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Published: March 11th 2018
Woke up his morning to find the rain had gone and the sun was blaring yay! Me and Steph also woke up to some bites on our legs which must have been from some bugs last night at the rooftop bar. I was particularly gutted as I hardly ever get bitten but it seems I'm flavoursome to the South American bugs so that doesn't bode well for next week! We had originally planned to go up Sugarloaf Mountain tonight for sunset but as the weather was so good and it was forecast to change to rain again later we decided to go for breakfast then head across to go up it this morning. So we had breakfast then got an Uber across to the ticket area at the bottom. It was still pretty early by this point, about 9.30am so there wasn't many people about. It was very hot and humid even at this time and we had put sun cream on before we left so we didn't get burnt.
Back home when we were planning this trip and the idea of going up Sugarloaf Mountain was floated I'll admit I was petrified. It involves going up two
cable car rides, the first one goes to the top of the a smallish mountain where there are some viewing platforms, a cafe and a place to generally mill around. The second cable car is the 'biggie' which goes from the top of the first mountain straight across to the summit of the larger mountain. It is steep and goes right across and up rather than hugging the mountainside like other cable cars I've been on in the past which I've still hated. Whilst I've had the hypnotherapy for the trek in Peru which starts next week I knew it would be this 'adventure' that would be the first real test for me. Steph was excited and when we got out of the taxi at the bottom the first sight we saw was a few rock climbers climbing up the side of the near vertical first mountain rock. Things had hit home that I was actually here and about to do this! We got our tickets without any stress and followed the pathways to the bottom of the first cable car where we were first in the queue. I could see straight up where it led to and I'll admit
I was a little nervous. Steph was laughing and saying no backing out now we've got our tickets etc. I felt strong minded and knew I was going to do it but I wasn't prepared for still feeling the tingling in my hands and the jelly type legs! We then had to wait 10mins before we could get into the cable car (the waiting is what normally kills me). It didn't actually turn out to be that long in the end and then we were through and had to step into it. There was a big gap between the floor and the cable car to cross over and these actually ended up being the worst bits! Steph went straight to the front and I followed. Luckily we didn't have to wait too long for the rest of it to fill up with people and then before we knew it we were heading up. I'll admit I stuck my headphones on and put a song on for the way up! It only took 2-3mins and then we were out at the top of the first mountain. The cable car was swinging around as we got off so we had that to
contend with as well as the gap. We walked around and the views were amazing. We took lots of photos and just checked out the general area. I went on a bridge that jutted out a bit so you could really see right down into Rio and the beaches and the city in general. I spotted a bar and suggested to Steph we get a beer before going up the second cable car but she said we should just head on up while it was quiet, so my delay tactic didn't work!
As we walked following the signs to the second cable car all of a sudden it came into view and you could see the cables stretching from where we were right up to the top of the actual Sugarloaf Mountain. I was a bit taken aback about the height etc and looked at Steph and just started laughing saying it was ridiculous and I couldn't believe we were going up there. She led the way, I think she was thinking she just needed to get me on it without delay in case I changed my mind. We had to wait a bit again to get
on the second cable car and ended up in the middle of it this time as there were people in front of us who got all the good spaces. Before we knew it again we were going up and up. The ride was really smooth and there were no joins like on most others which was good so no juddery bits! We got to the top and the cable car was really swaying back at forth at the station and going up and down so again we had to step over the gap whilst trying not to fall! This honestly was the worst bit. Once at the top when you get off there is a wall where you can write a message on with a pen and I just wrote I Did It! And then we walked around and took more photos and some GoPro footage then had a drink at the bar at the top. The views were amazing again and we could see right down to where we had come from and the beaches and even an airport where we saw some planes come into land. It's so weird being so high up, it's like it doesn't seem
real. I felt fine which was weird and I kept asking Steph what I would have been like before as she's been with me on other holidays where I've chickened out of high things or just had freak outs and she agreed that I just would never have done this before. It's crazy and really weird to think how changing your mindset can make such a difference. Anyway I'm now feeling confident going into the trek next week with the bridges and other heights I'll have to contend with so we'll see how I get on with those.
