Travel Journal

Easter in Brasil 2010 and Camila's wedding

(Wednesday 7 April 2010) by Brennan-adventures
Hello Folks,
Us again.... we are back in Brasil for 2 weeks. The flight to Brasil was with B.A. There was a worry the flight was not going to be taking off as it was the first day back to work after the strike by the cabin crews ... but all went well, the flight was on time and there were even free seats... so a nice loll out was managed again!!:-O

The food was only sandwiches but there was 3 deliveries for the 11 hour flight. The staff were VERY attentive and the movies had been updated, so I managed to watch two and read 1 book. The biggest problem was my flight cushion....a special battery operated cushion that regulates air pockets to inflate and deflate... stopped working 5 hours into the flight, so I was glad I could loll out. I am hoping that when it's charged up again and that it works ok.
The taxi ride into Rio was as crazy as ever... I have to close my eyes as I have no idea how they do not hit the other vehicles, there are only millimetres between us when they pullout to overtake....
This time when we arrived at the Hotel the power was on and the air-con working!!!
Next morning the sun was out and the temperature warm.... mmmhh difficult choice about what to do. Beach to the right or Beach to the left!!
We stopped at a spot in Copacabana. The ocean was pretty dirty though, lots of paper and plastic floating around. The waves were not so rough, but it wasn't so nice. After a couple of hours we walked around to Ipanema. I must say it was exhausting, 32c and sea air... a recipe for a nap!!!
That night we went to eat at a "Pay by Kilo" ..... not a great one for me, yes the dreaded garlic got me!!!
Next day back to Ipanema, it was much hotter, in fact impossible to walk on the sand away from the water, even with sandals on the heat made you want to do the lizard on the sand dune walk... ooh aah lift a foot!!!
I refused to enter the ocean without Mike, the waves were fierce and I didn't want to look like I was in the spin cycle of a washing machine!! :-( He did a good job and only once was I swamped with a wave. We saw some of the Beach patrol police using the electric two wheeled scooter things, look like fun but I am not sure I could balance on one!!!
Well I have been drinking loads of coco water... I love it soooo much, I'm not sure I would like to prepare the green coconut for drinking..... the guy uses a large machete and with 1 stroke chops the bottom flat then another 3 strokes chops a small triangle in the top which the straw is inserted.... I always hope no-one distracts the man as he would chop off his arm!!! When we left the beach around 4pm the temp was 36c... whew time for a manicure!!! Yes you thought I was going to say a nap, well not today…. I needed the feet done, so here was me in the hairdressers in my swimsuit and wrap getting my toenails painted. The other ladies getting manicures were much more conservatively dressed !!!

Friday saw us moving on to Maringa.. The flight was an early one, the suitcases for some reason were much heavier than when we left London. I even blamed Mike for sneaking in some extra papers…. Luckily we were not charged for the extra weight!!!
We arrived at the Ibis Hotel and the staff recognised us… over 1 year, how amazing was that!!! The weather in Maringa was very wet and the temp cooler than Rio, only 25c, but humid.
The taxi driver that brought us to the Hotel looked like he had suffered a stroke, his right hand side was weaker than his left side and the steering wheel was controlled with one hand…luckily he could manage to change gear with his right hand or I would have been having kittens!!!
That night we had pizza stroganoff, nice and tasty but I pulled all the cheese off… too greasy for me.
Off to Ilha Solteira next, we know there is a party on Sat for all the amigos to meet again… Will also hear about the wedding plans.
Well the journey to Ilha was LONG… Up at 5-30am for a flight then a 7 hour drive to Ilha. I managed 1 hour shut-eye before the party. Marilene had pulled all the stops out, BBQ and salad. Loads of Green coconuts to drink… a good night.
We have found out the old Hotel we stayed in and the restaurant for lunch has been closed for refurbishment.
Gabrieli’s restaurant has moved to another venue, so we will see if it is any better this lunchtime. At 5pm we are away to a Tea party… Will let you know what goes on later.
The restaurant has new tables and chairs, the set out is a little problematic for getting the food, people walking all around… food is still the same, salad for me and meat for Mike.
Tea was nice, homemade pie filled with shredded chicken, tomato and olives. Cheese bread, and ham sandwiches. No tea to drink, only soft drinks…. 3 types of cake. By the time we were finished at 7pm we all were stuffed. The weather changed and dark clouds rolled in. The lightening started to flashing and by the time we got back to the Hotel the rain was starting to fall. The storms here remind me of a child poking a sleeping giant the giant grumbles and shuffles then snores again. This went on for 6 hours, sometimes it sounded like the giant yelled before going off to sleep again.

