Sometimes it's best to take directions from a headbanger
Vern: After not being able to go to Ouro Preto (actually not being able to come back), we decided instead to go to the charming mountain town of Petropolis. As we packed our bags to check out of our hotel, we saw something unusual shining in the sky--the sun! Yes, that glowing ball in the sky decided to come out as we were leaving Rio. We thought we couldn't let the opportunity pass us by so decided on an impromptu beach day before we went to Petropolis (only about an hour outside Rio). We donned our bathing suits for the second time on this trip (the first being our long walk along the cloudy beaches on our first day) and made our way to the famed Copacabana. The sun beamed down and the waves broke close to the shore, roughing us up a bit as we swam alternately (someone always on watch-the-bag duty). A few hours of sunburn later, a beach cafe hacked the top of a coconut off for us to drink its milk with straws.
The bus to Petropolis whirled around cliff edge corners as it ascended a jungle-covered mountain to get us up to town. We figured out the transition from and intercity bus to a local bus, but once in town found that they didn't put up street signs here as diligently as in Rio and town looked nothing like our tourist-map. We headed a few hundred metres in the wrong direction, before a teenanger in all black, with a Guns 'n Roses t-shirt and a pentagram around his neck approached. We instinctively grabbed our wallet-pockets (obviously revealing the exact location of our treasures) before he helpfully sent us back in the direction from whence we came. He'd better do two bad deeds to cancel out this good deep before facing the Dark Lord again. The G'n'R shirt had me humming the few lines of 'Welcome to the Jungle' which I remember.
The hotel, cheapest in town and opposite the bus station (apparently), had high ceilings and antique-style wooden furniture, but torn linen and a stained cigarette-burned mattress which we think was a mirage because it felt as though we were sleeping directly on the wooden bed slats and we woke up with the stiffness and soreness to prove it. Good start to Petropolis!