Belizean sunrise

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Goodbye Rio

Well, I'm back home in California. Got home Sunday the 16th. Not too bad on the 2 flights back. Two 7-hours flights with a 5 hour layover in Panama. Nice to be able to hang out in the club room. Lots of free drinks and snacks. And, I gained the 6 hours I lost going so that's good. I rested up at home a couple days, letting my back relax from all the sitting and walking. Went to my back Dr Tuesday the 18th. She said I should have gotten an injection just before any trip, duhhhhh, lesson learned. :) She upped the dosage of Gabapentin, my med that calms the nerves. It helps for my neck injury so she thinks upping the dosage may work on the lower back. I've been trying it the past 2 days but the med makes me a bit tired and sluggish, not what a slug like me needs. Good thing I don't have anything I have to do so I have been chilling (literally and figuratively). I feel much better but I'm not all that active which irritates the back. I'm slowly walking more, doing my exercises, and getting out with some friends. My Dr. is super busy with many people trying to get treatments in before EOY for insurance purposes. I said I'm in no hurry and not going anywhere so she scheduled me for an injection the first week of January. She wants to do localized injections on the problem facet joints. It's more involved since it is 4 injections on each side. I had it done once last year and I recall it wasn't all that fun but I can take one of her happy pills to make it more tolerable. Just need someone to drive me home.
So, back to Rio and some thoughts on my trip. Rio is an interesting place. Way more people and cars than I expected. Busy all the time. Taxis, buses and the Metro are used by most people. Streets are narrow and a bit rough. Many buildings are quite old and a couple of the hotels I stayed in showed it. But they all were clean and complete. Many of the old historic buildings are quite beautiful and are being rebuilt all around the city. Here is one in the Lapa district where I spent the last few days.
This is the famous Arcos de Lapa, an impressive aqueduct constructed in the mid-18th century by colonial authorities. I think there are plans to totally renovate this historic landmark.
The whole city will be undergoing a major facelift with the soccer World Cup coming in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
The language was very hard for me to get used to. As I've said before, I think it's a mix of French, German, Spanish, and Dutch. I can understand some Spanish but there's not a lot of similarities with Portuguese. When they talk fast it's almost impossible to follow any conversation. It was easy when my friend was with me to translate but when I was on my own it was a bit difficult. I enjoy talking at length to people when I travel and that's rarely possible in Rio. I struggled at times just trying to order food. With some pointing and other hand gestures I got by. Maybe others enjoy and can handle the language difference but I feel like I'm missing out on talking to and learning from the local people there. That's probably why I enjoy Belize so much. English is the official language and I can fit in with all the locals and talk at length with them. Overall I enjoyed most of my time. No regrets. Yes, having back problems didn't make all the walking and bus and boat rides much fun. Poor planning, again duhhh.

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