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Jonathan Sanchez :: Blog

July 24, 2009

Esteban, our Professor here at UFF wanted to take us hiking to Tujica Forest. I was kinda hesitant at first, you see, you don't know Esteban like I do, the man can walk for hours/days/weeks. So I decided to give it a shot, so in preparation, I started working out the week before, because I knew it was going to be brutal.

So on Sunday, we went on our hike excursion, the day was some what cloudy but no signs of rain. We took two cars, Zaidi and I went with Paulo and his wife Michelle, Paulo is a PhD student and Michelle is working on her Masters, both are computer science majors. The ride was rather long, Esteban said it will take only 15 minutes, it actually took 45 minutes. When we got there it started raining, a sign for things to come?


During our hike, we reached a cross point, either we take the most dangerous path or the long path. Esteban really wanted to take the most dangerous path, but because it was raining, it could've turned disasterous. So we took the long way.


About 40 minutes into the hike, a lot of people were struggling and we still had about another 40 minutes left to go. We had no choice, we all had to keep on going, but along the way we took a lot of group pictures, it was a trick really, it was a way to get Esteban to stop so we can catch our breath.






We were almost there, but before we can reach the top, we had to go up a flight of very small and wet stairs



FINALLY!!! We reached the summit, and everyone was exhausted, instead of Esteban of course, the man does this for a living a I tell you.




What goes up, must come down. We knew our hike wasn't over, we still had to come back down but it was much easier going down the mountain. It actually took us aroung 30-45 minutes to come down. Once we finally reached the bottom we all went to a restaurant near Tijuca.



But our day was far from over..... 

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July 17, 2009


Last Friday, the entire PIRE group of Brasil went on a litte field trip for the weekend. We went to a place where Professor Estaban normally goes with his wife, Lucia. The place is called Buzios, it's where most people from Argentina live. But getting there took a lot longer than we expected. We first arrived to the Niteroi bus station, but we hit a huge wall once we arrived there, first, the bus to Buzios was cancelled, so we had to take another bus to Cabo Frio. The bus ride was almost 3 hours long, but we were still far away from our destination. We had to take a public bus to arrive a Buzios, that bus ride alone almost took 45 minutes. We really had no idea where we were going and where we were. We do know that we got off at Buzios, but it wasnt the location that Estaban was planning to pick us up. Esteban thought that we were going to arrive at the Buzios bus station, he didn't know that the direct bus to Buzios from Niteroi was cancelled. We decided to get off, we tried to call Esteban with AJ's phone, but everytime we called the signal went dead. This is when everyone started to get worried, so all of us decided to go to a near by hotel, the hotel receptionist was nice enough to let us use the hotel phone. Thankfully we were able to get in contact with Esteban, who picked us up at the hotel. After that whole episode, he took us to the actual hotel where we will stay for the weekend:





After we arrived, we went and had lunch with Esteban and his wife, we went to a buffet restaurant. After dinner, we went and walked around the town. The town is beautiful, they have great restaurant, shops and a great night life. We didnt do to much because we were exhausted from the bus ride.





The next day, we walked around the shore at Buzios, it was an extremely long walk, but for Esteban, it was like walking across the street. The weather was nice, but very windy.




After the long walk, we went on a boat cruise that took a tour of Cabo Frio. It was such an amazing time, and a beautiful day to go on a boat. The tour was took us to two beaches, each stay was over 40 minutes. After the tour, they took us to dinner, we ate at another buffet, the food was excellent. After dinner we went back to Buzios and walked around for a bit, then we called it a night. The next morning we had breakfast and back home to Niteroi.



Thank You PIRE 


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July 02, 2009

On Sunday we the entire group went to Corvocado (a.k.a Cristo Redentor), Esteban and one of his Ph.D students, Mark was our tour guide. We jumped in the car and drove for a good 30 minutes, then we finally arrived at the mountain in which we had to go up by car. The mountain road wasn't as steep as I thought it would be, but it did take a good 15 minutes to get to our destination. Near the top of the mountain is a cut off point in which you have to park you car, the parking lot was very small, a capacity of 25 cars, max. At that point, the small bus will take you to the top, where the statue is. I've seen a lot of amazing things in my life, but those experiences don't even come close when I visited Corvocado. The view from the top was amazing, the East of the statue was very cloudy, but to the North, South and West, you can see all of Rio de Janeiro. In side the base of a the statue is a small chapel were a pastor was doing a sermon. For about an hour all we did was take pictures, then we decided to leave to go to Parque Lage.

 Cristo Redentor


PIRE Group




The Group




History of Cristo Redentor


Parque Lage was not very far from Corvocado, just a 15 minute drive. Esteban wanted to take us there because it is a very popular park, and a park with lots of history. Parque Lage also has an art museum, restaurant, fish tank and a small cave inside. 

Art Museum


Cristo Redentor from afar


Restaurant inside Museum




Parque Lage


 Regarding our research for Kaseya, Chad, our Project Manager gave us a deadline to have all our research topics done by Tuesday night. I was well ahead of schedule, so I had to research very little, Monday and Tuesday I just went over everything I researched to check for any grammatical errors. Once I completed my research, Chad gave us the remainder of the week off, and reminded us that come Monday, we start the next phase.


