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Published: March 7th 2012
It is Tuesday night in Rio and I am about ready to call it a day. I left the house yesterday at 7 AM and spent the next 26 hours traveling. It was a very nice trip, so I can't complain, although I did have a couple moments that were more "Uh oh" than "Ah ha." Having learned from my money woes in Spain, I tucked some extra cash and a credit card in a book in my carry on. As I was finishing my packing, I moved the Brazil guidebook to my check through. On the way to the airport, I realized that I had tucked money in it, so went frantically searching for it when the van stopped to pick up another passenger. The book was there, but no money. Naturally I thought that I had put it in one of the Argentina books, so again went searching. No money, no credit card. By this time I was starting to feel that the travel gods were not smiling upon me for some reason. Right before I really started to panic, I remembered that the money went into the manual for my camera and was safely stowed in the side
pocket where I had put it. The good part of this exercise was that I was wide awake at that point. Ugh.
I used miles to bump to Business Class on the way here and boy was it worth it. For once I actually slept a bit on the plane. It was a nice change and I can say that I am not looking forward to being back in Economy Plus (coach) on the way home. Since I had a 4 1/2 hour lay over in Chicago, I reached out to a cousin I hadn't seen in over 20 years and lives near Chicago. We ended up meeting and going out for dinner and coffee. It was so great to see her. She called her sister who ended up joining us as well and then riding to the airport. It was all spur of the moment and so fun. I have never left the airport during a layover, but it worked out so well. That was such a great way to start my trip.
It was over 90-degrees here today. The guidebook had recommended spending the extra money and prepaying a taxi from the airport. I was tired
and starting to melt what with my long sleeve traveling shirt and luggage, so I did it and was glad I did. After a quick shower at the hotel, I headed out to check out Sugarloaf. I found a Metro station not too far from the hotel, took it to the appropriate stop and went searching for the bus stop that I needed. I must have spent an hour trying to figure this out. Even when I asked for help I couldn't find any indication that a bus to one of the most popular attractions in Rio was present. All I can think is that is must be a secret. I was about ready to give up, but rallied for another 15 minute walk and saw the right bus on the other side of the street. I dodged traffic and ran for it. Luckily the driver called out to me when it was time for my stop or I would have missed it entirely.
Sugarloaf was great. Clouds were coming through at a pretty good clip, so the view would go from great to overcast dark and moody. I enjoyed seeing it all. Christ the Redeemer is visible from
The Metro station was decorated and reminded me of the themed ride stations at Magic Mountain. It was like going into Batman's Cave.
Sugarloaf, though it is a good distance. The clouds settled in on that mountain, so I did not get a lot of pictures, but by being patient, I was able to get a few awesome shots of it surrounded by clouds. I waited to see if the clouds were going to lift, but it looked like they were pretty comfortable, so I took the 2 cable cars back down. The whole thing was pretty darn slick and well organized. I just wish there were more helpful signs. I had to ask a security officer where to catch the bus back. He didn't speak any English and I don't speak any Portuguese, but he found another officer who pointed me in the right direction. I have said it before and will say it again. Traveling is very humbling for me. I really have to rely on the help of others. Even after I made it to the Metro I needed help. I didn't realize that 2 stations have the name Botafogo in them. On the map I found the wrong one and was absolutely lost. None of the stations were familiar much less the one I wanted. Once I was told
what train to take I figured it out. It is all part of the adventure. Nothing like hopping a subway in rush hour and not knowing where to go.
While walking back from the Metro I stopped at a restaurant on Atlantic Avenue on Copacabana Beach. My hotel is at the far end of Copacabana in an area called Leme, but it is pretty much all one area. I had a green salad, and I do mean green. Green olives, canned peas, green pepper, lettuce, cucumber. Everything was green. But they served it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic and a spicy oil on the side. It was quite nice. The prawn risotto was amazing. not sure what the hard boiled egg was doing there, but the risotto was so good that I didn't care. Truth be told, I was so tired that I couldn't really be bothered to go through the menu and figure out what everything was, so when I saw risotto and what looked like the Spanish spelling of prawns I stopped reading. Now I am in the room and going to get ready for tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
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