Thursday, April 14, 2011


Ola Amigos,
Greetings from Rio de Janeiro!!  I arrived yesterday.  Rio was the hardest city to find a CouchSurfing host. It is probably because Carnival just happened last month and people are probably tired from the hardcore partying and hosting a house full of people.  Pedro was kind enough to host me in his beautiful apartment only 1 block away from the beaches of Ipanema!  I am truly blessed.  His mother is visiting from Portugal and she was willing to give up her room so I can have the opportunity to stay with them. God bless her!!

Everyone was worried about me coming to Rio!  It was said to be quite dangerous with the crime, thefts and traveling alone.  I felt safe walking around at night by myself.  I just had to use my big city common sense and keep a watchful eye for thieves and such.  I was in good hands with Pedro.  He directed me to many cool places.  My first night, I walked all along Ipanema and Copacabana!  By the time I got home, I was drenched in sweat from all of the humidity!

The moment we met, I knew we would get along just fine!  Pedro welcomed me into his home.  He had lived overseas and also in NYC for 9 years before moving to Rio.  Pedro is such a worldly, fun, laid back and smart personality.  He used to be in the hotel and restaurant management business back in the states before he realized he wanted to do something totally different.  He is now working with a business involving teaching tennis.

So many of the people that I have met via CouchSurfing are having the time of their lives doing whatever it is that they love and still be able to travel and have their own independent business.

Cristo Rendedor
Christ the Redeemer

View from Ipanema Beach at Sunset

Copacabana at night

Pedro's sweet mom visiting from Portugal

My couchsurfing host Pedro and I

Pedro giving me a ride on his BMW bike all around Rio!
The adrenaline was pumping as he drove fast on his bike!  I don't usually like fast bikes but I trusted Pedro.  As he wove  in and out between cars,  it just made me hold on tighter and my thighs were clenching firmly around him!  I was in good hands.  He showed me beautiful Rio at night and we drove along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.  The beach, the lights, the view, the scenery, the speed and the company was such a rush!  Good times!

Fun, fun, fun!

On my way to jump off the mountain!

In the morning, Pedro drove me on his motorcycle to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams.  All my life, I have ALWAYS wanted to hang glide but too scared to do it!! After skydiving in Hawaii, nothing is impossible.  The words of my German CouchSurfing friend, Yula resonated in my head, "Just do it!!" 

Paragliding gear ready to take me up the mountain!

Praia Beach

This was too funny!  "Hang gliding in Rio... the best fun you can have with your clothes on!"

Ruy (My pilot and owner of Superfly)
There are no accidents with the people that I have come across on my journey!  Out of the tons of companies, we picked him!!  He has such an interesting story!  Ruy used to be an attorney and decided to sell his practices in Rio and Sao Paolo to fulfill his dream.  His company was the first to do tandem jumping in Rio in 1981!  He now does what he completely loves and gave me one of the best experiences of my life!

Pedro sipping some coconut water as he waits for me to descend! 

Saying good-bye before going off to the top of the mountain!

trail going up to the mountain peak

view of the ramp edge you must run off of to hang glide off the mountain! OMG!

Practicing to run off the ramp into mid-air!! 

Take off!!  Sooooo scary!! Ahhhhhhh!

Ruy got me down in one piece!  Safe and sound!  Thanks Ruy!

Pedro and I! I arrived in one piece and very happy to see him!

We landed on Praia Beach!

So happy to be alive and safe!!  What a rush!!

Top of the mountain where I launched!d

Back on the bike after handgliding!

View from the motorcycle!

Half a block from Pedro's house

Pao de queijo
This is a common Brazilian cheese bread made with cassava flour (tapioca flour)

Acai berry smoothie
Acai berry is known as one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world

Pedro's mom preparing lunch for us

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