Around the world again... bit slower this time
01.05.06 Rio The flight was ok but fee had a temperature and was still not feeling very well. We took a taxi to our hotel in Copacabana the most expensive we have stayed so far! The sun was shining and it was 30 C. Lovely. The reason for the expensive place was this week is Fee's 40th Birthday. The surprise that had been kept from me by everyone for 3 months was that my parents were coming to visit us in Rio for 11 days. The following day we took the airport bus from the beachfront road. A man on a bicycle tried to grab fees very thin gold chain, she shouted loudly and pulled back so he left empty handed. Mental note Don't walk near cycle lanes wearing thin jewelry. We arrived at the airport a few minutes before they emerged from the airport. It was a long time since we had seen them and it was great to be somewhere special - RIO. We got a cab back checked them in and went out for their first Brazilian style Buffet meal. 03.05.06 The following morning was the 40th birthday, it started at 4:30am with Jodie & Phoebe (fees nieces) singing happy birthday, Judes sister managed to get put through to the Kane room and woke Fees Mum up. Card opening was over breakfast, a slow walk to Ipanema, where we had a great lunch. That evening Fee answered a call on the Hotel Room phone. Terry her traveling companion from Hong Kong had arrived in Rio and was down in reception - the last of the birthday surprises! The five of us went out for dinner at Churrascaria Palace very nice. Then we next door for a Caipiranha at the Copacabana Palace Hotel, by the pool - very posh. The following day we spent the morning on the beach and the afternoon we took the Bonde to Santa Teresa, one of the few left still working in the city. It is an open sided tram that climbs high up the side of the hills. It is used mainly by tourists who pay and locals who hang off the side and mostly don't appear to pay as they jump on as it goes along the road. The Bonde started at the Terminal and went across the roads below using an old Aqueduct. Chicken wire is the only thing between these people hanging on and the road some 60ft below. Very scary, especially as one of the people hanging on was very very pregnant. 05.05.06 On Friday we took the Metro and then the Cog Train to get up to Christ the Redeemer or the Big JC and we were lucky to have been blessed with wonderful views of the city below. The weather was perfect. Eileen decided to join a church organised Angels prayer session at 12:00, while the rest of us relaxed in the sun. In the afternoon we headed over to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Not the size of the one at home in Ireland but stunning none the less. Easier to get up, as long as you didn't decide to climb - we took the cable car up, it held some 65+ people and then we took the second cable car across, the views were again stunning. We decided to wait to see how the sunset would look, not as great as some we have seen on this trip but very good. We left the oldies later that evening to go off and meet some friends of Jerome's who live in Ipanema. Felipe and Silvestre had invited us to their home, we took a taxi to make sure we didn't get lost. They were so warm and welcoming it was lovely to meet them. They have three small dogs who were very excited to meet us. Maria, their housekeeper had made a Chicken Pie, local cuisine, it was wonderful. Felipe and Silvestre suggested that we all go to lunch on Sunday, see the next post card.