Everyday since arriving here its been 35 degrees, i think its the hottest place ive been too. Its not really humid so bearable in the morning and late afternoon, but theres no way you can sit in the sun between 12 and 3. Unless of course you are my dad who yesterday sat on the beach with no shade for 8 hours, he said to someone on the beach "Ive paid for it so im having it" referring to the sun, ha that made my laugh!
Today is my dads birthday, we had saved going up to see the Cristo Redentor until now, he has been in some amazing places on previous birthdays, the great wall of china, anchor wat in cambodia, and so the statue of christ would be another great place to add to his list. Family had already given me cards and presents to give, but i needed to get some wrapping paper and a cake.
The cake was easy to buy, there are lots of pastry shops in the city, and i bought a huge slab of chocolate cake no problem. But what is a birtdhay cake without candles hey? So i entered a stationary shop, bought some brazilian wrapping paper and some ribbons. I couldnt find any candles so i asked the assistant if she spoke English, she didnt. So once again i jumped into my charades/looking like an idiot mode, as usual i tried the speak slow technique "biiiiiirthday caaaaandles" Nothing. Then i tried signing, i pretended to eat a cake, then blow out candles, i then sang happy birthday to you. Nothing. So then i drew a cake with candles, she bought me a toy boat. Just as i was finishing my completely embrassing act infront of now maybe 7 people an english guy said "birthday candles" to which the assistant completely understood and picked up a pack of candles that where behind her, what the hell!? I think i need to brush up on my english, this northern wigan accent is getting me nowhere! Dad loved his suprise so it was well worth it.
Monica had sent him flowers to the room which was so nice of her.
The Cristo redentor or Christ the Redeemer is one of the most recognised statues in the world. This 38m statue of christ sits atop the Corcovado mountain and looks down on the city of Rio, and can be seen from great distances, its size and presence in the city is huge. We decided to head up there early and not take a tour, we took a taxi to the tram and took the tram through the Tijucan rainforest up to the top of the mountain. There was hardly anybody on the train and maybe only 30 people of the top platform where the statue was, this was great because we manged to get ome great photos on the top of the steps infront of the statue, a few over keen chinese people keep jumping infront of us but we eventually got a couple of great shots, we did a few silly ones like holding the christs hand which was funny.
Just as we left to get a drink, the next tram pulled up and was full of people, tour guides with their flags guiding the groups to the photo spot, they were all crowded round the steps trying to get a shot before they whisked off quickly to their next destination. We were so lucky to get there when we did. We had lunch on the top terrace looking down on the city and at the back of the statue, its such a beautiful structure, covered in huge triangle shaped tiles. We left on the tram passing the entrance queue which was now full of eager tourists.
The afternoon was spent on the beach, we were waiting for sunset to go upto Sugarloaf Mountian. Monica met us in the hotel and we took a taxi to the cable car, there are two mountains and two cable cars connect them.
We stopped of at the first viewing platform, the sun was just setting and we got some great shots of the statue of christ in the distance. We took the next cable car up to sugarloaf mountain. It was so nice to watch the light of the day fade and gradually the lights of the city light up the night sky. Perfect birthday for dad and it was great to spend it with him in Brazil. We ate at a resturant at the bottom of the mountain. Monica bought me and dad some presents which was so nice of her. In the taxi on the way home the taxi driver was explaining he was learning english, dad said he knew only 3 portuguese word "oi" hello "abrigado" thank you and "coca cola" the taxi driver was laughing. People always ask where your from and as soon as you say Manchester they always say "arrr manchester utd".
If your very stuck for small talk in any country i think Football is a good one. The taxi driver supported Botafogo and when we told him we went to the game we went crazy "boootafoogooo" shaking my dads hand and patting him on the back. He was so excited that we had been to watch his team win the final, he stopped the taxi and dad had to point him to go through the now green traffic light! Amazing day.