Friday, 16 July 2010

Iguazu & Rio

The second day at Iguacu on the Brasilian side was amazing, the weather cleared up completely and we saw rainbows and everything - did you know that a rainbow can actually go nearly all the way around in a circle, if there's enough mist/light floating around? Anyway, it was great, and kind of a shame we didn't get a chance to have similarly nice weather the day before but one day of nice weather was better than none.

Unfortunately that turned out to be the last bit of sun we'd see on the trip, when we landed in Rio it was raining, and it... hasn't really stopped raining since. Which puts a bit of a dampener on things like going to the beach (what Rio is famous for) and up hills like Sugarloaf and where the Christ the Redeemer statue is (again, what Rio is famous for).

Yesterday we took this rickety old tram thing to the Santa Theresa area, which was quite nice but also very small... then we headed off to the main football stadium, which turned out to be a bit of a letdown because the entrance fee was more than we were willing to pay, given all the museum stuff was in Portuguese... For lunch, we went to what seemed to be a local pirated mashup of McD's/BK called 'Bob's', and met a very friendly and enthusiastic waitress who was very keen to chat to us in English (rare for the locals here from what we've come across so far), reiterated the advice about being careful with our valuables lest we get mugged, and for some reason thought NZ was a very cold country. I guess it might be compared to Rio, but it's not exactly warm here at the moment! After that we kind of gave up on activities for the day, seeing as the weather still hadn't cleared up.

Today... was much the same, we woke up to more rain and decided, well, we better at least try to go to Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer because it was our last day here, got to Sugarloaf, found that the cable car fare was BRL$44 each (about NZ$34), and also that the cables just faded into... nothing. James and I have taken a cable car through the clouds once, in HK to the Big Buddha, and as mystical and stuff as it sounds, actually, it's quite boring just looking at a big grey blob of nothing for the entire trip. So we decided to head to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue instead, figuring that even if the weather still didn't clear by then, at least we should be able to see the statue itself...

Highlight of the day was probably finding a Subway for lunch! We all got meatball as it was the Sub of the Day (yes, they have that here), and it was comfortingly familiar. Afterwards we eventually found the right bus stop and ended up in the right place. We took another tram (I don't think this one counted as a funicular) thing to the top, and as I suspected, basically all you could see was mist - at least we also caught glimpses of the statue too. Oh, I suppose another highlight of the day was Bruce getting interviewed by some guys of uncertain source, may have been for a tourism video, or 6 o'clock news, who knows! They might also have gotten some footage of me dozing off in the train, hope that doesn't air... anywhere.

You know how at viewpoints they have captioned pictures telling you what it is you're looking at? Well, it was almost agonising how they had these at the top of that hill, with blue skies and glittering beaches, all nicely numbered, while all we got to see was grey blob.

Overall, my advice to people visiting Rio would be - if the weather forecast seems to be bad, change your plans and come back another week when it's sunny, because most of its attractions can't really be enjoyed when it's cold and wet... Oh well, at least we've been here! Tomorrow we'll start back to NZ, first a flight back to BA, transfer to the other airport, and then the final leg home.

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