Another rainy morning, so not a great time for us to go to see Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain. Greg dragged out his raincoat and went to check out a few local shops, then went for a wet trudge along Copacabana Beach with his new toy – a not-GoPro camera and a ‘selfie stick’.
We decided to have a go at navigating the public transport system to go into central Rio and see what we could find. There’s a metro station just a block away from the apartment and we managed to buy rechargable cards without any hassles. The trains are frequent, most are airconditioned, they are clean and give good information on where they are going … even down to a green light above whichever door will be opening at the next platform. We wandered along a mall with an open-air market and reached the magnificent Municipal Theatre, with shiny gold trim and lovely stonework. We found lunch at a Brazilian/Kuwaiti restaurant nearby … huge serves, friendly waiter, out of the rain. It’s funny how many things here remind us of our time in Portugal. Cultural similarities, I guess … and bloody cobblestones everywhere here, just like in Portugal!
The National Library is currently shrouded in scaffolding and most of it is fenced off for renovations and an extension, but we found the main entrance and popped inside for a quick look. Magnificent! A tramline is being built just outside, for moving hordes of people around during the Olympics. It looks like it has a long way to go to completion, but I guess they know what they’re doing and it will all be good to go by August.
We found the Metropolican Cathedral of San Sebastian, which looks a lot like a modern-day Mayan Pyramid, with 4 stunning full-length stained glass panels around the interior. Built in the 1960s and ’70s, I noticed a few commemorative plaques near the main entrance mentioning Pope John Paul II, and one which also mentioned Mother Theresa.
No idea what they said, my Brazilian really only extends to telling shop assistants that I don’t have their supermarket’s reward card and saying ‘Thank you’, and even then I get it wrong half the time because it’s gender-based. A smile always helps. We’ve noticed that everyone here is friendly, helpful and seems happy.
The weather had cleared by mid-afternoon, but we are still not quite in the local time zone … okay, we’re extremely jet-lagged, so we opted for a short nap over trying to get to either Sugarloaf Mtn or Christ the Redeemer …and woke up 5 hours later! I’m sure we’ll be in the right time zone within a few days, probably around the time we head to Chile and have to adjust to being another hour behind.
It’s raining again this morning, but hopefully it will clear again this afternoon.