s Central Park. The park is big with trails all over it where you can run, ride bikes, skateboard, rollerblade, whatever you want! They have lots of things all over the park to do like basketball courts, soccer fields, a lake with lots of ducks/black swans, water towers that mist water on you, lots of little stands selling fresh fruit, ice-cream, and drinks, and so much more! It was probably the coolest park I’ve ever been to.

We first rented bikes and while we were waiting to start riding them all of a sudden my mom notices a couple with missionary name tags and says “Oh, do you think they are missionaries or mission presidents?" to whoever was around us. All of a sudden, Kelsi starts running towards them and gave them hugs and yep, she ran into her old mission presidents! It was so random and awesome. She had mentioned that she would love to see them but knew how busy they were so didn’t know if she would be able to. She was thinking about surprising them at mission transfers the following day. The crazy thing was that 1. Sao Paulo is a HUGE city. What are the chances of running into anyone you know?! 2. We all happened to be on the park on the same day and it was their P-day. 3. The park was seriously so huge that I didn’t even understand how all of the trails were connected and one could easily get lost. Basically the park was huge and they happened to be walking on the trail we were on! So obviously, it was meant to be. It was cool to meet them and they kept saying how Kelsi was a great missionary. Here is a group picture – minus a few people.

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Kevin and my dad stayed back with Ryder while the rest of us rode bikes around the park for an hour or so. It was SO fun! The park was relatively flat so you could ride around easily all over. If I lived there I would go and ride bikes all the time! There were tons of families, couples, and all sorts of people enjoying the park and riding different types of bikes. They had a bike where two people could ride sitting down on a bench and my mom and I wanted to ride it together but you had to be handicapped so that didn’t work lol. I wish Ryder could have sat in one of those baby seats on a bike but he was too little!

Anyways, so we were riding bikes and then all of a sudden Kelsi gets off her bike and runs towards a sister missionary. She ran into one of her old companions! Seriously, running into her old companion and her old mission presidents makes it seem like Sao Paulo isn’t big and you run into people all the time. That is not true. Sao Paulo is huge! It was so crazy she ran into her old companion. Her companion had just finished working out at the park and writing letters to family and friends. An even funnier thing was she had just wrote Kelsi a postcard at the park. She pulls it out of her backpack and was like, “I just wrote you!” The postcard was like “I’m just at Ibirapeura writing you and just worked out…” And then she saw Kelsi! Kelsi didn’t really let many people know she was coming because there were so many people she wouldn’t be able to see everyone. Also, by the time she got letters out to her missionary friends they would get them probably after we had left Brazil. Anyways, it was crazy she ran into people she knew here!

Kevin and Ryder // Me and a yummy fruit. I forget what it is called. You peel the outer shell off and it tastes kind of like a grape! We had a bunch of these here for a snack.

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Ryder was popular with the ladies!

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Making friends!

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Ryder and Walter. Walter was the one who had us over for lunch the previous day. He is such a nice good guy! // Family photo.

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After the park we headed back to our hotel. We said bye to our new Brazilian friends and then headed out to dinner. We actually chose the same place we ate at the night before because it was so good! It was close and convenient but when we got there, the line was wrapped all around the restaurant and a mini grocery store connected. If we had waited in that line, it would have been AT LEAST an hour plus wait to be seated. A lady was like “You have a baby. Go to the front of the line.” We had a huge group. I mean, we had my dad, mom, Kevin, me, Ryder, Kelsi, Patrick, Zach, and Hunter, so…but the lady kept insisting we go to the front of the line. Ryder was kind of fussy and probably getting hungry so Kelsi went and spoke to the person who seats people and she waved us over. They seated us immediately and then it was really awkward because some people were really upset we had cut in front of the line! Everywhere you go, people treat you so well if you have a baby! They always drag you to the front of lines! This happened in the airport a few times in Brazil, for security, to go through and get your passport stamped, etc. Anyways, it worked out great for us but we did piss some people off! My parents were like, “This is why we invited you guys!” Haha.

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This day was amazing and so much fun! If you are ever in Sao Paulo, you have to go to this park! I just loved it! I wish I knew a place like this in the US somewhere, preferably close to where we live :)!

