Our last full day in Rio began as the earliest day of the trip so far. After enjoying breakfast at the hotel and drinking multiple cups of delicious Brazilian coffee, we boarded the bus shortly after 8:00 to begin a day full of company visits and cultural experiences.
Our first visit was to the production factory for Granado, a popular Brazilian brand of cosmetics, perfume, cologne, soaps, and bath salts. The company has existed for more than 100 years and prides itself in offering quality products that have never required a recall. The company’s marketing director led us on the tour.
It was fascinating to watch as machines hummed and rotated within the different rooms, filling bottles and tubes with finished products.
The Granado tour culminated with a visit to one of the company’s signature stores. It was neat to see the products in retail just after seeing how they were produced.
For lunch, our tour guide, Rakel, led us to a downtown restaurant frequented by Brazilian locals. Lunch today was one of the most affordable meals on the trip. Because we are staying in Ipanema, a touristy part of Rio, food tends to be more expensive than in other parts of the city.
After lunch, we visited Porto Maravilha to learn about different expansion projects across Rio de Janeiro. In the next few years, Rio is expected to substantially boost its infrastructure through projects exceeding $8 billion. Through contracts with three private companies, the city plans to finish a light rail to connect the city, build an aerial cable-car transport from downtown Rio to the nearest hilltop favella (extremely poor area), and construct an expressway that includes underground tunnels. Furthermore, the city is cleaning its bay and investing heavily in real estate development. Donald Trump is even building a tower here. The city has set an ambitious timeframe for these projects in hopes that each of them will be finished before the 2016 Summer Olympics.
For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Frontera about a block from our hotel. Because it was also our first restaurant in Rio last week, Frontera was a suitable way to end our last full day in Rio. Tonight was also the last evening with the Brazilian high school students from TTU ISD. It’s been fun getting to know them over the last couple days. They’ve had great questions at the company visits and are obviously very well educated.
The Brazil portion of the trip has been fantastic, and we can’t wait for the Argentina portion beginning tomorrow evening.