Black Belt Sunday, Pedra da Gavea, Sugarloaf

Time for a gigantic update.  I'm not sure how I've managed to fit so much in over the last few days but it's definitely been fun.

 

Pretty much everyone in the house headed back to Tijuca on Sunday to catch the black belt finals.  The atmosphere wasn't nearly as crazy as I thought it was going to be unfortunately.  Don't get me wrong, it was amazingly fun to see some ridiculous matches from just a few feet away, but I think I had worked it up as something more than it was in my head.  I got to see Felipe Costa fight (and lose) and also a black belt who we train with at Gordo's academy made it into the lightweight finals (he also lost).  I managed to run into David Jacobs and crew from Fairfax Jiu-Jitsu as well.  

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Unfortunately that weekend I noticed that I had a pretty gnarly case of ringworm developing on my face.  It kept me out of training until, well, tomorrow.  Some of the over the counter stuff you can get in this country is amazingly strong and has worked tremendously well.  In the absence of this I've taken to hitting up some touristy things that people should do when they're out here.  First on the list was Pedra da Gavea.

Pedra da Gavea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedra_da_G%C3%A1vea) is one of the highest accessible peaks in Rio.  It dwarfs both Sugarloaf mountain and Cristo Redentor.  The beginning of the trail is also about a 500 foot walk from the Connection Rio house.  The only downside is you have to walk up the whole thing and boy is it tiring.  The trail is immensely steep.  Adding to this is the fact that their is a somewhat intense climbing section near the top that, while not too difficult, has definitely defeated a bunch of "height-shaken" individuals.  I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to make it all the way up but low and behold I did.  To the top and back is about 5 hours, but that includes the amount of time we spent dilly-dallying at the top.

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Here is the highest point on the mountain.  Although "technically" it isn't a mountain, but a large coastal boulder.

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This little area here is Barrinha, or "little Barra".  It's the part of Barra da Tijuca where I've been living.  The part you can see there is the roundabout, where pretty much anything we need resides.  The market, the bakery, a few restaurants, etc.  Nice little place ain't it?

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Unfortunately that evening I came down with a weird, crazy, and strong 24-hour style stomach bug.  I literally couldn't keep any food down even though I hadn't eaten anything all day.  Thankfully every Belgian in the house (don't know why) seems to have brought medicine for the occasion.  I woke up right as rain.  That's when someone asked me if I wanted to head over to Sugarloaf mountain.  Well then, guess I do.  Sugarloaf is famous in popular culture for the iconic cable cars which ferry people up and down the mountain.

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The view definitely isn't as good as from the top of Pedra da Gavea, but I guess not everyone can climb that monster mountain.  It definitely offers a different perspective of the city though, which is nice.  Also you can take helicopter tours (we didn't, they're retarded expensive).

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We were told multiple times to not feed the animals.

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Yeah that wasn't gonna happen.

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Back to training tomorrow! (hopefully)