21.09.2013 - 21.09.2013
This morning I expected to see an amazing statue; one of the seven modern wonders in all its glory reaching out into the sky and embracing the whole world with open arms. We took a taxi to the tram station and waited for an hour in a lobby that somehow seemed to insulate everybody's excitement. The tram was hot and slow as we crawled up the side of Corcovado mountain. occasionally the carriage would jerk backwards, threatening to run back to the bottom and making sure that all the passengers were well aware of our altitude. I was a bag of nerves watching the city grow smaller beneath us and feeling very much on the edge but Brad was so excited that it became contagious and as soon as we jumped off of the tram we started rushing up the steps to the big man himself!
It was everything we were hoping for. And no matter how big he looks in a picture, his size will definitely shock you in real life! I did notice that he looks a bit like he might be blind though which was a bit strange? Even his small toe was bigger than my pin head!
Then the madness began! Tourists everywhere were climbing over each other, pushing in, shamelessly grinning from ear to ear with their arms stretched out into other people's pictures and nobody was subtle about it at all- even though Jesus was watching! I was patient at first but in the end I just thought 'game on!'. Then me and brad were an unstoppable team, photo bombing everyone and getting the perfect photos, pushing in front of everyone and forcing strangers to play photographer. That's the only way to do it so you have to play the game We could see eagles flying round the mountain top and over the lush tropical forest, and behind us were the favelas neighbouring the richer areas. It is a very clear contrast from up so high and easy to see where the line is drawn.
We sat and had a beer with Jesus in the cafe and made our way down on the tram. The bus was only meters away so it was easy to get to copacabana where we had decided to odour a nice lunch.
The restaurant was a nightmare. First I tried to order two side dishes- just vegetables and rice with a side of vegetable because I am sick of eating noodles and bread and wanted something healthy. Plus I thought with something so plain I couldn't go wrong but the waiter insisted that was too small and so I gave up and ordered a pizza and asparagus salad. What arrived was a tin of lukewarm asparagus on a lettuce leaf and two side orders. I told him that I didn't want 3 side orders so he took the two nice ones which I actually wanted away. Then came brads raw pizza after half an hour later. They had forgotten to do mine so said they would do it quickly. Once he had finished his food mine arrived. I had completely raw dough with cheese. I ate two slices out of politeness and excruciating hunger and that was a huge mistake! I ran to the toilet while brad arranged the bill and we left feeling ripped off an disgruntled. About ten minutes later I discovered that I had food poisoning and ran panicked with exteme stomach pain around the town for a toilet. There are not many public toilets in Rio. Then we went to the beach and refused a few drug dealers on the way, politely saying no to purple haze and mushrooms. The drug dealers were not very discreet (pretending to sell umbrellas in 30 degree heat). It was quite funny. We left for the metro and discovered it didn't go to Etacio so we has to find a bus which we also had trouble with, so we gave up and took a taxi. During the taxi tide I felt a familiar rumbling in my stomach and was faced with the quite real possibility that I might poo my pants in a taxi. As beats of panic sweat ran down my face I made silent bets with myself on which end was about to evacuate and tried not to cry. We were told to get out by the metro station due to traffic and I fled the car, but we took a long time finding our way back and I was so so scared that I wouldn't make it. I ran up the hostel steps and was so relieved when I saw the toilet. I think the highlights of my day were seeing the redeemer and equally as good was not shitting myself in a white mini skirt. So things we have learnt so far on our trip:
Don't eat raw food out of politeness
Rio isn't that dangerous
Know the public transport system if you want to save money
Fast food may well be safer than restaurants