Christ the Redeemer and Sushi in Rio?
Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
January 13th, 2010 – by: Eric
To reach the top of the mountain where the statue stands, you take a little tram from the bottom of the hill. We went during the week (when it is less crowded), and we still had to wait for about 20 minutes in line, and then another hour for the next available tram.
We got on the tram and Lisa sat next to a little 3 year old boy who had apparently never seen an Asian person before. He clung close to his mom and stared at Lisa, looking as if he was going to cry at any minute. Another girl sitting across from us, who must have been older than 18, was vigorously picking her nose. The scenery outside the tram was much better, as the tram ascended through a lush, tropical jungle filled with exotic looking jack fruit trees.
The top of the mountain was packed with people, but we were able to get some good photos and enjoy some spectacular 360 degree views of Rio.
At night we went to a place called Sushi Leblon, which our Time Out guide describes as "one of the favourite venues of the Carioca elite" with "traffic jams as the rich and image-conscious leave their SUVs parked outside the door" (sounds like Los Angeles!). Indeed, it seemed like quite a hip and happening place to be. People were very fashionable dressed, good looking, and trendy. Prices were similar to what you would pay for sushi in LA. Unfortunately, the food wasn't too hot. They were out of yellowtail, the tuna didn't taste very fresh, and the Usuzukuri (thinly sliced fish with Ponzu sauce) had a strong, overpowering flavor so that you couldn't taste the fish.
I think that we are just spoiled by living in the South Bay of Los Angeles, which has dozens of Japanese restaurants, and one of the largest Japanese communities outside of Japan. Apparently there is also a huge Japanese community in Brazil, but mostly concentrated in Sao Paulo. On the plus side, the wine was good, the service was nice, and the atmosphere was both fun, hip, and classy and everyone seemed to be having a great time.
We sat next to an older gentleman and his family in the restaurant, and learned that he grew up going to American schools, and spoke English perfectly. I asked how he liked living in Rio, and he said he loved it, "as long as you have a bulletproof car and drivers". I couldn't tell if he was joking or not, but he went on to say that kidnapping was a big problem in Brazil, and he was always worried about it while working and living there.
After dinner we walked along the streets of Leblon for a bit and got some ice cream from a little cafe.
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