Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal
February 28, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Day Two
We were up early as we both had plans for the day. We headed out a little before 8am.
John spent the day with a professional photographer and was treated to sites that he normally would not have seen. There were five other people in the group, plus the photographer, a guide, a driver and most interesting – a security guard. It was explained that the guard was along because of some of the areas they would be visiting. Because everyone was carrying pretty expensive camera equipment, a guard was a good person to have along.
They went back to Copacabana beach for a completely different perspective then yesterday, then to the soccer stadium, which is very large. It seats 130,000 and will be the site of the 2014 World Cup playoff final game.
They also visited Jardim Botanico – with over 5,000 plants spread out over 250 acres. The botanical garden is best known for its orchids, although there were not a lot in bloom at this time of the year as summer is coming to an end.
The group also enjoyed another Brazilian lunch, so John felt he had been well fed two days in a row.
While John was out and about, I took the opportunity of seeing Rio by air from a helicopter. Wow! The beaches, the bay, the ocean, shanty town were just amazing from high above the city. But, best of all was circling around the Christ the Redeemer statue. Fortunately, I was able to shoot some great photos.
I was fortunate when we arrived at the helicopter pad. Each helicopter holds four passengers. I was first in line, so the young men who were assisting passengers put me in the front seat. Being seated in front definitely gave me a photo advantage.
While back at Sugarloaf Mountain, where the helicopter base is located, I was able to watch two Marmosett monkeys. They obviously aren’t afraid of humans because I was only a foot away from them and they seemed totally unphased by me snapping picture after picture.
We both returned to the ship after 2pm – in fact, John’s group was the very last to board.
Our pilot was late, so we didn’t leave as scheduled. It was interesting, however, to sit on the balcony and observe activities surrounding a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that was parked not too far from us. The ship was huge and in looking through the binoculars, it appeared it might have held at least six fighter jets. It was rather cool to see the U.S. flag flying in Rio.
All our tablemates were back together at dinner, so we had a good time catching up on everyone’s activities.
One of our tablemates, Jim, had gone on a tour to Sugerloaf Mountain and said the lines were really long. I was happy to know that John and I were fortunate not to have to wait in long lines at Sugarloaf Mountain on Saturday – on Sunday, the wait for the cable cars was about two hours.
Rio is home to two hillside shantytowns: Vidigal and Rocinha. Rocinha is the largest shantytown in South America. There are hundreds of thousands of residents living in these towns, which do not appear to be too safe, sitting on the hillside. However, they prefer to live here as they are close to their work.
In our daily programs for both Saturday and Sunday, we were asked to be extremely cautious with our possessions and to not wear flashy or expensive jewelry. Over 6 million residents live in poverty and theft is a real problem. We try, at all times, to be vigilant and aware of our surroundings.
The time flew by during our visit here. We could have spent a week or more and not seen everything. Another place on our list “to be visited again”.
Tomorrow, we’re at sea all day headed to Salvador.