2.20.2013

Sao Paulo Market

On Monday morning, December 31, 2012 we met up with some of the church members that we hung out with the day before. They all wanted to drive us around and show us the area. That was seriously so nice of them! We took a subway to get to a stop where they picked us up in their cars. We originally were going to visit some really tall building – not sure which one – but it was a national holiday being New Years Eve and all so it was closed. The next stop was to check out an awesome indoor market, something Kevin had been looking forward to!

All the ladies of the group…

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And the littlest man who was such a trooper the whole trip…

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Here is a glimpse of the market!

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They had tons of fresh fruit and veggies that I had never seen or heard of. They had a huge selection of fresh meat. At one point, Kelsi was having her picture taken in front of a bunch of dead pigs hanging and then the butcher thought it would be funny to grab one and put it right next to her. Kelsi decided to kiss the dead pig for a picture…yeah, I don’t think I would do that haha. Anyways, the pictures are really gross so I am not going to post one! One time Hunter got lost in the market so we all had to look for him lol. For lunch, everyone got in line and got some fresh meat sandwich that is popular in Sao Paulo. Ah, I wish I remember what it was. It was kind of like salami? Anyways, we all had those sandwiches, pao de queijo (cheese bread with different things inside), and a bunch of fruit that we had never tried before! I don’t even know the names of the fruits but there were some really good ones! It is crazy how there are so many different fruits and veggies all over the world and some countries don’t get to try them all because by the time the fruit would arrive from overseas it would have spoiled! It is so fun to try new foods from different countries! Of course, I had peach or mango nectar juice which I loved! We tried to always get juices or guarana because if you aren’t used to the water in Brazil, it can sometimes make you sick. Anyways, it was a lot of fun and then next we went to the most amazing park ever!

Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo – First Day in Sao Paulo

We flew from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo on December 29, 2012. Sao Paulo is where Kelsi served on her mission, specifically the Sao Paulo South mission.

Here is Ryder on route to the airport and on the plane snoozin ;)

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The flight had a ton of turbulence and the stewardess kept talking in Portuguese over the loudspeaker. Of course not knowing the language was freaky because all of the passengers were freaking out when we hit bumps and when the stewardess was talking. It was probably one of the most turbulent flights I’d been on. It was so relieving to land safely. When we did land, everyone cheered! You know a flight is bad when everyone cheers on touch down lol. Anyways, right after the flight, Ryder got hungry so I decided to feed him on a bench while we waited for our driver to arrive.

Funny story: I finally get Ryder nursing, with a nursing cover, and a few minutes in, two Brazilian teenage boys come walking by and come up to me. They start looking DOWN the nursing cover and asking me questions. I’m like “Uhh, I speak English, not Portuguese!"" Haha! I think it was weird for them that I was nursing with a nursing cover and they wanted to be immature and come try to see! They were laughing and saying who knows what and then eventually they left…it was very interesting haha! In Brazil, people are very open and just nurse wherever, whenever, and not with a cover. I even saw girls walking around the mall nursing their babies in public. {Kelsi’s friend told me she liked my nursing cover. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t seen one before.}

Anyways, finally our driver arrived and we headed off to the Marriott Renaissance in Sao Paulo. It was a modern upscale hotel and so nice!

On Sunday, December 30, we had an early morning. Kelsi wanted to attend 2 of the wards in her mission area so we went to one at 8 am and then caught the end of another ward a couple of hours later.

Here we are walking from the first ward to the closest area to catch a taxi to the next ward! We were walking through housing and some of the hills were so steep so we kept going up and down them. Also- the sidewalks were sometimes SO bad that you literally couldn’t push a stroller around because the sidewalks aren’t level and have ledges and edges coming up and down. Hopefully that makes sense. Kelsi told us beforehand that you might not be able to use a stroller in some areas and now I know what she was talking about!

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Finally we made it to a place to catch a taxi and got to the second ward. It was so funny attending another ward in a country whose language you do not understand! My mom and I sat there singing (and I’m sure butchering the pronunciation of words) hymns in Relief Society together. Also, I picked up that the lesson was on modesty as the teacher was drawing outlines of clothing styles on her body!

Here is Ryder making friends! Kelsi thought she may not know a ton of people in each ward because it had been awhile and she was a brand new missionary there (and didn’t know the language that well then) but she knew TONS of people! They all kept coming up to her and then trying to speak to us! It was cool to see Kelsi interact with others speaking Portuguese. Also, everyone was so welcoming towards us! That is one thing I love about Brazil! Everyone is so warm, friendly, giving, and willing to serve. They seem like generally really happy people. I wish I knew some Portuguese to communicate better!

