A Long and Winding Road to Rio - Days 408 - 409
Oh dear, it was a long and winding road to Rio, we didn't expect that. At last we arrived at the Copa... Copacabana - the hottest spot north of Havana!
“Turn right” I said as we were leaving our Airbnb. There was a chorus of “Are you sure?” I wasn’t but that’s what sat nav instructed us to do and who am I to argue with it. Hindsight is always a good thing, don’t you find? Our fully laden car trudged up the steep hill and within a short time, we came across a broken-down car. Luckily it was coming down the mountain, so we could pass the queue of traffic approaching us. The incline became steeper and steeper with quite a few backseat drivers panicky complaining that we should have gone the other way. I did suggest that we could turn back, but that wasn’t the right answer! You just can’t win with some people, eh? Tim carried on driving calmly, ignoring them.
I checked on the map. Oh dear, it looked like we had 58km of this extreme winding steep terrain. We saw three more conked-out cars and two children being sick out of the car window! Yes, hindsight is a good thing. Too late for us though.
Eventually we arrived onto the main R116 (if you look at the map from Paraty to Rio de Janeiro you may see and wonder why we went that way, I am still wondering the same). This new road was nice and straight and after three hours of driving, we stopped for a bite to eat at a nondescript service station. When we left there, it looked like we still had another three hours of travel. I kept quiet.
As we carried along the freeway I noticed that we were passing a small town called Itatiaia. I recognised this name as this is where our friend Cleverson originates from. He had recently contacted me asking if we would be passing this area so we could meet his family. I didn’t think we’d be going anywhere near there, it looked totally out of our way. Doh!
By this time, we envisaged that we had completed all the winding roads. Wrong! The land had reverted back to mountainous. This time there were large tankers driving along side of us, and on the hairpin bends they needed more than one lane. Poor Tim, how he put up with us. He seemed to be relishing the challenging while the rest of us were squealing like pigs!
We eventually arrived in Rio in one piece after more than 7 hours. A bit more than the 4 hours it took us to get to Paraty! We are very lucky to have Tim as our chauffeur…mmm… perhaps that will be his next profession?
On Day 409 we intended to find some “Boris” type bikes but no luck, so we wandered along Copacabana beach. What an experience. There were bodies of all shapes and sizes and of all ages in not much than a thong; pert bottoms, wobbly bottoms, it didn’t seem to matter. Mind you, I must say that brown cellulite thighs does look a lot better than lily white cellulite thighs. Now you may be thinking that my thighs would be tanned by now. No, we really haven’t spent much time sunbathing and I usually am wearing one of my 3 skirts, hiding the skin above my knees from sight.
Time seemed to fly by as we were walking along most of the 4km of beach, people watching at its best. The beach is not just covered in colourful parasols and beautiful bodies sunning themselves, but there are also areas assigned for football, volleyball and bat and ball courts. These people are certainly active, despite the heat!
We reached the end, so carried around the corner to get to Ipanema Beach. As tummies were feeling hungry, we didn’t go onto the beach, we’d have to wait until tomorrow to gain 61 points from the Top 500 Lonely Planet’s list.
We got back to our Airbnb where we were staying just for a couple of nights before moving on to a more exclusive one for New Year’s Eve. (Long story) The benefit of this one was that it had a swimming pool in the complex that we could use. John taught us the game of Marco Polo where one person shuts their eyes and calls out Marko. The rest of us reply with “Polo” and then need to avoid being caught by the closed-eyed Marko. Such great fun with much laughter!