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Vacation Day 23
Saturday, February 14th
Rio de Janeiro, Day 3

Today's activities consist of two excursions, one starting very early and a dinner one starting in the early evening. The first one is to the major remaining sights of Rio, these being Sugar Loaf, the cathedral for the second time (for me, not for most of the rest of the group), and some driving around to see other places of interest. We had the afternoon "at leisure" as they say and then went to a BBQ restaurant for dinner and a Samba show later. So I will start at the very early morning beginning.

Breakfast was included both mornings in the hotel and they opened early enough for us to get it before our 7:30AM departure. Everyone was on time and off we went. The first stop was at Sugar Loaf and the easiest way to get to it was via Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. This was the only day on this trip that it actually rained when I/we wanted to do something. It had rained other times but never during an excursion or other time that I wanted to do something. There were a few pictures taken along the way to Sugar Loaf, here are some of those.

Sand Sculpture 1
Sand Sculpture 2
Amazingly enough these are actually sand people out for a tan. They would not have got to much sun this day, well maybe a bit later. These 2 were taken through the bus window. Here is a slightly different angle of the same group. The tour guide told us that some people got upset because some of them were naked. So, the sculpture comes along each day and puts paper swim suits on them. Gee, I thought Brazil was bit more liberal than that.

Sugar Loaf Mountain is the english translation of the Portuguese name for this very well known spot. For the record, that name is Pão de Açúcar. There are two versions of the story about why it is called this. One is, that it resembles the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. The other lessor known story is that the name derives from Pau-nh-acuqua which stands for high hill in the Tupi-Guarani language as used by the indigenous Tamoios. Personally, I like the first one the best, so I will go with it. It is called a monolithic morros and is made mostly of granite and quartz. There are several of these that rise directly from the waters edge in the Rio area. Apparently the rock is approximately 5000 years old.

To get to it you need to pass through an area where Brazil's military school, and blind academy are located to get to the first of the two cable cars necessary to go up. The first cable care station is located at the base of Babilônia mountain and goes up to Urca mountain. The second one goes from there to Sugar Loaf. We arrived that the bottom station just after 8:00AM and were able to take the first cable car of the day up. Here are the pictures from phase one of the trip up.

To Urca 1
Urca 2
From the cable car station to Urca Mountain. Sugar loaf is the round topped one to the right The clouds were rather low at this point. If it looks like you are looking through one, that is because you are looking through one.
Urca 3
Urca 4
Not as much cloud looking this way. The brighter cloud just left of centre has Corcovado Mountain and Christ the Redeemer either behind it or inside it. Not to worry! We will see it later. Still rather hazy over the water though. There is an airport out there somewhere.

Urca 5

The Centro part (as they call it) of the city.
Somewhere over there is where the ship was docked yesterday.
It left around 5:00 last night to make room for those other ships with the 3000 people on them that are coming today.

The next step is the second hop of the cable car ride, this time from Urca to Sugar Loaf. Urca is about 700 feet high and Sugar Loaf is 1300 feet high. Here are the pictures for the second part of the trip.

Sugar Loaf 1
Sugar Loaf 4
Gee, there must be something at the other end of those cables that we are riding on!
The entrance to Rio's harbour. Ships need to negotiate the just over mile wide opening between the small rock near the middle of the picture and the peninsula jutting out to the right of it. Apparently it can be quite difficult and hazardous in certain weather conditions.
Sugar Loaf 3
Sugar Loaf 5
The central part of the city from Sugar Loaf. Still rather hazy.
Did we not just come up those cables from somewhere?
Sugar Loaf 6
Sugar Loaf 7
Central Rio with some of the people at the top of Sugar Loaf.
Look! there actually is something at the end of those cables!!!
Sugar Loaf 8
Sugar Loaf 9
Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain from above the clouds.
The clouds were moving around fairly quickly. There is that airport I mentioned earlier. It is Santos Dumont Airport and is used primarily for commuter flights to and from Sao Paulo some 400 or so kilometres to the south of here. This is not the one we will be leaving from tomorrow.
Sugar Loaf 10
Sugar Loaf 11
This picture shows parts of the Glória, Laranjeiras, Flamengo and Botafogo areas of Rio. The water is Guanabara Bay.
You can see that it is still raining a bit here. If you are wondering what all those people are looking at off in the distance, it is that mountain top just showing above the clouds. As you can probably guess, that is Christ the Redeemer.
Sugar Loaf 12 Sugar Loaf 12
I think that the last picture and this one just prove that I was not the only person who seemed (or seems) to be hung up on taking pictures of Christ the Redeemer when ever it could be seen. Here are a few more.
The weather did seem to be improving. This picture was taken just before I boarded the cable car to come down. It was just a bit less than an hour after we got to the top that we started down.

