Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Walking on the beach in Rio de Janeiro

We are home safe in Austin!

After what has seemed like for forever traveling, we are finally home safe. We are both pretty tired and moving pretty slowly, but it is great to be home with the pups. They are definitely enjoying being home and playing with us.

I will update with some photos and stories soon.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ben and Michelle’s Day in PA- More pics

Ben and Michelle’s Day in PA

We took a bus tour of the city on Thursday. It was a double decker bus and we sat on the top in the front row. Sadly, it was the coldest day since we had arrived, so it was a frigid ride around the city. It was interesting to see all of the parks, the soccer stadiums, the bay and many historic buildings. Following the bus tour we spent some time wandering around the central and busiest part of downtown. We did a little shopping and found a buffet with incredible variety for lunch. There are tons of buffets here. There is a brand of clothes here that is popular called Beagle Brand - so as you can guess, we had to go there for a few items! J

We meandered around a couple of museums. The museums here are free, so we just played “what do you think the title of this piece of artwork is?” while we tried to warm up from the cold. It was impressionists and modern art, so it was pretty funny to see what we could come up with.

In the late afternoon we went on a sunset cruise of the bay. Strangely enough, there was a film crew on board shooting a movie. It was neat to watch them and to interact with the crew and actors. Apparently the main actor is a famous Brazilian model, so I can guess you can say we had a brush with fame with our Brazilian celebratity sighting.

The cold evening ended at a local bar not far from out hotel with a couple of folks from Dell for a farewell happy hour. What a wonderful way to end the day.

An evening with Maria Rita

We joined Lu & Geert one night to see a samba concert of a popular Brazilian artist. The concert hall was located in the mall, which also included a grocery store, restaurants, armed guards and of course your typical mall shops.

The concert was great and really fun. The floor area was general admission, which meant you could dance. We had a fabulous time dancing in our own style, which I am sure included a mix of tango, merange, samba and two-stepping! Ha! Who knows what we looked like to other people, but we had a wonderful time experiencing our first samba concert! Obrigado to Lu and Geert for making that happen.

We ended the evening with dinner at a nice restaurant in the mall that used to be a dance club.
These malls don’t mess around. I have a feeling you could really accomplish a lot by spending a day at
“the mall” here. What and excellent date place. You could shop for a new outfit & shoes, get your nails done, have dinner and a movie/theater date, hit the club for some dancing and then buy your engagement ring on the way out…along with a bottle of chanpange to celebrate. it’s a one stop shopping kind of place. Ha!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flying to Rio today!

Our last day in Porto Alegre was really cold, but this morning we are headed to the warmer temps of Rio.

Special thanks to all those who made our time in PA special, most especially Lu and Geert! You made our time here very fun! :)

More from Rio....how exciting!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Michelle in the city!

If you are viewing from facebook, you will have to click on the orignial post link to see the pics.

DOC - champamnharia and risoteria

We went to this charming and romantic restaurant last night for dinner with Lu and Geert, lighted by candles this place is a bit hidden on a side street in the Bela Vista neighborhood (very nice) called DOC. The decorations were rustic and on the walls hanging old windows and doors. It was very small and intimate with only 8 tables available inside. On another wall hangs a blackboard with today's special risotto and champaign. The risottos we tried were delicious. And of course it's recommended to drink champagne, which we did. Yummy! I was in heaven. We had strawberries in sugar and pepper for dessert! While it sounds odd, it was quite good.

Earlier that day we went to a big market with all kinds of interesting smells from the fish to the hanging meats. We had yummy ice cream at this one shop called Banca 40. I had a combo of grape, coconut and banana ice cream and Ben tried coffee, chocolate and cream combo. It was really nice.

We are going to try to take a bus tour of the city today if the rain stays away. So far it looks pretty nice.

Tchau for now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dell Brazil - Porto Alegre

So today we rode the Dell bus from the hotel to the Dell offices just outside of town. We went to breakfast first off and then to the consumer call centers.

Then we helped set up for the Dell Electronics Show. It was kind of neat. Lots of energy and music.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We made it!

We made it to Porto Alegre late last night with no problems. Our hosts, Lu and Geert, were kindly waiting for us at the airport upon arrival to take us to our hotel. The weather here is amazing. I could really get used to what they call "winter" here. It is so cool and refreshing.

Today Ben went to Dell and I toured around our part of the city on my own. I will go visit Dell tomorrow. He says it is a smaller campus that Round Rock. They have free bus service to and from the office and free breakfast and lunch. How nice is that? Many of the offices are in portables, like many junior high school's in Texas. I will take some pictures tomorrow to show.

This is na pic of the park I had lunch in today. Very nice. I picked up some picnic items at a local market and spent some time wandering around the city. We are in a REALLY nice area with much shopping and cafes and pubs. I think we are gonna like it here. Ha!

Here is a pic of the city from out of our hotel window.

We went to A Lenha Pizzeria for dinner this evening. It was very good. We are both pretty tired still and drinking lots of water...and beer to stay hydrated! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The rocky road to Brazil....

Well the day started off early (hence the tired looks on our faces) at 5:30am heading to Houston to catch Ben's morning flight to Miami. I followed leaving Houston that evening at what was supposed to be a 6pm flight, but that ended up leaving 7:45pm due to a bad storm that hit while we were waiting to take off. That was going to make me miss my connect with Ben in Miami to Rio, but turns out that our flight was canceled entirely, so Ben was waiting at the gate for me when I arrived with hotel and food vouchers in hand.

So here we are in the airport hilton eating room service and trying figure out which flights we are going to try to book from Rio to Porto Alegre since we are now going to miss those connects tomorrow. Ugh!

Best case, we arrive in PA late, late Sunday night. Wish us luck!

It has been a rough start to our journey, but we are both happy to be together finally!! :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brazilian Energy Drink - Acai

We went to a Brazilian store here in Austin last night called Ana Brasil. We tried a a popular fruit smoothie drink made from the Acai berry. It was intersting I guess. Tasty perhaps- if it were fresh, which this was not, but too thick to be a jucie and too many berry seeds. When we unscrewed the cap off the bottle, there was a thick bit of the goop covering the mouth. It took some serious shaking to get it to a state that we would brave a swig.

Needless to say, outside of a few sips, we didn't finish it. I think we both agree to give it another try once we are in Brazil, but we won't be drinking this bottled version again here. Ha!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ben & Michelle's Brazilian Vacation (July 18-28)

Only two more days until we leave for our trip to South America. It is winter in Brazil, so we will be leaving the 100+ degree temps of Austin and trading them in for 40 to 60 degree temps of the mild coastal winter. We will be in Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. Check back for adventure updates as we travel.