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  • Day6

    Spectacular Rio

    October 17, 2016 in Brazil ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    We departed Buenos Aires in the pouring rain and flew to Rio de Janeiro arriving at night. Our hotel for the next 3 nights was the Porto Bay Rio International. Our room on the 19th floor had a small balcony that overlooked Copacobana Beach to the left and to the right was the Statue of Christ. Totally amazing location and the biggest king sized bed I've ever seen. The only downside is the hotel only has 2 very small lifts to service 20 floors.

    Our first full day and we did a tour of 2 of the favelas - what in other places are known as slums or ghettos. One of them had an estimated 70,000 - 100,000 people. Sure they are poor, but as our guide explained to us, they are not miserable and they have a great sense of community. They don't pay any taxes or any electricity because they do not officially have an address. They are built one on top of the other like a house of cards. There is only one main street so access to their homes is via narrow stairways.... millions of steps. It must be said though that this Favela - Rochina - has some of the best views in town. The other Favela was quite small, only 3000 people. This one was more on the flat and consisted of a rabbit warren of alleyways more below ground where it was cooler. These ones had street addresses and electricity meters. An unusual way of living but a very interesting tour.

    In the afternoon, Brad wanted a swim in Copacobana Beach so we wandered over. The sand is hot, hot, hot and they have a soaker hose set up with a track from the footpath to close to the waters edge to cool the sand. A really good idea. It appears that it does not matter what size you are you can still wear an itsy-bitsy bikini. Only time for a short swim because we then had a tour on the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. Great views but a bit hazy. Some good photos though.

    That evening we went to a Brazilian BBQ. We have never seen anything like it. After collecting salads from the salad bar, the waiters then came around with huge skewers of meat - beef, lamb, chicken, some seafood, ribs (from a dinosaur I think), sausage, rib eye etc. that they slice of pieces of and it just kept coming. Not so good if you are vegetarian but the meat was all extremely tasty.

    The next morning we went to Corcovado Mountain and visited the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the peak. Absolutely breathtaking views even though there was some haze in the air. It is easy to access via train, then lifts and escalators to the top, once upon a time you had to walk the whole way. Then we saw the Lapa steps which is one man's project to beautify an area with colourful tiles. The idea took off and now has tiles from all over the world.

    So ends our visit to Rio. Early start in the morning to Iguassu Falls on the Brazilian/ Argentine border.
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