The next group of pictures shows the trip down to Urca and some better views from that level as we transferred to the lower cable car for the trip to the bottom.

Urca 6
Urca 7
You can see Sugar Loaf from Urca this time. You can see the two cable cars in the middle of Sugar Loaf just in front of the cloud drifting there.
Things are somewhat more visible now than they were on the way up.
Urca 8
Urca 9
A lot more can be seen now than earlier.
A picture from the in between cable car station of the bottom station. The buildings are part of the military officers school here.
Urca 10
Urca SL1
The is Christ the Redeemer disappearing into the clouds as the cable car dropped below the clouds. Many people took a picture similar to this one. Here is a clearer view than the one earlier of Urca Mountain in the front and Sugar Loaf in the background to the right.

It may be worth noting here that neither of these mountains is an island. They are all accessible by road or walking with no bridges to cross. These two mountains form part of the peninsula that protects the entrance to the harbour. You can drive to the bottom of either one and climb them if you wish. There are some 30 routes to choose from if you want to hike up Sugar Loaf.

We departed from the cable car station the way we came in (it was the only way out) and once back to the main part of the city we headed towards the central or as they call it Centro area of the city. The next stop is the Cathedral but first here are a couple of pictures through the rather wet bus window on the way there.

Carmem Miranda Museum
Lapa Aqueduct
This the the Carmem Miranda museum in the Parque do Flamengo which likely means Flamengo Park. It is the 100th anniversary of her birth this year and many events were going on. This is the Lapa Aqueduct. Years ago it brought water into the city from the springs in the mountains. It no longer does that so it has been converted into an electric railway for commuters.

As noted before this tours next and last official stop is the Catholic Cathedral. If you have followed through this trip you will know I was here on Thursday. This tour guide gave a much better description of the structure, how it was built, and the meaning of some of the stained glass windows. The description of how it was built that I used on the Thursday page actually came from this guide. I have tried to include some pictures here that are somewhat different than the ones previously. These pictures are some better than the others I think because it was not as bright outside as it was on Thursday. Here are todays group of Cathedral pictures.

Catrhedral 1 Cross
Cathedral 9 Cross 2
Alter Cross. It has a complex history which I do not remember now. I believe it is made out of some type of native Brazilian wood. The cross is hung from cables come from the roof. These cables have balls on them in various places which are intended to symbolize Rosary Beads.
Cathedral 2 Window 1
Cathedral 3 Window 2
Here are each of the four floor to ceiling stained glass windows. This on is on the left as you come in the main entrance. There are entrances under each of the windows except perhaps the back one.
This is the back window. It is the one you see from the main entrance.
Cathedral 4 Window 3
Cathedral 5 Window 4
The window to the right of the main entrance.
This is the one that is directly over the main entrance. I did not take a picture of this one on Thursday so this one is new to today.
Cathedral 6 Tour People
Cathedral 7 Structure

This is the tour guide explaining the
details of the Cathedral to our group.

This may help those of you trying to figure out how the building was built from my description on Thursday. This shows the openings better than any other picture I have.

Cathedral 8 Alter 1

A final picture of the alter taken from slightly to the left side.

This was the last scheduled stop for this tour. Since we had left so early we had a bit of extra time so they drove us through the downtown and showed us some of the buildings and sights there. All of these pictures were taken through the bus window which was still wet so none are perfect but you can still see what is there. The other problem is that they threw so many buildings at us I cannot remember which ones of them are which. For better or worse here are a group of pictures taken as we worked our way back towards the hotel which was close to an hour from here.

Building 1
Brazillia Building
I think this is the National Theatre
This building was designed by the same architect that designed the countries capital city of Brasilia. It is the only example of this style in Rio.
Street 1
Building 2
One of the downtown streets with Sugar Loaf at the far end. You would need to cross part of Guanabara Bay to get to it though. This is the art gallery I think. I may have this and the one I labelled as the National Theatre above mixed up.
Scenery 1
Harbour Building
This is where the port once was. The elevated expressway we are on and most of the port are on reclaimed land.
I forget what this is but I think it may be part of a yacht club.
Museum 1
War Memorial
This one has a sign on it. It is the National History Museum.
This is the Brazilian War Memorial.
Clean Up Group
Ipanema Building 1
We saw several of these groups doing cleaning in various parks we passed. I think they are people doing what we would call community service for minor crimes.
One of the very few but incredibility expensive hotels in Ipanema.

Those of you who are a bit older may remember a song called The Girl from Ipanema. It was written here in Ipanema by one of Brazils best known musicians and composers Antonio Carlos Jobim. Here is where he wrote it......

ACJ Cafe 1
ACJ Cafe 2
He wrote the song in this cafe. When a certain women walked by he thought she was so beautiful and walked with such style that he borrowed a piece of paper from the owner and wrote it right then and there. To memorialize that fact, the first few lines of the song are mounted on the plaque mounted on the wall of the cafe. It is apparently in Jobim's own handwriting.

