Day 92: Raining

Tue. 13th November 2012

Copacabana Beach - its not supposed to be like this!“It’s raining” said Janet as she (carefully, given lack of attire) peered past the curtains after getting out of bed. We all make mistakes in life and mine usually revolve around paying insufficient attention to Janet. In my defence, it wasn’t raining much – by the time we went down to breakfast, barely at all – so the usual t-shirt and shorts should have been just fine.

Today, by common consent, is the beginning of the end for our group trip. Today we have our last transfer; our last full day together; our final group meal; and our final evening together. After 44 days of pretty much non-stop activity, we really have got to know and appreciate each other and it will be odd when it is just the two of us again.

Yes, it is grey, cold & wet, but Benny is German!The first section of our transfer to Rio is on the boat back to Angra dos Reis. We are at the jetty in good time for the 9am catamaran and the first sign of trouble is that there is no catamaran there. No worries, it is probably coming over from the mainland, but as the minutes tick by we know that something is wrong. It turns out that it is broken (not sure what the Portuguese equivalent of roto is, but it will probably be similar) and we need to take one of the schooners that usually ferries tourists to one of the beaches or on caipirinha parties. This, of course, is slower than a catamaran and so our one hour crossing has become a two hour crossing. At around the half-way point, it becomes a wet crossing as the heavens open.

Tracey Island?All of a sudden, only wearing t-shirt and shorts makes less sense and leaving my waterproof jacket in my backpack as opposed to day-pack makes no sense at all. Whilst standing in the middle of the boat keeps me dry, it doesn’t do much about keeping me warm. We then have to pick up backpacks as they are unloaded and dash for our mini-coach for the rest of our transfer. At least as it is a private transfer – albeit one with some strangers on board – the air conditioning isn’t on ‘arctic’ setting.

Initially, the scenery is similar to that on the road up from Paraty – steep-sided, tree clad hills and bays studded with islands. However, as we get closer to Rio, the countryside flattens out; we encounter a dual carriageway; and we start to see more built up areas and even the odd shopping mall. The drive up to Rio is advertised as being around 3 hours – but the weather is not going to help at all.

We eventually get into a built up area that can only be Rio. We cross a long bridge and then drive along the coast. We have no map (or Internet connection) and so are quite disoriented. We get our first location clue when we drive up to the International Airport to drop off two of the strangers. We are running late – so far we’ve been on the bus for around 4 hours. Even worse, we know that the International Airport is to the north of the city, when we have come up from the south. For only two people to get off! Why couldn’t they drop us off first!!!

Odd stuff on the outskirts of RioThen it is roads and tunnels and built up areas. Eventually we see the signs saying Copacabana and even better can see the beach and the sea. Sadly, not at all like the mental picture that I (and probably you) had – instead of blue skies and girls in skimpy, skimpy bikinis, we get grey skies, rain, and big (grey) waves crashing down empty beaches. The good news is that our hotel is only a couple of streets back from the beach – the bad is the the forecast for the next few days is for more rain.

By this time we are so late, that the people who have booked to do a City Tour today have missed it. They are lucky as if we had been on time, they’d have been doing it in the rain and the views from Sugar Loaf or Christ the Redeemer would have been around zero. Given the weather forecast, we need to have a think about when we want to do the tour. It has been plugged by Zaida as really good value given the entrance costs for some of the famous attractions.

We may not be staying here, but we still weren't expecting this!We get checked in and have some time to settle in and see how many of our clothes got wet when our backpacks were outside on the ferry. Some had hotel rooms looking like Chinese laundries! It is then time to head out for our last evening together as a group. A rodízio churrascarra restaurant with its never ending supply of meat is a popular choice for a meal but we are less sure about the wisdom of going to a nightclub afterwards. We are even less sure when the taxi drops us off outside and there is a longish queue waiting to get in. Fortunately, Zaida sweet-talks the bouncer and we are ushered in the side-door. Whilst the atmosphere isn’t as lively as the club in Cusco (all those days ago) it is good to spend a final few hours (and a final few drinks) together before heading back to the hotel.

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