So once we'd taken all the photos we wanted we headed back down the cable cars again. The first one from the top to the half way point was full and Steph went through the barrier and got on fine but when I scanned my ticket it said admittance full so I honestly thought I was going to have to go down in a separate one on my own! But they overrode the system which was fine until I had to barge my way on and then the barrier closed behind me almost trapping me in the door before
I had got on! We got back down to the bottom then tried to use the free wifi to order another Uber to take us back to the hotel. I thought I had done it all fine and got the details of the driver and we found the car and hopped in. Then 2mins down the road he started speaking to us in Portuguese which we couldn't understand and pulled over at the side of the road and kept pointing at his Uber app. We couldn't understand what he was saying but it seemed to be that he didn't have the details to where we were going which was weird as I definitely put it in the app. After some hand signals and him speaking in Portuguese and us not understanding and us speaking in English and him not understanding he pulled up a translate app on his phone and started speaking into it to translate to us. This would have been great apart from the fact he had it translating into Spanish! He eventually changed it to English and it was saying he didn't have the correct address for the hotel. So he got it to listen to what
I said and I said Do you need me to give you the address details for the hotel? Steph was trying to say something I was hushing her while trying to sort things out. It wasn't until the app starting translating to Portuguese that I saw it had listened to what I said and put a the input words - Do you want me to dress for you?! I was horrified and said to Steph oh my god look what's it's put! Turns out she had seen it when I was speaking and that's what she had been trying to tell me! I was half laughing and praying he knew it was incorrect. After another 5-10mins of the translation app being pretty useless and us just sat in the car he gave us a road name in Copacabana and we just said yes to it knowing we could probably walk to the hotel from there. Turns out in the end the road was actually next to our hotel so god knows what the whole thing was about but it gave us a good laugh!
We headed back into the hotel and dumped our cameras etc off, got
changed into our bikinis under our shorts and tops and headed to the beach with a 50 Reals note, some sun cream and nothing else. We collected some towels and a sun brolly from reception on the way out which turned out had Hotel Astoria Palace all over it so just in case we had managed to somehow blend in with the locals this screamed out that we were tourists. We set up on the beach and didn't realise it at the time but right by a very small cocktail making guy which would make cocktails up then walk down the beach selling them. We got one each, Steph picked the nice looking passion fruit one and I had a strawberry one that looked like pesto bismol! We slapped the suncream on then did some sunbathing. It was really hot and nice just to chill for a bit. There were lots of beach sellers who came over trying to sell us various things. Most went away fine with a no Obrigado apart from one who kept shoving his bracelets in my face and I was saying no, then he said in English, ok your loss my gain, then proceeded to
tell us very firmly just Go Home Go Home! Then as he walked away gave me a filthy look. We watched to make sure he didn't have any favela ,ages hanging around but he just walked off. Then the wind got up and our umbrella took off across the beach with me running to get it back. One of the beach attendants then came over and helpfully put it back in the sand so it stayed in and wouldn't fly off again. In the space of a few minutes we had seen the best and worst of people. After some more sunbathing we then went for lunch and had a couple of beers on the beach before heading back to the hotel to go and have a swim in the rooftop pool. The weather then turned very cloudy so we had a relax in the hotel room when it became apparent that I'm rubbish at putting suncream on and I now have blotchy red patches on my legs and the back of my legs and my one foot is burned bright red ouch! Also turns out somehow I've managed to get a fat ankle where it's swollen, no idea what from but hope it goes down in the next few days.
Oh and one more thing, our flight from Lima to Cusco has been cancelled on Monday morning so they've booked us onto an earlier flight at 5am instead of 9.45am so the expensive hotel we've got booked for a few hours sleep at Lima airport it's going to be pretty worthless as we'll land at 11pm in Lima if the plane is on time then need to be back at the airport for about 3.30am.
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