Andrea: I'm here in the lobby of our hotel getting ready for round...I don't know what round, but getting ready to walk the streets again up to the Sambodromo in the hopes of seeing some more great floats and costumes for free. Tonight and tomorrow are the Grupo Especials performing so it promises to be even more over the top than last night.
Hopefully our Sambodromo voyage tonight will go off without a hitch as the rest of the day has been full of queues and miscues. The plan today was to go to Santa Teresa (yeah, still haven't made it yet) and then head to Botafogo--one of the beaches we haven't seen yet. We found the trolley to Santa Teresa and the queue was almost wrapped around the building. We waited for awhile and a trolley came but the line didn't move. We decided if we hadn't substantially moved in the line in 20 minutes then we'd leave. After 20 minutes we'd realised we had forgotten to define 'substantially.' The guy in front of us went to investigate and then came back to tell his familia what was happening. After 5 minutes of eavesdropping it was clear that I don't understand Portuguese. But I did hear him say '3 hours' and I told Vern that if they leave we leave. And they left. So we left.
It was getting warm and the sun seemed to be coming out so we went back to the hotel to get out bathing suits on and head down to the beach. We took the metro instead of a bus because we figured we'd already wasted enough time today. Get to the underground and cue the 20-minute ticket queue. We get out on the other side and we actually have our first view of Christ the Redeemer (from ground level) and Sugarloaf Mountain. We head over to Sugarloaf figuring we can walk it. It actually wasn't too far but right before we get there I realise we don't have enough money between us to get in the cable car and we didn't bring our bank-cards. We think we might be able to squeeze by so we head over but then quickly realise we were way off and tickets were way more than we thought they would be so we said, "stuff it," and went to the beach right next to that terribly expensive loaf.
We had a great time lying on the beach with an unbeatable view so it turned out to be a really great afternoon--and it didn't cost us a dime! Plus it was still really cloudy today--despite the tricky sun coming out for a bit in the morning--so the view wouldn't have been great anyway. We won on all counts! :)
That's basically it so far, but I have to say it was a really fun day. We spent a lot of time laughing at all our slight 'misfortunes' which is always a fun thing to do.
Just got back from our second trip up to the sambodromo and wanted to update the blog. We started out with another party on our street--looks like this was a perfect place to stay. There were a few floats and people in costumes so we think it was the third string samba schools performing. (The best of the schools that don't perform in the Sambodromo). We had talked to someone earlier who said they did a parade on our road which is why we think that but with the amount if people there, there wasn't much parading going on.
After we stopped our tummies from rumbling with some delicious steak on a stick, we walked up slowly to the Sambodromo. It was much busier tonight than last night because the Sunday night is the big party night. There were some serious characters out--Vern got hit on by every group of drag queens we came across! One dressed as a geisha proclaimed, "te amo," to Vern (I love you) and on the way home some really old guys said, "fea," to me (ugly) and proceeded to grope Vern. No hard feelings though--we were just excited because they thought we were Brasilian!
The floats were once again lined up along the road so we got a good glimpse at what was going on inside. It wasn't raining tonight so we saw a lot more people getting dressed in their costumes. In a word, chaos. The floats were even more extravagant than last night so we stopped to admire each one and dodge everyone else for a photo. The Sambodromo was buzzing. It was way more crowded than the night before and most people didn't even have tickets and were just there for a party. We stood by the gate for a while that was by the approach to the stadium so we could see people getting ready to line up to go in. Then we searched for the overhang where you can see inside the stadium and we realized it's on the edge of a busy highway. We went up there and it was too crowded to see inside and again most people were just there to party. It was good fun trying to see all the madness for free!
We then meandered back taking in all the floats and costumes a second time. It's such a great atmosphere and we were amazed at how few altercations we've seen despite all the alcohol being consumed! And tonight was a true family affair with so many kids in costumes in attendance. We got back to the hotel and have been watching a few highlights from inside on TV.
Maybe tomorrow we'll finally get to that elusive Santa Teresa!