Rio de Janiero, Brazil (part tres)February 17 in Brazil
What a fabulous day in Rio! The 4 of us hired a guide to see some of the popular sites plus some other sites that we might not be able to get to on a regular excursion. Luciana quickly assessed our group and saw that we were interested in seeing as much as possible and we did indeed! She had some great connections and she would phone ahead to one of the more crowded sites and have someone she knew there purchase the tickets for us and have them waiting when we arrived.
Our first stop was the Christ the Redeemer statue. We took a cog train up there that at times seemed to move nearly vertically. There is something special about actually seeing something so iconic. The clouds obscured our view over the city somewhat, but it was a magical moment none-the-less.
We sped across the city to take the 2 trams that go up to Sugarloaf mountain. The views were spectacular and we learned a great deal about the layout of the city from Luciana.
Next was a drive-by of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Apparently, there is quite a “beach life” in Rio. Luciana said that most of the people on the beaches are locals and you always go to a specific area indicated by a number along the road. For example, she always goes to number 9. All of her “beach friends” are also always at number 9. Within 9, she goes to Moises beach shack. For very few reals (about 31 cents per real), Moises provides you with a chaise lounge, an umbrella, will get you any refreshments that you wish from any restaurant and will watch your stuff if you go swimming. She said that she’s known her beach friends for years, but she never sees them anywhere but the beach. Hhmmm...
Our late lunch was near Ipanema Beach. We specifically asked to have the typical Brazilian dish Feijoada. It is black beans, garlic and a number of different meats served with rice, cassava flour and kale. Delicious, especially paired with a caipirinha and a shot of some unknown alcohol that is supposed to “open up the appetite”.
Back to the van, where I immediately fell hard asleep until we arrived at the Rocinha favela for a short walk. The favelas (about 1000 of them in Rio) are almost like small cities. They are quite poverty stricken and struggle with crime and disease, but there were some small improvements in the one we visited. There is electricity (illegally obtained, but not pursued for payment), running water and some technology such as cable tv. There are many services such as groceries and clothing shops, but there is no infrastructure to speak of.
All the rest of the time, Luciana regaled us with lots of stories about Brazil, life in Rio and some of the people she has served as guide for in the past.
With our heads about to explode from all the information, sights, sounds and smells of the day, we head back to the ship to prepare for an evening at the Carnival Winners parade. Who knows what that will bring?Read more