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Published: March 4th 2007
We arrived in Rio very early am on the 22nd. Our reservation was at ACE backpackers’ hostel in the Botafogo section of town. We reserved beds in the mixed dorm for the first night and then were going to move to a private room. We did the dorm since I couldn't bring myself to pay "carnival" prices for a room for just seven hours. Once arriving at the hostel we discovered it was dump, close to the worst one we have stayed at our whole trip (worst is still Datong China). The only positive note was that they had screwed up the dorm bookings and had to give us a private room the first night. Not that a private room is all that great, sheets don't fit the bed and you basically have to step over the toilet to get to the shower and must almost sit on the toilet to shut the door so you can brush your teeth.
We slept late before starting off our first adventure of seeing Sugar Loaf Mountain. SLM is quite the tourist trap, kind of like going to the space needle. It costs more than it should but you do it anyways because it
is one of those city sites. To reach the top you must take two gondolas. The first one takes you to a viewing location on a hill next to SL, where you catch the second one. From both locations you get terrific panoramic views of the city.
Our next day’s adventures included the Christ the Redeemer statue and the beach. To get to the statue we took the metro, then a bus and then finally a minivan to the top of Cordocova Mountain. The statue is impressive and the view even better. The statue stands 30 meters high and was complete in 1931. There was quite the crowd all vying for the best photo op spot; we of course did the same.
Afterwards we headed back down to the metro, via minivan and bus, to head to Copacabana beach. We strolled along the boardwalk, which has this great black and white wave design. Scott and I, being pale Northwesterners, do not bask in the sun. I think really we are doing everyone a great service by not getting into a string bikini and Speedo. I think if I wore my one-piece I would be more conspicuous, since it seems everyone
goes for the bare minimum. It does offer great viewing pleasure for both men and women, as most are in great shape.
That reminds of the sign in our hostel "No Prostitutes allowed in Hostel" and then recommended a motel down the street. My question is since most women are dressed with little on and in a rather sexy way how do you tell who is a prostitute and who is not? Also motel in Rio is not the same as in the US, as they are only rented by the hour.
Carnival: see separate entry
On Sunday after a morning nap, at least that is what it felt like after getting to bed at 6 am, really 5 since they changed the clocks back last night, we headed to a soccer game at the Maracana. It is a stadium that seats 100,000 people. Only about 50 thousand were at the game. It was a semi-final match between Vasco and Flamengo. It is for the state championship berth. From what I understand the state champs are then placed in a league similar to the English premier leagues. The crowds at these games really get into it. They have
Nice flares!!! All about public safety.
flags, big and small waving. They started chanting at least an hour before the game started. Even with the pat down at the entrance some fans smuggled in fireworks and flares. During the game M-80's would go off during times of celebration and you could see sparklers in the crowd all during the game. The flares did not come out until the victory celebration when Flamengo won in the shoot out.
After the game we went back to the Copacabana boardwalk to have dinner. Our plan for tomorrow is to head to Sao Paulo by bus.
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