Jesus is Watching!
When I was a child, I was told two very important people were watching me, so I had better be good. The first was Santa Claus and the second, Jesus. I think I was always more motivated by the threat of coal for Christmas and wanting lots of big presents over the thought of Jesus judging me. The photo was taken at the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue which overlooks Rio (see wikipedia for more info).
Sort of Like the Movie “Rio”
I love the movie “Rio” from the producers of “Ice Age.” The movie is an animated, romantic-comedy about two blue macaws in Rio and the surrounding jungle near the city. Some of the movie takes place in the city and actually gave me a good idea of what Rio was like. I wasn’t disappointed!
I missed attending the Carnival by about a month, but then again, I’m not really the drinking, partying type, so it wasn’t a priority for me to pay premium prices, fight large crowds of people for an event based on drinking and partying when it’s not something I enjoy. I much preferred the calmer, tourist experience of nice beaches, wearing shorts and swim-trunks in 80 degree weather. Now, that is something I can relish!
Sugarloaf Cable Car Experience
When I first heard of Sugarloaf, I thought it was some local ethnic food like empanadas. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sugarloaf is a set of twin rock formations (small mountains) which are near enough that someone built a cable car system up to the first and another cable system connecting the two. The ride and the views are phenomenal. At the recommendation of my local hostel, I went for the sunset experience. I wrote a cable car from ground level up the the first, larger rock mountain which had amazing views of the city from all sides. The sun was near setting and the view was fabulous. After about 15 minutes, I rode the second cable car over to the higher and smaller rock mountain on the far side. This one had lots of picnic tables in the shady area (I’m guessing it is popular for those wanting to have lunch up on the hillside). I then rode back to the first rock mountain to view the sunset… stunning!
I forgot to ask locals about this, but on the beaches in Rio, locals play a version of volleyball quite unlike that of other places. While tourists are playing normal volleyball on the beach, locals play without their hands. To serve, they make a small volcano shaped mount of sand and put the ball on it, they then kick the ball for the serve (reminding me of the kick-off in American football). The ball is can only be returned via rules of soccer (what the rest of the world calls “football”) meaning you can hit it with your head, chest, shoulders, knees, legs and feet. I saw all these body parts in action as the ball was hit back and forth between the sides. Needless to say, I never saw anyone “spike” the ball with a bicycle kick!
Map of My Travels in South America
Curious to see a map of my travels in South America? View the map.
Costs in Rio
Costs were similar to the USA (except lodging of cheaper hostels).
Hostel: $13-15/night (shared dorm) including breakfast
Food: typically $5-9 meal for lunch or dinner
Transportation: local buses and metro were about $1 one way
Next: Vienna, Austria (yes, that’s right, I’m now in Europe!)