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June 26, 2009

On sunday, a couple of friends that we meet at Brazil wanted to take us to the most popular (and clean) beach in Niteroi, Praia Itacoatiara. It was one of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen, Miami Beach doesn't even come close. The scenery was breathtaking, it's known as a surfers beach and they weren't kidding, the waves were huge and powerful on impact, if you're not a strong swimmer, you might be sucked in by the currents. We decided to walk along the beach all the way to a huge rocks, it was a huge rock, we walked around and started taking pictures of the entire beach.



The following day we went to our favorite spot, Cheiro De Mar, the entire group goes everyday to this place to go eat, they have some of the best cheeseburger in town. This time ordered the Cheese Tudo, which is basically a cheeseburger with: Pineapple, fried egg, ham, lettuce and tomato, I know it's extremely fattening, but also extremely delish.


On Thursday we went to go eat at an all you can eat pizzeria at La Plaza, the pizza was amazing, it had various toppings served on thin crust. After the we ate, we went to the movies with Erick (UFF student) and went to go watch "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen" the movie wasn't very good and extremely racist.

As for our project, Chad (Project Manager) just told us to continue working on our project and that the due date was at the end of the month. Depending on how much I get done on Friday, I might have to stay in this weekend to try to finish the project by monday.

Until next weekend, good night Rio 


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June 19, 2009

On Sunday, Erick Passos took us to an AMAZING seafood restaurant called Berbigao located on a beach were mostly fisherman reside. The line was rather long and had to wait almost 30min-45min just to get a table. Our entire menu consisted of shrimp, we had fried shrimp w/ rice, shrimp bobo and shrimp w/ mash potatoes, apple and white sauce. It's probably the best food I've had since I arrived.


The Restaurant


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The Group Waiting in Line 



The Food


After Berbigao, Erick took us to the Parque da Cidad (City Park), it's a park located high in the mountains were most people go to hang glide. The view was breathtaking as you saw all of Niteroi from that location. A lot of the residents of Niteroi go there on the weekends with friends and family.

Overlooking Niteroi




Erick and I


The following morning we finally were able to get back to work, with the lack of Internet at the apartment and the holiday weekend, we were not able to get our work done. We all arrived early to UFF and went straight to work, I Skyped Chad, my project manager and told him that we now have Internet and that I began working on the group project. This is what I mostly did for the whole week, since last week nothing was accomplished, I was behind on my project. Also, for the past few days, the group have been going to a great Burger shop right by our house, called "Smell of the Ocean", they have some of the best burgers I've ever had, they consisted of beef, ham, pinapple, lettuce and tomato, and egg. Erick told me that all burgers in Rio consist of egg, so it is normal in the Brazilian culture to have egg in your burger.

P.S. We FINALLY got our Internet yesterday. 

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June 15, 2009

After the long 10 hour flight our collaborator, Esteban Clua and one of his PhD students, Eric Passos picked us up at the Rio de Janeiro Airport. First thing we did when we arrived was go the Policia Federal Department to register as researchers, but Detective told us we can't do it here, we had to go the Policia Federal of Niteroi. After speaking with the Detective, we put our bags on Esteban's and Eric's car and left the airport. During the drive, Esteban showed us around Rio de Janiero, the route we took contained a lot of Favelas's (Ghetto's), Esteban kept stressing that the route we took didn't give Rio de Janeiro it's proper due. Since Niteroi is on another island, we drove on one of the longest bridges in South America, the bridge connects Rio de Janeiro to Niteroi. Esteban was nice enough to drop us off at our apartments, the apartments (known as Flats in Brazil) were small but enough room to stretch out and relax. Since the only thing we had to eat was the terrible Airplane food of American Airlines, Esteban took us out to eat at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and met with more of his PhD students. The restaurant is very beautiful with a great ocean view.  


The Flat



View from our Balcony



Museum of Contemporary Arts 



Once we finished eating, Eric took us to supermarket to get some very important essentials (like toilet paper,bread and a pillow). Once we arrived at our current residence, we started to unpack our bags and get comfortable. We found out that the Internet that was promised to us was not ready yet, that we have to wait a couple of more days. Later on at night, we decided to go out as a whole group and enjoy the nightlife of Niteroi, we went to a great pizza place called Paludo. After the eating, we decided to call it a night and get some rest.


The PIRE Group at Paludos 

The following morning Esteban took us on a tour of the University (Universidade Federal Fluminense), there we met some of the PhD students, faculty, staff and the Director of the Computer Science Department. While we were there, they created our student accounts so we can access the school Internet and lab. The lab can only be access with your fingerprints, so they had to scan our index finger. Now that we got Internet connection, the entire group was now able to communicate with their love ones back home in Miami, some of us took the opportunity to get in contact with the reps from Kaseya. Later on that night, the PhD students took us out to a local pizzeria place where the majority of the students from UFF go, it was a great place with a great college atmosphere, we met with some other students and had pizza's and drinks.


AJ and I at UFF



Seijiro, Esteban, Erick and I at the Lab



On the third day Esteban and Eric wanted to show us the Beautiful side of Rio, they took us to one of the most popular beaches in Rio, Copacabana Beach. We took a walk across the one of the lakes in Copacabana and went to one of the popular tourist sites in Copacabana Beach, Forte de Copacabana. We also walked along side the beach and ate some churrasco as well. Overall, the food in Brazil is excellent and has exceeded my expectations, eating will not be the same once I leave Brazil. 


At the Copacabana Lake


Me, AJ and Eric at Copacabana Beach


Forte de Copacabana 

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