ACJ Cafe 3

This shows the cafe with the plaque mounted on the wall above the street.

As a matter of interest the women that inspired Jobim to write the song is still alive. She married a wealthy business man and lives in Sao Paulo. She is 66 years old now.

Here are the final few pictures taken from this point on to our arrival at the hotel.

Canal 1
Building 5
This is the canal to the lagoon in yesterdays pictures. The backhoe is used to dredge the canal and the sand you see here has come out of the canal. The canal separates Leblon from Ipanema. Security is an issue here particularly along this road which is the one right beside Ipanema Beach. Almost every building along here had this type of thing.

We got back to the hotel shortly before noon and the rest of the afternoon was, as I said above, "at leisure".

This was about the only time I had to take some daytime pictures out of may hotel rooms window. Nothing exciting but it gives you an idea of the weather was like in the early in the afternoon. The temperature at this time was in the high 60s to low 70s F (20-23C) and still very humid.

Hotel Window Daytime 1
Hotel Window Daytime 2

I had a restful afternoon and the 7:15 PM departure time for the dinner and Samba show tour seemed to come quickly. I do not remember the name of the restaurant other than it was what they call a BBQ Restaurant. They specialize in cooking various types of meat over what I think were either wood of charcoal BBQs. They do not cook it out where you can see it being done so I cannot confirm this other than it tasted this way. The meal started with a salad bar and then the meat was bought out on large sword sized skewer and the waiters cut pieces off of the meat onto your plate. It kept coming and coming. There was pork, lamb and just about every cut of beef known to mankind (or so it seemed).

The food was very good although the salad bar at the beginning left something to be desired in my opinion. There was not really any reason to take any pictures here other than for this one below.

BBQ Dish Cleanup

These waiters made cleaning up the dishes an exciting experience. There were 4 or 5 waiters for the 41 of us and each one of them piled the dirty dishes on a tray like this (and higher!). There were the occasional structural problems but none were ever dropped. You did need to be careful because at times they held these trays over your head piled up like this (and trying to put more on) and you could have been injured in a fairly major way if one had dropped.

We left here around 9:00PM and headed for a place called Plataforma 1. The number one only meant that this was the first of two of these showrooms that existed. The other was called Plataforma 2.

We got there in lots of time and found out the show did not start until 10:00PM. Before the show started a young girl came out and for 20 minutes at least did the type of drills that soccer players do. Things like kicking the ball with her feet up and down and not letting it hit the ground. She did all kinds of this type of thing and finally it just got boring. Finally the show started several minutes late.

Samba music is loud and noisy. I imagine many of you have seen it at some point in time. I tried taking some pictures of it with my smaller camera but they just did not work so well. Finally on the last number I took some video, which they said should you should not do but everyone was doing it and nobody tried to stop anyone so I took a little just to have some documentation of the night. Most of the pictures below were taken off of the High Definition video just by photographing the tv screen. They worked surprisingly well. They are all of the last number in the show that had the fancy costumes. The first picture below is the outside of Plataforma 1 and was not taken of the high definition video.

Platforma 1 Exterior

Show 1
Show 2
Pretty ritzy costumes!
Apparently each costume can weigh 40-50 pounds.
Platforma Show 4 Platforma Show 3
A close up of one of the big costumes.
The mandatory scantily clad dancers. This looks a bit like Las Vegas

We got back to the hotel at about 11:45 PM and just about everyone was very tired. This was the last time we would see the guide and driver so they had to be tipped and then off we all went to our rooms.

There was one more piece of business to attend to. Brazil went from their summer (daylight) time back to there standard time at midnight this night. This required adjusting my watch and some of those things you do not think of such as the clocks in the digital cameras so they will time stamp the photos correctly. That being completed (including changing the hotels clock radio) I looked out my window and saw what looked like what might be a neat night picture so I stepped out on the balcony and took these. The first one looked in focus on the camera's screen after I took it but it was not quite. The second one was ok as taken. Here are the last two pictures taken this day. If I look at the time stamp they say they were taken today but in truth they were really taken after midnight.

ICH Balcony Night 1
ICH Balcony Night 2
There are a lot of street lights and businesses on the other side of the mountain as you can see from the glow in the sky behind it. The beach front lit up for night bathing but no one was there. The blue rectangle is the hotel's swimming pool.

Tomorrow there is nothing scheduled other than a transfer to the airport in the early evening. So I hope to have a nice long and enjoyable sleep tonight.

See you tomorrow, the final day!!!

Created: Sunday and Monday, March 8 & 9, 2009 at home.
Last updated: March 9, 2009 8:59 PM