Jesus Walks! And looks down on you.
33, Av. Rio Branco, Centro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Andrea: Christ the Redeemer - wonder of the world #1 in our trip - tick! We ascended the mountain that towers above Rio on a tram car through the jungle, passed an abandoned mansion and rattled onward to vistas of Rio, its bay and its favelas. Unfortunately the blue sky from sea level, which tempted us up the mountain, was partly cloudy by the time we got 3600 feet up to the statue. So the tourists played the waiting game. Most lying on the floor to take a photo with sufficient angle to get the awesome statue's head and feet in the same frame. Every few minutes for a few seconds, the wisps of cloud hiding the details of his face would blow away and everyone clicked furiously to burn these into their cameras. We managed to get a few photos and also got a few laughs from an old drunk woman lying on the ground a little too long.
We came back from the Christ statue and went back to our hotel. I think it's safe to say we've mastered the bus system here. Basically, the buses ride on the center lanes and you have to frantically check each one to make sure it's yours. Then, you hail it and make sure to make eye contact with the driver so he knows it's him you're dancing for. I spotted it and danced on the way there and Vern was the hero on the way back.
Once back downtown we searched again for a supermarket where we could buy some beer for the street party at night. Still no luck on that front so we revisited the saddest store I've ever seen in my life for beer. We went there the day before too and it is pretty depressing. For starters, they don't sell water. No, no that would be too healthy and life-sustaining. Their vegetables lie there rotting away begging you to put them out of their misery. But, great place to buy beer and snacks!
Back to the hotel to chill the beer and get ready for the street party that started at 8:00. Coincidentally, the party bus with the band was set up right outside our hotel warming up. We went downstairs and danced with the people watching the band for awhile. We were a bit confused as to why it was after 8 and the bus hadn't moved and there were only about 100 people there. We went walking up the road to see if anything else was going on and it was like an eerie ghost town. There were still street vendors set up, but there was absolutely no one around. So after about 10 minutes of being the only people walking in that direction, we turned around and walked back to the party bus thinking, 'is this it?' And that's when we saw it. The party bus was now moving with a full brass band on top now--about 15 guys on the top of the van with speakers blasting. The number of people around them had increased exponentially from when they were stationary so we joined the parade. It is like the biggest costume party in the world and we were the only ones without a costume! We love dressing up so I was bummed a costume doesn't fit into our budget. (We're trying very hard to follow our budget so we don't blow it all in one week!). But, despite looking like normies among all the costumes and not knowing the words to all the songs like everyone else (did the practice this in advance or what? I mean they knew EVERY word to EVERY song.), we had a great time. The atmosphere was enhanced after it started raining really hard and we got soaked! It was still amazing to see so many people out there sambaing down the street and laughing and getting along. The sense of camaraderie was incredible. After about 2 hours we had walked/sambaed about .5 miles and were kind of over it so we ducked out of the parade and watched the rest go by without us and headed back to the hotel. Again, the only people walking in that direction.