Rio de Janeiro

Days 1 & 2

Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

     Music / Choro: Cochichando [Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso/ Adventure Musics]: 3 min excerpt

Viewing / Copying/ Saving/ Sending/ Printing

Clicking on the small photographs will cause an enlargement of the image to appear. I have sized them to 1500 px wide/high.  Clicking on this larger image will zoom it; clicking again will reduce it. In order to copy, 'save as', email, or print these images for your own use, right-click your mouse and choose from the pop-up menu.

Traveling down to Rio required our transit from San Francisco to Lima, Peru, then to São Paulo, Brazil, and finally to Rio's international airport. Illogically, we had to go through security checks at each landing at an already secure area, even to get back on the same plane. Airlines were Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM, which merged, as big businesses often do, just before our trip. Coffee and tea were not served on these airlines, which is odd for a coffee-producing region. Interestingly, "breakfast" in Brazil is café da manhã, morning coffee. LAN did, however, provide blanket, pillow, blindfold, and earplugs on long-distance, overnight trips. Brazil is four time zones away from San Francisco; thus, jet lag was minimal, though tiring travel time approached nearly a day.

São Paulo is a huge city, with sprawl. It was a merely a transfer point for this tour. Tall, rather bland buildings cover the area. Like Los Angeles, the city goes on and on. Rio de Janeiro's airport is named for Galleon  Beach, the site of the airport where in 1663 a galleon was built, and popular bossa nova composer Jobim. Very cool, like our having Duke Ellington appear on a United States coin. Rough translation from his song Samba do Avião (1962):
My soul sings
I see Rio de Janeiro
I am dying of longing
Rio, your endless beaches
Rio, you were made for me.
Copacabana's Atlantic Avenue is lined with modern and old hotels and restaurants that face the beach and ocean.

Mosaic decorations are found on sidewalks throughout the city.

Beach volleyball installations are found along the sand.

Ipanema is the next district, but smaller and less attractive and cared for; howerver, adjacent further is Leblon, an upscale district with the Rio Design Center mall.

Our hotel, just a block from the beach. The small 5-person taxis, which run on natural gas, are everywhere, similar to New York City, and likewise, a few drivers take advantage of tourists. Shopping Cassino Atlantico is not a regular mall but a center featuring art and antique boutiques..

Another view of the central atrium.

The best gallery here is that of Marcia Barrozo do Amaral, which when visited was showing the wood art of João Carlos Galvão (born 1941).

Another view of this construction. My father Philip, a woodworker and artist, would have admired it.. Among Galvão's many works (found on the internet, too), this is the most stunning. Front view. Another painted and stained variation. A third example of his appealing geometric reliefs. An oblique view.
Our next destination was the famous and outstanding Jardim Botãnico. The large park is filled with tropical specimens. Close up view of the flanged  trunk of a huge tall tree. Seed pods of a thick vine wrapping a tree. Very tall and thin palms. A conical tree with fan leaves.
A pleasant walkway. A pond with water lilies. A trio of palms arise from the pond bed. Burmese bamboo. Thick temple bamboo. In the orchid pavilion.
A carnivorous plant. Pitcher plants deadly to insects. The center fluid will kill and digest any visiting insect. A fan-leaf tree. Detail view. A large-leaf tree.
Strolling. Another path. Overlooking the garden and all of Rio is Cristo Redentor. Close-up view. The Rose Garden, but hardly any roses. Left view. Right view of the concentric section.
Bird of Paradise, one of the varieties of the plant. More distant view. The tiny, funky Japanese Garden.. Sign: Garden of Rest (inactivity) Near the Jardin Botãnico are several galleries and an art school or collective. The wall graffiti is certainly more artistic than customarily found in the East Bay. (Photo by D. Berland.) At the Anita Schwartz Gallery in the Gávea district we encountered the fascinating work of Carla Guagliardi (born 1956), who resides in Rio de Janeiro and Berlin.



This hanging construction filled the entire gallery room.

Steve Biggs give scale and position of the art form.

Another but non-overlapping section of the composition.

Guagliardi's wall sculpture.

Oblique view.

Something for the floor.


Hangings of the stairwell. This could be a found object (but isn't)  folded and mounted in interesting fashion. At the Silvia Cintra gallery we were enchanted by Nelson Leirner's 100 Monas. The maverick and protest artist (born 1932) had fun dressing up the icon image in a linear display that covered the walls of the small gallery. These are but four of the 100.
A restaurant near the galleries served good food, but they had difficulty in determining our bills — compounded charges. In the afternoon, we took a tourist jitney up Corcovado with objective of Cristo Redentor. We stopped a vista point. This quasi panorama at wide-angle shows the coastal spread of the city.
A slight close-up. Rio's second, domestic airport on filled-in land, Santos Dumont. Planes must rise fast and veer left when taking off, else hit a mountain. Lake Rodrigo de Freitas and Ipanema from the back. Sugar Loaf and Botafogo Bay.


Close-up. The park near the center left is named Parque Yitzhak Rabin. Some details of city buildings.

          Smooth subway below,
          chaotic traffic above,
          Christo above all.

Another  view from the height. Urban scene. Lake, isthmus ,and ocean. Cristo Redentor. At the base of the statue.

My haiku. Go to my rèsumè page and haiku  & addenda for more.


At the São Paula Airport awaiting our flight to Rio de Janeiro, I met members of Jammil , an Axé and MPB band, and had a very brief conversation. They presented me with a DVD album, which when I returned home, found it to consist of an excellent, fun anthology of music videos of their recent songs as well as an extensive travelogue of the gold road from Paraty and Cunha to inland cities. The album release of these songs is a finalist for a 2012 Latin Grammy.


© 2012 Debra Jan Bibel


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 Next: Rio – Day 2


Appendix: Food