Sunday, August 9, 2009

South America 2009 - Day 3 (8/9/2009) - Rio - Botanical Garden, Maracana

After breakfast at the hostel, we started out intending to go to Tijuca Forest, which is in the same direction as the Jardim Botânico (botanical garden). While we were on the bus toward the garden, we realized that we didn't really know how to get to the park, so we decided just to go to the garden. The garden is pretty big, and we probably didn't see even half of it in our two hours of walking around.

When we left the garden, we took the bus back to Botafogo. After getting off, we searched for some quick lunch, eventually stumbling across a Subway. We took our sandwiches back to the hostel, where we were to meet our new friend Jill (an astronomer from Wisconsin, currently living in Seattle) before heading to the football game at Estádio do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium). We lucked out, as the game was between Flamengo and Corinthians, the two biggest teams (in terms of fan base) in Brazil.

We took the subway to the stadium, and arrived about one hour before the 16:00 game. We waited in line for tickets, and at one point needed help from a kind fan to determine which of the 3 branches of the line to take. We chose the middle one (the one on the left was for the upper deck, and the one on the right was for the expensive seats), and we ended up quite satisfied with our decision. There was no assigned seating with our tickets, and we ended up by one of the end lines, about 20 seats up from the field. During the game, we each bought a jersey from a guy selling bootleg jeryseys out of a backpack. Flamengo ended up winning the game 1-0 (at least that was the score when we left late in the second half) on a goal by Adriano, whose jersey we each had bought.

After the game we took the metro back to the hostel. There, we ran into a few other people and invited them out to dinner with us. The other attendees were Dorian (one of our roommates, from France) and another guy from Israel. After wandering around indecisively for a while, we settled on a pizza churrascaria and buffet. We opted to go the unlimited pizza/pasta route. My favorites probably were the desert pizzas that came out towards the end: chocolate, chocalate-cream, chocolate-strawberry, and chocolate-M&M. A couple of other guys from the hostel showed up at the restaurant and joined our table midway through the dinner. After eating and conversing for a while, we headed back to hostel. A couple of the astronomers (there's an astronomy conference in Rio last week and this week) took off for an astronomy party, but Greg and I stayed in.

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