Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 2 - Rio de Janeiro. Discovering this amazing city with my 8 year old son

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We are up early.
We pop on our swimmers and head for a walk along the beach,
and a search for breakfast.
But we soon learn there are no cafe's along the Ipanema Beach front.
So we head toward Copacabana Beach area.

As we do, we wake to see so many people getting fit along the beach.

My son gets a kick out of this guy "fighting himself" as he says.

We wander around the rocks.

It feels good to have a morning walk.
We get to meet a few travellers, and talk about the beauty of Rio.

We walk through a park and then a couple of streets and find Copacabana.
I am a bit mystified that they have not connected the two.
It could so easily be done - quite a shame, as it ruins the tranquility s we wander past closed stores.
As we get to Copacabana, we notice it is more 'alive'.

My son finally gets the hat he has been wanting since Colombia.
I offer the guy 20 Reais ($10) but he has no change.
So he accepts my coins, and we get it for $6 - bargain.
One happy boy.

We then wander for quite a while.
Again all the beach front restaurants are closed.
It is quite odd as they really could change this and make it into a more cosmopolitan strip.
We head to a side street and find a cafe.

We find a cafe with a distinct French feel to it.
In fact parts of Rio are starting to feel more like France.
Not that I have been there for 25 years, but it still feels that way.
We enjoy a really well priced breakfast.
Not big though. A nice cheese croissant and a fabulous coffee.

We wander back along the beach.
It is quite overcast and we won't be able to see Christ the Redeemer statue today.
I enjoy the beach sellers, and look for new swimmers.
A great idea I think.

I buy a sarong.
We agree on a price.
As I go to pay him, he tries to up the price.
I know I could get it at the markets cheaper,
but I think - I need? one - well another "want" on my list is done.

We meet a family, and the kids start to play.
They speak English, so this is great.
We are surprised how few people we meet in Brazil so far who do speak English.
I find at times my Spanish - which is very limited, is at least a tool to communicate.
I am struggling with Portuguese.

We then return and pack our few bellowing at the hostel.
We catch a bus to Centro.
Again we find some-one on the bus who helps us.
He walks us around town to the area we have to head to.
We enjoy seeing the graffiti art.

The architecture has a strong French feel.

We find quite a few places we recognise of the animated movie Rio.
Unfortunately the trolley car is not operating.
Seems it has not done so for 2 years - and seems few people in Rio are aware of this.

We then wander to the Performing Art Centre.

We are the only ones walking around.
We get a great look upstairs.

We are invited to the Prop making area.

 We have been asking where to find the famous mosaic steps.
We have already been given directions - they go
North, South, East and West.
Some say we need a bus, others say a taxi, other say they are a far walk,
and lastly we are told they are close.
So we walk and enjoy the Bohemian feel to this area.

We stop and have lunch.
We notice beggar and a few drunks, and druggies are kicked out as they try to ask for money.
One guy makes me laugh.
This cafe has entrances to both streets.
So he is ushered out one side, pops around the corner and comes back in the other entrance,
and tries again.
I laugh, but the owner is exasperated.
He just won't go and is rather 'in your face'.

We enjoy a healthy lunch.
Fresh juices, fish and vegetables.

There is a lot of good Graffiti art in this area.

We start to get a bit nervous.
We have definitely come in the wrong side of this area.
But hey, in the distance we see the steps.
The little entrance street is not good.
But perched each end are Police.

We find the steps, and then we find the tourists!
We all have a lot of fun swapping cameras and suggesting poses.

No-one seems to care that my son climbs up the walls.
In other places, this would not be allowed.
He even goes for a slide down the side tiles.

The tiles are from all over the world.
Certain sections take on themes.
It is worth taking time to read, and realise what the artists are thinking.

We head to the top of the steps.
We hear it is not good to go past the tiled area.
But there are police at the top, so we head to the top and turn around.

I love this photo!

At the bottom of the steps is an amazing artist from Colombia.
He and his friend are starting a new business.
I told them I would give them a plug on my blog.
Each key they make is hand crafted.

Few craftsmen I see really earn their money.
These two are a team.
They work hard.
This guy is an artist.
It has the sun, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and much more.
Then we paid and he added our names.

If you go to Rio, please visit and support these guys.

This is no average souvenir.
We love it.
It is delicate, so make sure you don't fiddle and snap it.
To us, this was a fabulous memory of Rio.

We head back to the bus.
My son is tired.
We will come back another day to Rio and see the rest.
So stay tuned.

I make sure we go by 3pm to miss the traffic jams.
We head to the bathroom, and stock up on a bit of food and water for the journey home.
It takes over 1 hour to get over the bridge.
By half way over my son is asleep.
He remains that way for 2 hours.

So far we have loved Rio.
It is also the most expensive city we have been in to date.
Oh maybe New York is about the same.
but in New York we had more options for food.
If you go to Rio be prepared to spend.
But then again.
If you are in South America, you have to go to Rio!

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