Next morning up bright and early again… this time Dentist. No work needing done just a scale and polish… 1 hour later I was sorted. Lunch at Gabrieli’s again then to the supermarket for drinks and some insect repellent. I’ve managed to get appointments for nails, hair etc so by sat we should be looking smart. Mike has been in work at the Uni all day, tonight I think we will go to the Paderia for dinner……. Well our quiet dinner changed to being quite a stress…. Marilene and Vicente asked to meet us at the Paderia around 7-30pm, then another set of friends (that are not as friendly with Marilene and Vicente) asked us to a birthday party at the Paderia around 8-30pm. 8-O 8-O
Marilene and Vicente were great, we met them for a drink then when the other couple arrived we changed tables for the Birthday party…. What it is to be popular!!!!

Next afternoon I helped Marilene with some stuff for the wedding. Anna Lucia (another one of the amigas) had made some Chocolate hearts and eggs that needed to be wrapped with silver paper… these were going to be given to the Aunts, grandparents and cousins.
We have found out the ceremony will be a Protestant one, and there are no speeches made at the reception. One strange thing is, when people get engaged the ring is a actually the wedding ring; but the ring when they are engaged is worn on the ring finger of the right hand. When they get married the same ring is transferred over to the ring finger of the left hand. A diamond engagement ring is not seen here, unless they are tiny sparkles within the wedding band. Mike thinks it’s a great idea, as it works out much cheaper for the fella…. Typical mans thinking!!!! :-^

The last day here was spent with me running around trying to sort out things for bringing home and getting last minute beauty done…. Maybe a complete body refurbishment would be a better and cheaper option in the long run!!!
I was running through menopausal problems with the ladies here and we all had the same concerns, hair sprouting on the chin, hot flushes, spotty faces, dry skin and memory loss…. Oh the joys of ageing!!!
Friday afternoon we travelled to San Jose do Rio Preto, the rain was torrential. The sky looked like a huge dark blanket had been pulled over us and not tucked in at the corners. The hotel where we were staying was also where another 10 families who were attending the wedding were staying. It was like a country style hotel, basic and sparsely furnished. Our room is one of 60 built in a huge half circle, with a pool and leisure centre in the middle. There is another half circle of rooms around the other side, and all seem to be filled.
That evening we were to meet up at a ranch style house with Marilene and all her side of the family. Vicente had hired 3 large ranch houses near each other and all the family were spending as much time as they could together. Most of her family live nearer the north of Brasil and do not meet up very often.
This Ranch house was down a terra road… bearing in mind the rain had been falling for over 6 hours, I was more than a little concerned about getting stuck in the mud dressed in our glad rags!!! We only had vague directions, and in the dark was more than a little difficult to make sure we were on the right track!!! Finding a large electric gate open, we took a chance and drove in, thankfully it was the correct venue!!
The ranch had 4 bedrooms, one had 8 bunk-beds in it !!! There was a pool and a large outside covered space with another 4 bedrooms along the back wall. There were lots of tables and chairs set out, a caterer was supplying food and drinks. There must have been more than 80 people when every one had turned up. The dinner was made up of two types of fish, rice and vegetables, all prepared without garlic. The evening finished earlier than normal, as the wedding party had a wedding practise at 10am the next morning.

Next morning we missed breakfast so we decided to drive to the shopping mall, the rain was still falling heavily and the roads very wet, with drains struggling to cope with all the water.
In the shopping mall we bumped into lots of the other guests going to the wedding, they were either shopping or going for lunch. We went to the supermarket and bought some lunch and stuff for breakfast in case we miss it the next morning again!!!
The rain was still belting down… lets hope it clears a little for this evening.
We passed the event place, its huge!!!

Well the night arrived, we were booted and suited…. Scrubbed up pretty good even if I do say so myself!!
Arriving at the venue we were greeted with men waiting to park the cars, the rain was still falling heavily and stopping under the portico allowed the guests to stay dry. We arrived around 7-30pm and found ourselves one of the first to arrive. This allowed me to be nosey, I wandered into the reception area…….. Well it was like a set from a movie, at least 50 glass tables set with gold charger plates and glasses that glistened in the lights. The flower decorations were HUGE and beautiful selection of Lilies, Alstromeiria, Roses and some greenery. They would have graced the poshest hotel lobby quite easily. The cake was a huge 3 tier affair, all decorated in one shade of cream coloured icing with icing roses between each layer; each tier was about 9” high. Around the cake was lots of different coloured paper flowers, the centre of each flower was large sweet. Lot’s of differing flavours, but incredibly sweet….

