23:00 - I took it easy this morning. After a leasurerly breakfast I went walkabouts in Copacabana and Ipanema. On a Sunday, the road right next to these two beaches are closed to traffic and the cariocas take to the sand in numbers. There was a hippy market, street performers and street vendors all along the road. I bought a ticket for the military museum which happens to be on the peninsula that divides Copacabana and Ipanema. It's got great views and people go there to sit at the cafès and take in the surroundings. I just went there and took lots of pictures :-)! After my stroll I had a couple of hours before my pick up for the football match (Flamengo vs Fluminense the local derby) so I decided I was going to lie on the beach and relax for a while. And here's a funny story. I picked a spot, about 3 or 4 metres back from the water's hedge. I put my towel down, got comfortable, put my backpack under my head as a cushion (and so that it wouldn't be stolen) and just layed back. About 5 seconds (and I mean 5 seconds) later, I hear shouting and next thing I know I am practically floating in water! A very high wave had come in and had come much further up the beach. I quickly got up to salvage the stuff in my pack (camera and such like) and my phone...I got lucky and aside from having wet sand everywhere, nothing got damaged. A kind woman rinsed out the hotel towel for me and I went back squelching to the hotel to get changed and clean everything up. As I write this my shoes and clothes are still drying :-). I took the opportunity to also get my room changed as the one I was is was extremely noisy. I am now in a larger and much more peaceful one. By the time all of this was sorted it was time to go to the match. Patrick and the driver from yesterday from 'be a local' turned up right on time and after picking a few more people up we made our way to the stadium. I had hoped to be able to see the match at the Maracanà stafium but it is being remodelled at the moment for the World Cup in 2014. So anyways, we made our way to Engenhao Stadium to see Flamengo play Fluminense or Fla-Flu as they call the match here, as it is the local derby. On the way I got chatting to 4 guys and girls from one of the hostels. One of them had 3 kids (the eldest is 16 so that would make him around 40'sh) and was going to be staying in Rio for a couple of months to learn the language. He's from Holland but from indian parents. He really looked like someone from the favelas and the other 3 were taking the mickey as he made a point if also dressing like a favela kid :-). They were all going to a favela rave after the match...oh what it is to be young! I bought little Paolo (my nephew) a brasil shirt and myself a Flamengo one (we were sitting in the Flamengo end). I don't normally like wearing red and black stripes but these were hoops so they don't count :-)! I have to say I was a little disappointed by the turn out...10,500 spectators!!! Not a lot for an iconic derby. Still, Flamengo played a s***ty first half but managed to score two goals (Ronaldinho scored the first one from the penalty spot). At the start of the second half Ronaldinho got himself sent off and Flamengo reduced to ten men actually played better football! Fluminense had the lion share of the ball possession and the chances but the Flamengo keeper and their lack of finishing skills, meant that the final result was 2-0. We were sitting right next to the hardcore fans and it was great to see then chant and jump throughout the match :-). After the match we were taken back to our hotels.
As an aside: in four days in the Pantanal where there were bugs everywhere, I only got bitten once. In two days in Rio I have collected 9 bites...and I haven't seen any bugs!!! How does that happen?
Tomorrow I finally get to see the highlights of Rio in the Jeep tour that I was supposed to take on the first day.