Once we made our way, with the help and guidance of Jonathas Moreira, through customs, we all gathered in the front of the airport to await our travel bus to the boat. We flew into the Eduardo gomes International Airport.
They were a little late picking us up as we heard there was an accident where someone hit the original van we were to be transported in. So we had a little wait on transportation in the airport lobby in Manaus. We were all kind of hungry as it was afternoon. Lunch was to be served on the boat, but something in the airport lobby caught our eyes…Bob’s Burgers.
Here is the “skinny” on Bob’s Burgers. Be sure to check out the full story!
IF FAST-FOOD JUGGERNAUT McDonald’s has any competition at all in Brazil, it isn’t coming from global rivals Burger King, Wendy’s or Pizza Hut. Instead the main culprit is restaurant chain Bob’s.
The home-grown hamburger chain has for decades been a fixture on street corners throughout Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but after years of decline Bob’s is making a comeback.
Spearheading the revival is Peter van Voorst Vader, president and CEO of Brazil Fast Food Corp., which has owned the chain for the past five years. “Basically. we’ve concentrated on our strong points, with all our marketing based on better taste and variety” rather than speed of service, he says. “We’re slower than McDonald’s because we cook to order.”
Launched in 1952 by Wimbledon tennis champion Robert “Bob” Falkenburg, Bob’s opened its first hot dog, hamburger and milkshake joint on Rua Domingos Ferreira, in the then up-and-coming Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Copacabana. By the late 1950s, the trendy restaurant had become a favorite hangout of wellknown American diplomat Harry Stone, jazz musician Booker Pittman and various Hollywood celebrities.
“At that time, the main thing for the upper classes was to go to the Roxy Cinema, then to Bob’s for dinner,” says Vader, whose Rio office is lined with black-and-white photographs of that bygone era.
Bob’s prospered in subsequent years, adding six more outlets, before Falkenburg returned to the United States in 1974 and sold the company to Libby do Brasil, which was later acquired by Swiss-owned Nestle. By 1978 the chain had expanded to Sao Paulo.
After exchanging money into Reals, some of our group bought frenchfries to share. We were hungry. Really. I do not recall who got the first box of fries, but they went very quickly. Then Talita really came to the rescue. She bought about 6 boxes of fries to share around. (Thanks again Talita!) Those fries were what we needed to tie us over til lunch. (Here is my daughter Whtiney with the 2Reals I bought home for her.)
Once we got all our luggage together, we headed out to the van to load up luggage and begin the 20 minute ride to the boat landing. After getting in, I parted the curtains and looked around getting my first glimpse of the Brazilian flag waving in the hot, winter wind! Jonathas boarded and gave us the info that his daughter Amanda would be assisting getting us there. Soon we were on our way!
We were told that we would have a very bumpy ride and we did! It was very hot. For the first time, I could feel that Amazonian heat! It sure was different from the heat and mugginess of Charleston. The van had blue curtains up to shield us from the sun. I wanted to look out and had pulled back the curtains. I think it was Jennifer, one of the interpreters or maybe Amanda who told me that it would soon be too hot to leave the curtains open. Trust me, they were right. The sun began to heat me up right away, so I just peaked out from time to time.
What I saw on that bumpy ride was just amazing. We were in the city but it looked third world. It was very different what I know as city. I took it all in. It was amazing to see! The camera was really going to come out once we got off that van!