Outside, the reception area was where the wedding ceremony was to take place, a little like an American wedding in the movies… There was an archway up a couple of steps, just a little higher than the area where the guests were sitting, around the archway was seating for about 20 people. Below this was the seating for the guests, rows and rows of chairs with a red carpet aisle running down the middle. The whole area was covered by huge awnings, and alongside was a lovely garden and huge lake.
While we waited more guests arrived, most of the women were in long dresses that could quite easily have been used for the film stars during the Oscars, very glam and sophisticated.
We found out there was no seating plan or special area to sit for the ceremony. The wedding was said to start at 8pm, by 8-45pm most of the people had arrived including the wedding party. At 9pm the close family, Mothers/Fathers, sisters/brothers and cousins were lined up and worked out so everyone was a couple.

One couple at a time walked down the red carpet to the raised area before the next couple started… Very Hollywood !! The groom had to walk the carpet by himself, and he looked very handsome although a little nervous. The last ones down the carpet just before the bride were the cutest ones; Gabriel and a niece of the groom… ages 7 yrs and 4 yrs walking slowly down the red carpet by themselves, both taking their job super seriously.0:-)

The time came for the Bride and her Father, Vicente to walk. Camila’s dress was a white fluffy thing , very fitted at the bodice, sleeveless and covered with crystals. Vicente was dressed in a morning suit as was the Groom and Gabriel.
The Music playing was the walk of the Matadors, which changed to the wedding march halfway down the red carpet. The Bride had a huge long veil that did not cover her face. She looked like a Princess, very beautiful; bringing a tear to many an eye and not just the women! :-(

Filipe watched her approach and looked more relaxed the closer she got. The service was conducted by a Minister, facing the guests below, with the bridal couple in front of him facing away from us. All this time 3 photographers were buzzing around taking photos galore, even during the ceremony, behind the Minister, while he conducted the service. There was 2 prayers, no Hymns and NO asking the question “ Will you take Filipe as your Husband”. Infact the rings were not exchanged until after the register was signed.
The Grandparents were sitting with the rest of the guests, but were in the front row. The rest of the Aunts, Uncles and cousins were interspersed within the other guests. Once the ceremony was finished, (it lasted around 30mins), the Bride and Groom walked down to the same level as the rest of the guests. All the couples on the stage then walked down couple by couple wishing the newly weds well before walking back down the red carpet.

The music throughout the ceremony was chosen from films or shows, One of the songs chosen was… Smile when your heart is breaking!!! We wondered if this was how Marilene and Vicente was feeling!!
The Grandparents were next to wish the couple well; then the newly weds walked down the red carpet back to the entrance lobby. The guests on the podium had line up each side of the lobby; and as the Bride and Groom walked though, they threw confetti over them….. None of the other normal wedding guests got to do this, we were herded into the reception area, while photo’s were being taken.
Again there was no seating area designated for the tables, so it did cause a few problems for the Ilha mob who all wanted to sit together. Eventually we found a table with a couple from Ilha, there were also 4 others sitting at the table, not known by the Ilha lot. Not once did the Ilha lot speak to them… most strange. I However went to find out who they were; they turned out to be cousins of Marilene, and we had a nice chat.
We were quite near the dance area, and there was a disco playing… very loud and with the acoustics of the large room, it made it impossible for conversation unless bellowing into someone’s ear.
On the wall each side of the Disco area a computerised projector was showing photos of the Bride and Groom over the years, and some of the photos taken at the wedding.
At the rear of the reception hall there were tables laid out with little snacks, Cheese, cheese and more cheese with bread, crackers and salad. Once people had nibbled on this, the dance floor started to fill.

After a while there was a fanfare and onto the floor, down a small flight of stairs came the wedding party, each couple entering separately again, but this time they had to dance down the steps. Once on the dance floor guys went to one side of the floor while the girls were at the other; the Bride and Groom appeared, again having to dance down the steps. The Groom stood in front of the Girls and the Bride in front of the Guys.
Then came a sort of dance standoff….. A portion of music was played and either the guys side or the girls side danced… “Who let the dogs out/ Its raining men/ All the single girls” were some of the songs played….. it was really funny.
Camila and Filipe then thanked everyone for coming, and for the presents. The dancing then started and the floor was packed, all was very relaxed and low key.

