At long last, we’ve made it to Rio! The ride wasn’t easy, though. We left Ilha Grande via a schooner, though surprisingly this time, the schooner sailed through relatively calm waters. We then landed at the docks of Jacarei, after which we had booked a “Speedy Connection”, which would take us directly from the docks to our hotel in Rio. We soon learned why it was called Speedy Connection – our driver was quite the speed demon! He packed 16 of us into a van without seat belts and without air conditioning along with loads of luggage blocking every empty space (and exits) in that van. Then, he proceeds to drive like a maniac, tail-gating, weaving, alternating between speeding and braking. It wasn’t bad as the driving in China, but it wasn’t that great either. Somehow, some way, we made it to our hotel in one piece.
Our hotel is located in Leme, a neighborhood just north of the famous Copacabana (yes, Barry Manilow is playing in my head – and now your’s too, right?). We haven’t had a chance to really explore the beaches yet, but hopefully we’ll get a chance later in our stay.
Today, started with a buffet breakfast, a few errands, and then we headed to Corcovado, the famous mountain in Tijuca National Park upon which the big “Jesus” statue sits, or “Christ the Redeemer”, as they call it. We took a red tram car up to the top, upon which guys played Samba to get us all in the mood. At the top, not only did we see the big “Jesus” statue, which, by the way, is REALLY big, but we also got a gorgeous views of Rio. It looks beautiful from above!
Looking over Rio, with Pão de Azucar (aka Sugarloaf Mountain)
Up there, on the top of Corcovado, swarms of people posed in front of the statue, taking silly photos with outstretched arms in front of the statue. I started taking some photos, when I noticed a swarming bug around me. Since I was kinda getting used to bugs, from my experience in Brazil especially Ilha Grande, I completely ignored it. I went to take another photo when OUCH!!!!!!, that stupid bug bit/stung my middle finger! I say “bit/stung” because it hurt A LOT more than a bug bite, but at the same time, there was no stinger present. All I know is that my middle finger swelled up and started throbbing. Leave it to me – I survive the island jungles unscathed, yet I get stung/bit around a concrete statue. Grrrrr….. The only thing I could think to do at the top of the mountain was order a cup of ice and stick my finger right in. In the meantime, my mind started running through worst-case scenarios – that bug being poisonous, my finger turning black and necrotic, my finger falling off, getting blood poisoning and dying. Thankfully, none of this has happened so far. We went to a Farmacia and I got to use my broken Portuguese and hand gestures to explain to the dead-panned/no-emotion druggist what happened. I somehow got my point across and now have a topical balm that has lessened the pain and stop the throbbing. Stupid bug…
After that, my dad wanted to walk through the Tijuca National Park, but I was done with nature for the day! So I did what any American would do – I went to the mall and got Starbucks. 🙂 However, this wasn’t just any mall, this was Rio Sul, a mall of massive proportions. Yes, I DID get some Starbucks, but I also did some damage at 2 of my new favorite Brazilian stores: Sobral for beautiful acrylic jewelry, and Havaianas for even more flip flops. That helped to alleviate my pain, though not my wallet…
The Starbucks cup, in Portuguese
Boo gets some Starbucks time, too
Tomorrow… Special Convention (we have to be on the bus by 6:45am – urghhh….)
1. how will you make the 6:45 bus? (is there a second bus in case you miss the first?)
2. the swollen/bitten/stung finger sounds awful. Glad the balm helped. Poor Steph. Did boo get bitten too?
3. the van ride sounds great……not
4. did you buy an brazil starbucks cup?
Is the 6:45 AFTER breakfast? Or do they feed you on the bus?
Have fun at the convention!
Yes, I bought a Brazilian mug to add to my collection. 🙂 That’s the reason for the special trip to Starbucks. Boo survived unstung, thankfully. Also thankfully, we made it on the bus on time all 3 days. Otherwise, we’d probably need to take a cab for an hour! No food on the bus, we needed to eat before, at 6 in the morning!