"Fourteen Weeks" is a series of updates that Ethan Gelber and Jane Higgins wrote
as a means of staying in touch with friends and family as they traveled around the world in 2002 and 2003.
|A BIG HINT:|
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First 14 Weeks (2002) — Part One: Introduction | Part Two: Australia | Part Three: Hong Kong | Part Four: Africa
Second 14 Weeks (2002) — Part One: Introduction, Ireland | Part Two: Europe and U.S. | Part Three: Europe | Part Four: North America
Third 14 Weeks (2002–2003) — Part One: Introduction, U.S. | Part Two: Mexico, Brazil | Part Three: U.S. | Part Four: U.S., Australia | Part Five: U.S.
Eleven weeks ago . . .
Ten weeks ago, on November 2, Jane celebrated her birthday in Mexico City, coinciding with Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festivities. It was our first full day in the company of our local hosts, Marina (a Ciudad de Mexico native) and Lydia (from Costa Rica). Under their tireless tutelage, we enjoyed visits to San Angel and the central Zocalo, and even a trip out of town to nearby spirituality center Tepoztlan. On our own, we also marched up the ancient Avenue of the Dead of Teotihuacan to the Moon, Sun, and Feathered Serpent Pyramids; had a full day storming the artifacts of the overflowing Museo Antropologico; and visited Elige, a woman's organization where both Marina and Lydia work. Eager for a small change of pace, we also bused down to Oaxaca, where our first order of business was to visit the soaring mountaintop Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban.
Nine weeks ago, we felt our short time in Mexico quickly ebbing. From Oaxaca (after eating some grasshoppers), we returned to Mexico City via the cities of Tehuacan and Puebla (enjoying a different mole in every locale). Back in the capital, we walked through the Alameda and nearby downtown areas (amazed by the Giuliani-prompted numbers of police on duty), visited the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan, and . . . secured our visas for our impetuous trip to . . . Brazil! You see, we needed to do it so that upon Jane's return to the U.S., she would be given a new 90-day visa (going to Canada, Mexico or anywhere in North America or the Caribbean Islands isn't good enough anymore!). Besides, we had heard that Rio de Janeiro was a good town. And sure enough it is. On our first full day there (after a long trip and sweaty, disorienting arrival), we hastened to Copacabana Beach for a gander at the people and place, and then wandered back toward our hotel, detouring via the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the familiar vertical contours of the city.
Eight weeks ago, we continued our one-week full wrap of Rio and vicinity. From Copacabana, we walked further out the southern beaches as far as the scene at Ipanema. We made the mountain train run up to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), Rio's most outstanding (and mosquito plagued) landmark, and then hopped the old-fashioned open trolley up another hill to Santa Tereza (where Ethan finally got to dig into a full feijoada). A wee stifled by Rio's blistering bluster and hankering for a little rural outdoor pleasure, we scooted down the Green Coast and then ferried out to tranquil, tropical, blissfully vehicle-free Ilha Grande ("Big Island"), a crag-spined nature preserve of pristine protected rainforest, secluded lagoons, waterfalls, salt marshes, mangroves . . . and 106 beaches! Two days of hiking, beach bumming, Scuba diving, and chilled caipirinhas put us in the right mood for out return to Rio and flight back to the U.S.
Seven weeks ago . . .
Copyright 2003-2004 Ethan Gelber. All rights reserved.