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Published: January 13th 2019
It has come to my attention that I don’t apply sunblock right up to my clothes. I have woken this morning with 3 pink rings around my neck and shoulders outlining yesterday’s vest. So this morning I am wearing a t shirt. I feel hideously overdressed is a city where the preferred attire is a bikini which barely covers your nipples.
It’s our last day in Rio so we’re going up Sugarloaf Mountain. We’ve left it till last because frankly I hate cable cars. It’s not natural to hang in mid air in a glass box on a bit of wire and Sugarloaf Mountain requires some serious mid air hanging. First you take a cable car up the neighbouring Morro da Urca. Then you take a second cable car to Sugarloaf. Basically you travel a kilometre in a glass box on a wire which hangs between two mountains.
They’re not really mountains, to use the correct geographical term (Catherine), they’re granite monoliths. It has to be said that the cable cars traversing these monoliths is a spectacular sight which can be seen across Rio. But it’s still against the laws of nature.
We set off for the bus
stop, but there is some confusion as the bus Google says we should take doesn’t appear to exist. We wait 20 minutes before giving up and getting on a random bus and hoping it gets us near our destination. This non-scientific approach leaves us with a mile to walk, which we consider a marginal success.
Tickets for the cable car aren’t cheap; we hand over our £60 (that’s around £10 a minute) and board the first cable car to Murro da Orca. The summit is quite small; just big enough for 2 cable car stations and a gift shop.
We take the second cable car to Sugarloaf, which is slightly larger (a gift shop and a restaurant and, rather bizarrely, as we’re up a mountain/monolith, a beach bar).
We circumnavigate the monolith to enjoy the views, take photos and generally reach a point where we feel like we’ve had £60 worth of entertainment. At the rear is an area of rainforest populated by very tame marmosets.
We descend and just as we’re discussing how to reach the hotel, the non-existent bus appears round the corner. We’re not at a bus stop so we just smile and
wave at the bus driver, who takes pity and picks us up.
That leaves just one item on our Rio ‘to do’ list – swimming on Copacabana Beach. The problem is that having walked the length of the bay on arrival, we have spotted the sewage pipes spewing crap into the ocean. So I have a dilemma; do I want to swim on one of the world’s iconic beaches knowing that I will literally be paddling in my own poo? Not that it makes a difference whose poo I’m paddling in.
We walk to the beach, find a few square inches to lay out our towel, and the old man sets forth into the water. I’m not sure why. It’s a rather sinister shade of brown and has all sorts of rubbish floating in it - more brown flag than blue flag. He emerges with a look of horror on his face, takes a shower, returns to the hotel and takes two more showers, all the time muttering about taking precautionary Imodium.
Once I have finally finished laughing, it’s time fish my knickers off the window ledge and pack. In the morning we leave Rio and head
for the waterfalls of Iguacu.
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