Arrived in Rio after long flight. Really really long flight. We (David and I plus friends:Barbie and Ken) were met at airport by hotel driver. Bit of a squash fitting cases into boot due to two large gas cannisters. I thought he had brought along his scuba diving gear (silly man) then learned that they were full of natural gas, it was a gas powered car (silly me).
His ticket didn’t open the exit barrier, so he went and parked in deserted car park. He did NOT then draw a gun and ask for all our valuables, he just apologized and went to pay for parking. Clearly has watched different films about Rio to me.
Checked in at Sheraton Hotel. Nice. Discovered I had forgotten to turn off ‘data roaming’ on my phone and had already been charged £26:04 for excess internet. Good old Three Mobile. (Not nice.)
Was surprisingly difficult to get into a lift going in the right direction to find our room. Must’ve been more tired than I realised.
Hotel nice. Our room overlooks beach and has a little balcony. D complained sea was too noisy (such a romantic.)
Showered, ate a burger, slept really well. Until 4am.
Wednesday 17th June
Opened curtains and watched dawn break over the sea. Beautiful. D explained what several of the viewpoints were. There are two lumpy hills called ‘The Two Brothers’, Ipanema beach, Leblon, etc. He told me the small beach by the hotel is called Viagra beach. Pretty sure he was lying.
Met Ken and Barbie for breakfast. Friendly staff, good buffet, ate overlooking sea. Tried some pretty tasteless papya and some very nice melon. Coffee average.
Walked to Ipanema beach. Saw Corcovada Hill with big Jesus statue on it. Saw a ‘muscle beach’ with people working out, doing pull-ups, etc. Lots of muscle. Barbie joined in (went on a swing.) I paddled in the sea (cold).
Saw people playing volleyball. Beach not too crowded. Sun gradually burnt of cloud and it warmed up, though didn’t get too hot. Saw coconuts for sale and some growing in trees. You can buy fresh coconut milk at beach stalls.
David and Ken discussed birds on beach (feathered variety.) Interesting shape, big and black and white. Tried to look them up in guide book but it concentrates mainly on nightclubs. Surprising really.
Lunch by pool. Barbie had coconut milk, served in the shell. Looked really cool but she said was a bit tasteless. I used my best Portuguese (first time I have used it) and ordered a mineral water, still, no ice. I received a water, sparkling, with ice. Considered it a success (they understood the water bit.)
Sun disappeared behind hill disappointingly fast. By 3pm we were sitting in the shade. Tomorrow we go to Recife, then off to see some Tearfund projects.
Am writing this on D’s computer, keep hitting wrong key and losing everything. Also not yet figured our how to add photos. Will aim to improve by end of trip.