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I felt funny taking a stroller around in church but hey, he was sleeping in it, didn’t want to take him out, and we got it for this trip! I think in some wards in certain parts of the country or world, people take their strollers to church! In Colorado, you just really don’t need to. Also, the sign below ‘Fraldario’ is the nursing lounge. I asked the bishop’s wife and luckily she showed it to me! That is a very important room if you are nursing haha. In one of the church buildings the nursing lounge actually had a window…I thought that was funny! Kind of defeats the purpose?

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After we hit up the second ward some members drove us to Walter’s home (a member). He had invited us over for lunch that day. We all hung out, ate some really good food with some meat I really liked (the seasoning was so good!), and hung out some more. We were there for most of the day while Kelsi spoke in Portuguese to them and then translated what they were talking about in English. It was a fun afternoon. There were several members over for lunch and more come over in the afternoon. The lady in the picture below didn’t want me to take Ryder when I had to leave haha. She was like nope!

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View from Walter’s house.

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Walter and another member drove us all the way to the Marriott Renaissance when it was getting closer to dinner time. They didn’t want us to take a taxi and basically wouldn’t even let us so they drove us! That is exactly what I am talking about when I say the Brazilians are so willing to serve! We decided to walk around and find a place to eat and found an amazing bakery/restaurant. On the way we passed a pharmacy called Farto, haha! What a name!

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Some of the treats in the restaurant!

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I wish I knew what the restaurant was called because it was amazing but it is very close to the Marriott Renaissance, like a 5 minute walk! I’d say our first night in Sao Paulo was a success!

2.18.2013

Rio de Janeiro - Feira de Sao Cristovao + Mall

Originally when Kelsi’s companion, Sister Travassos and fiancée came to visit us and swim all day, we were all going to visit a market at night. The market ended up being closed so we went to an outdoor mall that was near the Sheraton Barra instead. The market was called Feira de Sao Cristovao and we decided to check it out this evening! We had to take a taxi about 45 minutes to get there if I remember right.P1130443

We had no clue what the market would be like but pretty much it was a huge area with rides on the outside of it, touristy shops inside, lots of sit down restaurants with the owners begging you to eat there, lots of fast food places, and had live music and dancing. I’ve never been to any place like it in the states! It is in a way like a fair but there are solid walls around the whole thing and there are like stores…but it is outside…

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We walked around checking things out. My family found and got a few cool souvenirs. We tried random foods Kelsi ate on her mission that she wanted us to eat. There were these things that were like crepes, but the crepe substance was made out of corn. It was kind of crunchy and very interesting. You sprinkle it on the pan, shake it around, and then it solidifies. I have no clue how to explain it but it was very interesting! We also found a brand of guarana called ‘Guarana Jesus’ that tasted like bubblegum! Very interesting. I decided that I prefer the normal guarana instead haha!

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Then Ryder started getting hungry and there was no where really to feed him. We decided to head to a big mall in Rio (unfortunately don’t remember the name but it was awesome!) and find a restaurant. Of course, I fed Ryder in the taxi ride…that is kind of what happened all the time! So interesting feeding him in cars haha. Anyways, we made our way to the mall and Kelsi actually met up with Sister Travassos and her fiancée and went to hang out with them for the night. She actually ended up spending the night there and taking a taxi in the morning back to the hotel. Meanwhile, we all found an amazing steak restaurant. I also don’t remember the name of it but what was funny was they didn’t have enough room for us to be seated. Then they asked a couple enjoying their dinner to MOVE to a different table so they could move 2 tables together so we could eat there! I have NEVER seen anyone being asked to move tables mid-meal so another family could be seated! Haha! Has anyone seen that happen? Anyways, they were especially accommodating and the manager/owner? came and talked to us in ENGLISH which was very helpful! No one really spoke English so we were going to just guess what we wanted to eat off the menu but then he came over and starting talking to us. Seriously, when you are in a foreign country it is the best when someone speaks your language haha. Or…we could just try learning their language ;) Anyways, it was a great evening and our last day in Rio de Janeiro. The next day we flew to Sao Paulo!