Thursday, February 7, 2008

Garota de Ipanema

The Butlers are back after a wonderful 3 weeks in Rio de Janeiro. We stayed in a hotel a block from Ipanema beach, right in the heart of the hotel and shopping districts. Despite excessive rainfall, the beach was beautiful and the Cariocas (people of Rio) were very warm and welcoming. We enjoyed the popular juice bars- with their mile-long lists of fresh fruit juices- and steak-on-a-stick for about $0.60 US. Charlotte was a particular fan of the Globo biscuits made from ground manioc root. We reveled in music, dancing, and sun with a backdrop of gorgeous tropical vegetation and majestic mountains.
Charlotte is popular wherever she goes, but I'm afraid she will never again receive the rate of adoration bestowed on her by the Brazilians. These people LOVE babies! While most tourists are generally ignored, Charlotte acted like a magnet, allowing us to meet many locals. The people spoke directly to the baby, gushing praise. "Linda" was the first Portuguese word I learned to recognize. It means "pretty," and Charlotte heard it about 1000 times a day. They couldn't get over her blue eyes. One family at the Hippie Fair- a bohemian open-air market held every Sunday- hunted down a translator just to make sure we knew that Charlotte needed to be on the cover of a magazine. The Brazilians- especially the women- were also effulgent in their physical attention. They would hold Charlotte and play with her little fingers and toes while singing ditties in Portuguese.
A few people pointed out that it was strange for Charlotte to have unpierced ears at her age. "She's a girl, isn't she?" Baby girls in Brazil have their ears pierced within days of their birth, distinguishing gender early on. I tried to keep a bow on her head at all times to avoid expressions of gender confusion.
Here are a few friends Charlotte made in Brazil:

We met 9-year-old Munna on the flight from Atlanta; she made the time go by much faster for both of us!

Our friend on the beach hooked Charlotte up with some tasty Globos!

Corcovado, visiting O Cristo Redentor statue. This cute grandma played with Charlotte for a good 10 minutes.

The Hippie Fair: Charlotte likes the girl, but she's not so sure about the puppy.

And of course, Uncle Jaime, our awesome roommate.


Jason & Ginny said...

How fun!! You guys give me hope that you can still travel to cool places with a baby!! What an awesome experience.

gregandlaura said...

So fun! What an amazing experience for all three of you!! I wish you were there longer so we could come visit. :) Charlotte does look like she needs to be on a magazine! She is so adorable in those pics! I WISH I COULD PLAY WITH HER!!! (I'm slightly jealous of everyone who gets to see her all the time! :) ) - atleast Braden has an adorable girlfriend!

Stinson Family said...

I'm jealous of your trip. One of these days I'll take Sarah and Abigail down to the Yucatan so they can see experience the cultural. Keep up the travels! Charlotte is a lucky girl.

Collette Fam said...

Wow-what an awesome trip! You guys are so smart to travel a bunch while your family is still young. I'm thinking the older our kids get, the harder these experiences will be to come by. Glad you had such a great time! Love the pictures.

Adam & Wendy said...

So fun! It looks like you are having a blast and meeting some very interesting people. That Grandma is adorable! Keep having fun.