Rio - Part 2

Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog

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Was trying to get the last bit of Rio done before the taxi came to take us to the airport for the flight home, so slightly cheating here and writing this from a wet and windy Southsea.  If I close my eyes and turn the heating up could still be in Rio.

Our second full day in Rio and the sun was out again and was going to be even hotter than the previous day - somewhere nearyer 38C.  We were going up on one of Rio's last trams up to the Santa Theresa neighbourhood which is an up and coming bohemian area on top of a ridge with favelas on the hillside.  Bit of a strange place especially on the rattling old openside tram that left the downtown area, crossed an old aquaduct and then crawled its way up the steep cobbled streets.  Kids would jump on and off holding on and standing on the running boards.  The ride cost R$0.60 which is less than peanuts.  Got off in the main square (not very big) where there were a few craft shops and restaurants.  Most of the old villas looked as if they had seen their best days, hence the arty types moved in for the cheap rents.  Went to a now ruined villa of a socialite from the twenties.  The views from the terraces and the house were again amazing looking out over the city with its famous landmarks.  Nextdoor was another former villa of a rich chap who had it rebuilt in the 50s that housed an art collection.  Time for lunch and escape the heat.

Was going to get the bonde (the tram) back down the hill to go to the beach.  A journey of about 15 minutes took hour and half thanks to two buses that decided to break down.  The first bus was broken down right on the tracks of the downhill tram and couldn't budge.  The tram turned up and couldn't get past, for the next 20 minutes in the heat Santa Theresa turned into a traffic jam.  Small buses tried to squeeze past the stranded bus, with motorbikes nipping through any gap, taxi drivers leaning heavily on their horns and police horses not really doing anything about the situation.  Eventually after lots of arm waving, sweating and discussions the tram backed up to some points swapped over the other side and got past the bus.  Going backwards against the flow of traffic it felt as if the chap walking in front should of had a red flag.

Further down the hill bumped into another bus that had given up the ghost.  The tram which has been going for over a century can deal with the hill and the heat where as the buses just gave up on the slightest bit of a problem.  After another quarter of an hour sat at an impass with the tram (now plural after the other one had gone up and was coming down) unable to get past and traffic building up we gave up and got on a downhill bus and got into town.  No idea if the tram made it past the bus or if they are still up their waiting for a tow truck!

Back to Copacabana and to the beach, was busy but there was plenty of space being a working day.  Staked our claim under an umbrella and went into the breakers until the sun got to the point where the apartment blocks of Copacabana created shade.  That evening had a few drinks in Ipanema bumping into the Dutch couple from Ilha Grande.

On our last day in Rio before heading off to the airport and it was a public holiday so many public services and offices were closed which counted out downtown Rio.  Went back to Urca the neighbourhood under Sugarloaf to walking the rainforest.  It was another hot day and the beaches were packed to the rafters and beyond with families.  The noise of the kids playing in the water drifted into the trees.  Walked along a bit and found a small family of monkeys to watch.  Took the bus to Ipanema to possibly sit on the beach - this was heaving a sea of umbrelas and tanning bodies.  Weaved our way through to get to the sea but the water's edge was teaming with people either in the sea or playing keepy-up.  There was nowhere to walk.  Every time a wave came in a mass of heads would rise and dissappear.  Gave up and went back to the hostel to prepare for the trip to the airport.

Back home now survived the mad taxi ride to the airport, the delayed flight back to Sao Paulo, un airconditioned and poorly stocked Rio airport and then a crampt flight to London.  It has been a brilliant three week trip with highlights definately being the Iguazu Falls and Mendoza. 

Hope you've all enjoyed the blog, so where to next?...

Iain & Becca

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