Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First days in Rio

I wanted to wait to post until I had time to upload pics.  But I think everyone just wants to hear details, so I will write for a bit.

We left on Saturday at 5am and had a few hiccups along the way, which, thankfully, didn't cause us to miss our flight.  First, one of our suitcases wouldn't zip.  So we had to stop on the way to LA to buy a new one.  Then, the airline wouldn't let me check in without a return ticket.  Apparently it's Brazilian law that if you're traveling with a visitor's visa you have to show proof of a ticket to exit the country.  We tried to explain to the airline that Peter is a Brazilian citizen and that we're going to deal with permanent residency stuff once we have our marriage certificate.  Plus I knew the Brazilian customs wouldn't even ask to see a return ticket, as I traveled to Brazil last year and they said nothing about it.  But, nevertheless, we had to buy a one-way ticket out of the country.  Thankfully we had enough in our bank account (from wedding gifts) to purchase a fully refundable ticket.  So once I'm officially legal to stay in Brazil long-term, we will return the ticket and receive the full amount back.  (At least that's what the airline assured us.  They're not even a Brazilian airline, so why did they care so much?!)

We traveled all day Sunday and Sunday night and arrived on Monday morning at 6am Rio time (2am California time)...  We got to our apartment around 8am and fell asleep until about 3pm (Rio time).  Sometime in the morning the wife of the school's director brought over some food and cleaning items, just to get us started.  Then in the evening we explored a little bit of the neighborhood (forgetting that it's winter-time and it gets dark early), and then went out to dinner with the school's director and two other new couples.  Yesterday we spent the day cleaning the apartment, visiting the school and meeting new people, eating yummy Brazilian food, and then cleaning some more.  Today we are going to continue cleaning, hopefully enough to unpack, pick up some necessities at the store, and clean some more.  Then we are having dinner with some couples from the school.

Here's a little bit more about the apartment.  More details and pictures to come soon!

- Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
- Kitchen has refrigerator, microwave, toaster, extremely dirty stove and oven, some dishes, some pots and pans that we're going to toss because they're nasty, washing machine, everything is extremely dirty.  I spent most of yesterday taking everything out of the cupboards and cleaning them, then tossing most of what was in the cupboards...
- "Guest" room has bunk beds and two dressers stacked on top of each other
- "Guest" bathroom is in disrepair (very large holes in the ceiling, leaks), and we are waiting for someone to come fix it
- Our bedroom has a bed (they told us it's a queen but I doubt it's even a double), built in closets (with shelves and drawers), and a night stand.  It also had clothes, shoes, makeup, and other random stuff left by the previous inhabiter.  Gross!
- Our bathroom is in working order, though it was also left extremely dirty.  Hair clogging drains, nothing clean, used toothpaste and facewash, etc.
- Living room is spacious, but, again, very dirty.  The couch is disgusting.  We have an end table, a tiny card table with two chairs (I guess they don't want us to have dinner guests...), a tv, a tall skinny bookshelf, and a desk.
- Balcony has an ocean view!  Distant and tiny, but there!
- We wouldn't be so upset about the state of our apartment (dirty, disorganized, sparse furniture) if we hadn't seen what the other new couples get - one apartment has a full matching set of dark wood cabinetry, table and chairs, painted walls, and nice balcony furniture!!!  Why did we get stuck with such junk when others have super nice stuff???  Hopefully once we clean up the place it will start to be more livable and we will start to feel more at home.  Actually we are just heading out to buy more cleaning supplies.  We desperately need a mop!  Oh yeah, our windows don't have screens, so the apartment gets dirty really quickly!
-  Overall, the apartment is bigger than we expected but also way dirtier than we expected.  This isn't just a little bit of dust from being unoccupied for a month.  This is grime that has accumulated for years probably.  I bet none of the previous inhabitants ever cleaned, ever!  We are very happy with the location - paderia, grocery store, shopping mall, all just around the corner!  The neighborhood is clean and nice, the foliage is beautiful, and we have a free balsa (ferry) right outside our comples to take us across the lagoon to the beach!

Who will be the first to visit?!?!?!

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