South America, Day Twenty-Seven: Rio, Brazil

Before I go into details of the day, here are some observations about Brazil.

  • The drivers are mental. It’s perfectly acceptable to kill your entire carload here. Whatsapping, texting and calling are also examples of Brazilian taxi etiquette. Knees “control” steering wheels.
  • The men are all extremely confident – the other night at the Rio Scenarium, two guys walked in as we were leaving, begged us to stay, and then one of them (the more cocky one) proceeded to suck my face (or tried to). He kept saying ‘besito?’ and then he’d lunge in. He was good looking but I resisted his “charm”. Also, at the bus stop yesterday, a guy walked over to us, asked for our names and our numbers, and then asked if he could join us on our journey. We said no. So he did anyway.
  • The quality of caipirinhas varies greatly.

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Today was spent seeing various must-sees. The first of which was Escadaria Selarón. So cool. This street artist has turned a normal street / stairway into a colourful delight. Tile upon tile lines the street and the artist encourages people to bring a tile from every part of the world. There was one from London, another from Bueons Aires, one from New Zealand, Bolivia, France and countless others. Beautiful and inspiring.

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Then we caught a bus to Copacabana (from outside the hotel – 182 or 162). It took about half an hour but make sure you ask someone to flag when you’re in Copacabana. It’s not obvious because the bus route is inland and you have to walk to the beach. It costs 3 reals each.

We had lunch by the sea – in a cafe that served wicked caipirinhas but dodgy chicken. It could have been a pigeon. I found a feather in mine. We also ordered two. Not necessary. We barely finished half of one between us. But that might be because the feathers got stuck in our throats. Eww.

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From there, we wandered around the beach but not for long because Vicki, being a fair maiden, needed shade. Beautiful beach. Packed with locals. Then again, it was a Sunday.

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We had a look around the market, bought a magnet (it’s my thing), then caught a taxi to Sugarloaf mountain. Say ‘Pao ve Azuca’ to the driver. He’ll drop you off at the cable car. (I haven’t seen a female taxi driver yet).

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It costs 60 odd reals to get up to the top and you stop off at a smaller mountain on the way. The view is incredible. If there’s cloud, go up anyway and wait. That’s what we did and it worked. There’s a wicked fruit juice stand at the first stop and they serve ridiculously strong caipirinhas (by the way, I’m finding this word an absolute bitch to spell) at the top. There are monkeys and lizards but don’t feed them because you might get rabies / eaten.

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We watched the sun set over a minuscule Christ the Redeemer, as clouds swept by under out feet. Magical. Then the city came alive and a hundred thousand sparkly lights completed the picture.

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We jumped in a cab to Copacabana and had dinner at a place called Balcony. Really good food, drinks and the place was packed.

We caught another cab home and passed out.

(As usual; photos by Vicki Brand… with a few by moi)

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