So my dad left this morning.
It’s probably for the best.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad and all, but that guy was wearing me out. You know in travel books, how they always have a paragraph that starts, “If you only have one day in such-a-such place…” and it proceeds to give you a seemingly impossible dawn-to-midnight list of places to go, restaurants to try, things to see? That’s pretty much my dad’s vacation philosophy no matter how many days he has. And he always comes prepared with at least one, but some times several, travel guides; all cross referenced with newspaper and Internet articles that he’s been collecting for the last 3 years. He didn’t disappoint this time, he arrived Saturday night with his Brazil travel book that I got him for his birthday last August well-read and well-marked (and then proceeded to read two other Brazil books that I had laying around).
I have done these types of trips with my dad before; Washington D.C., San Francisco, 5 Italian cities in 10 days. And I saw more of Mexico City in the three days that he was there last December than I did the whole other 10 months combined. “Vacation Rudy” has an attitude that’s almost palpable. The more he sees, the more excited he gets, the more excited he gets, the faster he starts moving and the more he wants to see. Guapo describes this state as “being on fire”. A new place just doesn’t feel like home until my dad has made his inaugural visit to get us feeling excited about where we are living. With his contagious enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that my two favorite cities in the US are D.C. and San Francisco.
Oh, and I should mention, he LOVES public transportation. If there’s a bus that will take you somewhere, why would you want to drive yourself? Or take an airplane for that matter? Once while we were living in Small Town, Mexico, he flew in to Cancun and then took an EIGHT hour bus ride from Cancun to Small Town, stayed for 2 days (plen-ty of time to see the big shrimp), and then hopped back on the bus for Cancun. He always chooses such complicated itineraries in the name of “saving money” but I know he really does it so he can experience the local public transportation and see a bit more of the country.
I’m sure he was sorely disappointed when he met Sergio the Driver whose primary objective is to keep me off of public transportation. What he really wanted to do was to catch the bus by our house that drops you off at the Metro station and then take the Metro to Centro. While I ultimately had to deny him his dream of riding the bus, after two days of catching him gazing longingly at the buses and signs for the Metro, I finally decided to be a nice daughter and agreed to have Sergio drop us off at the Metro station so he could experience at least a portion of Brazilian public transportation. (I’m not an uppity kind of girl, but I’ll admit I do have issues with city buses after having my parents trying to make me, unsuccessfully I might add, take one to my oh-so-affluent-high school.)
He had just 5 days to see the sites here (well, really only 4 since we Mormons are soooo boring on Sundays) and three of those days it rained. Did it stop Rudy? No way! We were out there pounding the pavement seeing the sites everyday. I won’t bore you with a detailed description of all that we saw but here’s an idea of all that we accomplished Monday morning until Wednesday night:
National Library (just the foyer; I told my dad it didn’t matter if he wore shorts. It did.)
Some other Portuguese Library type place -very cool old books
Lunch at some famous place-tasty
Some big, dark church
Dinner at my favorite restaurant-very tasty
Sugarloaf Mountain-always cool
Lunch with Guapo
3 separate laps around the 5 mile lake (ok, I only did one with him, I was recovering from whatever it was that my kids had last week)
Watched Star Wars 1 with the kids
Watched lots of 30Rock with me and Guapo (oh how I heart 30Rock)
Watched You’ve Got Mail with me
Played Monopoly with me and Margarita
Modern Museum of Art
Some other cool, old building
Another, less modern, art museum
2 metro rides
1 Giant Ferris wheel ride-have you seen it on CNN?
Yesterday the sun finally came out, at least for a little while, so we did the “sunny” things. We went up to the Christ the Redeemer statue, did the beach thing after the kids got off of school, and ate dinner at our favorite pizzeria on the Lake.
The highlight of the day, and maybe the year, was when my dad treated me to a helicopter trip over Big City. It was AMAZING. It was my first time in a helicopter and I really had to force myself to get on it. I knew I would love it once we were up in the air but I had heard that the take-off process is a little scary. It was. I screamed but then I was ok. Here’s the helicopter:
Here we are before take off:
Yes, that’s Sergio the Driver (fully clothed, thank goodness). We had to have 3 people to go and my dad graciously invited Sergio to come along. It was his first time in a helicopter as well. I think he was just as scared as I was.
The views were simply breathtaking.
(my new header photo is from our trip! No more Christmas tree and it's not even February. Pretty good, eh?)
What a great visit. My dad is a great guy to do touring with. I feel so blessed that Guapo and I both have parents that are willing to come visit us wherever we are-it makes doing this much, much easier.