Main course buffet started at midnight…. Manjoca puree (like potato but yellow coloured); Fillet mignon,a small piece; a whole spiced pear; carrots/broccoli/cauliflower; and salad. This hot buffet had to run for over 3 hours as there was no set time to eat, people just went up and grazed when they felt hungry.
Lots of dancing and photos taken all evening.
We left at 2pm, absolutely exhausted, and the party was still in full swing, in fact dessert was just being served!!!! We did not see the wedding cake being cut, so absolutely no idea what happens to it!
Next morning we left the Hotel around 10am for our 4 hour drive to Campinas for the flight to Rio. All went well, although it was still rainy; poor Mike had all the driving to do as my head was still at the party!! The plane was 1 hour late leaving as we had to wait for a storm to pass over. We landed in Rio, it was drizzly rain and finely got to the Hotel abut 9pm.
Next morning we woke up to intermittent heavy rain; being British, out we went for a walk along Copacabana; stopping when the rain got monsoon like, at beach bar’s for Coco water or Coffee.

Mike had paid to keep the Hotel room on as our flight was
10-45pm. I managed a couple of hours sleep, preparing for our journey home. Watching the local news we saw flooding around the Maracana football stadium; the road to the airport goes in that direction so we decided to bring our checkout time and taxi forward 30mins early.

Well that’s when everything went horribly wrong, our usual 30min journey took 4 hours!!!! 8-O}-)>:-)
Mike and the taxi driver desperately trying to get info about the flight, was it going; was it cancelled? We were hoping and praying it had been delayed, the poor taxi driver was trying vainly to make headway in a horrid snarl up. All the main roads were underwater, also some of the side roads were like rivers…. Nothing was moving, then cars started to breakdown which caused more problems.
We found out the flight was delayed by 30mins…. Were we to be lucky???
The taxi arrived at the airport 11-20pm, check in was closed and the poor girl on duty at the ticket desk was suddenly having to deal with a crowd of passengers desperate to travel.
Mike and I knew there was absolutely no point trying to get on the flight, as once it’s closed no-one gets onto the flight. We were all cross though as it did not actually take off for another 1hour 30mins.. >:-)>:-)
The British Airways girl on the desk said she would try to get as many of us as possible on the next flight; which was Thursday… 3 more days in Rio!!! The other option was to go to Sao Paulo, but you would need to pay to get there and then pay again for another ticket to London. Mike did a quick sum and worked out 3 extra days here would be cheaper than the Sao Paulo option.
There were 3 other Brits in the queue, 2 of them students on a budget. Once the 3 realised how much the fares would be, they also decided to stay the extra days in Rio .
The British Airways girl got us booked onto Thursdays flight, all we needed now was somewhere to stay; Mike phoned the Hotel and explained the problem… He was told “No worries come back, as you have paid for the night anyway“; but they had no idea if we could stay on as they were fully booked after that. :-?

Next job finding a Taxi back, we were told there was a 2 hour wait as the taxi’s were still stuck in traffic……….. One thing we would love to know is how many people actually managed to get onto the flight, as all of the stranded passengers; like us had taken over 4 hours to reach the airport.

Standing outside the arrivals area at the airport, a man approached me and asked how many people were in our crowd. By this time, a Swedish guy had joined our crowd as well, so we totalled 6, all with luggage. (Now we had been told a taxi for 3 people would cost R$ 110.00 . This guy said R$ 200.00 for all of us, including stopping in the various places along Copacabana.)
Well Mike and I bit his arm off, the others were a little worried--I think they had visions of being robbed……:-\
I followed the guy and ended up at a large taxi with 6 seats, but not much room for luggage, yelling at the ditherers that it was a real honest taxi, finally they appeared. The Swede however decided he was not going to come with us, that meant more room for luggage.
The taxi driver was great, although a bit foolish at times. The huge deep pools of water we approached were treated like the log flume ride at the fairground, splash into them at speed and hope for the best!!! Finally we arrived back at the Hotel, it was now 2am and the rain was still tipping down. Dinner being the crisps and nuts in the room, then to bed!!! :-O
Next morning there was still a problem, the roads were still flooded and the rain was still falling heavily. There also was a terrible landslide in one of the Favellas, causing loss of life. A state of emergency was announced and people told to stay at home. The forecast for the next few days…. RAIN.
Well there are worst places to be stranded!!!

The Hotel also managed to find a room for the duration of our stay… whew!!! I must say all this packing and unpacking on this trip has become a bit of a pain!!! We have just heard that the rain has been the worst in 30yrs… trust us to get it !!!
We are hoping to get back on Friday. If it is still raining we will leave the Hotel at 4pm, that will give us 6 hours to get to the airport… wish us luck.
Keep smiling and don’t get stressed over the small stuff.
Laura xx

  • A wet Rio by Babs Andrewartha
  • It's dry in Aboyne! by Sheila

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