The morning started with a tour of the Christ the Redeemer statue. You have to take a tram to get to the top of the mountain. It`s a nice ride through a forest and lasts about 20 mins.
To my huge huge huge disappointment, the statue was covered in scaffolding as they were working on repairs. You couldn`t really see it at all. The view of the city and surrounding area was spectacular though! Tons of photo opportunities.
We came back into Rio for a quick lunch at a mediocre restaurant in Ipanema. I ordered fetticini and ended up getting spaghetti which tasted horrible. Yes, why when I was in Brazil, would I order fetticini and not something local? Well, the only other option offered (due to being booked as part of tour) was some type of fish dish that didn’t look or smell good, so fetticini it was! I sat at a table with a bunch of Italians who didn’t know a word of English. We smiled at one another a lot though. Hee hee.
Everyone in Rio is always trying to sell something to tourists. We saw a woman try to sell us a zipper purse. She told us it was made in Brazil. It´s a small purse that looks like it has a lot of zippers. It´s actually one long zipper and you can unravel the whole purse. It`s one of the most hilarious things I have seen since arriving here.
Next we had a city tour through Rio de Janeiro. I ended up sleeping through half of it. I was so mad at myself afterwards. 🙁
We were susposed to visit a famous cathedral but there wasn´t a place for the bus to park due to crowds in attendance of a Palm Sunday celebration being held on a Saturday? Yes, a Saturday. Damn those Brazilians for being such reverent Catholics. 🙂
We then came to Sugarloaf mountain to take the cable car and see the sunset and city views. You take one cable car to one mountain and another one to Sugarloaf. Again, I took tons of photos as the views were absolutely breathtaking. I even got some pictures of a little monkey that suddenly appeared out of no where. He/she was so cute.
The tour bus guide told me I looked like a famous Hollywood actress but neglected to say which one. This is the second time into my trip that I heard that comment. I should have just rolled with it and scored some Hollywood treatment.
Later in the evening, I got ready for dinner and took a cab to Hotel Fansano, where they were reported to have a really nice restaurant.
I experienced my first scam. The cab drivers really love to rip off the tourists who don’t know the city or the language. He drove me a couple of km`s in the wrong direction and then when we arrived at the hotel demanded $10 real, even though the meter said $8.50. Guess how much the return ride was? $6 real.
Indeed, the hotel and restaurant are beautiful, the food delicious, and the service fantastic. The restaurant was filled with candles due to them celebrating earth hour. Very nice.
I was happy until I got my bill. I almost fell over. I knew it was going to be a little pricey … but didn´t expect to be charged me for water that I didn’t ask for and for the bread they served before dinner! Wow.
I spent this morning on the beach. The beaches of Ipanema are crowded with people are selling everything you can think of – flags, water, beer, bikinis, sandwiches. Rumors of the Brazilian thongs are true – althought many women who shouldn´t be wearing thongs do. Most men sport speedos.
The water is also not exactly peaceful – a surfer´s dream though. I got schooled by the waves and ate sand (more than once). Really tasty! I am also sure I blinded most people on the beach with my ultra white pastiness. I was the whitest person there.
After a long shower ridding myself of several pounds of sand, I headed back into Ipanema to explore. I went back to the same cafe I went to on my first day for a repeat of the chicken sandwich. It was just that good! I then walked around the neighborhood, explored a park, found another shoreline and got lots of nice pictures, and finally arrived at a really cool Bossa Nova shop where you can buy CD´s, records, books etc. I picked up a few CD´s there and look forward to listening to them when I get home.
I found a pub-like restaurant close to the hotel tonight.. It was casual, cheap, and the food wasn`nt bad. The drink I ordered was pretty yucky though. A margarita that was not made well. I chilled out and watched a local soccer match on the TV. Cue for drool – watching shirtless Brazilian soccer players in the rain. Sigh, so nice.
Came back to the hotel and went across the street to check out some live music. It was awesome! People were drinking Caipirinhas by the beach, listening, and dancing to music. It was great. So glad I went to check it out.
Off for Argentina and Igaussu Falls tomorrow morning. Another adventure!