Sunday, June 2, 2013

Visiting Rio de Janeiro - an incredible city of beauty and expense

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We have been staying out of Rio de Janeiro.
About 3 hours out by bus - mainly as the traffic is so slow.
We were up about 5 am, packed and left on the 7 a.m. bus.

We pass Favela - where the poor live.

Finally - around 10 a.m. we hit the bridge over the river.
It is about now I am contemplating getting off, as I need a bathroom stop.
But as I can see Rio, we stay on.

But oh no - there was a traffic jam.
For 2 hours we are stuck in the middle lane of a bridge.
There is no off.
I sit, go red, contort - and apart from giving birth, I cannot remember agony like this.
As we finally crawl over the bridge, I have my son get ready to get off.
I have already tied my jacket around my waist - in case I couldn't make it.
It got so bad at one stage, my son had checked out the under surface of the seat was plastic.
I didn't think I as going to be able to hold on.
So we queue for the door.
We jump off the bus - we crazily make our way over 2 lanes of wild traffic.

Now Brazilians are a bit like the French.
I find if you try to speak their language, they will help. 
But they don't have a clue if you pronounce things wrong.
So with pleas for "sanitario", "banos", "toilet", "toilette" and any other word that we could think of.
We fail to be understood.
Eventually my son says "caca, poo".
They get that.
We are directed to a hospital.
We go through the whole shamozz again.
The guard saunters along.
I tell him "urgent" and we dash.
The toilets are busy. We dash again.
We finally find some - the pain is over.

So far it cost us $35 to get into Rio. 
We now have to pay another $10 as we get on a luxury vs local bus.
Of which, I have no idea of the difference.

Fortunately, there is a man on the bus who speaks English.
He says he will guide us to where we want to go when we get off.

He points out places of interest in the city.

He walks us to where we get the bus so we can go to Sugar Loaf mountain.
We stop and have lunch at one of the many "elf-service" restaurants.
Brazil has a fabulous way of eating.
You get a docket, and a plate.
You then choose all the food and sizes you want.
They weigh the plate and serve you a drink.
Soon you learn that mash potato weighs more than smoked salmon slices.

we catch the bus and find our way - and hop off where we guess is right.
We wander and start to enjoy the marinas wit the local fishing boats.

After about 1/2 hour walking (we were told 10 minutes by a local),
we find Sugar Loaf mountain.
We enjoy the military area and picturesque setting.

I find Sugar Loaf Mountain a bit odd.
The souvenir shop is before the mountain.
It should be as you walk out.
But we do enjoy these lovely old Brazil wooden kids they have on display.

It is quite expensive to go up - in fact - so far, the most expensive Teleferico we have been on.
But then it is actually 2 each way.
We line up and our tickets are scanned.
The cars run each 20 minutes.

At the first level there is an education area.
My son lines up and enjoys the English version of the history of Rio tourism.

The young guy that works there is fantastic, and we enjoy interacting with him.

We meet some lovely Americans who take our photo, and we chat.

The views of the bays are incredible.
No 'wonder' it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The first level has lovely restaurants where you can get coconut drinks too.

We then head to the top.

The views are just incredible - in fact impossible to describe.

We meet a few lone Gringos and we share cameras.
We happily snap shots for each other.

This is a dream come true.
One of the 'destinations of a lifetime'.

 We realise the time.
We have no accommodation booked and we head down to the mid level.
Unfortunately it is about now the 20 minutes per carriage is annoying.
The first carriage is full.
It takes another 20 minutes to wait.

We head down and walk to the bus.
They have a strange turn style system.
No one can get their shopping through.
We were going to go to Christ the Redeemer, but the clouds are rolling in.
We decide to go to Copacabana / Ipanema for a hostel.

We end up trying about 10 hostels.
Fortunately we only have one backpack to lug around.
The prices are crazy.
We keep on walking.
Block after block.

None of them will take a child.
Finally I am directed to a gate - inside is 6 tiny hostels.

We find one eventually - yeah!
It is called "The girl from Ipanema".

The room is $70 and it is basic.
Normally I wouldn't take this standard room for more than $20 elsewhere.
But this is Rio.

We do a quick change and head for a walk to see the Ipanema Beach.
My son comments that nothing looks like the "Rio" movie.
He is right.

We then go for a drink at "The Girl from Ipanema" cafe where the song was written.
Officially Garota Restaurant.

 We end up having dinner at a "Self Service Restaurant".
It is nice but nothing flash.
But the joy was they had a Sauvignon Blanc wine.
I finally relaxed.
The day was wonderful, but the stresses of travel sometimes get to me.
Thank goodness for a nice meal, great wine, and a wonderful son.
Not to mention - we are in Rio de Janeiro!

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