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South America » Brazil
December 28th 2010
Published: September 30th 2017
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Largo do Boticario ...Largo do Boticario ...Largo do Boticario ...

Killing time at this neat little square while waiting for the weather around Christ to clear up.
Geo: -22.9035, -43.2096

There are many symbols that come to mind when Rio de Janeiro is discussed, such as Copacabana, the Girl from Ipanema, Speedos, and Sugarloaf. But for me, the most iconic of them all is Cristo Redentor - the giant statue of Christ that stands tall high above Rio, keeping an eye on the Cariocas below. For the duration of my stay in Rio thus far, the skies have been grey and overcast, making a trip up to Christ a bit of a wasted effort.

There have been days where only Christ's feet have been visible, with the rest of his body buried in the clouds. A couple of Aussies from the hostel went for a visit the other day and the clouds were so thick that they could barely see a few feet in front of them. Their experience was so lacklustre that they decided to return a second time, in hopes of getting some clear skies.

Today - I showed up early at the Corcovado, the cog train that takes people up to the statue, in hopes that the skies would be clear, as the mornings have generally been the nicest part of the day during my time in Rio. Christ was clearly visible from the bottom, but the skies were still grey ... this wouldn't make for the best views or pictures, as a nice sunny day is what's required for that. So I waited ... and I waited ... until Christ was buried in clouds. Crap! I decided to wait a bit longer, and it finally cleared up somewhat, but still hadn't even improved to the level it was at when I first arrived. I thought about returning tomorrow in hopes of a better day, but that would make for a LONG one, as I also needed to hit up Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf).

I figured what the hell - by the time you buy your ticket and take the Corcovado, the conditions up top could be completely different. Things did clear up slightly when I finally ascended, though the sun never did quite come out - no matter, as it was still a good experience, something that every tourist in Rio must do, even though like other famous locations in the world such as the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you realize that it's not all that it's cracked up to be!
L'il Buddha & Christ, Having a Friendly Chat ...L'il Buddha & Christ, Having a Friendly Chat ...L'il Buddha & Christ, Having a Friendly Chat ...

L'il Buddha said "Christ, how are things?" Christ responded "Same old, same old ... damn, my arms are getting tired!"
The best parts of my time up top where actually eating some killer mango, and also escaping Rio's terrible heat and enjoying the cool temperatures. I actually ran into American Patrick while waiting for the Corcovado - perhaps after visiting Christ a miracle will be granted, and all that excessive body hair will magically go away ...

So today was a milestone for me in Brazil - it was the first day I wasn't drenched in sweat! After Christ, I made my way over to the Botanical Garden near Ipanema - while not exactly cool, the garden's lake, shady trees, and streams provided a nice relief from the typical hot days in Rio I've experienced.

With the garden being so close to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, I had an early dinner at Arabe da Lagoa, a Lebanese restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the water that was absolutely packed. The smell of grilled meat was incredible as I walked up ... too bad the taste was pretty mediocre. Especially strange was how everything had a bitter flavour to it, and also the Brazilian wine - Santa Felicidade. I didn't know Brazil produced wine and perhaps they shouldn't, as this stuff oddly tasted like a mix of red wine and C Plus grape soda! The funny thing was that it actually didn't taste bad as a beverage, it's just that it was a complete and epic failure as wine.

The best thing about the food in Brazil has been the variety - while everything hasn't exactly been stellar, at least I've been able to avoid getting sick of any one type of food, as I've managed to do Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Mexican, and Thai so far, in addition to traditional Brazilian meals.

Despite staying cool most of the day, I did end up getting drenched with sweat - for some reason devoid of any logic, I decided to walk from the restaurant over to the end of Lebon, a bustling area packed with restaurants and bars, and finally return to the hostel. In all, I ended up walking probably 6-7 kilometres - and that was just from the restaurant back to the hostel, not including any of the walking I did earlier. About 2/3 of the way back to the hostel, to avoid passing out, I grabbed some Gatorade and found an air-conditioned shopping centre, where I sat for about fifteen minutes to regain my senses. I finally got back around 9:30, which was just over twelve hours from when I walked out the door this morning. A helluva of a long day!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Entrance to Jardim Botanico ...Entrance to Jardim Botanico ...
Entrance to Jardim Botanico ...

Naked lady statues. Given that we're in Brazil, shouldn't they all be wearing thong bikinis?
Fried Ball of Goo ...Fried Ball of Goo ...
Fried Ball of Goo ...

Bolinho de frango e queijo - fried ball of chicken and cheese. Blah!
Lebanese Meal ...Lebanese Meal ...
Lebanese Meal ...

Kafta, hummus, tabbouleh, pita. The kafta was terribly dry - I miss Morocco and their yummy version of the grilled chunks of perfectly-spiced and juicy ground meat! The hummus was OK, the pita average, and the tabbouleh sour.
Churros Com Chocolate ...Churros Com Chocolate ...
Churros Com Chocolate ...

Crisp, good, and greasy - filled with liquefied chocolate, absolutely yummy!

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